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The role of leaders in building research cultures in sub-Saharan African universities: A six-nation study


Bill Buenar Puplampu

Stella Nkomo

Yvonne du Plessis

Jolly Byarugaba Kabagabe

Evelyn Chiyevo Garwe

Juliana Namada

Kemi Ogunyemi

Professor of International Education and Development

Inusah Abdul-Nasiru


Kwesi Amponsah-Tawiah

Rosemary Danesi

Justice Gameli Djokoto

Denise Diana Duncan

Joseph Lekunze

Simon McGrath

Joyce Ndegwa

Nancy Ngowa

Michael Ofori Ntow

Emily Ayieta Ondondo

Ravinder Rena

Maxwell Sandada


Existing research attributes the problem of weak research productivity of academics in African universities primarily to institutional resource poverty and inadequate research skills. However, there has been little attention to research cultures and the role of leaders in fostering productive ones. Drawing from the literature on organizational culture, this study examines the role of university leaders in developing research cultures. The study explores how institution leaders do this within the higher education contexts in their countries. The empirical work is based on qualitative interviews with senior and mid-level university leaders in six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. While all of the leaders espoused clear views about the elements of a productive research culture, results indicate a significant gap remains between espoused values for research and the actual research culture. Theoretically, the research extends the concept of research cultures by demonstrating the complex dynamics between research cultures, culture embedding mechanisms, and leader behavior within contextual constraints.


Puplampu, B. B., Nkomo, S., du Plessis, Y., Kabagabe, J. B., Garwe, E. C., Namada, J., …Sandada, M. (2022). The role of leaders in building research cultures in sub-Saharan African universities: A six-nation study. Africa Journal of Management, 8(2), 171-193.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 19, 2021
Online Publication Date Mar 19, 2022
Publication Date Apr 3, 2022
Deposit Date May 19, 2022
Journal Africa Journal of Management
Print ISSN 2332-2373
Electronic ISSN 2332-2381
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 2
Pages 171-193
Keywords Management of Technology and Innovation; Strategy and Management; Business and International Management
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Received: 2020-06-08; Accepted: 2021-10-19; Published: 2022-03-19