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Challenges in building the capacity of human resource development in decentralized local governments: Evidence from Ghana

K.B. Antwi (Department of Geography and Tourism, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana)
F. Analoui (Bradford Centre for International Development, University of Bradford, Bradford, UK)

Management Research News

ISSN: 0140-9174

Article publication date: 20 June 2008




The purpose of this paper is to explore and try to understand the human side of public sector reform (PSR) in local government in Ghana in the context of the challenges facing human resource capacity building and development policies.


Adopting an exploratory case study design, the paper triangulates both secondary and primary sources of data. Primary data were generated from self‐completing questionnaire and interview schedule tools covering 105 local government employees selected from national, regional and district levels. Semi‐structured interviews also solicited views from 16 senior public officers and managers in nine public and quasi‐public organizations. These primary sources were complemented with relevant secondary documents from the organisations investigated.


It was found that Ghana's PSR has significantly influenced the strategic direction of human resource development policies of the decentralized local government service. Major challenges in human resource capacity manifest themselves as related to policy, task, skill and organisation issues and performance motivation.

Practical implications

Addressing the human resource capacity challenges has enormous strategic and financial resource implications for policy makers in transitional and developing economies, due to their over‐reliance on external donors for funding.


Unlike previous studies, this paper did not explore HR capacity issues of elected officials; rather, it focused on the public servants (technocrats) implementing local political decisions. Of much value is that the results were derived from the experience of frontline local government staff, whose day‐to‐day inputs are critical for effective decentralization.



Antwi, K.B. and Analoui, F. (2008), "Challenges in building the capacity of human resource development in decentralized local governments: Evidence from Ghana", Management Research News, Vol. 31 No. 7, pp. 504-517.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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