This thesis seeks to broaden the nature of anti-colonial thinking in organisation theory through a strategy of ‘reading and rediscovery’ of prominent African anti-colonial writers and activists portraying them as serious organisation theorists. By reading these theorists, I show some of the depth and sweep of their thinking, hoping to prompt a new appreciation of them today. To read these figures as organisation theorists opens up organisation theory not just to African thinking and history, but also to a range of organisations that often do not show up in the canon of organisation studies. This allows us to see a colourful organisation theory that reflects multiple realities, a postcolonial critique of organisation development of organisation theory, and opens up the western academy to Africa as subject rather than object. Here is a different consciousness of identity and subjectivity, a virtue made of structures (Nkrumah), a radical change and transformation of the individual and group (Cabral’s bottom-up cultural change), and of organisation and social formation of the state (Du Bois, Padmore, James, Cabral, Fanon). This colourful approach is distinct from current postcolonial organisational analysis and ‘management in Africa’ literatures. I test this thesis by observing a case study of contemporary African thinking on organisation at the most general level of society, ubuntu. Ubuntu today straddles the theory and practice of African cosmology, and the calculating world of private firms in a profit-taking market in South Africa. Can its mixture of theory and practice and political ambition fulfil the hopes of this earlier generation? Finally, this is also a disciplinary project, challenging organisation studies to examine its borders and limits, for I am seeking at a very personal level, as a southern African of Nguni origin, to write myself into the consciousness and praxis of that discipline of organisation theory
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.