Acculturation pressures on black managers in Information and Communication Technology organizations in South Africa

Kwinana, Zukhanye N.
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ABSTRACT There is a rapid expansion of employment opportunities in the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT) due to the importance of technical fields in our modern society. The ICT industry, which is characterised by mostly white males, plays a key role in enabling the South African economy meet its targets. Within the industry there has been an increase in the number of Black, Coloured, and Asian young people and this is demonstrated by the fact that the number of black ICT graduates overtook the number of white graduates in 2002 and this trend has accelerated over time with more than twice as many black than white graduates. This results in a large number of black managers joining corporate South Africa, which is already characterised by a “white” culture value system, resulting in an increase in diversity within the work teams. The business problem addressed by this research is to understand the pressures that black ICT managers face to acculturate within their organisations, and whether these pressures have an impact on the black ICT manager’s integration into the team, as well as their commitment to the organisation. The study aims to show leaders in the ICT industry that diversity is not just about race and gender but also about psychological empowerment in the work context and this study explores an area where very few studies have been conducted in a South African context. This research report investigates both the experiences as well as the perceptions of male and female black managers in the ICT industry who are in middle and senior management roles in Gauteng, South Africa. A sample of 91 respondents was identified using the snowball sampling technique and were sent an online questionnaire consisting of questions relating to acculturation pressures within the organisation, practises of white managers that are inclusive or isolating to black managers as well as the impact of these behaviours on black managers and their integration into the team and commitment to the organisation. The collected data was analysed using the statistical software package SAS. The analysis showed that there is a polarisation of view of the organisation from a very equitable to a prejudiced and biased view of the organisation. Statistical analysis of the data using a T-Test showed that males and females do not hold a different view of the work environment; while a Spearman’s correlation revealed that the respondent’s tenure and management level also did not have an impact on their view of the work environment. The overall conclusion of the research was that there is evidence to contradict the proposition that black managers in the ICT industry in South Africa feel the pressure to acculturate to the white Western culture in their workplace; however there is evidence to support the two propositions that white managers exhibit practises and behaviours that are perceived as either inclusive or isolating by black managers; and secondly the practises and behaviours that are exhibited by white managers have an impact on black managers and their integration into the team and commitment to the organisation. With the structural unemployment that South Africa is currently facing, it is extremely important that the entire workforce feels that the company culture is accommodating of everyone so as to ensure that the organisations get the best from its employees. This research has assisted in bringing to light the issues that exist as well as assist in laying the foundation for further studies in this research. This will result in South Africa tapping into all of its human resources’ intelligence and competence to solve the problems faced by the country so that the diversity within the country provides a competitive edge to the country.
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Executives, Black, Diversity in the workplace, Computer industry -- South Africa.