Title page for ETD etd-09062010-134059

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Govender, Thiloshni
Email thiloshni18@gmail.com
URN etd-09062010-134059
Document Title A critical analysis of the prevalence and nature of employee assistance programmes in the Eastern Cape Buffalo City municipal area
Degree MSW
Department Social Work and Criminology
Advisor Name Title
Prof L Terblanche Committee Chair
  • employee
  • EAP
  • South Africa
  • employee assistance programmes
  • employer-employee relationship
  • Eastern Cape
  • employer
  • workplace
Date 2010-04-12
Availability unrestricted

The researcher has since 1996 been involved professionally in the field of Employee Assistance and has been witness to its evolution, growing complexity and potential to make a positive impact on the development of individuals and organizations through employer-employee relationship and workplace dynamics. The motivation for this study came from an interest to gain deeper understanding of the concept and implementation of EAPs by organizations in the researcherís immediate environment and circle of potential influence.

The development of EAPs in South Africa, influenced by various professions, has evolved as a result of different organizational needs which occur in varying forms and levels of sophistication depending on staffing, availability of resources and capacity within organizations. There is limited information available to EAP as a developing profession in terms of how programmes occur in South Africa.

This study sought to analyze the prevalence and nature of EAPs in work organizations within the Buffalo City Municipal Area (BCMA) in the Eastern Cape Province, mainly to obtain reliable information on these programmes so that implementation of employee assistance can be evaluated and improved. This investigation provides a critical description of the implementation of EAPs in the BCMA with a view to establish prevalence, critically analyze the nature of EAPs, and to benchmark against existing Employee Assistance Professional Standards.

The literature review includes a detailed examination of the history of EAPs in South Africa, contributions of the different professional disciplines, definitions of EAP, models currently in practice with the advantages, disadvantages and factors that influence the organizations choice of model and core technology of EAPs, as well as a critical examination of the 27 EAPA-SA Standards of 2005.

The study is quantitative, exploratory and descriptive in nature as it sought to measure prevalence and provide descriptions of implementation methodologies in terms of form, shape, scope, staffing and services offered. These descriptive elements are benchmarked against the Standards for EAPs in South Africa, developed by the EAPA-SA, the official voice of the EAP profession. Questionnaires were administered to respondents that attended the local EAPA Branch and Occupational Health Nurses Association as well as Provincial Forum for Public Sector EAPs meetings. The respondents that were not reached this way were administered questionnaires personally.

The population included organizations from both the private and public sector that employed a minimum staff compliment of two hundred. Since there are only 47 such organizations in the BCMA (both public and private sector), the entire population consisted of respondents and no sample was selected. Univariate analysis was used to assess data collected.

The findings of the study indicate that EAPs are prevalent in BCMA organizations but they vary considerably in the way they have been developed and implemented. Benchmarked against the EAPA-SA Standards it is evident that while employee assistance programmes have certain basic elements in common, the overall design and implementation is fortuitous at best. Since the EAPA-SA standards have been developed concurrently with EAPs it is hoped that newly established EAPs will be a product of careful design rather than an inadvertent incident.

EAPA-SA, educational institutions and business development forums need to collaborate and partner to provide comprehensive support to organizations and EAP practitioners to strengthen their EAPs. Correctly implemented, capacitated and resourced, EAPs can assist organizations to effectively manage their human resource behavior and health risks, maximize productivity as well as support individual employees to optimally manage personal and work challenges and function at their best.

Copyright © 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:

Govender, T 2009, A critical analysis of the prevalence and nature of employee assistance programmes in the Eastern Cape Buffalo City municipal area, MSW dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-09062010-134059/ >


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