*A gentle reminder to our call for papers*

We have received some enquiries following our email below. This is a book project with a reputable publisher. The 28th of March deadline is only for the abstract (250 words max). The full paper submission deadline will be much later and will be negotiated with the editors.

To submit an abstract, please use this link:

Kind regards,


From: Academy of International Business List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of AMAESHI Kenneth
Sent: 29 January 2020 20:19
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [AIB-L] Call for Papers - Transcending colonial borders: Indigenous Governance, Management, and Leadership Practices in Africa
Importance: High

Transcending colonial borders: Indigenous Governance, Management, and Leadership Practices in Africa

Call for papers

Kenneth Amaeshi (University of Edinburgh)
Mehdi Boussebaa (University of Glasgow)
Amon Chizema (University of Birmingham)
Judy Muthuri (University of Nottingham)
Paul Nnodim (Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts)

Contemporary Africa is largely a product of colonialism. From economics and politics through education, religion and geography, one can see and experience perceptible signs of colonial imprints in institutions of governance, leadership, and management. Indeed, the very notion of the African nation-state with its structural implications, including social and political institutions, organisations, and language, was imposed by colonial powers. Soon enough, these powers withdrew from the continent, leaving in their wake a multitude of independent nation-states and ethnic populations arbitrarily partitioned by artificial political borders. Serving the interests of colonial powers, such borders not only prevented the organic development of shared destinies in Africa but also set the scene for instabilities, conflicts and crises that continue to afflict the continent in the 21st century.

Decolonisation brought hope. The new states embarked on promising developmental paths aimed at ending colonial exploitation and inequality, but the post-independence years proved disappointing. Moreover, political decolonisation did not bring about the end of colonialism on the continent. Official colonial relations disappeared, but the influence of former colonial powers remained through new forms of political-economic control, which Kwame Nkrumah, former president of Ghana (1960–66), and intellectuals such as Frantz Fanon called ‘neo-colonialism’ (Fanon, 1961; Nkrumah, 1965). Moreover, political decolonisation did not bring about a decolonisation of culture and institutions. African institutions of governance, leadership, and management continue to bear the imprint of colonialism.

A clear example is the attempt by Western powers to transplant democracy to Africa, a place with different foundational political cultures, and the subsequent failure of such effort. As much as democracy is desirable, it has continued to wobble in most African countries because the political traditions essential to the stability and sustainability of the Western style of democracy are absent. As such, Africa is neither short of dictators nor short of detractors.

One way to account for the unstable democracy in Africa is to argue that democracy, as a form of governance, reflects worldviews and practices ontologically and culturally rooted in particularised principles such as freedom, individualism, solidarity, and equality, in different measures and configurations. These principles, which can manifest in different contexts in various ways, tend to signify diverse peoples’ preferences, values, and beliefs.  These preferences, values, and worldviews, in turn, inform practices and policies through which democracy is performed and enacted.

Arguably, colonisation prevented or suppressed the organic development of indigenous practices in Africa. Many societies in Africa have their indigenous ways of doing things, from family governance to economic and political coordination of social life. Most of these societies operated and still operate as ethnic groups with clear linguistic and cultural distinctiveness upon which their identities are founded and extended. However, following the colonial balkanisation of Africa in the interest of colonial powers, these traditional societies were, in most cases, reconfigured in strange ways into countries (a lot of them still struggling to become nation-states). These geographic borders for economic and political control have, in turn, become reified and over time morphed into immovable realities. Hence, African governments, more often than not, clampdown on agitators of  self-determination and are quick to proscribe their activities  as “treasonable felony” – again another colonial artefact and social construction arguably for social control and power relations.

Over time, these artificial geographic borders have become psychological boundaries to the point that people who previously shared the same ethnic identity but now “borderised” into different countries have suddenly started seeing themselves as different people. Some of the tensions on the continent can be traced to these perceived psychological differences. On the one hand, while South Africa, for instance, shares some ethnic groupings with some of its neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Namibia, the former sees the latter as foreigners and outsiders in the classic xenophobic sense, which has been rampant of late. On the other hand, the Fulani across Sahelian Africa have continued to emphasise their collective identity irrespective of colonial national boundaries. This insistence by the Fulani on pre-colonial ethnic land-use practices has continued to befuddle their compatriots within the artificially created countries. This is a source of tension. The recent herdsmen crisis in Nigeria, which has been linked to the free movement of the Fulani, is a classic example.

