n South African Journal of Labour Relations - Generic vs specific : re-thinking the way we manage performance

Volume 37, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0379-8410
  • E-ISSN: 2520-3223



The aim of the study was to determine whether the performance management process at the level of director positions at a South African higher education institution should follow a generic or a specific approach. The population consisted of 58 positions and a mixed method approach was used. Statistically significant differences between the categories of directors' positions with regard to the identified job evaluation variables as well as actual performance rating scores were tested by means of a one-way ANOVA and, where applicable, Scheffe's post-hoc test was used to determine which specific means differed. A qualitative analysis of the generic performance agreement template assigned to all the directors' positions and the actual performance agreements was performed to draw comparisons and to identify certain trends. The results of the qualitative and quantitative analysis revealed a clear differentiation between the directors' positions and there was no consistent use of the directors' performance agreement template, with certain objectives tending to be scaled down. The findings of this study inform HR practitioners and organisations that the performance management process needs to be linked to specific job criteria, thereby enabling objective feedback and development initiatives for individual employees and should ultimately contribute to improved performance management practices in the South African work context.

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