Cultural values and happiness of leaders in mining company : implications for diversity and inclusion.
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Modern organisations are increasingly becoming culturally diverse. This may present difficulties for employers as they struggle to effectively manage these differences and ensure a workplace with happy employees. Issues and challenges which are said to hinder effective inclusion of employees, includes, stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice. Nevertheless, many diversity management initiatives which are designed to tackle these issues, seem marginally effective due to little insight into the complexity of diversity particularly in terms of cultural orientations that might not necessarily be linked to ethnicity. Cultural diversity among different ethnic groups and within these groups imply different behaviours, values, and experiences shaped by various factors such as socio-economic context, levels of education, experiences and acculturation over time. Employers are not only faced with overt diversity in terms of ethnicity, language and other differences, but they are also faced with underlying different orientations which contribute to the complex cultural dynamics that modern organisations experience. The positive organizational movement globally has emphasized an inclusive workplace where people can function optimally and flourish with positive outcomes for individuals and the organisation. The main aim of this study was to understand the different cultural orientations and orientations to happiness impacting diversity and inclusion in a South African workplace. In order to understand this, four objectives were set in this study. Firstly, this study was aimed at exploring the factor structure and the psychometric properties of the Cultural Values Scale (CVS) and the Orientations to Happiness Scale (OHS). Secondly, it was aimed at exploring demographic group differences on cultural dimensions and orientations to happiness. Thirdly, it was aimed at examining the associations between cultural dimensions and orientations to happiness. Lastly, it was aimed at determining which cultural dimensions predict employees’ orientations to happiness within a mining company with great diversity in terms of ethnicity, language, level of education and acculturation experiences. This study made use of a quantitative approach to achieve the above research objectives. A cross-sectional survey design was used to gather information from the employees in some leadership positions in a mining organisation, at one point in time. The CVS was used to document cultural dimensions, which includes Individualism/Collectivism; Power Distance; Uncertainty Avoidance; Masculinity/Femininity and Long-term Orientation/Short-term Orientation, whereas the OHS was used to document three orientations to happiness, which includes Meaning, Pleasure and Engagement. The statistical analyses were carried out by means of the IBM Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Version 22). Firstly, descriptive statistics was computed to obtain the participant’s demographic characteristics. Thereafter, inferential statistics was computed, and this included the Exploratory Factor Analysis (EFA), the One-way between groups Analysis of Variance (ANOVA), Independent Samples t-tests and Pearson Correlation Coefficients. Lastly, models were fitted using Hierarchical Multiple Regression. The results of the study indicated significant demographic group differences on cultural dimensions and on the orientations to happiness. When looking at the correlations, Power Distance and Masculinity/Femininity were reported as negatively correlated with Meaning, whereas, Collectivism/Individualism, Uncertainty Avoidance and Long-term Orientation/Short-term Orientation were reported as positively correlated with Meaning. Uncertainty Avoidance was reported as positively correlated with Pleasure. Lastly, Engagement was positively correlated with two cultural dimensions namely: Uncertainty Avoidance and Individualism/Collectivism. Four hierarchical multiple regression models fitted were based on these associations to demonstrate different predictors of happiness, and the OHS sub-scales (i.e. Pleasure, Meaning and Engagement). Research findings revealed that Collectivism/Individualism, Uncertainty Avoidance and Gender were the significant predictors of happiness. Uncertainty Avoidance, and Race were the significant predictors of Pleasure, where high Uncertainty Avoidance employees were presented as having high Pleasure levels, and Indians as having lower Pleasure levels than other racial groups. Collectivism/Individualism, Long-term/Short-term Orientation; Masculinity/Femininity and Race were presented as significant predictors of Meaning and lastly, Collectivism/Individualism and Uncertainty Avoidance best predicted Engagement. Positive organizational scholarship created insight into aspects that create meaning among a diverse group of employees that are likely to experience challenges regarding diversity and inclusion. The recommendations stemming from the study findings suggest that quality interpersonal relationships contribute to employee happiness in particular, meaning making. However, most interestingly was the low meaning levels of the older people in the organisation. This may present implications for the organization, and thus require urgent attention. The results of this study can be utilized to develop leadership development programmes to create better understanding of employees with different cultural orientations in fostering a happier workplace.