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Understanding to Cultural and Language Diversity to Be Found in Africa: Management of Diversity within the Mining Industry

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Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1. Background.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines diversity as, “A diverse range; a variety.” Well, if you look around your workplace, you will definitely see a diverse range of people; after all, we are all individuals with unique qualities. Diversity can be in relation to religion, race, gender, age, physical ability, class, etc. Diversity is about more than just recognising differences. It is about acknowledging those differences, accepting them, and allowing them to change the way we perceive people. [1]

This research report aims to optimise the management of diversity within the mining industry, thereby improving the employee’s performance, by identifying facets that effect it. Also it will provide insight understanding to cultural and language diversity to be found in Africa, successful mining companies in Africa, how to overcome possible language barriers and effects of Fanagalo in South African mines.

The culture within Africa consists of many tribes which have unique characteristics. This is a result of diverse populations that inhibit Africa which presents its diversity in arts, language, cuisine, music, religion attire etc. not only does the cultural diversity express itself across the countries but also within a single African country.

The most successful mining companies in Africa emphasise the importance of to build a “culture that reflects and harnesses a rich diversity of ideas and perspectives, and that does not tolerate discrimination” [1]. These companies have shown a direct relationship between workforce diversity and employees performance. One of the most important facets to the most successful mining companies in Africa is the utilisation of diversity to enhance organisational performance.

1.2. Problem Statement.

Africa is largely distinguished by its multicultural diversity that has also helped give birth linguistic variations. Africa consist of one third of the world’s languages. The purpose of this research was to determine the relationship between workforce diversity and employee performance in the mining industry in Africa, overcoming language barriers as well as the use of Fanagalo in South African mines. Studies has shown that if diversity is not managed correctly it could lead to poor performance and reduction in production targets. The use of fanagalo in South African mines is believed to have negative connotations attached to its origination however, the use of Fanagola effects on productivity and safety will be further explored in the report.

1.3. Research Questions.

Is it possible to envisage and maintain sound human relations in multicultural mining company in Africa?

What does cultural and language diversity mean?

Is there a relationship between cultural diversity and employees performance?

Are there cultural and language diversity that exists in Africa?

Are there benefits of diversity in a business unit?

What are the top mining companies in Africa?

Are there facets directly contribute to the success of these mining companies in Africa?

Are there diversity management models that exist?

What does cultural and language diversity mean?

What is Fanagalo?

Where did Fanagalo originate?

Are there effects of the use of Fanagola have on productivity and safety?

1.4. Objectives.

Below are listed the objectives of the research report:

  • To envisage and maintaining sound human relations in a multicultural mining company in Africa
  • To determine the relationship between cultural and language diversity and employees performance
  • To identify the cultural and language diversity that exists in Africa
  • To identify he advantages and disadvantages of diversity in the workplace
  • To identify the top successful mining companies in Africa
  • To identify the success factors of these mines in Africa
  • To investigate diversity management models
  • To understand the meaning of cultural and language diversity
  • To understand what Fanagalo
  • To understand the origins and historical background of Fanagalo
  • To investigate the effects Fanagalo has on productivity and safety in South African mines

1.5. Research Method/Design.

This research utilizes quantitative research method to collect data.

1.6. Significance Of The Study.

This research aims to envisage and maintain sound human relations in a multicultural mining company in Africa. The purpose of the report is to investigate the relationship between workforce diversity namely cultural and linguistic diversity in Africa against employees performance. This research report also aims to facilitate the overcoming of the language barriers in the workplace and investigate the use of appropriateness of the use of Fanagalo in South African mines. The overall outcome of this research report is to identify effective diversity management strategy for a multinational mining company that owns and manages mines across Africa.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This chapter focuses on existing literature on cultural diversity, successful mining companies in Africa and origins of Fanagalo as well as the limitations of the study.

Chapter 3: The Methodology

This chapter focuses on the research methods and processes and also examines the method selected for this study and the basis for this selection.

Chapter 4: Results And Discussion

This chapter presents the results obtained from the chosen sample groups. The results from the survey are examined and discussed and the findings are compared to the literature.

Chapter 5: Conclusion and Future Work

This chapter concludes the study based on the findings presented in chapter four and provides recommendations for actions.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1. Introduction.

