n IFE PsychologIA : An International Journal - Managing the knowledge worker in a knowledge economy : present problems and future prospects in African organizations




The academic field of management has always evolved with theories that present certain assumptions about the nature of man. Based on these assumptions, management theorists devise ways by which the human factor within work organizations could be effectively managed. For instance, the proponents of classical management theory, the human relations theory of management, and the systems and contingency theories of management; implicitly assumed that man had an economic, social, and complex nature respectively. However, with the birthing of the knowledge economy, the nature of man seems to have metamorphosed into that which continuously and passionately craves for knowledge. Consequently, modern managers are now confronted with the problem of how to manage the worker who possesses a lot of knowledge at his or her disposal. Paradoxically, African management philosophers and practitioners seem to be oblivious of the need to create a unique way of managing the knowledge worker. The reason being that Africa's current management literature is replete with the idea that African managers have to break away from a command and control orientation based on classical management principles inherited from their colonial masters to a system of management that befits the collectivistic ethos of the African society, in order for them to effectively manage their human capital. Hence most management philosophers of African origin are still saddled with the problem of how to manage the "African social man" and not how to manage the "African knowledgeable man". Going by this prevailing African management thinking, it is therefore the objective of this paper to analyze the attendant problems, as well as present the future prospects of managing the knowledge worker within African organizations in a knowledge based economy.


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