Original Research

Structural equivalence and the Neo-Pi-R: Implications for the applicability of the five-factor model of personality in an African context

Sumaya Laher
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 34, No 1 | a429 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v34i1.429 | © 2008 Sumaya Laher | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 April 2008 | Published: 04 September 2008

About the author(s)

Sumaya Laher, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

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The NEO-PI-R is one of the most widely used and researched operationalisations of the Five Factor Model (FFM) of personality (McCrae & Allik, 2002, McCrae & Terraccianno, 2005). Considerable evidence exists in terms of its replicability across cultures leading researchers to conclude that the NEO-PI-R and by extension the FFM are universally applicable. This paper, by virtue of reviewing appropriate literature, argues that evidence for the structural equivalence of the NEO-PI-R, while appropriate in Western cultures, is lacking in non-Western, and specifically African cultures. This is discussed with particular reference to the existence of other factors which are not tapped by this model and which would merit further research.


Five-Factor Model; individualism; collectivism; personality; spirituality


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