An exploration of social desirability within the white Afrikaans–speaking group
South Africa has gone through immense changes in the past two decades. The period around 1994 has been characterised by a comprehensive set of political, social and economic changes, which greatly influenced not only the lives of individuals in this county but also many businesses, organisations and companies. Further to this, South Africa has become increasingly intercultural in orientation as companies persevered in establishing intricate networks with partners in a diverse set of cultures. This has put enormous strain on organisations to remain competitive in the market. It is critical that organisations develop a more resilient workforce with greater psychological capacities to succeed in the on-going war for talent. Attracting and retaining talented employees can give organisations a sustained competitive advantage. In view of the growing intricacies in the business world, ambiguity in markets, and employees’ attitudes, it is crucial that organisations invest in psychological assessments. However, investing in valid and reliable psychological assessments has become more difficult due to vast cultural diversity South Africa comprises off. The general objective of this study was to explore social desirability in the white Afrikaans group. A qualitative design was used and a quota non-probability sampling method was implemented among white Afrikaans-speaking people of South Africa (N=60), who differed from one another with regard to age, gender and socio-economic status. The measuring instrument was a semi-structured interview, which was based on the phenomenological approach. The results of the interviews were transcribed and captured in Excel. Content analysis was used to interpret the responses in socially desirable themes. Independent psychologists and language and cultural experts were employed in order to validate the initial interpretations. The descriptive terms were reduced through the use of cluster analysis. The analysis included the grouping of synonyms and antonyms, together with the use of dictionaries, literature and knowledge about content. In the representation of social desirability and impression management strategies within the white Afrikaner group, six main themes with sixty sub-themes in total were identified. The six themes are facilitating, gender-based, intellect-openness, interpersonal relatedness, intrapersonal relatedness and value-based. Firstly, to facilitate others by giving advice and guidance will be seen as desirable and make a favourable impression. Secondly, to display characteristics that are typically associated with males and females, such as masculinity and femininity, will be seen as desirable and can make a positive impression. Thirdly, having a unique natural ability or skill and being receptive to new and different ideas will be seen as desirable and make a good impression on others. Fourthly, remaining constructive in one’s relationships, and fifthly, remaining constructive in one’s inner thoughts and possessing inner confidence and having respect will make a favourable impression and can be seen as socially desirable. Lastly, exhibiting moral consciousness and being trustworthy, loyal and reliable will make a positive impression and will be perceived as desirable by the white Afrikaner group. Recommendations for future research and for practice were made.