Modification, elaboration and empirical evaluation of the Burger learning potential structural model

Prinsloo, Jessica (2013-12)

Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South Africa‟s social political past that was led by the Apartheid system has deprived the majority of South Africans of the opportunity to develop and accumulate human capital. As a result, this political system has left this country with a range of challenges including; a shortage of critical skills in the marketplace, high unemployment and poverty rates, inequality in terms of income distribution, unequal racial representation in the workplace, together with other social challenges such as high crime rates, extensive poverty, horrendous living conditions and a consequent increasing dependence on social grants (Van Heerden, 2013). These challenges prohibit this country from realising its global competitive potential. Organisations are primarily affected by these struggles faced by the country, and their continuous fight with these legacies of Apartheid is especially evident when they try to comply with the two responsibilities that form part of the personnel selection function. These include their responsibility to (1) employ the „best‟ employee for the job to result in the production of products and services of high economic utility, and (2) to act under moral, economic, political and legal pressure to diversify their workforce (Theron, 2009). Due to South Africa‟s past political system, the majority previously disadvantaged individuals have underdeveloped job competency potential which currently prohibits them from succeeding in the world of work. Consequently, if organisations try to comply with their first responsibility, the process of selecting the „best‟ employee results in adverse impact. If organisations comply with their second responsibility through traditional affirmative action measures, they allow incompetent employees to be appointed. The incompetence is not due to one race having fundamentally less competency potential then another. It is because South Africa‟s intellectual capital is not, and has not been uniformly developed and distributed across races (Burger, 2012). This current situation faced by organisations should be dealt with for three important reasons. Firstly, a solution could improve the global competitiveness of this country. Secondly, a solution could contribute to solving the social challenges faced by this country, and lastly, not only because the situation could possible become precarious, but simple because it is the right thing to do. It is not implied that affirmative action should be abolished. This study rather suggests that the interpretation of affirmative action should change and the focus of this corrective policy should shift to a more developmental approach. This entails that more emphasis should be placed on providing the previously disadvantaged with the necessary training and development to foster the needed competency potential to succeed in the world of work. However, resources for these developmental opportunities are scarce, and as a result, a need exist to identify a method that could identify individuals who will gain maximum benefit from these suggested affirmative development opportunities. Consequently, a need exist to identify individuals who display the highest potential to learn and to create the conditions conducive for learners with high learning potential to actualise that potential. In order to successfully identify the individuals who display a high level of learning potential and to create the person- and environmental characteristics that have to be present to facilitate successful learning, the learning potential construct must be understood. De Goede (2007), Burger (2012), and Van Heerden (2013) have completed research studies on this specific construct, and to assist in the understanding of the complexity of this construct, it made more empirical sense to build on existing structural models. This should result in the production of a more complete understanding of learning and the determinants of learning performance. The objective of this study was therefore to modify and elaborate the Burger (2012) learning potential structural model by expanding the model with the inclusion of additional non-cognitive variables. The proposed hypothesised learning potential structural model was empirically evaluated. The measurement model achieved good close fit. However, the first analysis of the structural model only obtained reasonable model fit. After the consideration of the full range of fit indices, standardised residuals, modification indices and parameter estimates, a few modifications were made to the model. The final revised structural model achieved good fit. All of the paths in the final model were empirically corroborated. The limitations of the research methodology, the practical implications