Transcending culture : developing Africa's technical managers
This thesis explains the background to the shortage of indigenous black technical management in Sub Saharan Africa by focusing on a number of countries in the Southern African region. It explains the implications of this shortage particularly for Zimbabwe and its mining industry which at independence in 1980 had no black technical managers. Having looked at management development worldwide and the experience of leading developed countries, the thesis goes on to consider the views and theories of a number of writers on management and management development in an African context. It also considers its crucial importance to the continent's future and the urgent need for effective ways of improving Africa's management capability particularly in the technical area. In this context a scheme (the ZTMTT) set up in 1982 to train black managers for Southern Africa's mining industry is described. The methodology of the approach is detailed including the important interrelationship of the practical and the academic experience in the learning process. This is followed by a description and analysis of the results of the scheme after eleven years. Following consideration of the special barriers and difficulties facing aspirant black managers in the Southern African context, the thesis goes on to describe and analyse the factors that have brought about the necessary fundamental change in trainees and helped them to relate the management challenge to themselves. It goes on to detail some successful case histories and contrast these with the very few failures. The success of the programme has culminated in the development of a new management theory, describing the mechanism of transition from reliance on a single home culture to the point where management capacity has been transformed by exposure to global experience. Scientific concepts have been invoked to produce the new management theory. As in science, where certain chemical reactions proceed through excited state intermediates, exciplexes which react to produce a new product, so too the merging of management cultures to form a management exciplex (excited state) can, given appropriate conditions, lead to new successful management types.