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Assessing diversity awareness of local government managers
Pekeur, Shaun Wilbur
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South Africa prides itself on its "rainbow nation" status. The term "rainbow nation" has frequently been used to reflect the diversity of the South African community. In the preamble to our present constitution, it is stated that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, and that diversity epitomises the unity of its people. However, if one takes a glance around many local government offices, particular at our senior and middle level management levels, our rainbow appears less colourful than we would like to think. Whatever its meaning, diversity has become a term used freely by both the previous and present government, neither being able to define its true meaning. In fact, they have used the term diversity in so many ways and in so many contexts that it seems to mean many things. With the diversification of local authorities, a new challenge has arisen for the local government manager when resolving, or at least ameliorating, some of the difficulties arising from the widespread diversity found in the workplace. The transformation of local authorities and the implementation of affirmative action programmes were the way government thought diversity should be effected, but this alone will not ensure the employment equity local government managers are seeking. The awareness of selected local government managers (internal managing of diversity) regarding diversity will provide an insight into their acceptance of diverse groups as being a vital resource for an organisation. In return, this will also reflect the commitment of selected local government managers (external managing of diversity) in serving their diverse local communities In this dissertation, the terms "selected local government manager(s)" will be used interchangeably with the term" public manager (s)". The core problem, which this study addresses, revolves around tile different belief windows and the effect these have on the local government manager's self-concept of diversity in the workplace. A belief window refers to an invisible window through which one views diversity This dissertation will attempt to provide the insights and awareness levels of local government managers in respect of diversity management as expounded in the paragraphs that follow. The theories of diversity management in the workplace are explored The focus is on the definition of terms within the study; what managing diversity is not; why diversity management; the different dimensions of diversity; the differences between managing diversity, valuing of differences and affirmative action; models for managing diversity in the workplace; and the consequences of ignoring diversity in the workplace.