HRM development in post-colonial societies: The challenges of advancing HRM practices in Ghana

Document Type

Journal Article


Sage Publications Ltd.

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Business & Law




Originally published as: Ayentimi, D. T., Burgess, J., & Brown, K. (2018). HRM development in post-colonial societies: The challenges of advancing HRM practices in Ghana. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 18(2), 125-147. Original article available here.


This article is based on a literature review that integrates history, institutions and culture to address the following research questions. First, how did human resource management (HRM) progress during post-colonial Ghana? Second, what factors are likely to undermine the advancement of HRM practices in Ghana? Finally, what are the implications for HRM practice and theory? This article identified several factors originating from the economic and socio-cultural system as driving forces underpinning the advancement of HRM practices in Ghana. Key issues are (i) Ghanaian cultural beliefs and assumptions; (ii) respect for social status, power and authority; (iii) the involvement of religious institutions in business activities; (iv) the dominance of small and medium scale enterprises in the local economy (informal sector); (v) education, skills development and training mismatch; and (vi) lack of HRM professionalization and regulatory body. This article argues the assimilation of history, institutions and culture connects comparative HRM practices and post-colonial studies to establish a detailed understanding of persistent colonial institutional inheritance (legacies) of HRM practices as against HRM practices that signify the effects of Ghanaian contextual distinctiveness. We conclude that the best practice is building a synergy of foreign HRM practices alien to Ghana and the culture-sensitive Ghanaian version that produces the best-fit HRM practices for Ghana.