Regardless of the changes in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa No. 108. of 1996, in terms of the acceptance of individuals irrespective of their sexual orientation and the prohibiting of discrimination against anyone on the grounds of their sexual orientation, the concept of homosexuality in the workplace is still a relatively unexplored phenomenon in South Africa. Limited research studies focus on the perspectives of homosexual individuals regarding their perception and attitudes towards their working environments. Culture can affect the way in which individuals act due to the dominance of certain behaviours, beliefs, and norms that are accepted as the 'standard' way of living. Within companies, the employees are on average expected to be productive and effective, and to present fruitful behaviour to benefit the organisation. Individuals can also at times be tacitly encouraged to portray images according to the general norm in the organisation, whether or not this image is true to the individuals themselves. This type of accepted standard norms and behaviours are therefore wordlessly conveyed to the employees as the cultural accepted standard in the organisation. Heteronormative cultures are described as the instance when the accepted standard of male and female behaviour is viewed in terms of masculine men and feminine women. Individuals who do not fit these specific descriptions may experience either explicit or implicit discrimination. The reactions that employees can have because of organisational culture are referred to as affective reactions and can have adverse costs for the organisation as employees may engage in less productive behaviour. The purpose of this research was to assess the relationship between a heteronormative culture and the affective reactions of homosexual employees working in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Work engagement and job satisfaction of the individuals were assessed in relationship to heteronormativity. Research done for this study includes the various aspects of the academic topics related to the study. Given the limited amount of empirical research on the topic, a mixed method study was conducted. Quantitative questionnaires instigated the research, designed to measure the following concepts:<ul> <li> Organisational culture, in terms of heteronormativity.</li> <li> Two affective reactions of employees - work engagement and job satisfaction.</li></ul> Explanatory qualitative interviews followed the questionnaires with the intention of understanding the results found during the quantitative phase. A purposefully selected sample of one hundred and sixty four homosexual employees working in Johannesburg and Pretoria completed the quantitative questionnaire, and a sample of eight homosexual individuals were selected out of the original sample to participate in the qualitative interview stage. Previously developed instruments were used to measure heteronormativity, work engagement and job satisfaction. The results indicated that homosexual employees within Gauteng do experience the culture of their respective organisations to support the perceptions of heteronormativity. Two hypotheses were tested which indicated a significant but small correlation between perceptions of heteronormativity and work engagement and job satisfaction. The qualitative results provided insight into how homosexual employees experienced heteronormative cultures in the workplace as well as how they react to the cultures encountered.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2012.