THE FUNDEMENTAL THEORY OF EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES

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CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY

INTRODUCTION

The focus in chapter 2 has been to discuss the theory of EAPs. Insight from the discussions in that chapter is that there is minimal research on EAPs, especially in Public Administration as an academic discipline. This lack of research is mostly evident in the inability to access academic texts such as journal articles and scholarly books that rigorously explore the practice and theory of EAPs in public institutions. This research would be important in examining the functioning of the EAP and how it influences employee performance in a public institution.. Amongst the topics discussed in chapter 2 were the historical origin and developments of EAPs, the objectives that employers attempt to achieve with the institutionalisation of EAPs, the reasons behind employers institutionalising EAPs, as well as the various EAP models. Furthermore, the chapter discussed the principles upon which EAPs are based, the benefits of EAPs to employees and employers, as well as the necessity for marketing EAPs.
The major intention with the discussions in this chapter is three-fold. The first is to provide a brief background of the study area at which research activities were carried out, secondly, to explain the research design that was used and thirdly the research methodology. The chapter outlines the reasoning behind the choice of the research design, the process that was followed in collecting data, the administration of the data collection instrument and the manner in which the data was analysed.

THE STUDY AREA

Moroka Police Station was the site where the research activities were conducted. According to the Operational Plan of Moroka Police Station (2007-2008), this police station is the biggest of the eleven (11) police stations that are situated within the Soweto1 area. The size of the policing area for which Moroka Police Station accounts is twenty six square kilometres (26 km2). The station serves approximately a total population of two hundred and fifty thousand (250 000) community members (Moroka, 2007-2008). The name of the police station is derived from the name of the communal area in which it is located – Moroka, part of South Africa’s largest township, Soweto. In accordance with the rich history of Soweto in general, Moroka attracts vast numbers of both domestic and international tourists since it is one of the most frequently visited areas in Soweto. Moroka Police Station has a staff complement of five hundred and two (502) employees. The Station Commissioner of the Moroka Police Station, following the restructuring process that abolished Area or Regional Commissioners’ offices in 2005, is Director M J Seaba, who was not taking part in the research, but generously allowed the police station to be used for research purposes.

Structural composition and number of employees

According to the Moroka Police Station (2009), Moroka Police Station comprised of four (4) major functional components or units, namely Crime Prevention (CP), Detective Services (DS), Community Service Center (CSC) and Support Services (SS). Both the CSC and DS respectively account for the majority of employees in the police station. Table 1 below illustrates the structural composition and number of employees in Moroka Police Station.
As illustrated in Table 3.1, the number of employees attached to CP and SS is not as high when compared to those in the CSC and DS. Table 3.1 above provides a numerical breakdown of the employees in various portfolios of the police station. The employees attached to the CP unit perform duties such as patrolling the streets (e.g. foot patrols) and conducting road blocks.
The employees attached to the DS component investigate all the case dockets of the crimes that are reported. Complaints of serious crimes, domestic violence and collisions are attended to by the employees attached to the CSC. The employees attached to the Support Services component perform support or administrative duties, for example human resources management (HRM), supply chain management (SCM), finance and loss management.

The rank structure of employees

At the time at which the research activities were carried out, the SAPS ranking structure consisted of eight (8) ranking structures to which employees appointed in terms of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995interacted. The ranking structure illustrates lines of authority and is basically meant to outline the seniority of employees, and in particular the levels within which they interact. As shown in Table 3.2, the majority of employees in Moroka Police Station are inspectors, followed by constables and then student constables.
The student constables are police trainees that report to or whose performance is supervised by Field Training Officers (FTOs). Student constables are placed in different police stations after they have completed their basic police training. Employees in this rank are at the entry level of the police ranking structure. The Constables, Sergeants and Inspectors are referred to as the Non-Commissioned officers, as they have not been commissioned by the President of the Republic of South Africa (RSA), (South African Police Act 68 of 1995). Employees in these ranks perform police operational duties. The employees at the ranks of Captain, Superintendent, Senior Superintendent and Director are referred to as the commissioned officers and operate as middle and top managers. In terms of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995, Commissioned officers such as captains (junior managers), superintendents and senior superintendents (middle managers) and Directors (senior managers) also perform operational duties, but in a supervisory capacity. Following the 2005 SAPS restructuring, most of the Station Commissioners in Police Stations are Directors, especially police stations that account for large and often complex policing areas.

