Special issue of Business & Society


Deadline for submissions: 1 December 2013

Guest editors

Ans Kolk, University of Amsterdam Business School, The Netherlands
Miguel Rivera-Santos, EMLYON Business School, France / Babson College, US

Call For Papers

This special issue of Business and Society aims to contribute to the development of
theoretical and empirical insights on the role of business in African countries, in the context
of the important environmental, social and governance challenges faced by the Continent.
The need for knowledge to help further sustainable development, in an equitable and
accountable way, makes a better understanding of business in Africa particularly urgent,
especially considering the relative lack of research published on these themes in
management and organization journals. To address the specific situation in African
countries, existing theories and frameworks may need to be extended, adjusted or replaced
by approaches that could have implications beyond the continent. Conversely, current
paradigms may be directly applicable to the African context as such, but data limitations may
require methodological adaptations.

While environmental and social issues exist across the globe, leading to a thriving literature
on a range of topics, Africa seems to accumulate both major environmental problems and
social problems. Environmental problems include, among others, the effects of global
warming and climate variability, pollution, the loss of biodiversity, deforestation and
desertification, which affect the availability of land and food. Compounding environmental
issues, social problems are also prevalent throughout the African continent. The World
Bank’s ranked 26 African countries among the 30 poorest countries in the world in GDP
(PPP) in 2009 and the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa shows at best mixed results in
the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals by 2015, sharply
contrasting with other continents, such as Asia or Latin America. Poverty, human rights
violations, health problems and lack of social security are coupled with often weak
governance, corruption and conflict. While the number of wars across the continent has
decreased since the 1990s, some countries still face conflict or continue to show worrying
signs of political instability. At the same time, African countries exhibit strong and resilient
economic growth in spite of the global economic crisis, with a continent-wide forecasted
growth of 5.3% for 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund, and huge potential
and promising economic developments have been noted.


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