Original Research

The validity of world class business criteria across developed and developing countries

Andre J. Parker, Theo H. Veldsman
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 8, No 1 | a255 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v8i1.255 | © 2010 Andre J. Parker, Theo H. Veldsman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 15 September 2009 | Published: 11 November 2010

About the author(s)

Andre J. Parker, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Theo H. Veldsman, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation: World class implies being able to respond effectively to the prevailing business challenges in a manner that surpasses competitors and to compete effectively in the global economy.

Research purpose: To assess the validity of the general assumption in the literature that world class criteria are equally applicable worldwide.

Motivation for research: The possibility exists that developing countries require an adjusted mix of world class criteria and practices to become globally competitive.

Research design, approach and method: A quantitative field survey research approach was adopted. A web-enabled questionnaire was designed, covering 35 world class practices grouped under 7 world class criteria. A cross-section of the senior management from 14 developing and 20 developed country’s organisations partook in the study.

Main findings: It was empirically confirmed that the majority of world class practices posited in the literature are used by participating organisations; that world class criteria do not apply equally across developed and developing countries; and that more important than country location, is the deliberate choice by an organisation’s leadership to become world class. An empirically based model of ascending to world class was proposed.

Practical/managerial implications: Regardless of country location, the leadership of an organisation can make their organisation world class by applying the proposed world class model.

Contribution/value add: A reliable web enabled instrument was designed that can be used to assess an organisation’s world class standing; the assumption that world class criteria are equally valid across developing and developed countries was proven partially incorrect; since becoming or being world class is also a leadership choice regardless of location.


Business; developed countries; developing countries; world class criteria; world class practices


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Crossref Citations

1. A change navigation-based, scenario planning process within a developing world context from an Afro-centric leadership perspective
Chris A. Geldenhuys, Theo H. Veldsman
SA Journal of Human Resource Management  vol: 9  issue: 1  year: 2011  
doi: 10.4102/sajhrm.v9i1.265