Women in South Africa and across the world remain under-represented in the workforce. Female representation at board and senior executive level is necessary to bring awareness to the boardroom of the importance of female transformation in the workplace, as well as to prepare organisations to attract future talent and increase their competitiveness. The main aim of the research was to identify and test the factors that shape an enabling environment in favour of the advancement of women. The research studied the individual behavioural factors, organisational structures and metrics, legislation and international pressure or trends.
Purposeful and snowball sampling methods were used to identify twelve senior executive men and women who manage diverse groups of employees and each has more than five years senior executive-level experience. All the respondents serve on the main or executive boards of their respective organisations. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with the participants. The feedback was analysed using a combination of narrative, content and comparative analysis.
The research found that women mostly remain under-represented in the workplace. The main themes that emerged from the research as limiting factors ? in order of frequency cited ? were gender bias, corporate culture, skills shortages, the queen bee syndrome, the requirement for mindset change, mentorship, equality imbalance, female advancement policies and the requirement for female board and executive level representation. According to the respondents, female board and executive-level representation is critical to bring awareness to boardrooms in order for companies to implement structures in support of female advancement in the workplace. In addition to the aforementioned ten factors, it is clear that the majority of companies do not have adequate structures in place to drive and support the advancement of women, and that legislation, although it acts as a driver, fails to address the invisible barriers, such as gender bias, corporate culture and stereotypes, that hinder female representation. Finally, the social context, education and economic environments of South Africa were found to be underlying contributors to the failure of the advancement women. Chapter 7 contains a model that was devised to complement the Hay Group (2014) factors and guide organisations on female talent management and advancement in the workplace in the South African context.
Mini-disseration (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2016.