The lived experiences of black managers in accessing top management positions within the Namibian private corporate sector

Doctoral Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This PhD study draws from anticolonial and decolonial thought systems to explore how multi-level factors; macro-level (social-contextual contextual histories, economic, legal and religious), meso-level (organisational cultures, structures, processes and procedures), and micro-level (interpersonal and intergroup), intersect to shape the experiences of black managers in accessing top management positions within Namibian private sector organisations. This study aimed to uncover the historical and political elements that underpin black managers' experiences. The data in this study was collected through a decolonial data collection process utilizing storytelling interviews with 44 study participants, recruited through snowball sampling. The research adopts a qualitative research design that infuses thematic analysis with decolonial, and anticolonial, lenses of data analyses, rooted in the African indigenous paradigm. The findings of this study reveal influential multi-level factors influencing the experiences of black managers are interwoven and imbued with coloniality of power (coloniality)—continuing colonial social and economic patterns rooted in the colonial histories that are not lost to the past. In the Namibian context, coloniality is anchored in the histories of colonial violence, including the German genocide of black Namibians (1904-1908) and its apartheid successor. These histories continue to reside in the society and the private sector, re-inscribing and entrenching colonial social and economic relations that are (re)produced at organisational levels. The study's critical theoretical contribution highlights coloniality as the deep-seated and concealed structure undergirding the persistent racial inequalities within Namibian private sector organisations, through which black managers are subjugated, disempowered, exploited, and marginalised from opportunities to access organisational resources and top management positions. Furthermore, the study shows that coloniality in the contemporary private sector is intimately tied to the private sector's participation in past colonial violence. At present, it appears that coloniality in the private sector is facilitated by influential white executives forming white affiliations of power in maintaining the material and symbolic interests of the white minority populace. This study labels these enacted implicit political and insidious managerial practices and mechanisms as: 'managing to colonise'. Finally, this study recommends dismantling the coloniality of power underlying racial inequalities in the private sector and the broader Namibian society through anticolonial and decolonial praxis grounded in reparative social justice, equality and self-determination.