The nature and effects of micro-inequities within the workplace.
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Employees are known to be assets within the workplace as they contribute to overall organisational effectiveness and productivity. When employees do not feel welcome or feel unhappy within their environment, it could lead to negative outcomes for the organisation in which they work. The main research problem is that this topic has not been widely researched and that there are no set ways to manage and counteract the issue of micro-inequities in the workplace, hence reducing productivity in the workplace and having a less conducive working environment. The objectives of this study are: to explore the nature of micro-inequities; determine the effects it brings on employees; and, ascertaining the support measures in managing micro-inequities in the organisation. The negative behaviours and actions that employees elicit are considered as micro-inequities in this study. Micro-inequities are known to be small events which are regularly involuntary and hard-to-prove acts that are usually overlooked by the perpetrator but is usually felt by the receiver. There is currently a very limited evidence in South Africa regarding the prevalence of micro-inequities. Thus, this study explored the nature and effects of micro-inequities in the workplace from a South African perspective. This study adopted a qualitative approach using an interpretivist paradigm. The study was conducted among thirteen participants in an organisation in the area of Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and was audio recorded; furthermore, collected data was analysed using thematic-content analysis where codes, themes and sub-themes were generated and later discussed. The data provided a great insight on the experiences of participants with respect to micro-inequities. Based on the analysis and findings of the study, it was evident that employees experience micro-inequities of all forms and classifications; and micro-inequities do in fact affect everyone with regard to changes in their emotional state, behaviour and work performance, despite race, gender and occupational levels Although 54% of the participants gave a positive response with regard to existing support measures and interventions to address micro-inequities, it remains a concern that 46% of the participants were not aware of these support measures and interventions. Findings, however, could not be generalised to all organisations in South Africa.