Original Research

Validation of the Thomson, Perry and Miller (2007) Collaboration Instrument in the South African context

Debbie Roberts, René van Wyk, Nelesh Dhanpat
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a793 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.793 | © 2017 Debbie Roberts, René van Wyk, Nelesh Dhanpat | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 January 2016 | Published: 27 February 2017

About the author(s)

Debbie Roberts, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
René van Wyk, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Nelesh Dhanpat, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Collaboration is deemed important in today’s connected and complex business environment. People’s ability to collaborate with each other in organisations is becoming a business imperative. This study focuses on a valid measurement of collaboration within organisations.

Research purpose: Thomson, Perry and Miller (2007) developed a collaboration measurement instrument in the United States. The aim of this study was to validate this instrument for a South African context.

Motivation for the study: South African organisations face unique challenges that require optimal use of resources to improve business results. Effective collaboration is considered a powerful strategy to achieve this. Measuring the extent of collaboration can help to identify required changes in business practices. As far as could be established, there is no evidence of collaboration instruments developed and validated in South Africa.

Research design, approach and method: Additional items were designed for further development of the Thomson, Perry and Miller (2007) Collaboration Instrument sub-scales, as suggested by the authors. The revised questionnaire consisting of 31 (17 existing, 14 new) items was distributed electronically to 4200 employees in two organisations, with 343 valid responses received. Reliability and construct validity were tested, as was convergent validity of the norms factor with the Trust in Teams Scale.

Main findings: The results of the study support a four-factor, 29-item model of collaboration when applied to a South African sample. Cronbach’s alpha ranged between 0.85 and 0.95. Confirmatory Factor Analysis fits were at an acceptable level. Convergent validity showed a moderate fit with the data.

Practical/managerial implications: South African managers and human resources practitioners can utilise results to foster a collaborative environment.

Contribution/value-add: This study builds on the theoretical concept of collaboration as defined by Thomson, Perry and Miller (2007).


Keywords

complexity; competitiveness; innovation; performance; knowledge management

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