Original Research

Exploring workplace diversity and organisational effectiveness: A South African exploratory case study

J. Veli Mazibuko, Krishna K. Govender
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a865 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.865 | © 2017 J. Veli Mazibuko, Krishna K. Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 September 2016 | Published: 23 November 2017

About the author(s)

J. Veli Mazibuko, Department of Business Administration and Management, Regenesys Business School, South Africa
Krishna K. Govender, School of Management, IT and Governance, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

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Orientation: Transformation and managing diversity are organisational imperatives, especially in South Africa. Thus, it is important for international companies with major operations in South Africa (SA) to embrace the benefits of managing a divergent workforce and translate this for organisational benefits.

Research purpose: The article explores the perceptions of management and staff on diversity and its value to the organisation, by empirically evaluating the relationship with organisational effectiveness and performance through the development and testing of five hypotheses.

Motivation for the study: Legislation has made it mandatory for transformation of the South African workplace and ensuring that diversity is embraced. However, not all companies have fully understood the benefits of recruiting and managing diverse teams for the benefit of the organisation.

Research approach, design and method: Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were used, whereby a survey was conducted among 227 employees using the Towers Watson Employment Employee Insight Survey (EIS). Inferential statistical techniques were used to test relationships among related variables postulated through five hypotheses.

Main findings: It was ascertained that understanding and managing diversity has played a pivotal role in the (research) organisation’s performance and effectiveness over the past 5 years. More specifically, diversity management created room for appreciation, innovation and creativity that gave the organisations an edge to tackle diverse markets.

Practical/managerial applications: South Africa has a diverse population, and when individuals join an organisation, they bring a unique set of characteristics referred to as personalities, which, through the socialisation process, get assimilated into teams’ norms and values, and the culture of the organisation. Managing diversity in the workplace is part of employee retention and attraction, with the intention to energise workplace productivity, thus increasing the organisation’s competitive edge.

Contributions or value add: The positive impact engendered by diverse recruitment and retention is also supported by employee engagement, which presupposes employee ownership of change, by making it happen, and it is driven by employees that offer solutions to problems, by helping one another and who are proud of being part of the organisation. Its impact in the bigger scheme of events is to drive business performance, growth, cost management, and ability to attract, retain and engage top talent by establishing a winning and inclusive culture.


diversity; transformation; workplace performance; organizational effectiveness


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