Affirmative Action: A Kenyan Case

The perception of affirmative action in Eldoret Municipality

Master's Thesis, 2009

98 Pages, Grade: B






List of tables

List of figures

Definition of terms

1.1 Background of the Study
1.2 Statement of the Problem
1.3 Research Objectives
1.4 Research Questions
1.5 Research Hypotheses
1.6 Significance of the Study
1.7 Limitations of the Study
1.8 Scope of the Study
1.9 Theoretical Framework

2.1 Introduction
2.2 Public Perception about Affirmative Action
2.3 Contribution of Affirmative action to Women Career Development
2.4.1 Recruitment policies and procedures
2.4.2 Affirmative action policies and procedures
2.5 The relationship between affirmative action and organization performance
2.6 Critical reviews about affirmative action
2.7 Summary

3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research Design
3.3 Research Area
3.4 Target population
3.5 Sampling Design and Procedures
3.6 Data collection
3.6.1 Questionnaires
3.6.2 Interview Schedule
3.6.3 Validity of Research Instruments
3.6.4 Reliability of Research Instruments
3.6.5 Administration of Research Instruments
3.7 Data Analysis
3.8 Ethical Considerations

4.1 Introduction
4.2 Background information of the respondents
4.2.1 Gender of the respondents
4.2.2 Age of the respondents
4.2.3 Academic qualifications of the respondents
4.2.4 The current organization and occupation of the respondents
4.3 Perception held about affirmative action
4.3.1 Rating of the Kenyan government’s effort to eliminate gender discrimination
4.3.2 Affirmative action to put right long history of gender discrimination
4.3.3 Affirmative action promotes diversity
4.3.4 Affirmative action policy hampers productivity
4.3.5 Affirmative action policy fosters corruption in recruitment
4.3.6 Affirmative action incites women to aggressively look for job opportunities
4.3.7 Affirmative action as a program of gender preferences
4.3.8 Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination
4.4 Contribution of affirmative action to women career development
4.4.1 Women still lag behind their male counterparts in career development
4.4.2 Many women do not advance beyond the entry-level
4.4.3 Significant barriers are still faced by career women during recruitment
4.4.4 Affirmative action as a solution to women career development
4.5 Incorporation of affirmative action by organizations in recruitment of women
4.5.1 Advertisement and sex of the applicant
4.5.2 Rating recruitment policies
4.5.3 High scores in school does not determine performance
4.5.4 Recruitment by performance
4.6 Relationship between affirmative action and organization performance
4.6.1 Affirmative action weakens the spirit of individual
4.6.2 Is performance a function of gender?
4.6.3 Affirmative action promotes inefficiency in organization
4.7 Testing of the hypotheses

5.1 Introduction
5.2 A Summary of findings
5.2.1 Personal details of respondents
5.2.2 Perception held about affirmative action
5.2.3 Contribution of affirmative action on women career development
5.2.4 Incorporation of affirmative action policies on recruitment of women
5.2.5 Relationship between affirmative action and organization performance
5.3 Conclusion
5.4 Recommendations
5.5 Suggestion for further studies






I affectionately dedicate this work to my mother, Margaret Wambui Ndung’u, who believes in me, I pledge my very best effort as her loving daughter. I also dedicate it to my grandmother Tabitha Wangare Ndung’u for her unending prayers and love.


I wish to communicate my gratitude to my supervisors, Dr. John Boit and Mr. John Magero, for not only reading and offering very perceptive comments but also for their great endurance with me. I highly value their insights and guidance over this work and the encouragement they gave me even when the going got tough.

I hereby want to express my appreciation to the late Dean, School of Human Resource Development, Dr. Lutta Mukhebi, for her commitment to the development and well being of the school, May the Lord rest her soul in eternal peace. I register my gratitude with the Head of Department, Dr. Kwonyike, and all the lecturers and secretaries for their good guidance and friendliness.

My thanks go to my loving mom, Margaret Wambui, my aunt, Rahab Muringi, and my two sisters, Jane Wangeshi and Ann Nyaguthii, who are so proud of my academic progress and have supported me financially. My approval goes to S.I. Nganga for his encouragement and support during this time of research. I also want to appreciate all my classmates whose presence in my life made the course easier.

I highly appreciate the co-operation and support of the eight organizations within Eldoret Municipality that I studied namely; Ken-Knit, Moi Girls Secondary School, Rift Valley Bottlers, District Commissioner’s Office, Eldoret Municipal Council, Alphax College, Family Finance Bank and Kerio Valley Development Authority.


Affirmative action is a practice that redresses discrimination in society and is therefore meant to promote equal opportunities between men and women. The purpose of this study was to examine the public perception of affirmative action on women recruitment and career development in organizations within Eldoret municipality. The study objectives were to establish: the public perceptions about affirmative action, the contribution of affirmative action on women career development, the extent to which affirmative action has been incorporated in recruitment of women and the relationship between affirmative action and organization performance. The study was guided by Rawls theory of Justice (1971) which states that all social primary goods - liberty and opportunity, income, jobs and wealth, and the bases of self-respect be distributed equally and there should be no differences and/or discrimination except those that can be justified on grounds of competence.

The research employed an Expost Facto Survey research design, which was deemed appropriate because it handles situations or events that have already occurred, examines variables with the same characteristics and does not manipulate the variables. Purposive sampling technique was used in selecting the organizations for study. The respondents were picked using simple random sampling. Eight organizations were selected. A sample size of 255 respondents was selected but 210 questionnaires were returned and 8 interviews done. Questionnaires and interviews were used in data collection.

Data was analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively facilitated by the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS). Data was presented in frequency tables, graphs and pie charts. An inferential statistic technique, the chi-square test and Mann Whitney U-test were used to test the hypothesis at 0.05 level of significance. The hypotheses that an affirmative action policy does not affect significantly recruitment policies in organization and affirmative action does not enhance women career development were tested.

The results from the study indicate that there is perverse inequality in employment since men are more represented than women in almost all employment categories. Affirmative action is perceived as the most ambitious attempt to put right the long history of gender discrimination. It was noted that women tend to lag behind their male counterparts in career development. The respondents proposed recruitment by performance. Affirmative action was indicated as one of the solutions to women career development. Among the recommendations given were, women need to put more emphasis on career development, recruitment should be based on actual work performance and not on merit alone and finally, government should provide more educative programs about affirmative action to ensure the policy is well understood by the public. The study is significant to employees, employers, the government and the public at large.


Table 3.1 Sample Size of the study

Table 4.1: Gender of the respondent

Table 4.2: Rating Government's effort to eliminate gender discrimination

Table 4.3: Ambitious attempts to put right long history of gender discrimination

Table 4.4: Ranking affirmative action with gender

Table 4.5: Test Statistics (a)

Table 4.6: Affirmative action promotes diversity

Table 4.7: Ranking affirmative action hinder productivity and gender

Table 4.8: Test Statistics (a)

Table 4.9: Affirmative action policy fosters corruption in recruitment

Table 4.10: Affirmative action incites women

Table 4.11: Affirmative action as a program of gender preference

Table 4.12: Affirmative action leads to reverse discrimination

Table 4.13: Women still lag behind

Table 4.14: Ranking if women still lag behind their male counterpart

Table 4.15: Test Statistics (a)

Table 4.16: Women don’t advance beyond entry level

Table 4.17: Barriers still faced by career women during recruitment

Table 4.18: Affirmative action is the solution to women career development

Table 4.19: Ranking gender and affirmative action is the solution

Table 4.20: Test Statistics (a)

Table 4.21: Advertisement and sex of the applicant

Table 4.22: Rating recruitment policies

Table 4.23: Ranking gender and how they rate recruitment policy

Table 4.24: Test statistics (a)

Table 4.25: High scores in school do not determine performance

Table 4.26: Recruit by performance

Table 4.27: Affirmative action weakens the spirit of individual

Table 4.28: Gender and performance

Table 4.29: Affirmative action promotes inefficiency in organization

Table 4.30:Gender with affirmative action promote inefficiency in organization

Table 4.31: Test statistics (a)

Table 4.32: High scores in school do not determine performance

Table 4.33: Test statistics

Table 4.34: Affirmative action is the solution to women career development

Table 4.35: Test statistics


Fig 4.1: Age of the respondents

Fig 4.2: Academic qualification of the respondents

Fig 4.3: Hampers productivity


The following terms were used in this study as operationally defined below:

Affirmative action -a policy or program for correcting the effects of discrimination in the employment of women

Career - profession/occupation, which one trains for and pursues in his/her lifetime

Career woman - a woman who follows a professional or business career

Career development- is progressing on a profession of your choice

Discrimination - is being segregated or excluded from employment / promotion

Gender equality- being given equal or same chances between male and female

Gender empowerment- female being empowered in the same way as men in decision making, employment and so on

Glass ceilings- barrier being placed to certain groups in this case women so that they are unable to climb up the career ladder

Recruitment - to hire or to employ

Prejudice- intolerance or injustice done to a certain person Philosophy- way of life of a person or persons

Adverse-impact- unpleasant effect that goes deeper than necessary


This chapter gives background information to the study, statement of the problem, research objectives, research questions, hypotheses, significance of the study, the limitation of the study, scope of the study and the theoretical framework.

1.1 Background of the Study

In its tumultuous 48-year history, affirmative action has been both praised and pilloried as an answer to gender inequality (Brunner, 2007). The term “affirmative action” was first introduced by President Kennedy in 1961 as a method of redressing discrimination that had persisted in spite of civil rights laws and constitutional guarantees. According to Brunner (2007), it was developed and enforced for the first time by President Johnson. Johnson asserted:-

"We seek … not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result."

President’s Kennedy Executive Order 10925 was introduced in March 6, 1961. The terms of this epic order led to the creation of the Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity with the view to ensuring that hiring and employment practices were free of bias (Sithole, Dastoor and Ippolito, 2006). This served as the impetus for the Civil Rights Act (July 2, 1964) signed by President Lyndon Johnson that prohibited all kinds of discrimination based on gender, race, color, religion, or national origin in the USA (Sithole et al, 2006).

On September 24, 1965 affirmative action was enforced for the first time by Executive Order 11246 (Hutchings et al, 1995). This Executive Order required contractors doing business with the federal government to take additional obligations to determine the underutilization in their workplace and to develop a plan to remedy it, thus marking the beginning of “affirmative action.” Hutchings et al, (1995) said that since then, employers are obliged to make a good faith effort in targeting underrepresented groups in their

outreach, as well as ensuring that job selection criteria do not have an “adverse impact” on underrepresented group. Affirmative action takes this one-step further by requiring certain organizations to actively promote equal employment opportunity and eliminate discrimination (Hutching et al, 1995).

An excerpt from the Executive Order 11246 follows (Part II, Subpart B, Sec. 202(1)):

The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Such action shall include, but not be limited to the following: employment, upgrading, demotion, or transfer; recruitment or recruitment advertising; layoff or termination; rates of pay or other forms of compensation; and selection for training, including apprenticeship.

In Africa for instance, affirmative action is actively practiced by many countries. In South Africa, affirmative action started with the oppression of blacks by the whites and the blacks came up with a way to reverse that discrimination (Drogin, 1995). Drogin (1995) reported that in 1991 a South African survey revealed that there were only 30 black engineers vs. 17,840 white engineers, 31 black pharmacists compared with 2,021 whites. In 1994 only 60 blacks were chartered accountants and there were fewer than 20 black architects. The blacks held only 3% of managerial positions in a country where blacks represented more than 80% of the population! The South African Government was not satisfied with these measures and added the Job Reservation Act of 1994. This law restricted the number of jobs that Blacks, Asians and Coloreds could be occupied in. The Blacks, Asians and Coloreds could not serve with whites in their professional capacity; they could only serve as unskilled or semi-skilled workers. One could not rise beyond junior management positions. This glass ceiling also affected females of all races as well (Drogin, 1995). Due to this, the South African government embraced affirmative action as the pragmatic policy to redress imbalances of the past (Drogin, 1995). An examination of the South African government’s plan clearly reveals their concerns for all the citizens of the country. The concerns include: elimination of unfair discrimination and implementing affirmative action measures to redress the disadvantages in employment experienced by designated groups, to ensure their equitable representation in all occupational categories and levels in the workforce (Sithole et al, 2006). South Africa has effectively transformed the employment policies of the country through the vehicle of affirmative action (Sithole, 2006).

In Kenya, President Hon. Mwai Kibaki declared that 30% of all job vacancies be reserved for women (GoK, 2007). Also an affirmative action campaign to compel the government of Kenya to implement Affirmative Action before the 2007 General Elections was launched in Nairobi (Manyala, 2007). Women representatives from the civil society and women leaders including women political aspirants from across Kenya set out on a mission to collect one million signatures to be used to petition the government to implement the Affirmative Action Bill prior to the 2007 General Elections (Manyala, 2007).

Over the last decade, campaign and calls for gender equality have been at the forefront in the political, social and economic arena (Fiss, 1995). In recent years, for instance, affirmative action has been debated more intensely than at any other time in its 35 years history. Most people who advance this theory in favor of gender equality argue that women are not given equal chances to compete with men.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Discrimination against women in employment does not always occur because there is prejudice against them, but sometimes because their employment may create more problems and greater expenses for the employer. For instance, the obligation to grant maternity leaves, need for organizations organizing additional welfare facilities and introduction of protective laws such as a ban on night work are considerations which may induce an employer to engage male instead of female labour in organizations. This has therefore led to many organizations being required to embrace affirmative action so as to employ women despite all odds.

Based on the Preparatory Phase for 1999 Population and Housing Census, Kenya has more women than men i.e. 14,481,018 female and 14,205,589 male. This is a difference of 275,429 (GoK, 2004) and as such women ought to get the lion’s share of the job opportunities available. But on looking at the reality on the ground, women are still fewer in job opportunities. Affirmative action has been advanced to remedy this insignificant population of women in job openings in order to bring a just society. However, affirmative action is not seen to play the obvious role in recruitment. Men are still the majority in employment. The gap is still there and therefore motivates this study to establish if the inequality that exists in employment is logical and justified and to what extent affirmative action is a panacea to this inequality.

1.3 Research Objectives

i. Main Objective

The main objective of this study was to examine the perception of Affirmative Action on women recruitment and career development.

ii. Specific Objectives

The study sought to achieve the following specific objectives to:-

i. examine the public perception of affirmative action
ii. assess the contribution of affirmative action to women career development
iii. establish the extent to which affirmative action policies have been incorporated by organizations in recruitment of women
iv. determine the relationship between affirmative action and organization performance

1.4 Research Questions

The study was guided by the following questions:- 4

i. What is the public perception of affirmative action?
ii. What is the contribution of affirmative action to women career development?
iii. To what extent are affirmative action policies incorporated by organizations in recruitment of women?
iv. What is the relationship between affirmative action and organization performance?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested:-

H01 Affirmative action policies do not influence significantly recruitment policies in organizations
H02 Affirmative action does not enhance women career development

1.6 Significance of the Study

The study is beneficial to CEO’s, NGO’s, planners, Human Resource Managers, employees, employers, government and public at large in that it sought to establish the public perception of affirmative action on women recruitment and career development. The study has given the importance of affirmative action policy that puts into consideration gender criteria. The study has also identified the gap that exists in employment, reasons as to why the inequality exists and given possible solution(s) towards this, that recruit by performance.

The study is beneficial because it has established the fears held about affirmative action. It is from the study too that the differences and similarities between affirmative action policies and recruitment policies are established. The study has indicated how the two policies can be combined in recruitment to help reduce the mono-representation at the work-place.

1.7 Limitations of the Study

The study on the perception of affirmative action on women recruitment and career development endeavored to examine the general public perception of affirmative action and to what extent affirmative action is a panacea to women unemployment. The study’s limitation was that it examined employed women only and since many women are still at home, the study did not reach them to discover why they are not in paid employment, though the reasons given by working women about the challenges faced by them during recruitment was taken to represent all the women.

It was so challenging for the researcher during data collection because the questionnaires were not returned back as they were distributed. The post-election skirmishes, for instance, were the major cause for this and this affected research a great deal and delayed in data analysis.

1.8 Scope of the Study

This study was concerned with the perception of affirmative action on women recruitment and career development. The study was conducted in organizations within Eldoret municipality, Uasin Gishu district, from October 2007 to February 2008 using an expost facto survey research design. The study targeted all the organizations within Eldoret Municipality. A sample size of 255 employees was selected in 8 organizations namely: Ken-Knit, Rift Valley Bottlers Limited, Moi Girls High School, Alphax College, District Commissioners (DC) offices, Eldoret Municipal Council, Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) and Family Finance Bank. Data was collected using questionnaires and interviews.

1.9 Theoretical Framework

The study was guided by Rawls theory of justice (1971) which states that all social primary goods, liberty and opportunity, income and wealth, and the bases of self-respect should be distributed equally (Rawls, 1971). The basic point throughout the theory is that, everyone deserves to be treated equally and be offered the same opportunities. But, that is not what it is. It is not what everyone does. Rawls discussed the theory of justice in two models: purity of the heart and the veil of ignorance.

Rawls's model of “purity of heart” has two parts. First is the description of people in the hypothetical situation of choosing principles for living together. They are imagined as rational, self-interested individuals who aim to do as well for themselves as they can. They are roughly equal in capacity (no one can easily dominate all the others) and they have needs that can be met more effectively by cooperation than by non-cooperation. The second part of Rawls' model is: the Veil of Ignorance. Rawls, apart from recognizing that persons act on self-interest, also thinks that persons can be rational about their self- interest. This means that a person has a plan to get what s/he wants out of life. That persons know what they need to make their plan work and that persons mostly stick to their plan throughout their lives even if they are never completely successful. Rawls figures that people would simply design a society, which would help them with their own personal plan and care not about everybody else (Rawls, 1971). According to Rawls, this cannot result in a just society.

Rawls' theory of justice revolves around the adaptation of two fundamental principles of justice, which would, in turn, guarantee a just and morally acceptable society. The first principle guarantees the right of each person to have the most extensive basic liberty compatible with the liberty of others. The second principle states that social and economic positions are to be to everyone's advantage and open to all (Nussbaum, 2000).

The two basic principles of justice states that: each person should get an equal guarantee to as many different liberties and as much of those liberties as can be guaranteed to everyone else at the same time. Principle two states that, inequalities in society are okay only if they are arranged so that the inequalities actually help out the least fortunate persons in society. The inequalities are connected to positions or offices or jobs in society that everyone has an equal opportunity to attain.

However, Rawls is not talking about complete liberty to do, to have or to keep absolutely anything. The inequalities Rawls is talking about are:

i) Inequalities in the distribution of income, jobs and wealth
ii) Inequalities set up by institutions that use differences in authority and responsibility or chains of command.

Suppose all the political doctrines teach, as some do today, that men and women are fully equal as citizens (Piccard, 2004) then that means, according to Rawls theory, all people must be treated equally not only in such matters as voting and political participation, but must also be treated equally in distributing all primary goods and secondary goods. But that still does not mean that men and women are equal in some ultimate metaphysical sense, though each person possesses an inviolability founded on justice that even the welfare of society as a whole cannot override. Rawls believes that political actors in a liberal society should not directly contradict the views of religions that posit inequalities between men and women. For instance, it was suggested that a Supreme Court of Justice, in an opinion on sex discrimination, should say only that all people are equal as citizens and not that men and women are equal by nature. In other words, there should be no differences except those that can be justified on grounds of efficiency (Piccard, 2004).

This theory is therefore applicable to this study in that it advances that all people are equal as citizens and not that men and women are equal by nature. There should be no differences in recruitment except those that can be justified on grounds of competence. This theory advances that inequalities in society are acceptable only if they are arranged so that they actually help out the least fortunate persons in society. Affirmative action is a practice that redresses inequality in society and is therefore meant to promote justice.


2.1 Introduction

The study looked at the perception of affirmative action women recruitment and career development. This chapter explores on the literature related to the study. The chapter discusses the general public’s perception of affirmative action, the contribution of affirmative action on women career development, incorporation of affirmative action policies in recruitment of women and the relationship between affirmative action and organization performance. The literature was gathered from textbooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, theses and the Internet.

2.2 Public Perception about Affirmative Action

Born of the Civil Rights Movement three decades ago, affirmative action calls for minorities and women to be given special considerations in employment, education and making decisions (Froomkin, 1998). Many supporters of affirmative action see it as a milestone, many opponents see it as a millstone, and many others regard it as both or neither- as a necessary, but imperfect, remedy for an intractable social disease (Plous, 2003).

The term affirmative action refers to policies that take race, gender, or ethnicity into account in an attempt to promote equal opportunity ( The focus of such policies range from employment and education to public contracting and health programs. The impetus towards affirmative action is two-fold: to maximize diversity in all levels of society, along with its presumed benefits, and to redress perceived disadvantages due to overt, institutional, or involuntary discrimination.

