Original Research

Development and preliminary validation of the work-unit performance questionnaire

Jonathan Seland, Carl C. Theron
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 24, No 1 | a3926 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajems.v24i1.3926 | © 2021 Jonathan Seland, Carl C. Theron | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 19 November 2020 | Published: 08 December 2021

About the author(s)

Jonathan Seland, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa
Carl C. Theron, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa


Background: Serious shortcomings are identified in the Performance Index (PI), developed by Spangenberg and Theron (2004). Attempts are made to correct these shortcomings.

Aim: The primary objective of this research study was to develop and preliminary validate a generic Work-Unit Performance Questionnaire, based on the Performance Index of Spangenberg and Theron (2004), correcting shortcomings identified in that particular PI.

Setting: The study used convenience sampling that consisted of 202 respondents from a variety of South African industries. The article draws on findings in the thesis of Seland (2019).

Methods: The development and preliminary validation of the Work-Unit Performance Questionnaire (WUPQ) was required. The WUPQ consists of dual subscales, the Work-Unit Competency Questionnaire (WUCQ), which consists of seven latent behavioural competency variables, and the Work-Unit Outcome Questionnaire (WUOQ), which consists of six latent outcome variables.

Results: Both measurement models (WUCP & WUOQ) showed close fit; however, two factor loadings in the WUCQ measurement model had to be constrained. Reasonable structural model fit was found in the sample. Support was found for 11 of the original 21 path-specific substantive hypotheses and for an additional hypothesis.

Conclusion: The proposed model can be used by managers, with caution due to the intentional exclusion of competency potential and situational variables, to diagnose poor work-unit performance. Furthermore, it is encouraged that this research be the starting point for further analyses of work-unit performance and advance validation of the instrument.


Work-unit performance; Work-Unit Performance Questionnaire; industrial psychology; structural equation modelling; measurement model; SPSS; LISREL; Psychometrics


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Crossref Citations

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