This chapter focuses on the theoretical framework which guides this research report, managing diversity. The literature will shed light from various sources to effectively contribute to this research report. The content of this chapter shall explore successful mining companies, understanding of diversity in the workforce, existing management systems of diversity in the working environment, as well a background into the use of Fanagalo in the mining industry.

2.2. Understanding Diversity.

“The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Diversity is a reality created by individuals and groups from a broad spectrum of demographic and philosophical differences. It is extremely important to support and protect diversity because by valuing individuals and groups free from prejudice, and by fostering a climate where equity and mutual respect are intrinsic.

‘Diversity’ means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating difference. Diversity is a set of conscious practices that involve:

  • Understanding and appreciating interdependence of humanity, cultures, and the natural environment.
  • Practicing mutual respect for qualities and experiences that are different from our own.
  • Understanding that diversity includes not only ways of being but also ways of knowing;
  • Recognizing that personal, cultural and institutionalized discrimination creates and sustains privileges for some while creating and sustaining disadvantages for others;
  • Building alliances across differences so that we can work together to eradicate all forms of discrimination.

Diversity includes, therefore, knowing how to relate to those qualities and conditions that are different from our own and outside the groups to which we belong, yet are present in other individuals and groups. These include but are not limited to age, ethnicity, class, gender, physical abilities/qualities, race, sexual orientation, as well as religious status, gender expression, educational background, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, and work experiences. Finally, we acknowledge that categories of difference are not always fixed but also can be fluid, we respect individual rights to self-identification, and we recognize that no one culture is intrinsically superior to another.” “what is diversity” Internet: http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/diversity/definition.html [Mar.10,2019]

2.3. Cultural Diversity.

“What is cultural diversity? Diversity is nothing more than a difference from the majority. In any culture there is a majority and many minorities. Culture is a set of norms that set standards for a society of what is acceptable behavior. In every culture there are basic standards for social interaction such as personal space distance, eye contact, amount of body language displayed in public, negotiating style, etc.”

“Cultural Diversity” Internet: https://www.ethnoconnect.com/articles/1-what-is-cultural-diversity [Accessed: Mar.10,2019]

2.4. Language Diversity.

“Language is a tool used by people to communicate with one another. As a part of culture, language helps people to stick together and do things that they could not have done as individuals. Linguistic diversity is a way to talk about varied types of traits including language family, grammar, and vocabulary.”

“Define Linguistic Diversity” Internet: https://study.com/academy/lesson/linguistic-diversity-definition-and-lesson.html [Accessed: Mar.11, 2019]

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2.5. Cultural Diversity in Africa.

“Africa has 3000 distinct ethnic groups, 2000 languages. Home to the most genetically diverse people on Earth. So diverse that two Africans are more genetically different from each other than a Chinese and a European are from each other. Africa is the world’s second-largest and second-most-populous continent. At about 30.2 million km², it covers six percent of the Earth’s total surface area and 20.4 percent of the total land area. With approximately 58 countries. It occupies a wide dynamic latitude has; deserts, forest, snow, temperate climate, tropics, sub-tropics, lakes, the longest river, lowest point on Earth, mountain ranges. Now we have to ponder over these figures when we have these vulgar sweeping generalizations, which fit all of this diversity into one and two monolithic boxes. There are generalizations, which do define Africa, but none that are exclusive.”

“Cultural Diversity in Africa” Internet: https://www.africanholocaust.net/peopleofafrica.htm [Accessed: Mar. 12, 2019]

2.6. Understanding the Benefits of Diversity in a Business unit.

“When organisations actively assess their handling of workplace diversity issues, develop and implement diversity plans, multiple benefits are reported within a business unit, these can include:

Conversely, if diversity is not managed effectively, the reality can be very different:

Rigid, homogenous workplaces with little or no diversity.

  • Views and thinking can be so similar that innovation is stifled – group think.
  • Little variation of abilities can lead to areas of weakness in the business unit.

Unmanaged diversity.

  • “We/them” groupings and silos of stereotypical thinking.
  • Conflict of interests leading to internal competition, lack of collaboration and decreased productivity.
  • High turnover of new intakes because of lack of integration.

Advantages to a managing a diverse culture, or workplace, effectively include the following:

  • Different points of view can be gathered and explored
  • Better productivity when people combine their strengths and unique capabilities
  • Better teamwork when people draw on each other’s differences positively
  • Ability to attract business from a variety of sectors/geographical areas
  • You might learn something new from someone very different from yourself!
  • Possibility of lowered legal costs.”

