Bemarkingsgerigtheid in 'n vakbond van die Suid-Afrikaanse polisiediens
De Jager, Johannes Wilhelmus
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A MARKETING ORIENTATION FOR A TRADE UNION IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN POLICE SERVICES 1. INTRODUCTION Trade unions have become very important in South Africa during the last couple of years. Any organisation that wishes to ensure its survival and to maintain its continued market share, shcu!d adapt to the needs of its customers. In the case of trade unions, this is of paramount importance, since the trade unions have to represent their members when negotiating for better working conditions. In an attempt to achieve maximum member representation, the trade union has to ensure that it offers what its members need. A decline in membership was experienced by the South African Police Union (SAPU) during the year prior to the corr~mencement of this investigation. The reason outlined above served as motivation for this study. 2. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY 2.1 Primary objectives The primary objectives of the study are to investigate the extent of marketing orientation in the South African Police Union and to formulate guidelines that will enable trade unions in general to implement marketing principles. 2.2 Secondary objectives The following secondary objectives can be outlined in support of the primary objectives: - To investigate marketing in non-profit organisations and to determine whether or not the marketing concept can be applied to trade unions. - To investigate the marketing planning process, and accordingly, formulate a marketing strategy for a trade union. - To investigate consumer behaviour in terms of the services provided by SAPU. - To investigate the existing elements of the marketing mix, namely, the product, price, distribution, marketing communication and internal marketing, and to make recommendations on increasing their effectiveness. - Derived from the above, members' attitudes and their perceptions of the existing and potential services will be evaluated to determine certain opportunities and threats. Comparisons will be made with services provided by the competing unions, namely, the PSA and POPCRU. A distinction will be made between internal services provided by SAPU and external services provided by independent external agents. Selected information on the PSA will be obtained from its members and compared to the information received from members of SAPU. 3. METHOD OF RESEARCH 3.1 Literature In the course of this study, in-depth use was made of literature on marketing in general, services, non-profit organisations and trade unions. 3.2 Empirical research The research method applied in this study was the survey method, where questionnaires were distributed by fieldworkers amongst members of SAPU's National Executive Council, trade union representatives, their employees and trade union members. Questionnaires were also handed out to members of the PSA. Although a similar questionnaire to the one that had been used for the members of SAPU was used, a limited number of selected questions only were used for purposes of comparison. 3.2 Study population The study population comprised four groups of people. It included all SAPU's National Executive Council (NEC members); delegations of employees and representatives of the trade union; and SAPU's members. Questionnaires were also distributed amongst members of the PSA. All the National Executive Council members were interviewed, while all the delegations of the trade union's employees and representatives at a conference held in 1996 were interviewed. Members of both SAPU and the PSA were chosen by means of a stratified sample per region, language group and rank. In the case of SAPU, a representative sample of 900 respondents was chosen and they were provided with questionnaires. The questionnaires were, firstly, divided proportionately per region according to the stratified sample method. Secondly, an attempt was made to reflect the characteristics of the population's rank and, thirdly, the population's home language. Approximately 600 questionnaires were returned, which represents a response rate of 67%. In the case the PSA, 600 questionnaires were distributed according to the same method and 206 questionnaires were returned. This represents a response rate of 34%, and the completed questionnaires were used to compare certain information with information provided by SAPU members. 4. FINDINGS The followirlg major findings resulted from the study: - It was observed that, although clear marketing objectives do not exist in the South African Police Union, the top management seemed to be committed to the implemention of marketing principles in general. - It is important that trade unions should implement planned marketing strategies. This involves the investigation of the trade union's internal and external environment and the planning of its future activities, especially those aimed at satisfying the needs of the customers. - Positive consumer behaviour, consumer perception and consumer expectations are important requirements for the successful functioning of a trade union. - The most important reason for joining the trade union is ,the fact that collective bargaining services are provided to all trade union members. The trade union members have a limited knowledge of the external services that are provided, and they should be better informed. .Because of the standardised nature of trade union offers, differentiated benefits should be provided through service quality contributions. - Membership fees of R15 per month are regarded as fair and a limited increase of the fees may be considered. However, it seems as if membership fees are an important consideration for continued membership. - The distribution system seems to be adequate. More visits to members will however be appreciated for providing internal and external services. - The most important methods of communicating with the target market are by means of public relations and by conveying the message in person. - Internal marketing principles are regarded as very important in ensuring the recruitment of the most suitable employees and retaining them. 5. CONCLUSION The aim of trade unions when negotiating for labour-related affairs is to represent their members. As is the case with other organisations, the success of trade unions depends on their determining and fulfilment of members' needs. This goal can only be achieved if the management of the trade union is committed to achieving the above and if this philosophy is shared by all the trade union's employees and representatives who deal with the interests of the members.