Original Research

Black middle managers' experience of affirmative action in a media company

Barnard B Motileng, Claire Wagner, Nafisa Cassimjee
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 32, No 1 | a219 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v32i1.219 | © 2006 Barnard B Motileng, Claire Wagner, Nafisa Cassimjee | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 29 October 2006 | Published: 29 October 2006

About the author(s)

Barnard B Motileng, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Claire Wagner, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Nafisa Cassimjee, University of Pretoria, South Africa

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Abstract

Affirmative action remains one of the most highly sensitive, emotive and hotly debated subjects in South Africa. It is nevertheless an important legislated strategy that needs to be thoroughly researched and constructively debated to bring change to the lives of previously disadvantaged individuals. The present study describes how five black middle managers experience affirmative action at a media company. Emphasis was placed on how these managers define affirmative action, whether they feel that others question their abilities because of this policy, and the extent to which affirmative action affects their job satisfaction and commitment to the organisation. Results of the study revealed that participants experienced affirmative action positively as a mechanism that provides employment opportunities, but encounter many challenges and obstacles. These problems can be addressed by sustained commitment from organisations to make the function of the affirmative action policy explicit and to create a shared culture in the workplace.

Opsomming
Regstellende aksie is tans ’n sensitiewe saak wat vurige debat en emosies in Suid Afrika uitlok. Dit is egter ’n belangrike wetlike strategie wat deeglik nagevors en konstruktief gedebatteer moet word om verandering in die lewens van vorige benadeeldes te bring. Die huidige studie beskryf hoe vyf middelvlak bestuurders regstellende aksie by ’n mediamaatskappy beleef het. Klem word geplaas op hoe hierdie bestuurders regstellende aksie definieer, of hulle voel dat ander hul vaardighede betwyfel as gevolg van hierdie beleid, en die mate waartoe regstellende aksie hul werksbevrediging en verbintenis tot die organisasie beïnvloed. Resultate wys dat die deelnemers regstellende aksie positief beleef het as ’n meganisme wat werksgeleenthede skep maar data heelwat uitdagings en struikelblokke beleef word. Hierdie probleme kan aangespreek word deur volgehoue verbintenis van organisasies om die regstellende aksie beleid meer eksplisiet te maak en ’n gedeelde kultuur in die werkplek te skep.

Keywords

Affirmative action; Black middle managers

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