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

Thembisile Molose, Peta Thomas, Geoff Goldman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera692
JournalActa Commercii
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Delphmethod
  • South Africa
  • Ubuntu
  • Ubuntu management
  • antecedents
  • exploratory study
  • hospitality
  • hotel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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