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Opinions of Sunday, 25 May 2014

Columnist: Abagulum, Fidelis

Organisational learning and knowledge management

.... and implications for
structural adjustment of Ghanaian businesses with particular reference to
construction firms.

By Fidelis Abagulum

28th February, 2014

Scotland, Glasgow-UK

Structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy calls for policies that would
enable businesses to increase productivity and contribute to the growth of
Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This would involve, among other things, the
adoption of new technologies and efficient management of facilities as the
disposal of individual firms. It also requires strategies for skill formation and
the diffusion of acquired skills across the industrial spectrum.
There is general consensus that organisational learning is crucial for business
development. But this is contingent up for local firms to acquire business and
institutional knowledge to develop long term capabilities that would give them
the competitive edge they would need to survive and grow. Organisational
learning helps firms to adapt to the dynamics of the market.
The Ghanaian economy at the production level can be broadly set into three
categories: government sector, business (private) sector and household sector.
However, the public sector dominates the production of goods and services yet
with limited skilled man power development. As at present, most of the service
in terms of GDP is attributable to the public sector. This is because
dysfunctional existing economic structural system has not helped in any
meaningful way. Insofar, and over the past 25 years after independence, the
current system has squeezed businesses out of the national structural system
(isolation from the national system) that contributes to NGDP. This means the
role of private sector players is squeezed to the margins. Private enterprises
have not received the required policy support and have not, therefore, thrived
to realise their full potential. What then are the strategies that would set the
economy on the path of sustainable development?
There are many ways to address this problem. However, the aim here is to show
how organisational learning could be implemented as a strategy for promoting
and support industrialisation and economic growth Ghana needs. In order to fill
up the gap organisational learning requires a complete new design system that
will promote some kind of network between organisations (the three production
levels that include government sector, business and households) by embedding
them together enabling trust to be realised among players. As both these
players engaged in the wider but integrated system and nurturing the value of
social capital (trust, norms and network), network learning from the experiences
of corporate actors among other entrepreneurs can be developed thereby
promoting skills, innovation as a benefactor to growth in total GDP. Other
opportunities that will emerged as a result in the longer term is that enterprises will extend their experiences gain from institutions such as universities etc
globally which would in fact, serve as a feedback loop back to the larger
economy. To conclude, as the national system stands now, there is no linkage
between Ghana government, private sector and household. To justify this there
are several empirical evidence thus, trust between local government and
businesses lags, difficulties arising from government to track for example
housing productions and to be able to control market prices including goods
and services in the wider market. The whole economic structure plus the three
sector of the economy is supposed to function as a whole together. To illustrate
this in detail I have been making arrangement with Metro TV to pass on the idea
to the public which I believe will be in the larger interest of the people of
Ghana.

PhD (student), MBA, MSc. Fidelis Abagulum
Email: Fidelis.Abagulum@strath.ac.uk
Supervisors: Dr. Girma Zawdie; Dr. Michael Murray
David Livingstone Centre for Sustainability
Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Strathclyde
Graham Hills Building
50 Richmond Street
Glasgow G1 1XN
United Kingdom
Tel. 0044 7977235016