Stephanie DeckerDec 16, 2022
Postcolonial Transition and Global Business History
British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria
In this episode, I interview Prof. Stephanie Decker about her new book Postcolonial Transition and Global Business History British Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria (Routledge, 2022). Prof. Mick Rowlinson also joined the conversation about the book.
British multinationals faced unprecedented challenges to their organizational legitimacy in the middle of the twentieth century as the European colonial empires were dismantled and institutional transformations changed colonial relationships in Africa and other parts of the world. This book investigates the political networking and internal organizational changes in five British multinationals (United Africa Company, John Holt & Co., Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, Bank of West Africa and Barclays Bank DCO). These firms were forced to adapt their strategies and operations to changing institutional environments in two English-speaking West African countries, Ghana (formerly the Gold Coast) and Nigeria, from the late 1940s to the late 1970s. Decolonization meant that formerly imperial businesses needed to develop new political networks and change their internal organization and staffing to promote more Africans to managerial roles. This postcolonial transition culminated in indigenization programmes (and targeted nationalizations) which forced foreign companies to sell equity and assets to domestic investors in the 1970s. Postcolonial Transition and Global Business History is the first in-depth historical study on how British firms sought to adapt over several decades to rapid political and economic transformation in West Africa.
Exploring both postcolonial transitions and development discourse, this book addresses the topics with regard to business and economic history and will be of interest to researchers, academics, and students in the fields of organizational change, political economy, African studies and globalization.