African time management research
by Mbabazi Tadeo
(Kampala, Uganda: LECTURER AT KYAMBOGO UNIVERSITY, UGANDA)
I'm still exploring why most Africans are rated poor in time management. From what I have so far established through an ongoing survey, some Africans take time management for granted. They value relationships with friends, extended family members more than sticking to their schedules for the day.
According to my findings, it is socially unacceptable to, for example, turn down a request from a neighbour to drive his wife to the next hospital for treatment, in favour of sticking to a day schedule. Or go to work when you lost a person in the neighbourhood/relative.
80% of my respondents are giving social interaction, social acceptance, and social status more weight than sticking to schedules of official duties. Social status partly depends on the nature of the social interactions a person has with the immediate neighbours, and not with being time conscious.
It is a common to come late at functions, and in offices with lame excuses related to "pleasing" a person (s) somewhere; not the many that have been disappointed as longer they are not immediate friends, workmates, or relatives.
"We are not hurried when it comes to pleasing our people", one respondent remarked. We can postpone official work to save lives, to keep our people happy, to fulfill social obligations, especially as regards attending burial ceremonies.