Recognising the injustices of South Africa’s apartheid past, there is a responsibility on employers to ensure that employment equity practices are implemented, without harming important aspects regarding the employment relationship, such as the psychological contract. The psychological contract is a construct that is relevant to employment and yet there is little research on the influence of external regulations on the psychological contract. To cater for this void, this study therefore focussed on the effects that employment equity legislation and practices have on the psychological contract. In this regard special attention was given to the influence of employment equity on employees’ intention to resign, which forms an important part of the psychological contract. The study also focussed on the differences that exist between the three social groupings that are present in South African organisations, namely white males, Africans and a group consisting of white females, Coloureds and Indians, regarding their perceptions about how employment equity influences the psychological contract. A structured questionnaire comprising standardised scales was used to explore the effect of employment equity legislation on the psychological contract in the context of a tertiary institution. A sample of 399 employees from a tertiary institution participated in the study. A number of statistically significant relationships between the research variables were evident for each of the three groupings of participants. The overall outcome of the study was that employment equity does not have a significant effect on the psychological contract in a tertiary institution and no significant differences were found between the responses of the three social groupings involved in the study. This study makes an important contribution to an area potentially rich in research opportunities; with subsequent meaningful practical implications for managers implementing employment equity strategies.
Dissertation (MPhil)--University of Pretoria, 2014.