The emphasis on colonial borders, as opposed to the traditional ethnic groupings of African societies, has continued to inform policies, international relations, and international political economy. Multilateral institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations, often think and act along these colonial national borders. The same also applies to the governance of economies and coordination of economic relations across borders in Africa based on national interests, colonial legacies, and affiliations. The frequent tension and imbalance in political, economic relations between the Anglophone and Francophone in West Africa stand out, despite their shared ethnic identities.

The division of Africa into artificial nation-states creates a fundamental problem for the study of governance, management, and leadership on the continent. It forces scholars to approach their objects of analysis based on what has been dubbed ‘methodological nationalism,’ that is, the ‘naturalization of the nation-state and a view that countries are the natural units for comparative studies’ (Wimmer and Schiller, 2003). One example of this mode of inquiry in the field of management studies is the work associated with Geert Hofstede – a Dutch social psychologist – and his followers. This work has promoted and commoditised the study of national cultures (as if they were coherent units) on organisational practices and decisions. A corollary to the national culture literature is the literature on national institutions and particularly the varieties of capitalism literature (Hall and Soskice, 2001), which claims that capitalism, as a practice, differs based on the institutional configurations of nation-states. Again, it falls into the same trap of methodological nationalism by its assumption of national coherence despite the many societies that might exist in a nation-state. Scholars are led to assume that nation-states are internally coherent societies; an assumption that may (arguably) apply to many countries in the West but certainly not in Africa.

Today, one can see studies looking at specific organisational practices and/or economic systems in different African countries and trying to explore and explain them through the lens of national cultures and institutions and along colonial borders. If the colonial borders are poorly calibrated and based on outside interests and priorities, to what extent can one reliably take the findings of such studies in Africa, based on methodological nationalism, seriously? This important question is worth exploring in Africa, and that is the essence of this call.

Africa is not a homogenous place. Colonial borders do not adequately capture the diversity in the continent. As such, there is a need to rethink cultures and institutions critically in Africa from their traditional ethnic delineations without overly romanticising them. This approach, we believe, is likely to give new insights to some of the difficulties of governance, leadership, and management in Africa, as well as offer meaningful solutions to them.

We hope that African scholars and scholars of Africa can take on this challenge and see it as an enterprising venture worth pursuing.

Call for papers
We take the configuration of ethnic societies in Africa seriously and argue that their worldviews and values can inform and provide rich understandings of governance, leadership, and management in Africa. We, therefore, welcome papers from scholars with knowledge of specific ethnic groups in Africa that reflect critically on governance, leadership, and management. Specifically, we welcome papers on the norms, values, beliefs, and worldviews expressed through traditional practices (e.g. negotiation, trading, farming, marriage, naming ceremony, burial rites, et cetera) and institutions (e.g. family, clan, religious, legal, political, economic/market arrangements, et cetera).

In order to avoid any form of romanticisation of these traditional practices and institutions, we encourage authors to analyse them and their intended consequences using this proposed analytical framework based on four essential criteria – Freedom, Resilience, Efficiency, and Equity (i.e., the FREE model/criteria). We see these criteria as essential social axioms for the coherent and cohesive functioning of any good society. We further describe them below for ease of reference:

To what extent do they allow for individual freedom; to what extent do they enable people to reach their desired full potentials irrespective of gender and class?
To what extent do they enable people to develop capacities to absorb or overcome adversity, adapt to long-term changes, and continue to develop?
To what extent do they minimise or avoid waste of time and other resources?
To what extent do they allow for fairness, solidarity, and shared humanity?

Papers should be about 4,500 words long. They will be peer-reviewed for publication with a highly reputable publisher. For more information and if you want to contribute to this project please complete this form<> and or contact: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>


Fanon F. 1961. The wretched of the earth. New York, NY: Grove Press.
Hall, P.A. and Soskice, D. (eds.) (2001) Varieties of Capitalism: the Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hofstede, G. (1980). Culture's consequences: International differences in work-related values. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Nkrumah, K (1965) Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. New York: International Publishers.
Wimmer Andreas Glick Schiller Nina 2003 ‘Methodological nationalism, the social sciences, and the study of migration: An essay in historical epistemology’ International Migration Review vol. 37 no. 3 pp. 576–610

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