Original Research

Exploring the current application of professional competencies in human resource management in the South African context

Nico Schutte, Nicolene Barkhuizen, Lidewey van der Sluis
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a724 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.724 | © 2015 Nico Schutte, Nicolene Barkhuizen, Lidewey van der Sluis | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 June 2015 | Published: 30 November 2015

About the author(s)

Nico Schutte, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa
Nicolene Barkhuizen, Department of Industrial Psychology, North-West University, Mafikeng Campus, South Africa
Lidewey van der Sluis, Strategiese Talent Management, Nyenrode Business, the Netherlands; Optentia Research Unit, North-West University, South Africa

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Orientation: Human research (HR) practitioners have an important role to play in the sustainability and competitiveness of organisations. Yet their strategic contribution and the value they add remain unrecognised.

Research purpose: The main objective of this research was to explore the extent to which HR practitioners are currently allowed to display HR competencies in the workplace, and whether any significant differences exist between perceived HR competencies, based on the respondents’ demographic characteristics.

Motivation for the study: Limited empirical research exists on the extent to which HR practitioners are allowed to display key competencies in the South African workplace.

Research approach, design, and method: A quantitative research approach was followed. A Human Resource Management Professional Competence Questionnaire was administered to HR practitioners and managers (N = 481).

Main findings: The results showed that HR competencies are poorly applied in selected South African workplaces. The competencies that were indicated as having the poorest application were talent management, HR metrics, HR business knowledge, and innovation. The white ethic group experienced a poorer application of all human research management (HRM) competencies compared to the black African ethnic group.

Practical/managerial implications: The findings of the research highlighted the need for management to evaluate the current application of HR practices in the workplace and also the extent to which HR professionals are involved as strategic business partners.

Contribution/value-add: This research highlights the need for the current application of HR competencies in South African workplaces to be improved.


Business Intelligence, Human Resource Competencies, Human Resource Management, Leadership, Professionalism


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Crossref Citations

1. Bangladesh HR professionals’ competencies
Verma Prikshat, Kumar Biswas, Alan Nankervis, Md. Rakibul Hoque
Evidence-based HRM: a Global Forum for Empirical Scholarship  vol: 6  issue: 2  first page: 203  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1108/EBHRM-12-2017-0064