Original Research

Psychometric properties of a workplace spirituality measure

Martina Kotze, Petrus Nel, Petra Smit
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 48 | a1923 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v48i0.1923 | © 2022 Martina Kotze, Petrus Nel, Petra Smit | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 June 2021 | Published: 30 March 2022

About the author(s)

Martina Kotze, Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Petrus Nel, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, School of Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Petra Smit, Business School, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Scholars are encouraged to provide contextualised definitions of spirituality (e.g. workplace spirituality) and validate measures using non-academic samples and advanced statistics.

Research purpose: This study aimed to determine (1) the dimensionality associated with a measure of workplace spirituality and (2) whether the estimated primary factor scores (alignment with organisational values, meaningful work, sense of community) outperforms the prediction of the estimated scores for perceived employee performance compared with the estimated scores for the general factor (workplace spirituality).

Motivation for the study: Valid measures of workplace spirituality are required for conducting research to advance our understanding of its relationship with organisational outcomes.

Research approach/design and method: Using a cross-sectional survey design, 789 public servants completed measures on workplace spirituality and perceived employee performance. A three-stage process was followed to investigate (1) the basic internal assessment qualities of the measure, (2) the added-value of the subscales (i.e., alignment with organisational values, meaningful work, sense of community) to the model, and (3) the assessment of the external validity of the measure in relation to an external variable (in this case perceived employee performance). Different indices are consulted during the three stages to determine (1) whether the measurement in question is essentially unidimensional in nature and (2) whether the estimated group factor scores are better predictors of the criterion than the estimated general factor scores.

Main findings: The various indices suggested that the measure of workplace spirituality could be treated as multidimensional and essentially unidimensional in nature. The three primary factors (alignment with organisational values, meaningful work and sense of community) resulted in a significant (yet small) increase in accuracy of predicting the estimated scores associated with perceived employee performance compared with the prediction based on the estimated scores for the general factor (workplace spirituality). However, the presence of a strong general factor cannot be ignored, pointing to a measure that is also essentially unidimensional and to be scored accordingly – allowing for quick and accurate assessment of individuals’ levels of workplace spirituality.

Practical/managerial implications: Applied researchers and practitioners should take note of the theoretical and statistical value associated with the subdimensions of workplace spirituality to better understand why these dimensions are predictors of employee performance. The results of the study emphasise the important role of both personal-level and organisational-level variables associated with workplace spirituality in relation to perceived employee performance.

Contribution/value-add: The study suggests that this measure of workplace spirituality can be treated as essentially unidimensional and multidimensional in nature – depending on the purpose of the assessment (fine-grained versus general). In addition, the present study provides evidence of the usefulness in employing novel procedures to determine the dimensionality of an instrument using external validity evidence.


Keywords

workplace spirituality; psychometric properties; employee performance; measure of workplace spirituality; confirmatory factor analysis; bifactor analysis

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