There is limited literature in the South African context that investigates the role of the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in promoting organisational culture. Studies on EAP are mainly linked to the behaviours of employees. There seems to be a lack of understanding of the EAP concept, which results into EAP not being constructively utilised to contribute to the promotion of organisational culture of the organisation.
The researcher believes that EAP can play a role in promoting organisational culture of an organisation. If EAPs apply their knowledge of human behaviour in the workplace to the concept of human capital enhancement, they will be more influential in bringing about strategies that will assist organisations in promoting their organisational culture. Another opportunity for EAPs to promote organisational culture, lies in the area of employee and leadership development, through the offering of career counselling, mentoring, as well as business coaching. Offering business coaching that is coordinated with organisational development initiatives, presents EAPs with an opportunity to understand organisational culture that will enable them to cultivate a positive culture from a strategic level in the organisation. In many organisations EAP is mainly regarded as one of the soft issues that do not majorly contribute to the culture of the organisation. This is mainly due to EAPs being positioned in the periphery, their expertise not being utilised in business coaching and organisational consultation.
This study investigated managers’ perceptions regarding the role of EAP in promoting organisational culture in a public national department.
A qualitative approach was followed to gain an in-depth understanding of managers’ perceptions of the role of EAP in promoting organisational culture. A collective case study design was the most appropriate design for the study under investigation. The data was collected by means of semi-structured interviews. In this study the focus were on the perceptions of management regarding the role of EAP in promoting organisational culture. The researcher utilised an audio tape recorder to capture the data during the interviews to maintain accuracy and consistency when analysing and interpreting the data. Qualitative data was analysed by means of planning for the recording of the data, managing and organising data, reading and writing memos, describing, classifying and interpreting data into codes and themes as well as interpretation and presentation of data.
In order to ensure the success of the study, the researcher did a pilot study before the main investigation itself and ethical aspects were adhered to by the researcher throughout the study.
As a result of the empirical study, it can be concluded that EAP can add value to the organisations strategies to mould and promote its organisational culture. There seems to be a need to reposition the EAP differently in a company in order to effectively influence the organisational strategies. Furthermore, there is a need to change the focus of the EAP from a reactive to a more proactive approach.