n Journal of Public Administration - Organisational "other" : a socio-cultural challenge

Volume 49, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



This article tackles the socio-cultural challenges facing private and public sector organisations in relation to multi-cultural inclusivity in South Africa. Firstly, it raises the concern that in many of our organisations, indigenous Africans are the cultural "other" even though they invariably constitute the bulk of the workforce. It argues that a work environment in which the majority is made up of indigenous Africans should logically have a predominantly indigenous African organisational culture. Secondly, the article argues that debates around diversity management are misplaced and perhaps overly optimistic. In a context where organisational culture is still largely dictated to by middle class and Euro-American, western nuances and its soul refuses to see the need for drastic change, there is an urgent need for a Kuhnian paradigm shift (1970). Thirdly, the article argues that as long as the approach is that of slight change, only to the extent that the balance of cultural power remains in the same hands, organisations must be willing to pay the price of having a highly task-oriented but equally disengaged workforce. Fourthly, importing ideas from a Euro-American context seriously undermines the drive for diversity and workforce inclusivity in the South African context.

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