Nigerian Management Style

As you would expect in a strictly hierarchical culture, managers are expected to lead quite strongly.

The boss is expected to make decisions (with or without wider consultation) and the decisions of the boss are expected to be carried out to the letter.

Directions should be given in a polite and friendly but definitive fashion. Spell out in detail what needs to be done – anything which is not explicitly requested, is likely to remain undone. This does not mean that subordinates are inefficient or lazy, merely that they expect the boss to know exactly what he wants to happen and to explain things to them fully.

In return for loyalty, the manager will often take on a paternalistic role with regard to colleagues. The manager is expected to take an interest in subordinates beyond their directly work-related duties. People are as likely to ask the boss advice on personal matters as they are on business issues.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Nigeria

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Overview

Nigeria’s massive oil reserves can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. The sale of crude oil represents about 70% of government revenue and an incredible 90% of the country’s exports. A blessing when oil prices are high but a real problem when prices fall dramatically. Nigeria needs to diversify away from such over-dependence on the oil industry and it needs external help to achieve this diversification.

Therefore, Nigeria definitely needs foreign investment and know-how. It probably needs what your company is selling – which must make it an attractive potential market. In addition to the country-wide need for investment across a whole range of sectors, Nigeria also has demographics on its side. Over half the population (which will be 200 million before too long) are under the age of 24. That represents a huge new potential consumer market who are aspirational and consumerist.

Is Nigeria an attractive market? Should you be looking at doing business in Nigeria?

The fact is that Nigeria is a difficult market from a number of perspectives. Corruption is often cited as the major barrier to doing business in Nigeria and it is undoubtedly true that corruption is rife in many areas of commercial activity. However, the major stumbling block when entering the Nigerian market could in fact be the local business culture. You would be very unwise the approach the Nigerian market without first trying to get a solid understanding of the way in which business is done locally. It isn’t like ‘back home’. Do some research and arrive in-country as well-informed as possible.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Nigerian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips