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Bowen, P, Edwards, P and Lingard, H (2013) Workplace stress among construction professionals in South Africa: The role of harassment and discrimination. Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 20(06), 620-35.

  • Type: Journal Article
  • Keywords: Construction professionals; Discrimination; Harassment; South Africa; Stress
  • ISBN/ISSN: 0969-9988
  • URL: https://doi.org/10.1108/ECAM-05-2012-0051
  • Abstract:
    Purpose The discrimination/harassment experiences of survey respondents in different construction professional groups in South Africa is compared, and the relationship between harassment/discrimination and perceived work stress is examined. Design/methodology/approach An online survey was administered and 626 responses (ca. 6.5 per cent of target population) received. Descriptive and inferential statistics were used to analyse the response data. Findings Harassment and discrimination on ethnic grounds are experienced in all of the South African construction professions included in the survey. Respondents also indicated that they felt underpaid and that their job security was adversely affected by their ethnicity. Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment and discrimination were more frequently reported by architects than by other professionals. Harassment and discrimination were found to correlate with higher perceived levels of work stress. Research limitations/implications Harassment and discrimination, on ethnic and on gender-based grounds, constitute a significant stressor for many construction professionals in South Africa, particularly among architects. Practical implications Strategies designed to address and counter harassment/discrimination in the South African construction industry should be implemented or reinforced as part of broader stress management programmes. Employers have a major role to play in this, but unions and professional associations should also take part. Originality value Previous research into work stress has focused on the experiences of workers in developed countries. The paper provides insight into the problem of harassment and discrimination in the unique situation of post-apartheid South Africa. It supports the link between harassment and discrimination and perceived levels of personal stress in this context.