Exploring social desirability and impression management amongst Afrikaans coloured employees
MetadataShow full item record
As the decades passed, the workforce changed tremendously in becoming more diverse amongst employees. Employee diversity became more challenging in organisations as the different cultures and backgrounds of employees were not understood. Understanding employees’ culture, perceptions, and opinions are a crucial aspect of diverse management in order to reach organisational goals. These different cultures and backgrounds includes features such as language and behavioural differences. If these are not taken into consideration it leads to unclear communication, misunderstanding, and conflict amongst employees in the organisation. This creates pressure in the organisation to manage personnel, decision-making, and problem solving effectively. In order to understand cultural differences amongst employees in the organisation, management needs to explore the context of social desirability and impression management of different cultures to inform organisational decision-making. Although several research studies have been conducted on social desirability, however limited research has been conducted on social desirability in South Africa, specifically in the Afrikaans Coloured culture. Previous studies on social desirability and impression management focussed on the White Afrikaans group and the Zulu culture. This lack of research necessitates this study. The purpose of the study was to explore social desirability and impression management within the Afrikaans Coloured culture in a formal and informal setting, using the emic perspective. A qualitative research approach has been followed, conducting semi-structured interviews with 11 participants. The population sample consisted of Afrikaans Coloured employees in organisations holding more than 50 employees in the Western Cape and the Northern Cape. Data was captured and analysed. The results of the study indicated that the most common social desirable features in the Afrikaans Coloured culture include: the presence of others; the display of respect; the display of supportive behaviour and language use.. This imply that in order for management to successfully apply diversity management intiatives the above-mentioned social desirable features need to be taken into account in organisational decision making. The results of the impression management (IM) tactics that were applied during Afrikaans Coloured employees’ interaction in their formal and informal settings, confirmed the following fundamental characteristics and behaviour all Afrikaans Coloured culture should display when impressing others, namely IM tactics such as displaying respect; providing different support to people one encouters, and being hardworking. Several researchers and the participants of this study perceived the behaviour and ways of living originates from their culture. Recommendations were formulated with regard to future research and practice.