Original Research

Investigating the validity of the Human Resource Practices Scale in South Africa: Measurement invariance across gender

Renier Steyn, Gideon de Bruin
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 16 | a1038 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v16i0.1038 | © 2018 Renier Steyn, Gideon De Bruin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 January 2018 | Published: 18 October 2018

About the author(s)

Renier Steyn, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Gideon de Bruin, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

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Orientation: The effective delivery of human resource management (HRM) services is often associated with positive organisational outcomes, including innovation. Within the context of HRM service delivery, as well as within the scope of innovative behaviour, gender differences are often researched.

Research purpose: To effectively research the role of HRM services in organisations, including the effects thereof on innovation, instruments that yield valid and invariant measures for men and women are required.

Motivation for the study: To date no measurement invariance research on the Human Resource Practices Scale (HRPS), with reference to gender, could be located. Researchers and practitioners alike should be hesitant to use the HRPS without such information.

Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional quantitative survey design was used. The present study addressed the measurement invariance for the HRPS across men and women, applying pairwise multigroup confirmatory factor analyses with robust maximum likelihood estimation to examine four levels of measurement invariance across the groups. Data from 2936 employees, representing 52 South African organisations, were used.

Main findings: Results support the construct validity of the HRPS and demonstrate strict measurement invariance for the HRPS across gender, which implies that the HRPS yields scores with equivalent meaning, measurement units and measurement precision for men and women.

Practical/managerial implications: It will therefore be possible to test hypotheses regarding mean differences between men and women as well the relationship between the effective delivery of HRM services and positive organisational outcomes without fear that the HRPS will yield gender-biased results.

Contribution/value-add: The research demonstrates that the items of the HRPS are valid for both men and women, suggesting that men and women have similar experience of the workplace. This finding should advance debate and research regarding the segregated delivery of HRM services and gender matters in general.


Human Resource Practices Scale; human resource management; measurement invariance; gender; South Africa


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