Management and management education in a less developed economy: the case of Malawi
Malawi is seen as a society in transition, and as a consequence, it is argued, Malawian managers face particular problems where traditional and Western values intersect. The role of the Polytechnic of Malawi as a provider of management education in this environment is thus problematical. The thesis begins with a description of the Malawian business environment in its geographical, historical, political, cultural, economic and institutional forms, and then goes on to examine the problems practising managers themselves feel they face, and attempts to explain these problems in terms of the environmental factors described, and the environmental changes taking place. It is concluded, from the analysis conducted, that the environmental features discussed interact in a complex way to make Malawian managers averse to exercising initiative and taking decisions. The question of what the Polytechnic can do to help overcome this aversion is addressed. The field research was conducted in Malawi in the seven months January to July, 1980, during which time 207 questionnaires were administered to junior and middle managers working in all sectors of the economy at levels equivalent to Polytechnic graduate entry. In addition, a number of senior managers (both Malawian and expatriate) were interviewed, a case study was conducted in a manufacturing organisation, and a second questionnaire was administered to all business students at the Polytechnic. Extensive use of official statistics was also made where appropriate.