THE INSTITUTIONALISATION OF EAP IN THE STUDY AREA

There is no way in which one can talk of the institutionalisation of EAP in Moroka Police Station without making reference to the reasons that necessitated its institutionalisation by government in general and in the entire SAPS. The institutionalisation of EAP by the SAPS emanates from the various responsibilities that government was bestowed with by legislation during 1997. This legislation obliges government departments to render EAP services to their employees. These legislative obligations are viewed in the light of assisting government to overcome problems of poor service delivery, by improving employees’ performance. The cost of paying for EAS would be covered by government and would accrue as an employment benefit to government employees. Ideally, the EAS, as mentioned in chapters 1 and 2, are ideally meant for employees whose potential to perform is not being fully utilised due to, for example, misplacement in the workplace, inefficient recruitment, selection and/or placement procedures, uncertainty, or disruption in their careers. It is also meant for those that experience problems (such as domestic, emotional or physical problems) that impact negatively on their work performance.
Furthermore, the EAPs are meant for employees with limited abilities for satisfactory work performance, poor working relationships and morale. Whilst delivering EAS, the costs of treatment are managed in such a way that no additional expenses are incurred by the police officers. In the case of the SAPS, EAP practitioners administer EAS continuously until there are observable changes in employees’ performance. Before employees are referred for rehabilitation, the EAP practitioner checks or confirms with the police medical aid scheme (Polmed), to ascertain whether the cost of treatment at the rehabilitation centre will be paid by the medical aid. This is done to ensure that employees do not carry an extra burden of having to pay for the cost of treatment themselves. The EAP practitioners are at all times required to exhaust all treatment avenues, before they can refer the employees to external service providers.
The SAPS, upon which this research focuses enjoys legislative support for providing EAS to its employees. A few pieces of legislation that makes provision for the institutionalisation of EAP is the SAPS Act, 68 of 1995, Section 24, the SAPS Code 32 of Ethics and Conduct, Health Professions Act 56 of 1974, Social Work Amendment Act 102 of 1998 as well as the Ethical Codes of Conduct for Social Workers and the various ethical codes and church orders of religious denominations to which the various chaplains adhere to. The objectives of the SAPS’ EAP are to assist employees with the early identification and resolution of problems that affect or that have the potential to affect the work performance negatively.
The responsibility to implement EAP at the National Commissioner’s office (SAPS National Head office) is bestowed upon the Divisional Commissioner of Personnel Services, who in terms of appropriate legislation, delegates it to Section Head of the EAS and the sub-section heads of Social Work Services, Psychological Services and Spiritual Services. The persons to which the responsibility is delegated are held responsible for its effective functioning at all national units of the SAPS. The responsibility to institutionalise EAPs is further delegated to the nine provincial Commissioners in the country. With regard to the provincial structures, the responsibility is bestowed upon the Provincial Commissioners’ offices, which delegate the responsibility to Deputy Provincial Commissioners of Support Services, and further down to the provincial heads of Personnel Services, EAS and the sub-section heads of Social Work Services, Psychological Services and Spiritual Services.
Within the structures of police stations it is the responsibility of the Station Commander, who delegates the responsibility to the Head of Support Services, and further down to the Human Resource Manager. The EAS employees who used to perform EAS functions at the Area level, have post the 2005 restructuring process, been deployed to police stations. The Heads of EAS in police stations, and sometimes in a cluster of police stations, co-ordinates the functioning of the EAS component. The contact details of the EAP practitioners are communicated to all employees and managers, whether in a cluster of or individual police stations. Managers and supervisors of various working units are able to make referrals for employees to consult EAP practitioners.

Rank structure of EAP practitioners

The institutionalisation of EAP in Moroka Police Station is rather complex, since it cannot be neatly confirmed as either being an in-house or consortium. The reason underlying this complexity is that the EAP offices and EAP practitioners do not report at Moroka Police Station. Despite administering EAS to Moroka Police Station employees, EAP practitioners are responsible for administering EAS to a cluster of other six police stations, namely Jabulani, Lenasia, Lenasia South, Naledi, Protea Glen and Dobsonville. EAP practitioners provide EAP services to all employees that are attached to these police stations, including Moroka Police Station. Table 3.3 below shows the ranking structure of EAP practitioners that are attached to Moroka Cluster.
As illustrated in Table 3.3, there are seven EAP practitioners that are attached to EAP component or unit. These employees administer EAS to all employees in the Moroka Cluster. During the time at which the research activities were carried out, the unit consisted of a Section Head (at the rank of Captain) whose responsibility is to oversee all EAS activities in the cluster. There were also two Social Workers that were appointed at the rank of Captain as well. One of the captains is appointed as sub-section head of social work services, and is responsible for providing support to the section head by overseeing social work activities. There was also a Social Worker, appointed at the rank of Inspector, a Pastor, appointed at the rank of Captain and two Pastors that are appointed at the rank of Inspector.

RESEARCH DESIGN

As noted in chapter 1, employees appointed in terms of the SAPS Act 68 of 1995 at Moroka Police Station were identified as the target population for this research. For clarity purposes, the research targeted SAPS employees that are appointed in terms of the SAPS Act, 68 of 1995, who perform policing services. The main reason for choosing such a target is that, as opposed to those that perform administrative services, they tend to be severly exposed to problems explained in chapter 1. The employees that perform policing services tend to work under extreme pressure and the nature of the work that they perform is often dangerous and stressful.

