An investigation into the impact of diversity training on a community service organisation

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of diversity training in a Community Service Organisation in Cape Town. The impact of such training is gauged / measured by monitoring staff's perceptions towards training. A strategic sample of 31 staff was chosen, ranging across different race groups (White, Coloured, Indian and African), professional ranks (senior managers, middle managers and staff) and genders. The sample was taken exclusively from one section in the finance department (Revenue). The research methodology was qualitative, in that in-depth interviews, observation and document study was used. With the aid ofcomputer assisted software for qualitative data analysis (Nvivo), the analysis was conducted in three phases. The first phase entailed initial coding, the second phase. required focused coding and the final phase involved analytical writing. The results of this study indicated that participants had mixed perceptions about the training they had received. Many felt that the training had been an eye opener, that it had created acceptance amongst staff and that it had enlightened them about diversity issues. A good number of the participants felt that the training had its own weaknessesand that there were no visible results from the training. More specifically, the findings indicated that a major constraint of the training was, amongst others, the lack of follow up and feedback.From the responses of the participants, the researcher concluded while largely ambivalent, that the training had made a positive impact on the organisation to some extent and the majority of staff interviewed did seem to support the training and were hopeful that it would continue to bring about positive changes in the organisation. However, these findings were only applicable to the department and section of the organisation where the study was done; further research would need to be done on the other departments and sections to determine their responses. In general, the findings of this study showed no specific pattern / similarities with previous studies, althoughthere were some similarities, notably of gender playing a role in influencing the training. The main issues in the recommendations relate to the need for further research on the impact of diversity training in Comm Service.

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