NGO Management in Namibia: A Search for an Indigenous Management Practice

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Paul Ventura


This research is aimed at examining the present Namibia NGO management practices and exploring the development of an indigenous management practice, which could enhance organizational effectiveness of NGOs. The broad research question was: "What Namibian Indigenous cultural practices could be utilized to improve the management of local NGOs?" Specific questions voiced were: What are the current management practices?; What are the problems experienced?; How can indigenous cultural values improve the management practice.

The specific management practices reviewed and examined were:

--performance appraisals and team-building for staff and management; participatory management - self managing work teams; and enhancing mutual appraisal.

--leadership style: the concentration of authority - the extent to which authority is vested in senior management; achieving output through mutual trust, respect and realization of interdependence; shared leadership -- task and process oriented.

I selected the interpretive approach as a means of researching the present management practice in the Namibian NGO sector. The chosen principal research methods included literature review, questionnaires for collecting secondary data, semi-structured interviews, focus groups for brainstorming and the review of organizational documents, such as human resource management policy and procedure manuals. The research confirms that a holistic Namibian approach to management is important, recognizing the diversity and differences between the various ethnic groups. The research further suggests that the NGO sector should attempt to Namibianize the work environment in order to prevent past divisions and resentments. There is the need to further explore organizational solutions that are home-grown and which are likely to strengthen organizational performance and efficiency. The research reveals that there are indeed indigenous cultural practices that could be utilized to improve management. These include, but are not limited to, music and dance; celebrations; storytelling; respect of elders; tribal leadership; teamwork; group solidarity; and group appraisals.


Business Administration, Management, and Operations | International and Intercultural Communication

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