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Variables influencing the management of diversity in the South African public sector

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. C.J. Auriacombe en_US
dc.contributor.author Madihlaba, James
dc.date.accessioned 2011-12-12T07:07:34Z
dc.date.available 2011-12-12T07:07:34Z
dc.date.issued 2011-12-12
dc.date.submitted 2011-06
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/4244
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract The dissertation focused on the variables influencing the management of diversity in the South African public sector. The rationale for the study is the lack of clarity of the term (diversity management) and related concepts such as ‘diversity’, ‘valuing diversity’, ‘diversity management’, ‘affirmative action’, ‘equal opportunities’ and ‘gender sensitivity’. The diversity management debate is therefore hampered by a lack of clear understanding of these related concepts. It was reasoned that understanding the concept of diversity management depends on the ability of managers to clearly distinguish between concepts related to equity in the workplace. More specifically the study aims to provide a conceptual framework gained from the literature in order to understand the issues, concerns and challenges surrounding diversity management and its application in public service settings. Consideration was also given to the reasons for applying diversity management. The main reasons why diversity management has become a critical issue for public organisations centred around demographic changes in the global workforce, political changes, the increasing importance of accountability, credibility and transparency for public bureaucracies in the modern state, the failure of the ‘melting-pot’ approach, diversity management as an ethical imperative and the need for the integration of populations divided among different races, nationalities, ethnic and religious groups. The challenges faced by managers of diversity management in South Africa were discussed. Judging from the literature it was found that public sector managers in South Africa grew up in a segregated world which makes their ability to change and to commit to the principle of equity in the workplace more difficult. Diversity management is seen as a legal compliance issue and not as an ethical imperative tied to the principle of respect for human dignity, equality and equity. As a result prospective employees feel threatened by measures such as affirmative action. This situation gives rise to conflict and uncertainty which managers are generally ill equipped to deal with. The conclusion could therefore be drawn that only lip service is paid to diversity management and the principles of valuing diversity. It was found that there is no substantive performance culture in the South African public sector. Furthermore the management of poor performance in the public sector is extremely difficult because of a general lack of skills and the inability or unwillingness of managers to run their sections effectively. It is important that the public sector in South Africa provides on-the-job skills training and development programmes that will address individual needs for leadership development and career development to speed up the learning process of ill equipped managers. Strategies for the management of diversity were identified. Based on the literature study the creation of a mission, creative leadership, involvement of senior management, the integration of diversity management structures, inter-personal and inter-group communication strategies, the creation of positive diverse interaction opportunities and partnerships are clear indicators of a goal-orientated approach to achieve effective diversity management. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Diversity management en_US
dc.subject Affirmative action en_US
dc.title Variables influencing the management of diversity in the South African public sector en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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