Seltzer and Thompson (1985) noted significant differences in attitudes on affirmative action held by women, Blacks and Whites. The attitudes of high income Blacks differs from those of less-advantaged Blacks. White women are more supportive of affirmative action programs than White males. Well-educated Whites hold more liberal views on affirmative action than less-educated Whites. In a paper on affirmative action presented at the United Nations conference in 1969, Greenberg, (1994) notes that Malaysia, India, Israel, and the United States had affirmative action complying with the definition; Nigeria and Peru had arrangements that did not comply with the definition but were similar in purpose; Yugoslavia had affirmative action within regional minority areas while Sudan and West Germany had no affirmative action. Geust (2004) argues that South Africa has the world’s most extreme affirmative action program. Geust (2004) further argues that affirmative action ends up helping well-off blacks. That policy hampers productivity and fosters corruption and affirmative action ends up hurting everyone even the purported beneficiaries. Scott and Scott (1998) presented their empirical findings that include the following: that affirmative action programs for minorities are under fire in the US but they are embraced in South Africa (Scott and Scott, 1998).

According to Froomkin (1998), affirmative action is the World's most ambitious attempt to redress its long history of racial and sexual discrimination. Nevertheless, these days it seems to incite rather than ease the nation's internal divisions (Froomkin, 1998).

Affirmative action has been under sustained assault (Sturm and Guiner, 2003). In courts, legislatures, the media and opponents have condemned it as an unprincipled program of racial and gender preferences that threaten fundamental values of fairness, equality, and democratic opportunity (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). Such preferences, they say, are extraordinary departures from prevailing meritocracy modes of recruitment, which they present as both fair and functional. They are fair because they treat all candidates as equals and they are functional because they are well suited to picking the best candidates. This challenge to affirmative action has been met with concerted response (Sturm and Guiner, 2001).

Landsberg (1995) argues that the history of affirmative action and its efforts to correct the effects of past discrimination promote diversity and endeavor to overcome the two-class society characterized by gender and racial division. Landsberg (1995) added that the perception of affirmative action might lead to the assumption that affirmative action appointees are hired for reasons other than legitimate qualifications for the job. Although anecdotes can be traded, there is little evidence to suggest that there is any truth in the perception that affirmative action recipients are less qualified than their colleagues (Pratkanis and Turner, 1995). Panafrican (2000) notes that there is nothing discriminatory about an orderly transition towards the demographic representation of employees in the workplace, provided that the beneficiaries of affirmative actions have the necessary knowledge and skills. Affirmative action should not create room for quotas, which would mean the promotion of ill-equipped candidates (Landsberg, 1995).

Carloff (2002) argues that affirmative action simply places unqualified and incompetent members into jobs in society and seats in universities - not because they are smart, not because they are qualified, not because they are an exemplary product of education, but entirely because of their gender! Sher (1983) says that affirmative action devalues the accomplishments of people who are chosen because of the social group to which they belong rather than their qualifications. It is said that affirmative action devalues the accomplishments of all those who belong to groups it is intended to help. This makes the affirmative action counterproductive.

Does affirmative action simply change who is discriminated against and makes it legal for the new discriminators? McElroy (2003) advanced this notion that affirmative action is discriminating in order to obtain equal treatment. This seems to violate common sense. Pinkston (1984) commented that President Ronald Reagan’s stance on affirmative action encouraged opposition and decreased the protections of law available to the people discriminated against. McElroy (2003) indicated that people that are involved and the damage affirmative action have in our society surfaces many doubts.

To Garry (2006) affirmative action has undesirable side-effects apart from failing to achieve its goals. It hinders reconciliation, replaces old wrongs with new wrongs, undermines the achievements of minorities, and encourages groups to identify themselves as disadvantaged, even if they are not. Further Delgado (1996) said that affirmative action that aims at removing discrimination is counterproductive. This is because it requires the very discrimination it is seeking to eliminate in order to work and because it promotes prejudice by increasing resentment of those who are the beneficiaries of affirmative action from those who have been adversely affected by the policy.

According to Fiss (1996), a doubt is created in the minds of some women who obtain the prized positions, including the prizewinners themselves, as to whether they would be where they are without preference. For rejected men applicants, there is the frustration of desire, of not being able to obtain specific job. In addition, these applicants suffer a hurt that women know all too well-the hurt that comes from being judged disfavourably on a criterion unrelated to individual merit and over which they have no control (Fiss, 1996).

Sturm and Guiner (2001) argue that affirmative action is still needed to rectify continued exclusion and marginalization. In addition, Sturm and Guiner marshal considerable evidence showing that conventional standards of selection exclude women and people of colour, and that people who were excluded in the past do not yet operate on a level playing field. However, this response has largely been reactive (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). Proponents typically treat affirmative action as a crucial but peripheral supplement to an essentially sound framework of selection for jobs and schools. Drogin (1995) hails affirmative action as a panacea to redress the imbalances of the past whereas McElroy (2003) perceives it as reverse discrimination.

