The Role of Unions in South Africa

Topics: Trade union, Employment, Labour relations Pages: 67 (19291 words) Published: October 8, 2010
Collectivism, Unionisation and Union Influence: A decline? An investigation into the attitudes and perceptions of South African unionised employees in a single trade union.

Shenaz Sheik

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree Masters- Industrial/Organisational Psychology (M.Soc.Sci) School of Psychology University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Howard College

Supervisor: Mr. Dean Isaacs

A decline in collectivism, unionisation and union influence?


Table of Contents

1. Chapter 1 1.1 Introduction

6 6

2. Chapter 2 2.1 Theoretical Framework- Literature Review 2.1.1 Unitarism 2.1.2 Pluralism 2.1.3 Marxism 2.1.4 Collectivism and Individualism 2.1.5 Neo-liberalism 2.1.6 Unionism

8 8 8 10 12 13 19 21

3. Chapter 3 3.1 Methodology 3.1.1 Introduction 3.1.2 Sampling 3.1.3 Procedure 3.1.4 Methods of data collection 3.1.5 Data Analysis

25 25 25 25 25 26 26

4. Chapter 4 4.1 Research Results and Analysis 4.1.1 Theme 1: The meaning of collectivism for participants 4.1.2 Theme 2: The meaning of individualism for participants 4.1.3 Theme 3: The effectiveness of trade unions in organisations: The positive/negative impact of unions in organisations 4.1.4 Theme 4: Level of confidence in trade unions 4.1.5 Theme 5: Level of trust in trade unions

27 27 27 27

28 29 29

A decline in collectivism, unionisation and union influence?


4.1.6 Theme 6: The power of trade unions in enforcing employee rights in an organisation 4.1.7 Theme 7: The degree to which trade unions help resolve disputes with employers 4.1.8 Theme 8: Trade unions‟ impact on South Africa as a whole 4.1.9 Theme 9: Power of trade unions in the organisation 4.1.10 Theme 10: The perception of management with regards to unions in the organisation 4.1.11 Theme 11: Attitudes on new industrial relations practices 4.1.12 Theme 12: Expectations of trade union/s 4.1.13 Theme 13: Fundamental reasons for joining the union 4.1.14 Theme 14: Level of commitment toward trade union 4.1.15 Theme 15: The extent of fulfilling the daily duties of a union 4.1.16 Theme 16: The future of trade unions in South Africa 4.1.17 Theme 17: Extent of participation in strikes 4.1.18 Theme 18: The future of collectivism in South Africa 32 34 34 35 35 36 36 37 37 31 31 32 30

5. Chapter 5 5.1 Discussion 5.1.1 The meaning of collectivism and individualism for participants 5.1.2 The effectiveness of trade unions in organisations: The positive and or negative impact of unions in organisations according to the participants 5.1.3 The participants‟ levels of confidence and trust in trade unions 5.1.4 The power of trade unions in enforcing employees‟ rights within the organisation 5.1.5 The degree to which trade unions help to resolve disputes with employers according to the participants 5.1.6 The participants‟ perception on the impact of trade unions in South Africa

39 39


40 41




A decline in collectivism, unionisation and union influence?


5.1.7 The participants‟ attitude on the power of trade unions in the organisation 5.1.8 Managements‟ perception of trade unions according to the participants 5.1.9 The participants‟ attitude on the new industrial labour practices 5.1.10 The expectations of trade unions as well as the fundamental reasons for joining a union upon participants . 5.1.11 Level of commitment and participation in striking as well as partaking in the unions‟ daily duties 5.1.12 The future of trade unionism and collectivism in South Africa upon participants 54 53 52 47 49 45

6. Chapter 6 6.1 Limitations of the study 6.2 Conclusion and recommendations

56 56 56

7. References


A decline in collectivism, unionisation and union influence?


Abstract Amid the immense changes in the 21st century world of work, has come with it widely held views that significant changes are occurring in employee attitudes to labour relations. Research asserts that the prevalence of individualistic human...

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