The cross-cultural application of the social axioms survey in the South African Police Service
Beliefs are social in nature. and are widely shared within social groups, such as cultures. Shared beliefs reflect how people construct their social world and how they seek meaning and understanding of social realities. and they are context specific. General beliefs are context free and related to a wide spectrum of social behaviours across diverse contexts, actors, targets and periods. These general beliefs function like axioms in mathematics, thus they are basic premises that people endorse and on which they rely to guide their actions. A better understanding of beliefs can therefore be a useful instrument in managing a diverse workforce, such as the workforce found in South Africa. The objectives of this study were to investigate the replicability of the Social Axioms Survey (SAS) in the South African Police Service (SAPS), to examine the construct equivalence and item bias. and to assess the reliability. A cross-sectional survey design was used. The study population consisted of applicants (N=1535) who applied for jobs in the SAPS. The SAS instrument was administered. Descriptive statistics, exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses, scale and item level analysis and estimation of reliability were used to analyse the results. An exploratory factor analysis utilising target rotation applied on all 60 items of the SAS revealed four interpretable factors (Factor 1 = Social Cynicism; Factor 2 = Reward for Application; Factor 4 = Fate Control; and Factor 5 = Spirituality Religiosity) congruent with the model of Leung et al. (2002). The third factor, namely Social Complexity did not replicate. Values of Tucker's phi higher than 0.90 were found for seven culture groups (Zulu, Sotho, Tswana, Swati, Tsonga, Venda and Pedi). This provided a strong indication of the structural equivalence. Analyses of variance showed that item bias was not a major disturbance. Cronbach's alpha reported lower levels of reliability. Recommendations for future research were made.