The continent of Africa is home to more than fifty countries and one billion people. It is also home to some of the world’s most vibrant economies. The Economist, for example, recently predicted that seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies in the next five years will be African. Unfortunately, much of the continent continues to face challenges around eradicating poverty, improving health, resolving conflict, and ending corruption. Marked by fast growth, limited growth, or no growth at all, Africa’s business, government and civil sectors all need world-class management.
The purpose of this conference is to bring Africa’s unique capabilities and needs to the attention of the world’s organization and management scholars, and at the same time to provide an opportunity for interested colleagues to collaborate and work on the many interesting theoretical and practice problems presented in Africa.
If it can be said that the average conference is all about collaborators sharing the answers to their research questions, this conference is oriented more toward discovering questions worth asking and then building the collaborative relationships to answer them. Much of our time will be spent together exploring and experiencing many of these capabilities and challenges first hand. Participants will spend one and a half days “in the field” directly experiencing South Africa and the phenomena that interest them. Four conference themes will orient that exploration.
But of course, we welcome paper, symposium, and workshop ideas that will help us better appreciate and explore these issues too. The rest of the conference will be spent in conversation with these authors and with each other about our collective experience, the papers and symposia, and our ideas about future work.