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Introduction: employment relations in Africa

Geoffrey Wood (School of Management, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK)

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Article publication date: 27 June 2008




This introduction aims to review the present state of research on employment relations in Africa, and provide an overview of subsequent papers.


The article provides a brief review on the journal issue.


Despite considerable diversity across the continent, a number of common issues and themes emerge. These would include the sharp divide between formal and informal work, the problems faced by unions in organizing in contexts where formal employment is shrinking, and the often negative effects of liberalization. What all the articles in this special issue point to is that the prospects of enhancing the quality of working life, and imparting greater fairness to the implementation of the employment contract is contingent on both national institution building – allowing for the nurturing of complementarities conducive to the expansion, entrenchment and development of higher value added production paradigms – and fairer terms, more equitable relations with the developed world.

Practical implications

Understanding of the practice of employment relations in Africa can be greatly advanced through collaborative initiatives aimed at developing the capacity of emerging scholars and ensuring that the work of more mature scholars of employment based at African universities receives the exposure it deserves.


The article introduces the papers in the issue.



Wood, G. (2008), "Introduction: employment relations in Africa", Employee Relations, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 329-332.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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