From paternalism to participation : evolving techniques of management control in the South African gold mining industry.
The South African gold mining industry has since its inception, relied on an authoritarian and paternalistic form of labour control. This inheritance is due to a number of reasons; the nature of the process of gold mining itself, the reliance on migrant labour, the poor levels of education of workers in the industry, the regulation of workers' lives in hostels as well as the attitudes of white supervisors towards the control of labour - an inheritance from the British system, which tends to view hierarchies as rigid and highly stratified. The particular kind of paternalism found in gold mining has however, evolved over a time frame spanning this century, and has been subject to modification and external influence, particularly from managerial theories borrowed from Western , Europe and the United states. Thus, scientific management made its presence felt in the first half of this century, whilst more recently, the need to transfer new and upgraded technology has drawn on the sociotechnical tradition. The human relation movement, also a more recent phenomenon, has grown in direct response to the increasing levels of conflict on gold mines between management and labour. " At present the industry is undergoing a crisis in the form of a depressed gold price (necessitating reduction in the labour force), poor levels of productivity and an increasing challenge to management hegemony in the growth of a mass based trade union - the National Union of Mine Workers. It will be argued that these factors have necessitated that management in the industry ' search for new and more appropriate methods for the co-ordination and control of labour, and that the form that this has taken is towards more worker participation in decision-making. Participation on gold mines is developing in a number of areas; with consultative councils, with increasing consultation with the unions, in particular the N.U.M., in productivity drives such as the quality circles movement, and more recently in employee share ownership schemes (E.S.O.P.S.). All of the above approaches are attempts by senior management to incorporate labour more into the management process, and thus try to reduce the level of polarisation between labour and capital, which has gained in intensity in the industry over the past decade.
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