[Deborah L. Plummer, Handbook of Diversity Management: Beyond Awareness to Competency Based Learning (Ed.), Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc., 2003]

2.7. The effects of cultural Diversity on Employee performance.

“ Young (2013) articulates that both cultural diversity and employee performance produce multiple benefits to the workplace. One of the major principles of diversity is that a company that has diverse employees has a greater understanding of the global marketplace (Klarsfeld 2014). According to (Culture and Diversity in the Workplace 2013), employers reported that their diverse organizations benefit from a variety of viewpoints, higher productivity and profit due to company cultures that encourage employees to perform to their highest ability. Employers may also recognize immediate benefits of workplace diversity. Customers who speak different languages or come from overseas may require customer service in their language. In industries such as marketing and advertising, knowing what consumers across different backgrounds want is crucial to success. Kristinsson (2011) expressed the following advantages of having a culturally diverse workforce: a. High level of Productivity When management takes the welfare of its employees to heart by means of offering them proper compensation, health care and employee appraisal; and recognizing their cultural backgrounds, this creates a feeling of belonging to the company irrespective of their cultural background. As a result, they also remain loyal and hardworking which helps to increase the company’s productivity and profit. Individuals tend to be motivated and challenged by other cultures at the same time resulting in them performing to the best of their ability and beyond. 13 b. Exchange of varieties of ideas and team work A single person taking on multiple tasks cannot perform at the same pace as a team can. Therefore, each team member brings different ideas to the team and offers a unique perspective during problem solving to effectively arrive at the best solution at the shortest possible time. Individuals from other cultures are workaholics, while others like taking ownership of tasks and some even believe in not leaving work before a task is complete. Attitudes such as these rub off on other members and becomes a culture (Kristinsson 2011). c. Learning and growth Diversity at the workplace creates an opportunity for an employee’s personal growth. When employees are exposed to new cultures, ideas and perspectives, it can help each individual to intellectually broaden their horizon and have a clearer insight of their place in the global environment and hence their own surroundings. Different cultures bring different work ethics that most probably will challenge the teams to perform to the best of their ability. Different cultures work differently, have different views and approaches to solutions and from that team members can learn to be better people (Kristinsson 2011). d. Effective Communication Workplace diversity can immensely strengthen a company’s relationship with some specific group of customers by making communication more effective. Customer service representatives can be paired up with customers from their specific area or location, making the customer feel at home with the representative and thus with the company. Better communication between diverse members improves understanding of tasks and facilitates the process of delivering the required output quicker and more efficiently (Kristinsson 2011). e. Diverse Experience Co-workers from different backgrounds bring to the table some unique perceptions and experience during teamwork or group tasks. Pooling the diverse skills and knowledge of culturally distinct employees together can immensely benefit the company by strengthening the responsiveness and productivity of the team to adapt to the changing conditions (Kristinsson 2011). “

[Dissertation: Manqoba Gumede, “The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Organizational Performance and Success”, Ph.D dissertation, Dept. Business and leadership, UKZN,KZN, SA, 2016}

2.8. Top 10 Mining Companies in Africa.

“As the mining sector is recovering after the global financial crisis, it is experiencing unprecedented growth. And with growth, mining companies are on a mission to attract the brightest employees available in the market. Workers who have experience in engineering and geology are in high demand and can often pick and choose the mining company they want to work for. Here are the top ten mining companies to work for in Africa:

1. Anglo American

Known as one of the largest mining companies in the world, Anglo American has major assets in copper, coal, iron ore, nickel and diamonds. The company owns operations in Brazil, Chile, the United Kingdom, Australia, and South Africa where they operate the biggest iron ore mine in the world.

2. Rio Tinto

The British-Australian multinational mining company is headquartered in London, UK and boasts a gross revenue of over US$50 billion per annum. Over 60,000 employees in as much as 40 different countries dominate the production of diamonds, uranium, aluminium, iron core, coal and copper.

3. Vale

The Brazilian multinational metals mining concern is known as the 4th biggest mining company in the world, and the foremost in production of iron ore and pellets.

4. BHP Billiton

Although it was only formed in 2001, and is therefore a relatively new mining company, BHP Billiton’s roots date back to the 1800s when part of the company was formed. The experience is evident in the company’s dominance in the industry.

