Exploring cultural differences in management
Helena Addae will be returning to her native Ghana to teach business management courses and continue her research into cross-cultural differences in organizational behavior.
She'll be teaching at the University of Ghana in Legon, where she'll also mentor female students and young faculty members.
"I'm really delighted and very happy that I got a chance for this once-in-a-lifetime experience,'' said Addae, who has taught at UW-Whitewater since 2003.
Her academic work centers on globalization and the challenges of a multicultural and diverse workforce. She studies theories of management, which come mostly from western Europe and North America, and how they are applied in developing countries.
"Most of our theories, if not all, are values-based,'' she said, so there are limits to adopting them in other cultures. For example, missing work for a death in a friend's family might be an acceptable reason for absenteeism in a culture of extended families, but not in other cultures.
In her research in Ghana, Addae will be looking at such issues as stress, organizational commitment, absenteeism and job satisfaction in the public and private sectors.
She raises cultural similarities and differences in her international management class at UW-Whitewater, drawing on her own experiences living in Ghana, London, Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and Wisconsin.
"All of the different places I've lived in around the world have inspired my research in terms of the contextual issues," she said.
Addae also will be helping the government in Ghana assess the impact of its microfinance projects that make small loans, often to women, aimed at reducing poverty.
"I'm really interested in finding out how this has helped mitigate economic hardship in the communities that have received funds,'' she said.