The South African government boldly declares in the Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998 that:-

It is not unfair discrimination to promote affirmative action consistent with the Act or to prefer or, exclude any person on the basis of inherent job requirement (Drogin, 1995)

Furthermore Delgado (1996) argues, since all men have equal rights, no man's rights should be sacrificed to compensate for another man's rights being taken away. Such people often claim that the groups that are most negatively impacted by affirmative action are women who are discriminated against within society. This disproportionate effect is perverse and counter-productive considering that the intent of affirmative action is to eliminate discrimination (Delgado, 1996). According to Delgado this can result in a loss for a nation not working at its full capacity and can also result in undesired effects previously felt by those who were discriminated against. For example, one may be very qualified for a certain job, but may be turned down in favor of a woman who is less qualified but is targeted for affirmative action. If occurring on a grand scale, the country will lose speed in its advances. Each of those individuals turned down will be depressed. Their being turned down might dampen the spirits of others.

In a nutshell affirmative action has its strengths and weakness. Its weakest point is the recruitment of unqualified female employees which is said to lead to reverse discrimination but at the other hand affirmative action is said to be an effort meant to correct the effects of past discrimination and promote diversity.

2.3 Contribution of Affirmative action to Women Career Development

Sandra (2002) states that women have been demanding equal treatment at work since the 1960s. But four decades later, the playing field is still far from being level. According to a recent study by Catalyst, the New York City-based nonprofit research group that focuses on women's issues, the study found out that when it comes to attitudes toward work and salary, Generation X women are not much different from their Baby Boomer predecessors. According to the American Bureau of Labor Statistics, women today earn 76 cents for every $1 earned by a man.

Beginning in December 2005, an affirmative action for Women Promotion Team is organized at each site in Japan. To date, a total of 23 teams have developed a wide variety of activities, including holding study sessions on affirmative action. This is seen as a way to create a workplace where each employee can manifest diverse abilities, regardless of gender. It is also said to create a workplace where each employee can demonstrate his or her diverse abilities, regardless of whether they are men or women.

The career development patterns of women are varied and have traditionally been influenced by the demands of the family. However, there is a trend toward more consistent and long-term participation by women in the labor force. Several writers have developed schemes to describe women's career patterns. Harmon (1967) suggests five patterns: no work experience, work only until marriage and/or birth of children, combine work with marriage and/or children, re-enter the labor force when children are older and remain single and pursue career.

Key career decisions that influence women include whether to have a career, which occupational field to enter, and when to work (Miller, 1986). Variables that help predict men's career decisions (interests, aptitudes, and career maturity) are less useful for predicting women's career decisions. One factor is occupational stereotyping or normative views of whether occupations are appropriate for men or women. The tendency for women's career decisions to be influenced by others is another factor. Barnett (1971) found three groups of women: the internalizers who set their own career goals, the identifiers who set goals based on the influence of significant others and the compliers who had no career goals and selected options at the last minute.

Miller (1984) cites a study finding that 87 percent of the women surveyed derived a sense of personal accomplishment from work, and 58 percent indicated that they prefer work outside the home to homemaking. Other research suggests that most women will be employed outside the home at some time in their adult lives and that work will have great importance in their lives (Miller, 1984). But according to Ifill (2007), despite the introduction of affirmative action policies in recruitment, higher levels of formal education and longer time spent in organizational settings, women still lag behind their male counterparts in career development, as they don’t advance beyond entry-level positions. Ifill (2007) added that significant barriers are still faced by career women in the workplace.

The recruitment and selection decision is of prime importance as the vehicle for obtaining the best possible person for a job who will, when aggregated, contribute significantly towards the Company's effectiveness (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). The importance of having efficient and effective procedures for recruitment and selection can hardly be exaggerated (Cole, 1997). If organizations are able to find and employ staffs who consistently fulfill their roles and are capable of taking on an increased responsibility, they are immeasurably better placed to deal with the opportunities and threats arising from their operating environment than competitors who are always struggling to build and maintain their workforce (Cole, 1997).

It is becoming increasingly important, as the Company evolves and changes, that new recruits show a willingness to learn, adaptability and ability to work as part of a team. The recruitment and selection procedure should help managers to ensure that these criteria are addressed (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). A more interactive process of recruitment also provides an ongoing opportunity to assess and monitor organizational performance and to perceive and react to the changing character and needs of clients and employees (Arenson, 1996). It also provides information learned through the process of selection to the rest of the organization. In the process of redefining the standards for recruitment, the organization also redefines how those already in the institution should function (Arenson, 1996).

Recruitment operates at the boundaries of the organization (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). It exposes decision-makers to the environment they operate in, provides access to information about the world in which the organization operates, and forces choices about its relationship with that environment (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). The process of defining the standards for positions also reflects and describes the organization's priorities and direction. Emphasizing one set of skills over another in the recruitment process communicates to employees how the organization defines good work. Murrell and Jones (1996) said the Company Recruitment and Selection Policy should: be fair and consistent, be non- discriminatory on the grounds of sex, race, age, religion or disability and conforms to statutory regulations and agreed best practice. It should also ensure the job description and person specification are up-to-date and people get employed by merit and qualification. It should collate an information package appropriate for the post. This package should include: job description and if appropriate, the person specification, information on the department, information on the company and terms and conditions of employment (Murrel and Jones, 1996).

2.4.1 Recruitment policies and procedures

Recruitment and selection policy is there to ensure that the council selects the most suitable persons for the job on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and that no employee/job applicant is unfairly treated.

