Employee perceptions towards diversity management in a glass manufacturing company in the Western Cape
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Diversity is an inevitable aspect of organisational life, which has to be dealt with at one time or another. How employees perceive diversity impacts on their behaviour and therefore managing it is imperative. The purpose of the study is an evaluation of employee perceptions towards diversity management in a glass packaging manufacturing concern in the Western Cape. There has been a movement by many organisations over the last two decades to place more emphasis on valuing employee differences, and developing diversity management initiatives (policies and programs that benefit all employees regardless of differences for a common goal).Organisations are faced with understanding the importance of valuing differences and instituting effective diversity management initiatives as counter-measures to protect themselves from such negative consequences as lawsuits, loss of competitive advantage and diminished legitimacy in the eyes of the customers they serve. The increase in females and previously disadvantaged groups in the work force, along with employers’ concerns about motivating and obtaining 6 satisfactory levels of performance from a diverse group of employees, has created an urgency to understand and recognize the value of differences.A quantitative, cross-sectional research design, based on analysis of questionnaires administered within one of the manufacturing plants of the organisation based in the Western Cape, was undertaken. The Workplace Diversity Survey was used to measure employees’perceptions and attitudes towards diversity. Significant differences in the perceptions of employees (n=80) on the basis of age, race and gender, were found. However, there was no statistically significant difference in perceptions towards diversity on the basis of job status.While some methodological issues remain problematic, the researcher is of the opinion however, that the study will be useful for the intended organisation and its management in that no scientific information pertaining to managing diversity, exists within the business.