Original Research

Performance management as a mediator for work engagement and employment relationships in the public sector in South Africa

Godfrey Maake, Cornelia P. Harmse, Cecilia M. Schultz
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1507 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1507 | © 2021 Godfrey Maake, Cornelia P. Harmse, Cecilia M. Schultz | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 November 2020 | Published: 09 November 2021

About the author(s)

Godfrey Maake, Department of Business and Information Management Services, Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa
Cornelia P. Harmse, Department of Business and Information Management Services, Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa
Cecilia M. Schultz, Department of People Management and Development, Faculty of Management Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: To improve service delivery to its citizens, the South African public sector should aim to improve employees’ performance by implementing effective performance management that would impact positively on work engagement and employment relationships.

Research purpose: The primary objective of this study was to determine whether performance management could be a mediator for work engagement and employment relationships in the public sector in South Africa.

Motivation for the study: The success of the public sector relies primarily on performance management that strengthens work engagement and employment relationships, which in turn positively influence employee performance. Managers need to understand the influence of performance management on work engagement and employment relationships.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative approach was employed. Non-probability purposive sampling was used to select 400 permanent employees with more than 5 years of experience at job levels 1–12 in eight national departments based in Gauteng. A structured questionnaire was utilised as a data collection method in this study. The questionnaire for the study was divided into four sections and consisted of 74 Likert-scale questions.

Main findings: This study showed a moderate correlation between performance management and work engagement and a strong correlation between performance management and employment relationships. This study indicated that performance management was indeed a mediator between work engagement and employment relationships.

Practical/managerial implications: Management should ensure that employees understand the function of performance management as a whole, display a positive attitude towards the implementation of performance management, ensure that employees’ Key Performance Indicator (KPIs) adequately reflect their areas of responsibility, motivate the use of performance management through the reward structure and finally, training and orientation on performance management should also be provided to newly appointed and existing staff members to ensure strong work engagement and good employment relationships.

Contribution/value-add: Contribution of the study to knowledge and practice surrounding performance management, work engagement and employment relationships. The contribution of this study is to impress on managers and leaders the influence of performance management on work engagement and employment relationships.


Keywords

performance; service delivery; management system; transparent; unbiased

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