Democracy In South Africa Presaged The Transformation Agenda Business Essay

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Democracy in South Africa presaged the transformation agenda essential to the building of a just and equitable post-apartheid state, and it is safe to say that the concept of transformation has become the central reference point that provides the momentum for the rebuilding of the South African state from its apartheid ruins (Jammine, 2009). To this end the South African government had passed various laws to stimulate the diversification of the labour force (Commission for Employment Equity Report, 2010). Likewise, the South African labour market has increasingly integrated previously disadvantaged groups at all levels of the organisation. From what Düweke (2004) calls “new racism” the process of recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce is arduous as a result of this historical competition between the diverse groups (Kerr-Phillips & Thomas, 2009).


The transformation agenda of South Africa coincided with increasing globalisation that also counts up to the challenge of diversity management. For instance, due to the increase in trade between South Africans and Chinese, it has become essential for South African organisations to understand Chinese business negotiation styles and behaviours as well as determinants of cross-cultural negotiations (Horwitz, Hemmant, & Rademeyer, 2008). South African companies do not only have to contend with the many cultures across national boundaries but also within their organisations (Nkosi, 2007 & Nyama, 2009) mainly as a strategy to gain a competitive advantage (Farrer, 2004). For mergers and acquisition (M&A) this necessitates the importance of retaining a diverse and competent workforce (Horwitz, et al, 2008; & Palmer & Varner, 2007).

Business Case for Retaining Workplace Diversity

Integrating the previously disadvantaged groups at all levels of the company and managing South Africa’s highly diverse workforce is not always easy. Zulu and Parumasur (2009) observes that more and more black talent is job-hopping as a direct result of culture clash, stifling corporate cultures and hostile working environments. To be successful the human resources strategy to recruit and retain a diverse and competent workforce must carefully address these factors. Marginalising the majority from key sectors of the economy, organisational and management control is both unjust and unsustainable. For instance, women account for 52% of the population, yet only 7% of South African directors are female, 3% of chairpersons of boards are female, and 2% of CEOs are female (Commission for Employment Equity Report, 2010). Monolithic companies are losing out from the business and organisational qualities and the innovation of these women and other marginalised groups (Zulu & Parumasur, 2009; Davidson, 2009). Levin and Matis (2007:60) building a business case for the inclusion of women list the following reasons: women constitute the largest segment of the increasingly diverse US labour pool; Women are a highly educated group from which corporate America will need to recruit and develop future leadership; women have had a leading edge role in transforming the American workplace; the lessons companies learn from managing gender diversity will serve them well in developing initiatives to manage other forms of diversity;

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