HRM Practice in Nigeria and Ghana


The recent realization that human resource is the greatest asset at the disposal of business organizations has occasioned the treatment of human resource management (HRM) with high esteem. Consequently, HRM has gained tremendous popularity all over the world. In response, governments strive to provide ambient work environments by formulating and implementing tailor-made HRM policies.

HRM practice in Nigeria and Ghana is similar in many areas, but also shows variation in some areas. Fajana et al. (2011) observe that like any other part of the world, HRM practice in Nigeria and Ghana takes place, “within an economic, social, political, and legal environment” (p. 58). Countries owe their HRM practice variations to these economic, social, political, and legal-environment differences. Nonetheless, HRM practice generally takes place under the auspices of the ethos of international HRM (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001).

Main body

HRM policies in Nigeria largely hinge on the country’s labor laws (Fajana et al., 2011). This attribute pitches trade unions as pivotal institutions on Nigeria’s HRM scene. The Trade Unions Act of 1978 states that if an organization has fifty employees, the law permits them to form a staff union (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001). The law also obliges employers to acknowledge such staff unions as the authorities in charge of staff welfare.

The Ghanaian case is slightly different from that of Nigeria in this respect. Although its HRM policies also anchor heavily on its labor laws, the trade union does not emerge prominently in HRM issues (Akuoko, 2009). However, despite the minimal influence of unions, Ghanaians have a strong sense of collectivism that motivates them to act collectively within the work environment (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001).

Socio-cultural factors also play a major role in influencing HRM practice in both Nigeria and Ghana. The two countries subscribe to Western management philosophy, but a myriad of socio-cultural issues embedded in their national fabric rob the Western management philosophy of its professional integrity (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001). Ghana and Nigeria are both West African countries. Consequently, in cultural terms, they exhibit many similarities. For instance, employers in both countries ought to give bereaved staff adequate mourning time and make a financial contribution towards the same (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001).

Further, due to the highly esteemed family and social ties, family members, and relatives can easily coerce a manager to hire them, their relatives, or friends regardless of their professional qualification (Fajana et al., 2011; Senya, 2010).

The effect of these socio-cultural issues on HRM practices in both Nigeria and Ghana bears negatively on the performance of organizations. A person in authority finds it difficult to conduct objective performance appraisals since most of those around them are either relatives or friends (Gbolahan, 2012). Sometimes employees may flout company regulations, but the management takes no punitive measures against them (Akuoko, 2009). This trend can easily lead to the development of impunity in the organization. Therefore, these socio-cultural issues pose the threat of rampant corruption, poor organizational performance, and huge sums of lost earnings to the organization.

However, HRM trends in Nigeria are fast changing. The traditional administrative role of the HRM function is gradually transforming into a focused and specialized function (Fajana et al., 2011). Although HRM professionals are still largely unrecognized at the top management level, there is a clear departure from the conventional HRM practice. In a general perspective, HRM practice is yet to mature in Nigeria, but not all hope is lost because professionalism is gradually taking center stage (Gbolahan, 2012).

Ghana is not an exception to this transformation as its organizations are also embracing HRM at a professional level (Senya, 2010). It is arguable that Ghana is ahead of Nigeria insofar as professionalism in HRM practice is concerned. Its human resource base is far much smaller than that of Nigeria, prompting it to manage its human resource efficiently.

Small and medium enterprises in both countries do not pay much attention to HRM (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001). The proprietor takes charge of all administrative functions as well as employee issues. As the organization expands, the proprietor may enlist the services of a personal assistant to lend a helping hand. In most cases, the assistant turns out to be a family member or relative, who is not knowledgeable in any specific area. HRM is generally prevalent in advanced institutions such as banks, oil corporations, and multinational companies (Budhwar & Debrah, 2001).


Apparently, a multinational company seeking to establish in either Nigeria or Ghana faces a huge task. Nigeria has a massive human resource base, but in order to bring the human resource to meaningful utilization, Glotel has to develop a fully functional and efficient HRM function that will enable it to plan for its human resource, develop it adequately, and maintain it well. This is a daunting task, but it is necessary since today, some organizations in Nigeria induct prospective employees for up to eighteen months in order to make them resourceful employees (Fajana et al., 2011). These issues emerge prominently in the Ghanaian context as well.

The education and training standard in Ghana and Nigeria is almost at par (Senya, 2010). The only unique issue that Glotel will contend with as it sets shop in Accra, Ghana, is that it may face stiff competition from other organizations in search of the best talent since Ghana’s human resource base is smaller in contrast to that of Nigeria. The regulatory and socio-cultural issues that Glotel may have to grapple with while trying to build an excellent workforce in either country are also more or less the same.


Akuoko, K. (2009). Traditional values, socio-cultural factors and human resource management practices in public sector organizations in Ghana. Journal of Science and Technology, 28 (3), pp. 58-69.

Budhwar, P. S. & Debrah, Y. A. (2001). Human resource management in developing countries. London: Routledge.

Fajana, S., Owoyemi, O., Elegbede, T. & Gbajumo-Sheriff, M. (2011). Human resource management practices in Nigeria. Journal of Management and Strategy, 2 (2), p. 57.

Gbolahan, F. R. (2012). Impact of human resource management practices on organizational performance in Nigeria: An empirical study of Ecobank Nigeria Plc. in the last five years. Contemporary Business Studies, p. 43.

Senya, K. A. M. (2010). The Ghana dilemma in human resource management – the HR planning issue | feature article 2010. Web.

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