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Title: The social and educational backgrounds and career paths of African business managers in Kenya
Author: Greaves, M. J.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1978
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This study is concerned with managers in the current economic development of Kenya. From interviews with spokesmen of 39 sample business and parastatal organisations and 179 of their African managers the objective was to confirm the relevance of three hypotheses; (i) that in the modernising sector managers would be selected and trained according to Western criteria thereby conforming to the Western image of a manager; (ii) that on educational grounds managers would constitute part of the modernising elite; and, (iii) that elitism, based on education and manifested through career progress, would exist within management. These hypotheses were largely confirmed. Social origins exhibited broad similarities with those of managers in comparative Western studies. Social origins influenced educational attainment, subsequent job function, management training and career progress. Company selection and training policies were directed at the higher educated Africans and were therefore perpetuating the Western managerial image in the developmental context. Secondly, as managerial selection was based on educational attainment which was achieved mainly by the socially privileged, the social elite were maintaining their status through the educational and managerial medium, and managers constituted part of the modernising elite. Thirdly, elitism within management exists. Two separate career paths based on social background and educational level are shown to influence job function, career progress, management training and ultimate managerial status. Education is shown to be the main determining factor in this. It is demonstrated that the socially and educationally under-privileged managers have been neglected in their training and development. They represent an untapped source of experienced talent which could be better exploited if the education-training relationship were to be redesigned. Earlier career commencement followed by managerial selection based on proven results could be followed by higher education as a reward rather than a right. Training would become more relevant and organisational stratification into demarcated status groups would be reduced.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available