Research sample

Stratified random sampling was used in selecting the respondents and three main groups of respondents were identified, i.e. non-commissioned officers, EAP practitioners and commissioner officers. In choosing respondents, a simple random selection of names from the police station’s employees was done. In total, eighteen non-commissioned officers, seventeen (17) commissioned officers, and all EAP practitioners who are responsible for the cluster served as respondents. Questionnaires were administered to commissioned officers whilst the other two groups of respondents were interviewed. The major reason underlying administering a questionnaire to commissioned officers is because, in most instances, due to the nature of the work they perform, they are often not readily available to be interviewed. Non-commissioned, as opposed to commissioned officers were accessible and made it much easier to be interviewed. In terms of the experience of the researcher, it was advantageous to get access to non-commissioned officers since they tend to be exposed to problems explained in chapter 1. The nature of their work, which is operational policing, exposes them to dangerous and traumatic situations on a daily basis. However, since they work on a shift basis, appropriate arrangements were made for the purpose of conducting the interviews. A similar procedure was followed for conducting interviews with EAP practitioners.
The ranking order of the respondents was also considered. The consideration of the ranking structure was based on the fact that at the time at which the research activities were carried out, student constables had only been deployed to Moroka Police Station a month earlier and due to their lack of experience about the functioning of the EAP were not considered potential respondents. In selecting a representative sample, the gender of respondents was also considered as important. The reason behind considering the gender profile of respondents as important is based on the researcher’s supposition that male and female employees’ experiences in the workplace are different and that they might be exposed to different challenges.
In total, 10% of the total number of non-commissioned officers in Moroka Police Station was interviewed. From those non-commissioned officers that were interviewed 57% were male and 43% were female. Due to the limited size of the EAP unit, it became possible to interview all (100%) the EAP practitioners. In terms of gender categories, 25% are male and 75% were female interviewees. The interviews were conducted in English. All categories of respondents did not articulate any problems with participating in the interviews. In total, the research population comprises 42 respondents selected from the 3 ranks of police structures.

Research methods

As explained in chapter 1, two main research methods were used to gather data for this research. Firstly, the interviews were conducted with non-commissioned police officials and EAP practitioners and secondly, a questionnaire was administered to a group of selected commissioned officers (managers) of Moroka Police Station. An explanation of the research items covered in both the interviews and questionnaire follows in the subsequent discussions.

The interviews

Standardised open-ended questions were used for the purpose of the interviews. The interviewer followed the same sequence of questions to all categories of respondents to maintain consistency whilst interviewing both non-commissioned officers and EAP practitioners. The data obtained through these interviews focused on gathering respondents’ experiences, opinions, knowledge and understanding of 36 functioning of EAP in the study area. The first group of interviewees consisted of non-commissioned officers. Since EAP offices are not located at the study area, appointments to interview them were made and they were consequently interviewed at their offices.
These arrangements were done to ensure that the respondents, as Neuman (1997:375) insists, felt comfortable and at ease. One of the most important aspects that was considered during the interviews was the privacy of the respondents and the strict interviewing procedure, that amongst other factors, introduced the interviewees to the objectives of the research, informed them of the use of the information that will be gathered from them and to basically assure them of their anonymity in the research process. The interviews were conducted on a face to face basis and hopefully all possible pressurising factors were minimalised. The interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. The purpose of recording the interviews and the use of the contents of the recordings were explained to all the interviewees.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION
1.1 Orientation and background statement
1.2 Justification of the study
1.3 Problem statement
1.4 Research objectives
1.5 Definition of concepts
1.6 Research methodology
1.7 Layout of the study
CHAPTER 2 THE FUNDEMENTAL THEORY OF EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMMES
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Employee assistance programmes
2.3 The historical origin of employee assistance programmes
2.4 The roles and functions of the EAP practitioners
2.5 The objectives of employee assistance programmes
2.6 The employer’s involvement
2.7 Employee assistance programme models
2.8 The Principles of employee assistance programmes
2.9 Benefits of employee assistance programmes
2.10 Marketing the employee assistance programmes
2.11 Conclusion
CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY
3.1 Introduction
3.2 The study area
3.3 The institutionalisation of EAP in the study area
3.4 Research design
3.5 Ethical considerations
3.6 Conclusion
CHAPTER 4 ANALYSIS AND DISCUSSION OF THE FINDINGS
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The findings of the research
4.3 Conclusion
CHAPTER 5 CONCLUDING REMARKS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Concluding remarks
5.3 Recommendations
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMME IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICE: A CASE STUDY OF MOROKA POLICE STATION

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