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Investigating the culture of employee empowerment in the South African public sector.

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One of the many challenges that face the South African public sector other than resources includes skills shortage, improper alignment of job descriptions, poor leadership and many more. Workforce diversity, distrust in leadership and service inefficiency are the major challenges facing South Africa. Such challenges make it hard to deliver proper services to customers and stakeholders. Therefore, the key process for better service delivery from the government is to strategically use their leadership skills effectively, capacitate and empower employees with knowledge, skills and resources. The study focuses on the role of empowerment in the public sector as a leadership tool to improve government services. The main research problem was to make an in-depth analysis of the culture of empowerment in the government sector and the effect it has on organisational performance. A qualitative research methodology was followed during the research study. The study is mainly targeted at government officials who have five years or more working experience. Managerial and nonmanagerial employees from different business units participated in face to face interviews. The research study is based on the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affair Tourism (DEDEAT) and East London Industrial Development Zone (ELIDZ). The researcher interviewed a sample of seven employees, whom five came from DEDEAT and two from ELIDZ. The Research study revealed that employee empowerment is a critical tool for organisational success to improve service delivery within the public sector. The study revealed that the public sector uses different strategies such as PMDS, mentorship, training and workshops to empower their employees. But the study showed that there are gaps and room for improvement in the strategies that it uses. Recommendations to improve those strategies have been mentioned in the dissertation.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.