Human Resource Management in the Informal Sector in Senegal: In Search of a Model



This paper studies HRM in the informal sector. More specifically, we want to identify practices of HRM in the IS, explain how they are put in practice, and suggest elements of a theory of HRM in the IS in Senegal. We want to show that the integration of informal units’ activities in existing social processes, allows for a type of HRM with a high level of (or potential for) coherence between social, economic and environmental issues. In order to do that, we rely on the study of units of production of goods and services involved in different trades, namely clothing, car repairing, metalworking, woodworking and shoemaking. The focus, as mentioned earlier, is on units regrouped in specialized areas, in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. Our method of investigation is empirical, qualitative and inductive.

Our analysis of the data resulted in the identification of the following categories: The socio-cultural context of the informal sector; the workplace and practices of HRM, and Other contextual factors.

In the informal sector, HRM is more about processes than results. It is not about the systematic minimization of transaction costs; empirical data show that processes of socialization for the integration of apprentices are central and part of motivation practices. Thus, HRM in the IS cannot be about the systematic maximization of material gains; it is more about the reinforcement of a tradition and an organizational culture. This may explain why growth objectives are often excluded from owners’ explicit agendas.

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Journal of Management Research ISSN 1941-899X


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