The establishment of implicit perspectives of personality in Sesotho-speaking South Africans
Kruger, Sonet Beatrice
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The application of personality assessment techniques for clinical and personnel decisions has always been a major activity for psychologists all over the world. In South Africa personality assessment tools are often used for purposes of selection, placement, determination of job satisfaction and development. Psychological testing in South Africa was originally initiated with white test-takers in mind, and currently none of the available personality questionnaires used in South Africa have been found to provide a reliable and valid picture of personality for all cultural (language) groups. Since 1994 South Africa has had a new constitution and there are stronger demands for the cultural appropriateness of psychological tests. In this study, the implicit perspectives of personality of Sesotho-speaking South Africans are being determined in order to develop a more culturally fair personality assessment tool for South Africans. A qualitative research design was used with an interview as data-gathering instrument. A Sesotho-speaking fieldworker was recruited to interview 120 Sesotho-speaking South Africans from the Free State Province. The study population was purposely drawn from different sections of the Sesotho-speaking population. A total of 4873 Sesotho-speaker personality descriptors were obtained from the participants and then translated into English. Content analysis was used to analyse, interpret and reduce these descriptors to a total of 94 personality characteristics, which highlights the most important perspectives of personality for Sesotho-speaking individuals. The personality characteristics were divided into seven categories, namely sociability, interpersonal relatedness, emotionality, meanness, conscientiousness, dominance and other. The majority of the characteristics are representative of communalism or the collective consciousness in African communities. Sesotho-speaking persons are socially active and are sympathetic, caring and tolerant towards others, they are willing to become involved in the feelings, problems and welfare of others. The findings of this study were compared to the Five Factor Model and evidence were found for the extraversion, conscientiousness, neuroticism and agreeableness factors, but not for the openness to experience factor. In comparison with the Chinese Personality Assessment Inventory support were found for 17 of the 22 personality scales. Characteristics such as admonitory, resourcefulness, religion, humour, fair, judgemental and discriminating can be seen as characteristics indigenous to the Sesotho culture. Limitations in the research are identified and recommendations for future research are made.
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