Document Type Master's Dissertation Author Schoeman, Martie URN etd-07212006-132054 Document Title African women in a western workplace : an ethnographic case study Degree MA (Anthropology) Department Anthropology and Archaeology Supervisor
Advisor Name Title Prof H Els Committee Chair Keywords
- women black employment South Africa
- work social aspects case studies
- women employees
Date 2001-04-01 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis study contributes to the limited academic knowledge (particularly anthropological knowledge) available on the working behaviour of black women workers. The study focuses on how black women workers perceive and experience certain western work values within a western workplace. A problem that constantly arises in South African industry is the correlation between work values and working behaviour. Hence, the study focuses on the African-oriented value judgements and life- and world-views of black women workers manifested in a South African factory and the perceptions of these women regarding selected western work values. The working behaviour of the black women workers, as employed at Automotive Mouldings cc (AMM) and their culturally determined value judgements and life¬and world-views concerning certain requirements and elements within the western labour system in general, and specifically at AMM, are examined.
The empirical study provides an ethnographic description of the perceptions of black women workers at AMM of western work values and their working behaviour in the workplace. The culturally determined attitudes of these black women towards "work" are discussed. These selected western work values include career awareness, individualism, thoroughness and alertness, time concepts, discipline, communication, motivation to achieve, diligence, responsibility and accountability as well as work status. These western-oriented characteristics (criteria), however, are not necessarily present in the work value systems of black women workers. This creates conflict and reduces productivity within the workplace, as the working behaviour of the black women workers, in many instances, contrasts with western-oriented organisational values in general. Thus, it is difficult to predict the working behaviour of black women workers or to judge it from within western employers' own cultural frameworks. In order to prevent or reduce conflict in the workplace, and to enhance productivity, it is essential that employers are aware of the perceptions of western work values and working behaviour of traditional Africans in general, but specifically the working behaviour of black women workers.
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Please cite as follows:
Schoeman, M 2000, African women in a western workplace : an ethnographic case study, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-07212006-132054/ >
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