Original Research

The validity of five broad generic dimensions of performance in South Africa

Xander van Lill, Nicola Taylor
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 20 | a1844 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v20i0.1844 | © 2022 Xander van Lill, Nicola Taylor | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 November 2021 | Published: 15 June 2022

About the author(s)

Xander van Lill, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Product and Research, JVR Africa Group, Johannesburg, South Africa
Nicola Taylor, Management, College of Business and Economics, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa; Department of Data Enablement, JVR Africa Group, Johannesburg, South Africa

Share this article

Bookmark and Share


Orientation: Disconnected scholarly work on the theoretical and empirical structure of individual work performance negatively impacts predictive studies in human resource management. Greater standardisation in the conceptualisation and measurement of performance is required to enhance the scientific rigour with which research is conducted in human resource management in South Africa.

Research purpose: The present study aimed to conceptualise and empirically validate the structural validity of five broad generic dimensions of individual work performance, based on 20 narrow dimensions of performance.

Motivation for the study: A generic model and standardised measurement of individual work performance, measuring performance at the appropriate level of breadth and depth, may help human resource professionals to make accurate decisions about important work-based criteria and their related predictors. A validated generic model of performance could further increase the replicability of science around performance measurement in South Africa.

Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional design was implemented by asking 448 managers across several organisations to rate the performance of their subordinates on the Individual Work Performance Review (IWPR). The quantitative data were analysed by means of hierarchical confirmatory factor analyses.

Main findings: An inspection of the discriminant validity of the 20 narrow performance dimensions supported the multidimensionality of performance to a fair degree. The bifactor statistical indices, in turn, suggested that the five broad factors explained a significant amount of common variance amongst the manifest variables and could therefore be interpreted as more unidimensional.

Practical/managerial implications: Practitioners can interpret the broader performance dimensions in the IWPR as total scores, especially when high-stakes decisions are made about promoting or rewarding employees. The interpretation of the narrow performance dimensions might be more useful in low-stakes development situations. Cross-scale interpretations are encouraged to enable a holistic understanding of employees’ performance, as the narrow performance dimensions covary.


individual work performance; generic performance; performance measurement; hierarchical factor analysis; five-factor model


Total abstract views: 207
Total article views: 125

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.