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Winter, Simon M. (1998) Institutional dynamics of manufacturing under structural adjustment: Zimbabwe 1990-1996. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis critically and empirically examines the development of manufacturing in Zimbabwe, through a case study of the metal engineering sector, following the introduction of the structural adjustment programme (ESAP) in 1990/91. Original field research of manufacturing firms and supporting organisations was conducted in Zimbabwe during 1995 and 1996. A theoretical framework is applied using concepts of institutional legacy and path dependency. This provides an alternative approach to use of neo-classically based analytical frameworks. It is concluded that orthodox economic approaches are inadequate as a basis for improving the prospects for successful industrial development, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. There is a need to improve the understanding of a country's changing social relations, in their historical context. This includes analysing patterns of agency within and between institutions and the individuals that comprise them. In part this can be accomplished by examining class and power relations and conflicts. Zimbabwe's structural adjustment programme was not followed by industrial rejuvenation and expansion. Firm performance varied in ways that cannot be explained using conventional economic approaches. Overall, there has been: a lack of technological and organisational improvements and industrial investment; a decline in real wages and industrial employment; and, a lack of skills improvement across firms and supporting organisations. Zimbabwean industrial development suffers from a dislocation of interest between those owning most of the productive industrial capital and those formulating policies that affect industry. The capitalist class is fragmented between historically established white capitalists, and emergent indigenous or black interests. Explanations are offered for the observed weaknesses of supporting institutions, including government ministries, training organisations and workers' and employers' organisations. The findings make a strong case that without better data collection from firms and an improved understanding of historical contexts and constraints, policy shifts to promote industrial development will not have the desired results. Even though the research collects a better data set than previously available, it is difficult to draw the types of definite conclusions and recommendations presented by most commentators on the same questions.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:12

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