The Resident Director of the Konrad Adenauer Siftung (KAS), Klaus D. Loetzer, has said that KAS will continue to work with the Private Enterprise Foundation (PEF) and the Ghana National Commission on Culture (GNCC) to harness cultural values of the country.
“Culture in very simple terms, is the way of life of the people in a given geographical area. It comprises the core values, norms, expectations and behaviors of people. In an organization, culture is reflected in organizational structures, systems and symbols”, he said.
Mr. Loetzer was speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day conference on culture and cooperate governance which was organized by the GNCC and sponsored by KAS.
KAS, which has been operating in Ghana for the last 42 years, is one of the German political Foundations that seek to promote the ideals of good governance across the globe.
It also supports economic and social reforms of government, strengthens the role of Parliament, and promotes broad-based participation of the citizenry in decision-making through decentralization programmes as well as the promotion of indigenous traditional institutions.
The conference sought to assess the level in which cultural values impinge on corporate performance.
Mr. Loetzer said that cultural conditions exert strong influence on human behavior which consequently affects economic choices and business decisions as well as social and political behaviors of the individual.
He emphasized that there are positive and negative cultural values, and thereby challenged the participants to take advantage of the positive cultural values that would propel the economy of the country.
“We see these cultural influences as very important to the development of the private sector in Ghana, which is the engine of growth. We therefore supported the GNCC in 2004 and 2005 to organize a workshop with the business community to evaluate how culture affects business transactions in the country”, Mr. Loetzer said.
Those workshops brought together a number of academics and segments of business community. At those workshops the need to host a national conference which will bring together all the key stakeholders in culture and corporate governance to deliberate and come out with good cultural norms which the business community can work with as discussed”, he added.
Mr. Loetzer noted that developing good corporate culture requires leadership which provides the needed direction in order to achieve the needed objectives.
He stated that in the process of developing corporate culture, it is KAS’ conviction that strong corporate cultures should be put in place at work places and adhered to by both management and staff, to enable organizations to attract, retain and engage the relevant key talents for the development.
He hoped that participants would take advantage of the conference to develop good corporate culture for the purposes of developing at their individual organizations, saying that KAS will continue to support Ghana’s democratic development, especially the work of the GNCC, for Ghanaians to appreciate the values of the cherished norms.
On his part, Prof. George Panin Hagan, Chairman of the GNCC, said “ when we seek to develop a culture within a group, household, business, a religious group or the state that facilitates the achievements definite objectives, we also need to recognize the individuals and things being managed are steeped in their traditional cultures “the totality of their way of life”.
He said that the key to good management may lie in understanding the culture of the corporate entity, especially the mindset values, attitudes, norms and regulations as well as the types of behavior coded according to the vision, mission and strategic objectives of the enterprise which staff must adopt.
The Ghanaian Times - page 7 Wednesday, May 28, 2008