Corporate political activity in less developed countries: The Volta River Project in Ghana, 1958-66

Stephanie Decker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


The article expands existing categorisations of political and economic governance by including literature on less developed countries (LDCs). In four consecutive negotiations between the US multinational Kaisers and the US and Ghana governments in the early 1960s, it is argued that the company reached levels of influence that are at odds with existing explanations. In order to understand corporate political activities in LDCs, analysis needs to go beyond static factors (political risk) and include dynamic factors such as diplomatic relations and 'arenas of power', and consider the role of the investor's home country relative to the host economy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)993-1017
Number of pages25
JournalBusiness History
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Firstly I would like to thank Rory Miller, John Wilson and Andrew Popp for their comments on earlier versions of the paper, as well as two anonymous reviewers, whose feedback has improved this article significantly. Also, the kind help from archivists with establishing the copyright status of some of the images used in this article is gratefully acknowledged, especially Katherine Fox of the Baker Library, Boston, and Susan Snyder of the Bancroft Library, Berkeley. The research has been made possible through the generous funding from Harvard Business School and the British Academy (SG-54103).


  • corporate political activities
  • Ghana
  • Kaiser Aluminum & Chemicals Company
  • Kwame Nkrumah
  • Volta River Project

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History


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