The establishment of implicit personality perspectives among isiNdebele-speaking South Africans
De Beer, Leon Tielman
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Most psychometric instruments used in South Africa are based on Western theory. Questions have arisen on the suitability and validity of these instruments in this context. Usually tests are imported from foreign countries and then applied with the same confidence in terms of the accuracy and prediction that these tests have in those foreign countries. However, studies in recent times have found that there exist numerous problems with these assessments in the South African context. In South Africa personality assessment instruments are used for the purpose of recruitment, placement, to identify training and development and for performance appraisal of workers. Currently none of the available personality questionnaires have been found to be reliable and valid for all cultural groups. This presents a particular predicament seeing as the Labour Relations Act (66 of 1995), which regulates the use of these assessments, states that these tests are prohibited unless they are shown to be scientifically valid, reliable and can be fairly applied over all without any discrimination. The objectives of this study were to investigate how personality is conceptualised in literature, to identify problems with personality measurement in South Africa, to explore how personality perspectives could be determined and to investigate the personality descriptive terms of the Ndebele people. A qualitative research design was used with an interview as data-gathering instrument. isiNdebele-speaking fieldworkers were recruited to interview 107 isiNdebele-speaking South Africans from the Mpumalanga Province. A total of 4165 responses were obtained from the respondents and translated into English. Content analysis was used to analyse, interpret and reduce these descriptors to a total of 151 personality facets. The personality characteristics were divided into nine categories, namely: Agreeable, Tough-minded, Gregarious, Emotional Stability, Conscientious, Self-absorbed, Intellect/Open, Influential and Relationship Harmony. These findings were compared to the Five Factor Model and evidence was found for all of its dimensions. Recommendations for future research were made.