The first step in planning for the recruitment of employees into the organization is to establish adequate policies and procedures (Cole, 1997). A recruitment policy represents the organization’s code of conduct in this area of activity (Cole, 1997). Typical policy statement should: advertise all vacancies internally first before doing external advertisement, reply to every job applicant with minimum delay, aim to inform potential recruits in good faith about the basic details and job conditions of every job advertised, aim to process all applications with efficiency and courtesy, seek candidates on the basis of their qualification for the vacancy concerned and aim to ensure that every person invited for the interview will be given a fair and thorough hearing.

A company should not discriminate unfairly against potential applicants on the grounds of sex, race, age, religion or physical disabilities, discriminate unfairly against applicants with a criminal record and knowingly make any false or exaggerated claims in its recruitment literature or job advertisement.

Personal specifications are also considered in recruitment (Cole, 1997). Below are seven Point Plans devised by Professor Alec Rodger of the National Institute of Industrial Psychology in the 1950s. They have proved to be the most popular model for personnel specification in United Kingdom (Cole, 1997):-

i. Physical make-up - what is required in terms of health, strength, energy and personal appearance.
ii. Attainment - what education, training and experience is required
iii. General intelligence - what does the job require in terms of thinking and mental effort
iv. Interest - what personal interests could be relevant to the performance of the job
v. Disposition - what kind of personality are we looking for
vi. Circumstances - are there any special circumstances that the job requires of the candidates.

2.4.2 Affirmative action policies and procedures

Hutchings, Martinez, Stein, and Tashiro (1995), argue that contrary to recruitment policies and procedures equal opportunity can actively be promoted and discrimination eliminated through affirmative action employment policies by:

i. Developing and following an affirmative action plan that identifies underrepresented groups, and defining a plan to remedy the underutilization.
ii. Provide a good faith effort in publicizing open positions to broaden the pool of qualified candidates to include underrepresented groups.
iii. Establish fair selection criteria for positions and provide similar interview experiences for each interviewee.

According to Sturm and Guiner (2001) fairness assumes and requires treating everyone in the same way. That is, allowing everyone to enter the competition for a position, and evaluating each person's results in the same way. If everyone takes the same test, and every applicant's test is evaluated in the same manner, then the assessment is fair. So, is affirmative action is unfair because it takes race and gender into account, and thus evaluates some test results differently (Sturm and Guiner, 2001).

Affirmative action terms of performance are different from what is included in the recruitment polices. Sturm and Guiner (2001) argue that we need to situate the conversation about gender, and affirmative action in a wider account of democratic opportunity by refocusing attention from the contested periphery of the system of selection to its settled core. Sturm and Guiner (2001) further claim that the present system measures merit through scores on paper-and-pencil tests and so this measure is fundamentally unfair. In the employment setting, it restricts access based on inadequate predictors of job performance (Sturm and Guiner, 2001). The standard approach proceeds as if selection were a fine-tuned matching process that measures the capacity to perform according to some predetermined criteria of performance. This assumes that the capacity to perform functional merit exists in people apart from their opportunity to work on the job. It further assumes that institutions know in advance what they are looking for, and that these functions will remain constant across a wide range of work sites and over time. But neither candidates nor positions remain fixed. Often people who have been given an opportunity to do a job perform well because they learn the job by doing it (Sturm and Guiner, 2001).

Sturm and Guiner, (2001) indicated that merit is functional: a person merits a job if he or she has, to an especially high degree, the qualities needed to perform well in that job. Many critics of affirmative action equate merit, functionally understood, with a numerical ranking on standard paper-and-pencil tests. Those with higher scores are presumed to be most qualified, and therefore most deserving. Fairness, like merit, is a concept with varying definitions (Sturm and Guiner 2001). But Gardner (1993) said paper-and-pencil tests do not measure or predict an individual's capacity for creativity and collaboration. Assessment through opportunity to perform often works better than testing for performance. Various studies have shown that experts often fail on Formal measures of their calculating or reasoning capacities but can be shown to exhibit precisely those same skills in the course of their ordinary work (Gardner, 1993).

Gardner, (1993) indicated that, integrating recruitment and performance has the potential to improve institutions' capacity to select productive workers, pursue innovative performance, and recruit employees who can adapt quickly to the demands of a changing economic environment. The conventional top-down approach short-circuits the capacity of selection to serve as a mechanism for feedback about an institution's performance and its need to adapt to changing conditions (Gardner, 1993). It also keeps institutions from developing more responsive, integrated, and dynamically efficient selection processes. Gardner (1993) further added that instead of relying on standardized tests, the system of performance-based selection would focus decision-makers' attention on creating suitable scenarios for making informed judgments about performance. This would improve the capacity of institutions to find people who are creative, adaptive, reliable, and committed, rather than just good test- takers (Gardner, 1993). In some instances, these structured opportunities could directly contribute to the productivity of the organization.

To Pratkanis and Turner (1995) affirmative action can be viewed as one of the most effective ways to address the long-standing problems of gender in many countries, thus serving as a vehicle for reaching the goal of equality. The following findings by Murrell and Jones (1996) serve as evidence of the perceived success of affirmative action:

i. Affirmative action policies have resulted in increased representation of women and minorities across all levels of employment in many countries including Kenya and within organizations that were once exclusively male. ii. Affirmative action has led to higher employment participation rates, increased earnings and gains in educational attainment for women and minorities Murrel and Jones (1996) argue that to ensure opportunities to perform, one can start by shifting the model of selection from prediction to performance. This model builds on the insight that the opportunity to participate helps to create the capacity to perform, and that actual performance offers the best evidence of capacity to perform.