of this study, and recommendations for future research are also discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Suid-Afrika se verlede wat gelei was deur die Apartheidsisteem, het die meeste Suid-Afrikaners die geleentheid om toegang tot ontwikkelingsgeleenthede ontneem. Dit het gelei tot die onderontwikkeling van meeste Suid-Afrikaners se bevoegdheidspotensiaal wat hulle moet help om die eise wat tans in die wêreld van werk aan hul gestel word suksesvol te hanteer. Dié politieke sisteem het veroorsaak dat Suid-Afrika „n reeks probleme ervaar, insluitende; „n tekort aan kritieke vaardighede in die mark, baie hoë werkloosheid en armoede, ongelykheid in terme van inkomste-verdeling en ongelyke rasverteenwoordiging in die werksplek, asook oormatige misdaad, afskuwelike leefsomstandighede vir meeste Suid-Afrikaners, en „n toenemende afhanklikheid van maatskaplike toelaes (Van Heerden, 2013). Hierdie uitdagings verhoed dat Suid-Afrika sy globale mededingendheidspotentiaal realiseer. Organisasies word direk deur hierdie uitdagings beïnvloed, en hulle deurlopende worsteling met hierdie nalatenskap van Apartheid is veral duidelik wanneer hulle probeer voldoen aan twee vereistes wat personeelkeuring stel. Hierdie sluit in (1) om die mees bevoegde werknemers aan te stel wat produkte/dienste van hoë kwaliteit en hoë ekonomiese nut verseker, en (2) om die werksplek onder morele, ekonomiese, politieke en wetlike druk te diversifiseer (Theron, 2009). As gevolg van Suid-Afrika se Apartheidsisteem, het die meeste indiwidue onderontwikkelde werksbevoegdheidspotensiaal wat hulle verhoed om suksesvol te wees in hulle aanstellings. Die gevolg daarvan is dat, sodra organisasies poog om aan die eerste verantwoordelikheid van personeelkeuring te voldoen dan lei die keuring tot nadelige impak. As organisasies aan die ander kant poog om aan die tweede verantwoordelikheid te voldoen deur die implimentering van tradisionele regstellende aksie, dan laat hulle onbevoegde indiwidue toe om in „n pos in te tree. Hierdie onbevoegdheid is nie die gevolg van „n fundamentele verskil in bevoegdheidspotensiaal tussen rassegroepe nie. Dit is die gevolg van die feit dat Suid-Afrika se intellektuele potentiaal nie eweredig tussen rasse ontwikkel is nie (Burger, 2012). Die huidige situasie waarin organisasies hul bevind moet op gelos word om drie belangrike redes. „n Oplossing kan eerstens die globale mededigendheid van die land verbeter. „n Oplossing kan tweedens die druk van die geïdentifiseerde sosiale uitdagings verlig, en laastens, „n oplossing is nodig nie net omdat ons huidige situasie moontlik haglik kan word nie, maar eenvoudig omdat dit die regte ding is om te doen. Daar word glad nie geïmpliseer dat regstellende aksie tot niet gemaak moet word nie. Hierdie studie stel slegs voor dat die interpretasie van regstellende aksie asook die fokus daarvan „n meer ontwikkelings-benadering moet aaneem. Dit behels dat „n groter klem daarop geplaas moet word om lede van voorheen benadeelde groepe die geleenthede te gee om die nodige bevoegdheidspotensiaal te ontwikkel om suksesvol in the werksplek te wees. Hulpbronne vir hierdie ontwikkelingsgeleenthede is egter beperk. Die behoefte bestaan dus om daardie indiwidue te identifieer wat die grootste voordeel hieruit sal trek. Daarom is dit nodig om eerstens indiwidue wat die hoogste vlak van leerpotensiaal het te identifiseer, en tweedens om die omstandighede/kondisies te skep wat hierdie leerpotensiaal sal laat aktualiseer. Om uiteindelik sulke indiwidue te identifiseer asook om die persoon- en omgewingstoestande te skep wat as voorvereistes vir suksesvolle leer geld, moet die leerpotensiaalkonstruk verstaan word. Leerpotensiaalnavorsings-studies deur De Goede (2007), Burger (2012), en Van Heerden (2013) is reeds voltooi, maar om die kompleksiteit van hierdie konstruk ten volle te verstaan moet opeenvolgende studies onderneem word. Hierdie studie het gevolglik gefokus op die uitbreiding van hierdie bestaande modelle om sodoende „n meer volledige begrip van leerprestasie te ontwikkel. Die doel van hierdie studie was daarom om die bestaande Burger (2012) leerpotensiaal strukturele model te wysig en uit te brei deur die toevoeging van addisionele nie-kognitiewe veranderlikes. Die strukturele model was empiries ge-ëvalueer en die metingsmodel het „n goeie passing getoon. Die strukturele model het aanvanklik slegs „n redelike passing bereik, maar na die oorweging van die volle spektrum pasgehaltemaatstawwe, gestandaardiseerde residue, modifikasie-indekse and parameterskattings is „n aantal wysigings aan die model aangebring. Die finaal-gewysigde strukturele model het goed gepas. Al die bane in die finale model is empiries bevestig. Die beperkinge van die navorsingsmetodiek, die praktiese implikasies van die studie en aanbevelinge vir toekomstige navorsing was ook bespreek.

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