Demystifying management : the case of black managers in Durban, South Africa.
This study looks at the effectiveness of transformation policies in addressing racial inclusiveness and equity issues in the workplace as well as the impact that stereotypes have on performance. Hence it is the purpose of this study to determine whether there is a mystery around black managers’ performance in comparison with their white counterparts, that is, performance of black managers tends to be seen as inferior and sub standard to that of whites. The primary problem of this study is to determine whether changing attitudes in the workplace can stimulate the environment for successful managers. There are a number of perceptions that whites have of black managers mainly around their performance and their ability to deliver on the job, hence the study looks at how attitudes (either positive or negative) impact on the black managers’ performance as well as how cultural influences shape a manager’s behaviour in the workplace. This study was exploratory in nature, which is a form of qualitative research. Qualitative research was deemed appropriate as the research looked at human experiences and perceptions i.e. managers’ experiences interacting with other racial groups namely black and white. This study was conducted through primary data collection where the data was collected through face-to-face interviews with the use of carefully drafted questionnaires. Based on findings of this study it is apparent that transformation policies such as Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment are ineffective at achieving transformation within organisations, as they are not correctly implemented and therefore prone to abuse (lead to window dressing practices) and due to the fact that there is a great deal of negativity associated with these policies. The results also suggested that both black and white managers still had negative perceptions of each other. To some extent the negative perceptions demonstrated by white senior managers were one of the contributing factors to black managers’ poor performance although it is difficult to prove that the negative attitudes were the sole reason for black managers’ poor performance.