Human Resource Management in Developing Countries

By Pawan S. Budhwar; Yaw A. Debrah | Go to book overview

14

Human resource management in South Africa

Geoffrey T. Wood and Kamel Mellahi

Introduction

Despite being subject to the same range of pressures commonly associated with globalisation, there remains considerable diversity in the manner in which firms—and countries—manage their human resources. This can be ascribed to variations in accumulation regimes and modes of regulation, themselves products of specific historical experiences (see Grahl and Teague, 2000:160-178). In this chapter we explore the context within which the South African human resource management (HRM) system operates, and the implications thereof in terms of actual HR managerial practice within the firm.


The South African economic context and HRM

During the apartheid era, the South African economy was characterised by high levels of protectionism, backed up by a range of development incentives geared towards the nurturing of an indigenous industrial sector, with state-owned enterprises dominating key sectors such as steel and transport. A premium was placed on job creation for white workers in the state sector. The desire to heighten racial segregation led to a range of ‘decentralisation’ incentives, aimed at encouraging firms to relocate to the rural periphery, a policy that proved both costly and unsustainable. The South African economy faced increasing difficulties in the late 1970s and 1980s on account of increasing disinvestment—as a result of increasing political resistance and international pressure—and direct economic sanctions, most notably a fuel embargo. Weeks has noted that, ‘From 1980 to the end of 1993, per capita gross domestic product (GDP) rose in only four years, and only in one after 1984, for an annual average decline of almost 1 per cent for the fourteen years’ (1999:796).

The government’s continued commitment to the complete political exclusion of Africans resulted not only in continued union militancy at the workplace but also increasing political protests, culminating in the mass insurrection of 1983-7. The latter led to investor flight increasing to unprecedented levels, with a capital outflow of over R8000 million in 1985 alone (CSS, 1996). Unprecedented levels of mass resistance to apartheid both within workplace and township in the 1980s

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Human Resource Management in Developing Countries
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Figures ix
  • Tables xi
  • Foreword xv
  • Preface xvii
  • Acknowledgements xix
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • References 12
  • Part I - Human Resource Management in Asia 17
  • 2 - Human Resource Management in the People’s Republic of China 19
  • 3 - Human Resource Management in South Korea 34
  • References 54
  • 4 - Human Resource Management in Taiwan 56
  • 5 - Human Resource Management in India 75
  • 6 - Human Resource Management in Nepal 91
  • 7 - Human Resource Management in Pakistan 102
  • 8 - Human Resource Management in Iran 121
  • References 133
  • 9 - Human Resource Management in Saudi Arabia 135
  • References 149
  • Part II - Human Resource Management in Africa 153
  • 10 - Human Resource Management in Algeria 155
  • References 172
  • 11 - Human Resource Management in Nigeria 174
  • References 188
  • 12 - Human Resource Management in Ghana 190
  • 13 - Human Resource Management in Kenya 209
  • 14 - Human Resource Management in South Africa 222
  • 15 - Conclusion 238
  • Subject Index 255
  • Name Index 259
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