Western Models Won’t Necessarily Help Us

I went to seminar in Ghana where participants were extolling the virtues of a new way of organizing work. One speaker, from the UK, made a telling comment in his presentation: ‘We don’t manage people, we manage work and let the people organize around the work.’

This assertion is based on a great deal of assumptions. It assumes, for instance, that the workforce in Ghana is knowledgeable, skilled and experienced enough to able to respond to this call to ‘organize around work’ – but are they? Judging by the blank look on a lot of the participant’s faces, the answer is ‘no’.

In Ghana, we are still struggling with the worker fundamentals – creativity, initiative and analytical thinking are scarce as a result of the way we educate and bring up our children at school and at home.

Taking models from the West, where the average worker has been exposed to a work environment where they know what is expected of them and employers have invested some years of training in them, and transferring these models wholesale to Africa, where most workers have had no such practical investment made in them, is going to be problematic unless the fundamentals are taken care of first.

Like with every good story, we need to start at the beginning. This is where Lead Ghana comes in; we bring a ‘total person perspective’ to human resource management which is in keeping with traditional African values.