5. Barrick Gold

Known for taking on more than just mining, Barrick Gold is also involved with production and sales of copper and gold and plays host to Canadian oil and gas properties. Barrick Gold operates in Africa, North and South America and Australia.

6. Freeport-McMoran

With a broad portfolio, Freeport-McMoran has established its strength in the mining sector. The company has mineral assets in Indonesia and the Congo, mining operations throughout North and South America and operations in the Atlantic.

7. Newmont Mining Corp

As the first gold mining concern to achieve a space on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, Newmont Mining Corp has set the standard for sustainable operations in the gold mining industry.

8. Teck

Solely focused on mining Teck is the biggest diversified mining concern in Canada. Teck has mines in Canada, the United States, Peru and Chile and has interests in exploring, developing, smelting, refining and processing copper, coal and zinc.

9. Goldcorp

Located in Vancouver, Goldcorp has over 14,000 employees and is known for its unique approach in using innovative ways in which to achieve headlines.

10. Alcoa

Known as the top aluminum producer in the world, Alcoa invented most of the contemporary ways in which aluminum is used. The company is not only interested in the mining of aluminum and fabrication of aluminum products, but also in the aerospace, construction, building and automotive industries. Alcoa has operations in over 31 countries across the globe.”

“Africa’s Top 10m Mining Companies to Work for” Internet: https://www.miningafrica.net/top-mining-companies-to-work-for/ [Accessed: Mar.12, 2019]

2.9. Fanagalo.

“Fanagalo came into existence in the early 1800’s, although its origin is debatable. According to Mesthrie (2006:430) “Fanakalo does not seem to have been widespread in this period: It is but one of several communication strategies that appear in the archival and travel literature of the times, and judging from the sources, it was not used very frequently.” It does however seem likely that Fanagalo was developed as a means of communication between people with different home languages. Afrikaans did not fulfil the communicative need between English, Afrikaans and Xhosa speaking individuals. An accommodative language was required to fill the communication gap. The notion of accommodative language (Giles, 1973) focusses on the pronunciation and features of speech that speakers change in order to either associate or disassociate with a certain group. This study extends the meaning of accommodation in which the selection or choice of speech variation is in the form of a code which can be used in a multilingual context to indicate closeness or distance between interlocutors. As a result of the then accommodative function and need, the early utterings of Fanagalo arose in the “earliest recorded sentence in the pidgin [Fanagalo] as Wena tandaza O Taay ‘You (must) worship God’ uttered by the missionary John Reid, Kat River 1816, who thought he was speaking Xhosa” (Mesthrie, 2006:430). 4 In 1843 the Natal colony was established and the contact between British settlers and indigenous Zulu people set the scene for the overhaul of Fanagalo. The renewal of Fanagalo – as it was originally a mix between Afrikaans and Xhosa – is described as follows: Linguistically, Fanakalo is typical of pidgins in that it cannot be classified in terms of existing language groupings; it is not quite Germanic or Nguni in structure. Its lexis and inflectional morphology stem largely from Nguni. Its syntax, however, seems to lean in the direction of the Germanic (more specifically English, rather than Afrikaans). Fanakalo is SVO in structure in main and subordinate clauses. […] However, Fanakalo is not rigidly SVO insofar as it permits topic-comment order as well. Phonetically, Fanakalo is subject to wide variation depending on the L1 of the speaker. The common core tends to use a five-vowel system (like Zulu) with two diphthongs, [ai] and [au], and to replace the clicks by velar /k/ (Mesthrie, 2006:431). Fanagalo was clearly developed as a communicative instrument between speakers with varying first languages or L1s. Adendorff (1993:22) supports the original use of Fanagalo as an accommodative functional language when he states that Fanagalo is “a product of attitudinal and linguistic accommodation”. However, since the development of Fanagalo circa 1800, the spread of English as a linking language has changed the language repertoires of people to such an extent that the need for an accommodating language such as Fanagalo might have expired. Regardless of the expiration of the accommodative role Fanagalo once fulfilled, the language eventually stabilised as a crystallised pidgin, denoting maintenance. Therefore, it could be argued that Fanagalo was once an accommodative language whose role was reduced potentially because of the spread of English. Alternatively, should Fanagalo still retain its accommodative function, the context in which it does so may not have a functional role for English. However, Fanagalo adopted new linguistic features and ultimately shifted in its role. After this shift occurred, Fanagalo took on a new role which is represented by its accompanying linguistic change. This process sanctioned the stabilisation and potential maintenance of Fanagalo. “

