on March 13, 2018 on 3/13/18 from

Power Dynamics in Ghana

Recently I read an article on the different power dynamics that can exist in different countries due to cultural differences. Power distance is based on the value systems of the less powerful members, so it allows us to understand how the masses view inequality in a society. In large-power-distance countries there is considerable dependence of the subordinates on bosses. These societies are unlikely to have subordinates approach or contradict their boss. In small-power-distance countries there is interdependence between a subordinate and a boss with the subordinate more likely to question/consult with a boss.

Ghana I would consider to fall in the category of a large-power-distance country and has considerable dependence of the subordinate on bosses. Just exploring the country from an age perspective of hierarchy I believe that people give considerable power to those who are older. I remember reading in a guideline that people will make their judgement on a person’s characteristics based the level of respect they show to the elders. In this case I think this is a positive example of how large-power distance can shape a society and the challenge that exist when the elder is wrong. The person is still expected to follow the orders to not be viewed negatively by the society.

Similar to this concept I have witnessed is when a Professor makes a claim no matter if it is factually wrong the student body does not question the teacher. I have a hard time with this concept because I was raised in a society where no matter an individual’s position if you don’t agree with their views or decisions you can challenge their stance. This also exists in Ghana protests have taken place since I have arrived here.

My work experience provides me with an interesting opportunity to explore the structure of power dynamics considering that the employees encompass people from all over the world and different work experiences. Sangu Delle the CEO the youngest of the staff was educated and employed in the United States at Morgan Stanley a white collar formal work environment. Culture at GPI is very flat and run more like a startup you would witness in the United States. He has given people the opportunity to be in a position to make decisions on their own without being dependent on higher management.

At the same time it very evident that large-power distance exists in how he has a driver that opens the doors for him and the level of respect the employees display to him. He provides them a high level of freedom to make decisions and in return they have a high level of respect for his decisions. I would say in Ghana older supervisors are more respected than younger one. Which can be challenging for Sangu at times but fortunately the technology environment in Africa is full of young people that have a different perspective than currently held by the majority.

On a lighter note I got the opportunity to travel to the volta region last weekend to enjoy some peace with nature. The first day we went to a monkey sanctuary (which honestly was a scary experience for me). Then we hiked a steep mountain to the highest point in Ghana. The next day we traveled to another region to do a four hour hike to get to a waterfall. This was a relaxing fun experience and here some pictures to go along with it.