Bestuur van 'n multikulturele werkerskorps binne 'n korporatiewe finansiële instelling / Heidi van Zyl
Differences among people, and particularly cultural and racial differences, have played an integral part in the development of South Africa as a nation. The management of diversity and the challenges and problems it poses are one of the most important issues facing South African managers. Changes in the South African business environment are placing South African business organisations under increasing pressure to move towards democratic, nonracial and fully representative organisational structures. In an attempt to accelerate this process, companies are embarking on affirmative action programs in order to develop previously disadvantaged groups and to assimilate these groups into existing organisational cultures. This study will explore and investigate the efficiency and success of organisational communication and the management of diversity. Diversity and the management thereof have in recent years become the subject of many heated debates. Although the South African workforce has always been diverse, the largely homogeneous management and white-collar structures created the perception of a homogeneous workforce. This led to corporate cultures in which diversity and differences were virtually disregarded ( Dombai, 1998:105-115). iii - Managing diversity at this level thus concerns the management of people irrespective of race, gender, religion, disability and so on. But it is more than this, and this is where the difference between managing diversity and multiculturalism is important. Managing diversty requires situation adaptability and communication skills which affirm the value of diverse people. It must be understood as a competence required by employees in general and managers in particular, managing diversity is crucial for the effective development of people. At a time when intercultural contact is increasing and thrusts for employee equity prevail, managing diversity requires individuals to look internally at their own attitudes and behaviour rather than reinforcing power relations by means of simplistic stereotypes based on negative views from the past. Objectives of the study Organisations can only function optimally if the human component is being used to its fullest. Against the background of this, the following will be attempted with this study: To show that it is of the utmost importance that a multicultural workforce be managed correctly. To alert management to the differences in culture and how this influences development. To bring home the realisation that management is a skill that must be mastered. To evaluate how diversity is experienced, how management is handling it and what can be done to bridge the gap between different groups in the organisation. Conclusion In our changing context we need the kind of leadership that changes and creates a totally new kind of organisation, a leadership that thinks deeply about the kind of organisation that must be created. Black culture in South Africa can very well offer the perspective on how to implement this type of leadership, but our organisations must be open to this way of thinking. South African management of the past was closed and rigid. They consisted of attitudes that did not take into consideration that workers experience different living conditions to those in positions of power. The cultural aspect is important in the management process since culture tends to influence strategy, you cannot apply rigid western standard in an African milieu (Broodryk, 1998:28-31). To sum up using the immortal words of John F. Kennedy: "It is time for a new generation of leadership to cope with new problems and their opportunities, for there is a new world to be won".
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