Those who assess individuals in situations that more closely resemble actual working conditions make better predictions about those individuals' ultimate performance (Arenson, 1996). This is particularly important when those assessments are integrated into day-to-day work over a period of time. They have the potential to produce better information about workers and better workers. Moreover, many of those who are given an opportunity to perform, even when their basic preparation is weaker catch up if they are motivated to achieve (Arenson, 1996).

Sturm and Guiner (2001) said that the failure of the existing practice to achieve inclusiveness is perhaps most telling. Although some people will lose as a result of any sorting and ranking, a democratic system needs to give those losers a sense of hope in the future and not to divide them into classes of permanent losers and permanent winners. But that is precisely what happens when we make opportunity dependent on past success (Sturm and Guiner 2001). How then can they develop a model of recruitment that expresses a more inclusive, transparent and accountable vision of democratic opportunity - an approach to selection that will benefit everyone and advance gender justice?

2.5 The relationship between affirmative action and organization performance

Is affirmative action beneficial and fair to everyone involved? The term affirmative action has positive connotations to it, denoting an action in the, affirmative: something assuring, something positive, and something that is right (Delgado, 1996).

Delgado (1996) argues that affirmative action was meant to help women and racial minorities get a leg up in education, employment, and business due to past discrimination. Studies done shows that in the employment sector, women make 74 cents to every dollar a man makes. Delgado (1996) adds to the fact that African-American women make 63 cents to every dollar men make, and Latina women make 57 cents to every dollar men make. An issue in any discussion of the merits or drawbacks of affirmative action programs is the impact, if any, on organizations (Delgado, 1996).

Hersch (1991) found out that firms charged with violations of antidiscrimination laws experienced significant losses in equity value when a suit, decision, or settlement was announced. Moreover, the average loss to shareholders exceeded the amount the firm was required to spend to settle the case. Wright, Ferris, Hiller, and Kroll (1995) obtained similar results, and also found that firms receiving awards for exemplary affirmative action programs from the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) had significant and positive excess returns (with respect to market valuation) on the ten days following the announcement, although this dissipated over time (Hersch, 1991).

According to Hsieh (1997) affirmative action programs, despite their good intentions, actually hurt employees because affirmative action programs force employers to hire and promote on characteristics irrelevant to job performance. Hsieh (1997) adds that the advancement based upon non-merit considerations creates an atmosphere of distrust in the workplace. This results in passing over more qualified candidates in favor of those possessing the desired inessential trait. It often places the promoted individual in a job which s/he does not have the skills to perform well and this affects the organizational performance.

Hsieh (1997) argued that when companies are subject to affirmative action programs, they are authorized to take traits such as gender into account when hiring. In this case, hiring the best candidate for a position with no gender issue in mind may very well be treated as outright illegal or result in a lawsuit. The attribute of gender is not at all related to an employee's job performance, and thus may promote inefficiency (Hsieh, 1997).

Hsieh (1997) indicated that affirmative action creates an atmosphere of distrust among the employees and the management, because it can be difficult to ascertain whether the hired employees are qualified or not. Hsieh (1997) added that where affirmative action programs are in place, minorities/women employees will be suspected of being incompetent, even if they actually were hired on merit. Those minorities who were hired because they were most qualified for the job will have the extra burden of proving to others, and possibly even to themselves, that they truly deserved the position. In this case, trust that is so vital for an efficient workplace in an organization is destroyed.

Affirmative action weakens the spirit of the individual by making them think the reason they got the job or grant was because someone felt sorry for them (McElroy, 2003). Some women believe affirmative action will benefit them in the beginning because there is an incentive to hire women. This will do more to hinder than to help them in the long run because according to Cohen (2006) affirmative action helps to get a female an interview but once on the interview and once on the job, it gives males a basis for their resentment and skepticism of females. This can cause additional tension between men and women that was not there before affirmative action.

According to Hsieh (1997) a loss of valuable talent is also an inevitable effect of affirmative action programs for advancement. Under affirmative action programs, the most qualified person for a position will often be by passed for a lesser-quality candidate who fulfills the affirmative action requirements. Over time, any company will suffer from the passing over of better job candidates. This will eventually hurt all the employees of the company, due to lost profits. People that are promoted based on gender, might very well be placed in a position for which they do not have the necessary skills.


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Affirmative Action: A Kenyan Case
The perception of affirmative action in Eldoret Municipality
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This book would not have been completed without the great support and encouragement of my Co-authors Dr. John Boit and the late Mr. John Magero (R.I.P). I am highly appreciative of all counsel from the family of Dr. Wangare Gathuthi, my mentor and role model. Last but not least I acknowledge my family’s contribution: Ms. Margaret Wambui (Mum) for her constant and unending encouragement, Tabitha Ndungu (my grandmother), for her prayers and love, Malvin Kim (son), for his constant smile that nudged me on till the end. To one and all, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
affirmative, action, kenyan, case, eldoret, municipality
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Tabitha Wangare (Author)Dr. John Boit (Author)Mr. John Magero (Author), 2009, Affirmative Action: A Kenyan Case, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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