Original Research

A qualitative approach to developing measurement scales for the concept of Ubuntu

Thembisile Molose, Peta Thomas, Geoff Goldman
Acta Commercii | Vol 19, No 1 | a692 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v19i1.692 | © 2019 Thembisile Molose, Peta Thomas, Geoff Goldman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 July 2018 | Published: 26 August 2019

About the author(s)

Thembisile Molose, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Peta Thomas, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Geoff Goldman, Department of Business Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: This article provides a theoretical consolidation of Ubuntu antecedents to encourage understanding of the relationship between Ubuntu and organisational management.

Research purpose: The Ubuntu conceptual elements – compassion, survival, group solidarity and respect and dignity – are appraised in the context of South African hospitality management.

Motivation for the study: Ubuntu elements were identified as a regional sub-cultural influence in South Africa in Hofstede’s 1983 research on the influence of culture in managing organisations. Understanding the role of Ubuntu in management is argued as being important to effectively manage culturally diverse work teams in South Africa.

Research design, approach and method: Qualitative data were collected from judgementally selected hospitality industry participants (stage 1) as to their perceptions of antecedents of Ubuntu applicable to hotel frontline employee management. Consequently, a Delphi method (stage 2) was applied asking eight purposefully selected participants to review the proposed sub-variables of the four Ubuntu elements derived from stage 1 to establish a theoretical Ubuntu measurement scale.

Main findings: The research proposes a theoretical measurement scale for the four broad concepts of Ubuntu.

Practical/managerial implications: Theoretically, this article contributes to management research for managing service orientated businesses. Practically, this research stresses the importance of Ubuntu motivational forces as mechanisms that service managers can implement in stimulating group collective achievement of organisational goals.

Contribution/value-add: Ubuntu research has predominantly been conceptual related only to four elements (compassion, survival, group solidarity and respect and dignity) and no previous research has delineated antecedents for these elements to propose a multidimensional quantitative measurement scale for Ubuntu.


Keywords

South Africa; Ubuntu; hospitality; hotel; antecedents; Ubuntu management; Delphi method; exploratory study

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