Affirmative action is a sensitive and controversial topic evoking a host of emotional reactions regarding tokenism, window dressing, reverse discrimination, lowering of standards, empowerment, disregard for meritocracy and many others. It has been a discussion area in countless number of seminars, symposia and conferences held within our borders. Masters and Doctoral thesis and dissertations have as well researched the topic to provide clarity, understanding and new insight into the notion of affirmative action; but most researchers examined the views of management on affirmative action neglecting opinions and views of the very beneficiaries of affirmative action programme – blacks, women and the disabled. The primary objective of this research exercise is therefore to analyse beneficiaries’ perceptions of affirmative action in Company XXX – that is how they feel about affirmative action and how their feelings may have an effect on the success or failure of affirmative action. This research is of a qualitative nature and enquires into the historical and present context of affirmative action in Company XXX; lessons learned from other countries; assumptions about affirmative action and beneficiaries perceptions of affirmative action programmes in which they are engaged and their ideas of changes and improvements to the programme. Research method used consists of in-depth interviews with a sample of nine beneficiaries from Company XXX using employment equity criteria. Policy documents and reports on affirmative action in Company XXX were scrutinized. Research findings reveal the following amongst others: <ul> <li> That affirmative action programmes generally fail to provide black managers/beneficiaries with a sense of purpose or belonging in their organization</li> <li> That the programmes fail to address problems of racism and resistance to change in the organization</li> <li> That the aims of affirmative action are rarely made explicit</li> <li> That beneficiaries are not given adequate authority and responsibility</li> <li> That beneficiaries are more confident about their abilities</li> <li> That buildings are not sufficiently accommodative of disabled beneficiaries who are wheelchair bound</li> <li> That the environment does not give adequate support to beneficiaries to help them succeed</li> </ul> Research results indicate that beneficiaries feel that affirmative action is good for the organization and economy if implemented correctly and if the necessary support training is provided to them to help them meet and exceed their employers’ expectations. Although they agree that productivity may sometimes be lowered to an extent on their appointment, they feel that it is not an exception. It is common knowledge that a new appointee cannot be as productive as a person who has been in the same positions and received rigorous training as well for a long time. Given reasonable time and the necessary support, the short-term costs of appointing affirmative action beneficiaries will be far outweighed by the long-term benefits. Copyright 2004, 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: Boikhutso, RA 2004, Qualitative analysis of the perceptions of affirmative action beneficiaries in South African parastatals, MAdmin dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-03162005-143810 / >
Dissertation (MAdmin (Labour Relations))--University of Pretoria, 2006.