Understanding Organizational Sustainability through African Proverbs

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This practical yet profound new book by Chiku Malunga, the first and leading indigenous wisdom based organizational development writer, together with Charles Banda, offers a thought provoking and fresh perspective on communicating organizational change and improvement. In a language people will immediately understand, anyone involved or simply interested in organizational and community development will learn from these insights into African culture and traditional wisdom. This book not only suggests how this can be creatively applied to improve organizational performance but is relative also to modern life in general.

Divided into six chapters, the authors discuss the natural growth phases that every organization goes through as it develops from its beginnings into a mature and sustainable system; financial and organizational sustainability as a key unresolved issue facing many organizations; the concepts of organizational culture and identity; the importance of leadership in organizational effectiveness and sustainability; insights on how consultants facilitating change in organizations can improve their own performance so that they can serve organizations better; and argues that organizational assessments are the starting point for organizational improvement efforts. The appendices contain accessible and useful assessment tools based on the proverbs used throughout the book, with detailed descriptions of how they can be used.

At the outset, the authors draw attention, almost apologetically to the possibility that the proverbs may speak louder than their explanations, yet proverbs make communication so instantly possible, irrespective of differences in geographic origin and cultural backgrounds, a whispered explanation may well be is all that is needed. But as one particular proverb suggests ‘there are no shortcuts to the top of a palm tree’ perhaps you should simply read this fascinating book, and hear first-hand, the wisdom and loud voices of the authors’ African ancestors.

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