Rethinking the Diversity Paradigm: South African Practices

By Lize Annie Eliza Booysen, Claire Kelly, Stella Nkomo and Melissa Steyn.

Published by The Diversity Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For the last ten years South Africa has seen a growing ‘industry’ in ‘diversity’ work. Agencies offering consultancy on diversity have mushroomed. There are no standards by which such work can be categorised or assessed, especially regarding outcomes aimed at ‘management of difference’ vs. ‘transformation’. This project theorises diversity and transformation from a South African position as well as deepens the discussion around marginalisation, gender, culture and power etc. in the South African context. In order to do this we asked the following questions:
1. What is the nature/rigour of the equity/diversity interventions taking place in South African organisations?
2. How relevant are international frameworks for working with diversity to the South African context? What ‘works’ and why? What doesn't ‘work’ and why not?
3. How does our analysis of the previous two questions challenge/corroborate/qualify the way in which diversity is generally theorised from the dominant intellectual areas of the North? What stays the same? What changes? Are there some basic themes which are overarching? If so what are they? Are there some themes specific to South Africa and if so what are they? How does/should this affect the way change agents go about working in organisations?

Keywords: Diversity, Equity, Organistaions, South Africa, Paradigms

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 550.075KB).

Dr. Lize Annie Eliza Booysen

Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership, Leadership Division, Graduate School of Leadership, University of South Africa, South Africa

Lize is a professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership at University of South Africa's Graduate School of Business Leadership. She is included as one of 50 role models for South African women and as leadership expert in the book Inspirational Women @ Work, (2003). Lize holds an MA in Clinical Psychology cum laude (Rand Afrikaans University), an MA in Research Psychology cum laude, and an MA in Criminology cum laude (University of Pretoria). Her Doctorate in Business Leadership at UNISA is a pioneering study on The influences of race and gender on leadership attributes of South African managers.

Claire Kelly

Researcher, Intercultural and Diversity Studies Unit (iNCUDISA), University of Cape Town, South Africa

PhD Candidate, Intercultural and Diversity Studies Unit, (iNCUDISA), University of Cape Town.

Prof. Stella Nkomo

Professor of Organisational Behaviour and Leadership, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, South Africa

A former Scholar-in-Residence at the Mary Ingraham Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College of Harvard University, her nationally recognized work on race and gender in organizations and managing diversity appears in numerous journals, edited volumes, and magazines. She is listed in Who’s Who in the Managerial Sciences. She received her Ph. D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an MBA from the University of Rhode Island and a BS from Bryant College.

Associate Prof. Melissa Steyn

Director, Intercultural and Diversity Studies Unit (iNCUDISA), University of Cape Town, South Africa

Melissa's book, Whiteness just isn’t what is used to be :White identity in a changing South Africa (2001, State University of New York Press) won the 2002 outstanding scholarship award from the National Communication Association (USA) in International and Intercultural Communication. Her co-edited books include Per(trans)forming Queer: Shaping sexualities—ten years of democracy in SA. (2005, Kwela, with Mikki van Zyl); Under Construction: Race and identity in South Africa today (2004, Heinemann, with Natasha Distiller) and Cultural Synergy in South Africa: Weaving strands of Africa and Europe (1996, Knowledge Resources, with Khanya Motshabi).

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