The Role of Culture in Industrialization: Ethnography of the Structure, Culture and Behavior of the Corporation in Kenya
This study was a comparative examination o f the Kenyan corporate culture as it contributes to making the society adapted in a know ledge-based economy. It examined 152 corporations from all the sectors o f the economy within a period o f 26 months (between November 1994 and January 1997) in seven major urban areas in Kenya. The general objective o f the study was to find out the relationship between the African cultural heritage, prevailing organizational structures and consequent behavioral outcome es in corporations as they relate to success, or lack o f it, and change for the betterment o f the Kenyan corporation in a globalized and teleworked economy. The specific objectives were: to establish the nature o f the relationship between African cultural heritage (ethnicity) and adaptation in a knowledge-based economy; how various kinds o f organizations perform in the Kenyan economy; to examine the culture o f inefficiency in the Kenyan corporation; to formulate and test behavior change theories and to examine the relationship between structure (systems), culture and behavior in the actual performance of a corporation. Multi-stage stratified random sampling was conducted to obtain a sample o f 22 corporations for participant observation, and 130 for a structured interview. The sampling frame comprised membership records o f various umbrella organizations in Kenya. Data collection was conducted using observation and participant observation, person centered ethnography, key inform ants, structured and a semi-structured interview schedule, diary/daily field notes and secondary sources o f data. Qualitative data was analyzed using tables, diagram s and taxonomies while quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS for windows. The main findings o f the study are that cultural heritage does not affect one’s performance in a knowledge-based economy if the culture o f the organisation one works for is adapted to a know ledge-based economy and if one is educated; private sector organisations perform better in the Kenyan economy; the culture o f vigilance, an inward looking consumption without investment based culture is what ails the Kenyan corporation; RED model is a better predictor o f behavior analysis and change than rational activity models (R), emotive psychodynamics (E) and deterministic aspects of cultured (D) in isolation; and structure, being just one part o f culture is not adequate on its own to cause behavior. The study recommends the strict enforcement o f the existing laws and vetting o f appointees to head public institutions as the way to reform the Kenyan economy.
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