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Decision-making processes of African Leaders on climate change: A case study of the succession to the Kyoto-Protocol

Ajao, Saidat, Aderonke (2013) Decision-making processes of African Leaders on climate change: A case study of the succession to the Kyoto-Protocol. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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The research examines the decision-making processes of African Leaders in the context of a common international
issue. The Theory of Bounded Rationality is utilised as theoretical framework. More specifically, the research explores how a group of African Leaders come together to make a common decision known as the Common African Position in relation to the succession to the Kyoto Protocol under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The originality of the research is contributed by decision-making processes utilising the Bounded Rationality Theory in the context of climate change. This is taken further by utilising the model in the decision-making processes of African Leaders as limited research has been conducted in this field in Africa. Researchers have argued that whilst extensive research has been undertaken in the US and UK, only a limited amount has been conducted in other regions (Elbanna and Child 2007). Furthermore, Hoskisson, et. al.,. (2000) argues that research on strategy practice in emerging economies such as China, and Latin America has not been matched with other regions such as, Africa and the Middle East. The originality of the research is also presented by the uniqueness of the case study. The study was conducted during the largest ever political gathering of world leaders – The Fifteen Session of the Conference of the Parties and the Fifth Session of the Meeting of the Parties of the UNFCCC (COP15) in Copenhagen, Denmark in December 2009. COP15 comprised 120 Heads of States and Governments and 193 national delegations including Member States of the continent of Africa. The research design was qualitative in nature. The methods for the primary data collection were Semi-structured Interviews, Focus Groups and Participant-Observation. Participants were Heads of Government, Ministers and other leaders, i.e. Secretary Generals, Ambassadors and Directors. Secondary data in the form of books, speeches, articles, newspapers, briefs and other publications were also utilised. The data was analysed using content analysis. The analyses revealed that the decision-making processes commenced two years before COP15. The decision-making processes were definitive, co-ordinated and structured involving a wide number of strategic organisations to the continent of Africa, i.e. the African Union Commission (AUC). The decision-making processes were largely followed by the group of African Leaders prior to and during the initial week of COP15. However, during the High-level Segment the dis-unity amongst African Member States became apparent. Bi-lateral deals with developed nations outside the African Common Position were at play, especially by South Africa and Ethiopia. The final outcome of COP15, the ‘Copenhagen Accord’ further revealed the decision-making processes and decisions made by African Leaders were irrational. Individual country interests were paramount, resulting in a total failure by the African Group to maintain the Common African Position. The findings also revealed that due to the diverse nature of the impact of climate change on different African regions, the implications of a common decision in addressing climate change in the future should be circumvented. Limitations of the study include the high security level during COP15 due to the attendance of world leaders, the immense size of the event in terms of participants, and the large number of meetings, which made it impossible for the researcher to follow all activities that were pertinent to decision-making. The research makes contributions to academia and to practice. Academically, in the field of strategic decision-making and by the use of Bounded Rationality; and the application of the Theory of Bounded Rationality in the context of the decision-making processes of African Leaders is novel in the literature further contributed by the extraordinary United Nations COP15 Conference. Furthermore, the results support the assumptions of Bounded Rationality in decision-making. In the field of practice, it suggests ways in which the decision-making processes of African Leaders in an international setting can be improved as it relates to climate change. The research concludes with recommendations, areas for further research in the field of strategic decision-making and a reflection of the research journey.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Business Administration
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Economics, Finance and Business, School of
Thesis Date:2013
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:17 Jun 2013 11:07

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