Case study : the success of diversity management practices at Benga mine

Burger, Louis Wicus (2014-04)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Managing the diverse production and support teams on mining operations in Southern Africa is proving to be problematic and challenging. Many mines are facing strikes, “go-slows” and destructive conflict related to diversity issues. The objective of this case study was to evaluate the apparent successful diversity management practices employed at Benga Mine (an MCC Group mine) in Mozambique. The study aimed to determine the success of the tactics employed by the management team and whether successful tactics can be utilised at other mines operating within the MCC Group. The case study evaluated seven practical diversity management tactics employed by the management of the mine as conceptual method. The seven tactics were verified through a literature review and an eighth “other” category was provided for additional tactics that the research may reveal. The research revealed that the diversity management tactics at Benga Mine have some strengths and some weaknesses. The management team focused on translation of communication to the primary spoken languages on the mine. This enabled good communication flow, but further improvements can be made. Most employees identify with the Benga Mine and feel a sense of common purpose. The management team identified nutrition as a critical diversity management issue. This was an accurate observation as the research revealed that the availability and quality of food is of fundamental importance to them. Further improvement, such as catering for vegetarians, can be made to the food offerings. Strong relationships exist on the mine and this is the area where the Benga Mine management team excel. Employees feel that issues on importance can be addressed through various communication platforms and that their concerns are being taken seriously. Employees believe that all groups have the opportunity to raise issues and that the management team evaluate their concerns with compassion and care. The sound communication system employed at Benga Mine builds relationships and promotes a culture where employees can engage with management. The management of employment equity policies poses a significant challenge to the mine. The expats manage and pose the bulk of technical and operational expertise, resulting in significant risk to the sustainability of the business since the work permit quota system requires knowledge transfer to Mozambique citizens. Additionally, the work environment is not conducive to gender equality and female employees feel marginalised. An organisational culture conducive to managing and valuing the contribution and presence of all groups has been created at the mine. Further improvement can be made by terminating tokens of separations such as different uniforms for managers and operational employees. No significant new or additional diversity management factors were identified during the research. Benga Mine’s diversity management tactics are effective, but improvements can easily be achieved by focusing on the recommendations of this case study. The recommendations include improvements to translation of management instructions, clarification of employment equity obligations and a higher degree of sensitivity to the needs of female employees.

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