[N.E.Ravyse, “Against all odds: The status of Fanagalo in South Africa today”, PH.D dissertation, Dept. Arts, North-West Univ., North-West,SA, 2013]

2.10. Limitations of Study.

A few limitations occurred from the research study:

  • The intention was to sample all Operations employees, howevere this was not achievable as some employees had no interest in participating in the survey, while others were fearful of their views being shared with the HR department.
  • This study was not reflective of Africa but was limited to local sample groups.
  • The findings of this study are not reflective of all African organisations.
  • The findings of this study are a reflection of a particular period of the study. A change in conditions may produce different results, solutions and recommendations.
  • Time became a limitation because of the sample size and location of the respondents.

Chapter 3: The Methodology

3.1. Introduction.

This chapter focuses on research methodology utilized to collect data in response to the topic of study. It will also discuss the data collection strategies, the research design methods and analyse the data emanating from the data collection process.

3.2. Research Design.

In accordance to Gilbert and Sutherlands (2013), a research design must be created only upon completion questions and objectives outlining the study. A research design are used by researchers to outline the methodology used to compile and present the collected information.[3]

This study utilized a quantitative research methodology. This study investigates the topic being discussed by means of a questionnaire and statistical techniques. The figure below illustrates the design science research paradigm in order to obtain the aims and objectives of the study.

Figure : Research Paradigm Sumary

3.3 Research Procedure Or Experimental Procedure.

3.3.1 Aim and Objective.

The intention of the study is to understand nature sound human relations in a multinational mining company by understanding cultural and language diversity that exists in the workplace. This research report is guided by the following objectives:

  • Understand how different cultures interact in a work environment
  • Understand communication and networking patterns of culturally diverse employees in the workplace
  • Understand how leadership manage cultural diversity in the workplace.
  • Understand the effectiveness of cultural diversity and its relationship with employee performance.
  • Understand the impact of Fanagolo used in the mining industry.

3.3.2. Participants and Location of the Study.

This study took place in KZN and ArcelorMittal South Africa whom has close relations to mining companies locally and globally. The data was collected from various organisation levels from top management to operational employees. The survey was distributed by internal and external work relationships that I have developed through my working experience at ArcelorMittal. The broad distribution of the survey ensured the criteria for diversity was met.

3.3.3. Data Collection Strategies.

The survey questionnaire was selected as an adequate method of primary data collection for this study. A questionnaire is a research tool consisting of a set of guiding questions, used by the researchers to acquire information from their research sample. While using a questionnaire provides a lot of advantages, according to Bell & Bryman (2013), it is a more objective way of getting information compared to interviews. They also point out that this is a relatively quick method to collect information from a large portion of a group. [4]

3.3.4. Research Ethics and Approval.

Before this study could start, permission to engage with the employees had to be granted by the Human Resources Department. The Department wanted to make sure they understood the overview of the study and the data collection method; identify any sensitive questions in the questionnaire; ensure that the study would not reveal private information to outsiders and competitors and make sure the exercise was going to be as voluntary as possible. An agreement was reached and signed, under the conditions that this study was solely for educational purposes, and confidential information would not be shared with anyone.

3.3.5. Questionnaire Construction and Administration.

Chapter 4: Results And Discussion

Chapter 5: Conclusion And Future Work

6. References

  1. Deborah L. Plummer, Handbook of Diversity Management: Beyond Awareness to Competency Based Learning (Ed.), Lanham, MD: University Press of America, Inc., 2003
  2. www.southafrica.angloamerican.com/our-difference/our-people.aspx
  3. Gilbert, G., & Sutherland, M. 2013. Benefiting from Different Cultures. South African Journal of Business Management, Vol.44, no.1, pp.1-99.
  4. Bell, E., & Bryman, A. 2013. Survey Research methods. London, SAGE.

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Understanding to Cultural and Language Diversity to Be Found in Africa: Management of Diversity within the Mining Industry. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 1, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/understanding-to-cultural-and-language-diversity-to-be-found-in-africa-management-of-diversity-within-the-mining-industry/
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