EMPLOYEES’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE TRANSFORMATION PROCESS AT THE SOUTH AFRICAN POST OFFICE
Organisations continuously undergo transformation in order to survive the harsh environment that they operate in. French and Bell (2005: 80) argued that an “Organisation that learns and copes with change will thrive and flourish and others who fail to do so will be wiped out.” Organisational transformation occurs at the organisational, team and individual levels. From the point of view of the individual, employees’ attitudes towards change can either hinder or maximise the benefit the organisation gets from the transformation process. Therefore, this study focuses on employees’ attitudes towards the transformation process at the South African Post Office (SAPO). The study examines employee perceptions in a transforming environment and determines whether their attitudes enhance or hinder the process of transformation. Attitude plays itself out on three levels; feeling, thinking and behaviour (Vakola & Nikolaou, 2005; Laughlin & Early, 1982). The understanding of these three factors can assist the leadership of an organisation in predicting and influencing employees’ behaviour towards transformation. The South African Post Office is not immune to the demands of organisational transformation. This paper seeks to determine employees’ attitudes towards the transformation process at SAPO, which was initiated in 1991, with the unit of study being the Mail Business Unit. The research adopted a Durmaz’s (2007) Officer Attitude Survey as a data gathering instrument for the study. The officer attitude study was first done in the Turkish Police Force and it has also been used in the South African telecommunications industry. The questionnaire looks at employees’ attitudes in relation to specific factors, such as readiness for change, need for change, perception of the communication, training in the organisation, and organisational and personal benefits. The results of the SAPO study were largely positive, with SAPO employees aligned to the organisation’s goals, mission and objectives, and understanding and accepting that the organisation has to go through the transformation process. However, they were negatively impacted by how management makes decisions. There was also a strong sense of disappointment with the lack of communication, which inherently seems to have made employees question whether the transformation will be beneficial for them. However, Mail Business employees’ generally hold a positive perception about the transformation process taking place in their organisation. Organisational transformation should be supported by various interventions in order to maximise its impact. Enhanced communication and additional creation of a positive climate needs to be created by management and leaders of the organisation.
MM thesis - P&DM
Transformation, South African Post Office, Employment equity