africas response to digitisation, conflict and sustainable management to be discussed at 7th biennial conference

At the anticipated 7th Biennial Conference of The Africa Academy of Management (AFAM) to take place from January 8th to 10th, 2024, at Stellenbosch Business School in Belville, participants from across Africa will delve into critical aspects of a shifting world context in the face of globalisation, digitalisation and its impact on African organisations and societies.

With the theme, Transforming Organisations in the Digital Era: Dignity, Justice, and Prosperity in Africa, the conference, hosted by Stellenbosch Business School, will address the diverse dimensions of conflict, sustainability and green management, international management, while uniquely focusing on Africa's perspectives within the context of the digital revolution.

Professor Edward Kieswetter, Commissioner of SARS, will use the opening keynote to contextualise the prospects and obstacles facing business, governance, higher education, and society in their joint efforts to foster prosperity for everyone through collaboration.

Local organising conference Chair, Dr Natasha Winkler-Titus says the conference comes at an opportune time whilst Stellenbosch Business School commemorates its 60th anniversary of shaping responsible leaders. "Globalisation and digitalisation are reshaping the landscape of work and organisations, compelling adaptation to unprecedented competitive pressures.

"For many organisations, adapting to these pressures has entailed the adoption of new business and operating models to explore and exploit the threats and opportunities. We aim to unpack how African organisations are responding to these transformative forces, fostering a dialogue on sustainable management practices, workplace dignity, justice, and prosperity for employees and their communities."

Dr Winkler-Titus emphasises that in tandem with these adaptive organisational responses societal values are shifting.

Prioritisation of achievement of organisational goals at the expense of the well-being of employees and the greater good of our planet, is increasingly being replaced to one that focuses on responsible leadership of people, profit and planet. The shifts however are not consistent nor impactful yet, as growing number of employees still find themselves in precarious jobs, have limited opportunities for skills development, deteriorating working conditions, and increasingly constitute the working poor.

Another pivotal topic to be explored during the conference includes a panel discussion examining the intricate relationship between the private sector, conflict, and peaceful development in Africa.

Titled "Getting Real About Business and Conflict in Africa," this discussion will critically analyse the role of business in either fostering or impeding peace and development across the continent.

The panel will delve into the discrepancy between the acknowledged importance of the private sector in development policies and the evidence suggesting that, particularly at scale, business activities often fail to advance human development. Instead, these activities have been found to exacerbate conflict, disrupt social cohesion, and challenge the rule of law.

Led by Prof Brian Ganson, Head of the Centre on Conflict & Collaboration at Stellenbosch Business School, the panel discussion is a crucial step towards a more nuanced understanding of the impact of business on African development. It addresses ethical and practical questions and aims to identify actionable strategies to mitigate the negative effects of certain business practices on human rights and security."

Prof Ganson emphasises that the discussion highlights the imperative for management scholars, policymakers, and business leaders to reconsider prevailing notions surrounding the link between business, conflict, and peace in Africa.

The discussion will explore the challenges in holding business actors accountable for their actions and propose ethical and practical measures to curb predatory business practices that compromise human rights and security.

The conference will feature insightful discussions, empirical studies, and conceptual papers addressing fundamental questions, intended to provide a forum for a robust exchange of ideas and sharing of research findings to illuminate the understanding of how organisations in Africa are adapting to the preceding transformative forces of globalisation and digitisation.

Additionally, the conference aims to understand how the nature and contexts of work can be redesigned to foster sustainable management of employees to promote workplace dignity, justice, and prosperity for employees and their communities.

For more information about the 7th Biennial Conference of The Africa Academy of Management, please visit them online.


Established in 1964, Stellenbosch Business School was the first business school from an African university to receive the prestigious Triple Crown of international accreditations, reserved for the top 1% of business schools worldwide. This year marks the business schools 60th year of excellence in business education and shaping responsible leaders.

The school serves as the regional office for the Africa Academy of Management, and the annual conference attracts scholars and practitioners across the continent and the global north.