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Esther Thomas


Research Project D2

Research Associate

Research Interests

African politics, cultural influence on organizations, business, private sector, theories on organizational hybridization, corporate governance, CSR, international development policies and their effects and appropriation, discourse theory.

Regional Focus

Tanzania; Guinea; South Africa

Current Research

In her dissertation, she plans on addressing the question of the kind of learning processes that intercultural exchange can lead to in a multinational company. She will compare a management model designed in a Western country with the way it is perceived by the employees of an African branch and the adjustments (and distortions) it is subjected to. Her idea is that the cultural hybridization that occurs in local management adaptations of principles and practices allows us to question the respect of diversity and the way it is taken into account in the elaboration of management norms. In the same vein, she will study the representation of power and power relations in order to bring forward the vectors of legitimate management. She thus addresses the challenge of long-term changing processes by the focus on the cultural dimension of management, as a means of improving human relations within a multinational company.


Esther Thomas started her contract as a research associate with the SFB 700 “Governance in Areas of Limited Statehood” in may 2010. She is also a PhD candidate at the Centre of African Studies (CEAN) in Bordeaux, France, which is attached to the Institute of Political Studies “SciencePo Bordeaux”. Before joining the FU Berlin, she worked as a research assistant in the IRG (Institute for Research and Debate on Governance) on a series of colloquium related to the “Meeting process for debate and proposals on governance in Africa”; coordinated by the IRG and supported by the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs - MFEA (for the process in Africa) and the Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation – FPH. Esther obtained her Master’s degree after studying African Studies and Political Science at the Institute of Political Studies IEP Bordeaux (2007-2009). In her master’s thesis, she analyses the process of cultural hybridization in the context of organizations adapting to new environments.


fc    “Meeting process for Debate and Proposals on Governance in Africa: East African step” (co-author) Proceedings of the colloquium organized by the Institute for Research and Debates on Governance (IRG) hold in Arusha in December 2009

Papers and Presentations

2010    “Cultural dimension of organizational change of multinational companies: mining companies working in areas of limited statehood”; presented within the Cooperative Project on “Business and Climate Change in Africa” – 8-9 November 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa; Co-organized by University of Cape Town, Graduate Business School, South Africa and Freie Universität Berlin