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The transformation of the South African Public Service: exploring the impact of racial and gender representation on organisational effectiveness

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 February 2016

Sergio Fernandez*
Affiliation:
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, SPEA 449, 1315 E. 10 Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA and University of Johannesburg, Centre for Public Management and Governance, PO Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa
Hongseok Lee*
Affiliation:
Indiana University, School of Public and Environmental Affairs, SPEA 412 1315 E. 10 Street, Bloomington, Indiana 47405, USA

Abstract

The transformation of the South African Public Service into a bureaucracy that is broadly representative of the population is one of the most significant public sector reforms to occur since the end of apartheid. Grounded in the theory of representative bureaucracy, this study examines demographic representation in the South African Public Service and how it impacts the organisational effectiveness of national departments. The empirical analysis is based on longitudinal data from 60 national departments from 2006 to 2013. The findings show that as these organisations become more representative by hiring a higher per cent of Africans, of Coloureds, and of Indians, they achieve a higher per cent of goals. The findings for gender representation are more mixed and show that female representation among most racial groups is unrelated to organisational effectiveness.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016 

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