British multinationals faced unprecedented challenges to their organizational legitimacy in the middle of the twentieth century as the European colonial empires were dismantled and institutional transformations changed colonial relationships in Africa and other parts of the world. This study investigates the political networking and internal organizational changes in five British multinationals (United Africa Company, John Holt & Co., Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, Bank of West Africa and Barclays Bank DCO). These firms were forced to adapt their strategies and operations to changing institutional environments in two English-speaking West African countries, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) and Nigeria, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. Decolonization meant that formerly imperial businesses no needed to develop new political networks and change its internal organization and staffing to promote more Africans to managerial roles. This postcolonial transition culminated in indigenization programmes (and targeted nationalizations) which forced foreign companies to sell equity and assets to domestic investors in the 1970s. Managing Postcolonial Transitions is the first in-depth historical study on how British firms sought to adapt over several decades to rapid political and economic transformation in West Africa.
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Stephanie Decker is professor of Strategy at the University of Birmingham Business School, UK, and visiting professor in African Business History at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. She is joint editor-in-chief of Business History, on the editorial board of Organization Studies, Journal of International Business Studies and Accounting History, and Co-Vice Chair for Research & Publications at the British Academy of Management.
Table of Contents
- Organizational Legitimacy and the Development Discourse
PART 1 - Managing Postcolonial Transitions Externally
- Corporate Political Activities before and after Independence
- Indigenization Programmes and Organizational Legitimacy
PART 2 - Managing Postcolonial Transitions Internally
- Africanization in Companies and in the Civil Service
- African Managers in British Businesses
This video offers a sense of how companies like Barclays advertised their branch banking in the 1950s in West Africa.