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Perceptions of school management teams on managing cultural diversity in uMzinyathi district schools, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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Globalisation, migration trends and transformation in labour laws have changed the face of contemporary organisations‘ workforces from being homogeneous to one that is culturally diverse. Management of cultural diversity has therefore gained significance in most organisations globally as it is associated with positive outcomes for both the employees and the organisation. Past studies on cultural diversity in South Africa have focused on commercial corporates leaving a gap in social and public institutions like schools. The main purpose of the current study is to determine the perceptions of School Management Teams (SMT) in managing cultural diversity in schools. The study explores if schools use cultural diversity management in the administration of schools and also explores whether there is a policy framework to implement cultural diversity. The study attempts to unlock better strategies for school managers to deal with cultural diversity among staff members in order to derive positive results. In order to address the research questions and objectives, the research used both the descriptive and exploratory designs and the concurrent mixed method approach was utilised in order to collect both numerical and non￾numerical data simultaneously. Purposive sampling was adopted and a semi-structured questionnaire was used as the main instrument to collect data from the respondents. The sample size consisted of 50 respondents who are members of school management teams drawn from ten schools in Umvoti circuit of Umzinyathi district in KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Data from the study were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and content analysis. The study revealed that schools in Umzinyathi district do have strategies and policies for implementing cultural diversity programmes and there is positive interaction between staff members from diverse cultural backgrounds. The major hindrance in managing cultural diversity is the existence of cultural stereotypes which militate against positive interaction between individuals from different cultural backgrounds. The study recommended that schools ought to engage in more cultural activities in order increase cultural awareness amongst staff members. Schools are also advised to transform their organisational culture in order to accommodate increased diversity within the staff. The department of basic education is also encouraged to develop more holistic policies to fully address cultural diversity management in the schools.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.