Title page for ETD etd-05162010-000652

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Bhattacharya, Shivaji
URN etd-05162010-000652
Document Title Unrealised obligations : implementing HIV and AIDS policy in a large international development organisation
Degree DPhil
Department Sociology
Advisor Name Title
Dr C Puttergill Co-Supervisor
Prof K Naidoo Supervisor
  • AIDS
  • International Development Organisation
  • United Nations
  • Workplace Wellness Programme
  • bureaucracy
  • HIV
Date 2010-04-14
Availability unrestricted
This study presents a qualitative analysis of the dichotomy between official HIV and AIDS policy and its implementation in a Human Rights based, United Nations (UN) agency, located in South Africa. The study demonstrates that although HIV and AIDS policy is an intrinsic part of the commitment of this large organisation, the implementation of the policy, in the form of a Workplace Wellness Programme supported by budgetary resources, is weak and incomplete. The thesis integrates detailed vignettes in drawing attention to how personnel in the South Africa office perceive and experience the implementation of HIV and AIDS policy. Additionally, the voices of bureaucrats are also integrated in an effort to interrogate management attitudes and mindsets on matters of policy and treatment of staff. The study explores staff members’ sense of being stigmatised and discriminated, when living with the virus and their responses to it. In this, I bring a personal perspective to the study, by relating my own views of living with a potentially life-threatening disease to the views of the participants in the workplace in which the study is conducted.

Classical Weberian and contemporary accounts of ‘bureaucracy’ and the organisational ‘rule book‘ are drawn upon. It is argued that whilst the value systems and politics of managers in the United Nations system lead them to be defined as progressive, some of the practices within their own institutions are contradictory, indifferent and manipulative leading to the perpetuation of discrimination and anxiety amongst HIV-positive staff. Thus, human agency and ingenuity supersedes organisational structure and the rigour of organisational policies and rules. The contradictions highlighted necessitate a careful scrutiny of organisational dynamics, within the wider international development scenario, and organisational introspection within individual UN offices vis-à-vis HIV and AIDS policy implementation. It is envisaged that the study will induce the commissioning of a larger study carried out by an independent body and funded by the United Nations, enabling the validation and enhancement of the argument presented in the case study and provide more recommendations for the way forward for the United Nations.

© 2009 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Bhattacharya, S 2009, Unrealised obligations : implementing HIV and AIDS policy in a large international development organisation, DPhil thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-05162010-000652/ >


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