Title page for ETD etd-09302008-074617

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Vilakazi, Sibongile Deborah
URN etd-09302008-074617
Document Title The relationship between gender-based affirmative action attitudes, participation in decision-making and organisational commitment
Degree Master of Arts
Department Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof P Chiroro Co-Supervisor
Prof J B Schoeman Supervisor
  • organisational decision-making
  • beneficiaries
  • gender
  • affirmative action attitudes
Date 2008-04-14
Availability unrestricted
The concept of affirmative action was introduced eight years ago in South Africa and remains to this day a highly topical issue. It appears that issues of effective implementation of affirmative action measures are at the heart of these debates. The gender-based affirmative action measures are the most intriguing in the South African context, as all women are considered beneficiaries of affirmative action. The reason for the aforesaid is that all women were subject to male domination during the Apartheid system. Women’s experiences of subordination are, however, intertwined with race.

It therefore becomes difficult to decide which should receive the highest priority: race or gender, in other words, who should give way to whom, black men or white women. The above scenario presents the question: what attitudes do men and women have towards gender-based affirmative action measures? This question is asked in the context of whether men and women perceive themselves to be participating in organisational decision-making and whether those perceptions together with their gender-based affirmative action attitudes are related to their commitment to the organisation.

For data collection purposes, a questionnaire was distributed via e-mail to 350 lecturers in the Faculties of Engineering and Humanities at an academic institution. Convenience and accessibility sampling methods were used. Only 27 individuals responded to the questionnaire. Fieldworkers were subsequently employed to distribute the questionnaires personally. This method yielded 48 responses.

The findings indicate that both men and women have positive attitudes towards gender based affirmative action and that both genders perceive themselves to be participating in organisational decision-making. In addition, both genders express a high level of commitment to the organisation. These findings are similar across the Engineering and Humanities faculty.

A multiple regression analysis indicates that gender-based affirmative action attitudes together with perceptions of participation in decision-making predict organisational commitment only weakly. A strong correlation does, however, exist between perceptions of participation in decision-making and organisational commitment.

It was concluded that gender-based affirmative action attitudes and participation in organisational decision-making independently predict organisational commitment. This indicates that affirmative action is merely a tool to obtain access for previously marginalised groups into otherwise less accessible organisations. It does, however, not predict whether the individuals in question will remain committed to these organisations. Organisational commitment is, in fact, predicted by whether the individual feels that his/her contributions are appreciated in the organisation. This applies regardless of gender and faculty.

© University of Pretoria 2007


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