This article examines the response of three medium-sized South African manufacturing companies to HIV/AIDS. It is argued that the response is heavily influenced by managerial conceptions of workplace order — sometimes divergent from industrial realities — which results in the selective inclusion and omission of best-practice components. The role of peer educators and traditional healers within workplace programmes, and the handling of folk theories developed independently by workers, are used to illustrate the particular nature of workplace responses. Ideologically based selection of best-practice components is likely to limit the success of workplace HIV/AIDS programmes and result in slow development and improvement.
Keywords: business responses; colonialisation; indigenous knowledge; social distance; unitarist management; worldviews
African Journal of AIDS Research 2005, 4(1): 11–20