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Industrial relations in Botswana – workplace conflict: behind the diamond sparkle

Motsomi Ndala Marobela (Department of Management, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana)

Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies

ISSN: 2045-0621

Publication date: 5 March 2014

Issue publication date: 5 March 2014


Subject area

Management: human resources management.

Study level/applicability

Undergraduate and postgraduate.

Case overview

This case gives critical insights in the complex issues surrounding the management of employment relationship in Africa, specifically focusing on Botswana. It is set in the context of explosive industrial relations involving Debswana Diamond Mining Company and the Botswana Mine Workers Union over the contentious issues of pay bonus and collective bargaining. Failure to reach an amicable compromise by both parties' results in a debilitating strike which costs the company millions of funds and affected it's the corporate image contrary to its well crafted social responsibility. More painfully, the end game is a loss of employment and dreams shattered for 461 dismissed workers who depended solely on this work as their only source of income.

Expected learning outcomes

At the end of reading the case students are expected to: understand the limits of managerial prerogative and the right to manage; appreciate the inherent conflict of interests between labour and capital; consider more equitable compensation schemes in dealing with collective bargaining; and discuss the concept of social responsibility in the context internal customers-employees.

Supplementary materials

Teaching note.



The author would like to thank Kerstin Marobela for reading through this case and her good suggestions that helped to enrich the paper.


Marobela, M.N. (2014), "Industrial relations in Botswana – workplace conflict: behind the diamond sparkle", Emerald Emerging Markets Case Studies, Vol. 4 No. 2.



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