Original Research

Measurement of the perceptions of human resource practices in a seemingly collectivistic culture

Anton Grobler, Sonja Grobler, Rose Mathafena
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1069 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1069 | © 2019 Anton Grobler, Sonja Grobler, Rose Mathafena | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 April 2018 | Published: 08 April 2019

About the author(s)

Anton Grobler, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa
Sonja Grobler, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Rose Mathafena, Graduate School of Business Leadership, University of South Africa, Midrand, South Africa

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Orientation: Human resources (HR) practices and specifically the perceptions thereof are not only important for organisational strategy and performance but have a direct impact on employee attitudes and behaviour. The accurate measurement of these perceptions is therefore important.

Research purpose: The goal of this study was to validate the Human Resource Practices Perceptions Questionnaire for the South African context (which is unique in terms of its apparent collectivistic nature), from an etic perspective.

Motivation for the study: The accurate measurement of employees’ perception of HR practices are essential to give the organisation a competitive advantage. This study was done to validate a HR practices perceptions questionnaire in a seemingly collectivistic context.

Research approach/design and method: This study is based on a cross-sectional survey design, collecting primary data on the perceptions of HR practices from 1676 South African employees in public and private sector organisations. An exploratory (EFA) and confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) were conducted.

Main findings: The EFA and CFA yielded a slightly different permutation compared to the initial factor structure. A nine-factor structure was extracted and confirmed. A slight adjustment of the original questionnaire was required to incorporate performance evaluation with a teamwork focus and to differentiate training from development. It was further found that invariance exists when comparing the private and the public sectors.

Practical/managerial implications: It was found that the instrument had to be adjusted for the South African context to ensure an accurate measurement of employees’ perceptions of HR practices.

Contribution/value-add: The instrument has been validated and can thus be used with confidence to assess the perceptions of HR practices regardless of the sector. It thus provides an accurate measurement that can be used to predict or explain other employee behavioural outcomes in relation to their perceptions of the HR practices.


collectivism; collectivist culture; human resource practices; human resource practices perceptions; ubuntu


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