Call for Book Chapters: Accountable Governance and Ethical Practices in Africa’s Public Sector

Call for Book Chapters

Accountable Governance and Ethical Practices in Africa’s Public Sector

Editors: Kemi Ogunyemi1, Isaiah Adisa3 & Robert Hinson3

Lagos Business School, Pan-Atlantic University, Nigeria1, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria2, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana3

Publishers: yet to be determined; possibly Palgrave Macmillan

  1. Brief Description

Ethics is the quest for a life worth living, putting every activity and goal in its place, and knowing what is worth doing and what is not worth doing. It is also, within business itself, keeping in mind what is ultimately important and essential, what is legitimately part of business, and what is forbidden, even (Onyebuchi, 2011; Fisher, 2004; Solomon, 1994). Hence, organizations have often incorporated ethical norms into their mission statement and corporate codes and espoused a commitment to corporate responsibility (Fisher, 2004).

Over the last few decades, the business ethics domain has increasingly drawn significant research attention (Albaum & Peterson, 2006; Purwanto, Mukharrom, Zhilyakov, Pamuji, & Shankar, 2019; Sroka & Lőrinczy, 2015; Trevino & Nelson, 2016). In addition to academic scholars, business or corporate practitioners’ interests in ethical leadership (Heyler et al., 2016) also appear to be central in driving a global focus on the need for a higher moral standard and consistently ethical behaviour on the part of many corporate managers and business organisations (Bazerman & Sezer, 2016; Karassavidou & Glaveli, 2006). The widely publicised ethical misconducts involving WorldCom, Arthur Andersen, Tyco and Enron among others highlighted the importance of the issue for the private sector (Bazerman & Sezer, 2016) and emphasised that gaps in ethical conduct occur across both developed and developing economies (Albaum & Peterson, 2006).

At the same time, the public sector has also been plagued by ethical challenges for many decades and, in this book, we are particularly concerned about the African continent. Hope (1999) argued that governance gaps in Africa reflect a climate of unethical leadership found throughout most of the continent. Two years later (2001), the UNDP also published a two-volume report titled ‘Public Service Ethics in Africa’[1] in which they found, amongst other things, that:

  • African countries have values, standards and laws against corruption, unethical acts, and incidents of maladministration. However, the laws are sometimes outdated and may not sufficiently cover technical developments or social trends.
  • there are difficulties in applying existing specific anti-corruption laws due to the complexity of the text and the onerous burden of proof in a crime that is not often visible
  • the management and control of the conduct of public servants continue to be problematic
  • whilst many anti-corruption institutions have been effective in fighting corruption and unethical behaviour, the lack of sufficient resources to fulfil their mandate remains a major problem
  • the prevention of outright corruption or even of inadvertent violation of standards has not been given proper attention through ethics advice or counselling
  • governments need to enhance their transparency by sharing information about their activities.

The findings above point to grave challenges to public service ethics in Africa and the situation two decades later does not seem very different. Africa currently faces enormous challenges in its efforts to achieve sustainable human development. The public service, as an institution, has a critical role to play in the development of a nation. When the public service is weak and underperforming, the private sector might also not experience the resilience it deserves. These phenomena are not unique to Africa. A poor ethical culture is a menace to the achievement of public sector efficiency and thus to sustainable development anywhere in the world. This new book on accountable governance and ethical conduct in Africa seeks to explore the challenges faced in the continent in the public sector ethics, uncover the underlying reasons and offer possible solutions leveraging healthier political systems, greater inclusivity and more extensive digitalization.

If you are interested in contributing a chapter to this book, please EITHER select an option from the ones below and send in an expanded abstract of 500 words OR send in a 500-word abstract suggesting what you would like to write about, in line with the book’s concept, to by the 25th of March, 2021. This abstract should be accompanied by a 300-word bio introducing you. Authors of accepted abstracts will be notified by the 28th of March and invited to submit full chapters by the 29th of June 2021.

2.              Tentative Table of Contents (flexible; please also propose abstracts for other chapters that you think may fit into the book)

Chapter 1: Introduction

Part A: Public Administration and Ethics in Africa

Chapter 2:  Understanding Ethics and Public Administration in Africa

Chapter 3: Public Service Structures in Africa

Chapter 4: The Role of Boards and Ethical Compliance in Public Sector Institutions in Africa

Chapter 5: The Role of Non-Governmental/Civil Society Actors in Public Sector Ethical Compliance

Part B: Accountability, Governance and Public Administration in Africa

Chapter 6:  Accountable Governance in Public Administration

Chapter 7: Government Interference and Public Sector Independence

Chapter 8: Public Service Performance Management and Appraisal

Chapter 9: Conflicts of Interest in Public Sector Organizations

Part C: Anti-Corruption and Public Administration in Africa

Chapter 10: Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Africa’s Public Sector

Chapter 11: Challenges to Building Public Service Ethics in Africa

Chapter 12: Digital Innovation towards Sustainable Public Administration

Chapter 13: Conclusion: Public Sector Ethics in Africa: Where are we and where do we go from here?

A more detailed description of the suggested content for each chapter can be found here.

3.              Additional Information

(a)   Expected chapter length: 5,000 to 6,000 words.

(b)   Unifying structure: introduction and context-setting; main body (themes, and sub-themes), including any charts, tables, and boxes; evidence from the five sub-regions of Africa; a mini-case; recommendations; conclusion; references; 200-word summary; five keywords

(c)   Timelines:

o   March 25: Chapter abstracts due

o   March 28: Notification of accepted abstracts

o   June 29: Full chapters due

o   July 5: Notification of chapters accepted for review

o   July 15: Peer review process starts (each contributing author to review two co-authored chapters)

o   August 15: Reviews due

o   September 8: Reviews and comments sent to authors

o   October 11: Final chapters due

o   November 1 to 2: Notification of accepted final chapters

o   November 28: Manuscript sent to publishers

4.              Final Note to Prospective Author(s)

Please take a look at the timeline above and join us in carrying out this important project by sending in your 500-word abstract by the 25th of March 2021. Send to Please note the timing for the peer review process and keep it on your radar as we will need everyone’s collaboration to complete the project.


Hope, K. R. (1999). Corruption in Africa: A crisis in ethical leadership. Westview Press.

Josie Fisher (2004). Social responsibility and ethics: Clarifying the concepts. Journal of Business Ethics, 52(4), 391–400. doi:10.2307/25123269 

Onyebuchi, V. N. (2011). Ethics in accounting. International Journal of Business and Social Science2(10).

Purwanto, R. M., Mukharrom, T., Zhilyakov, D. I., Pamuji, E., & Shankar, K. (2019). Study of the importance of business ethics and ethical marketing in a digital era. Journal of Critical Reviews6(5), 150-154.

Sroka, W., & Lőrinczy, M. (2015). The perception of ethics in business: Analysis of research results. Procedia Economics and Finance34, 156-163.

Trevino, L. K., & Nelson, K. A. (2016). Managing business ethics: Straight talk about how to do it right. John Wiley & Sons.

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