Title page for ETD etd-07292008-161238

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Mthimunye, Mokgadi Rosinah
URN etd-07292008-161238
Document Title The perceptions of supervisors about employee assistance programme referrals within the Department of Foreign Affairs
Degree MSD
Department Social Work and Criminology
Advisor Name Title
Dr F Taute Supervisor
  • perceptions
  • EAP
  • supervisor
  • referral
  • employee assistance programme
Date 2008-04-21
Availability restricted

Employee Assistance Programme is a programme designed to assist employees who have a variety of problems affecting their productivity. It is a fact that for the programme to be effective and functional there should be enough referrals to the programme. It is without doubt that supervisors play a pivotal role in the success of the programme. However, this research focuses on explaining and understanding the perception of supervisors within the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) about EAP referrals.

DFA is one of the Governmental departments within South Africa. Their core function is implementing the South African Foreign Policy. The mission of DFA is mainly to promote South Africa‘s national interests and values, the African Renaissance and the creation of a better world for all. To alleviate problems and enhance productivity, the Department introduced EAP system, but from statistics received from the EAP centre, it was evident that the utilisation rate is very low. It is unknown whether the low utilisation rate is due to a lack of referrals by supervisors, a lack of knowledge from both the employer and employees, or if the programme was not marketed properly.

The researcher utilised a qualitative research approach because she was interested in describing and understanding the perceptions rather than explaining them. She developed a semi-structured interview schedule and the respondents were interviewed and given a chance to comment and widely define issues. It was a one-on-one interview using a semi-structured interview schedule and the respondents were free to expand on the topic. The researcher interviewed and tape recorded the responses of the respondents. The respondents were informed of the rationale for using a tape recorder and were requested to give consent in writing.

The research findings revealed that the EAP within the DFA was under-utilised and not effective. Supervisors were passive role players and were not confident of their role as referral agents. The supervisors clearly highlighted that they were not trained as referral agents and were also not aware of different types of referrals. They did not know about the referral procedures and the programme was not property marketed to them. Their main concern was that the programme did not receive enough support from management hence they were not confident of the services rendered by the Programme.

The researcher therefore recommended that the Department should review the policy on an ongoing basis to reach all levels of employee within the Department. A training programme to be developed and implemented, focusing on all aspect of the programme, as well as a training manual to be developed and made available to all levels of employees. The researcher further recommended that the EAP, within the DFA, be marketed, visible and accessible, with ongoing utilisation surveys to monitor the utilisation rate on an ongoing basis be conducted.

© University of Pretoria 2007

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