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SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

On-line version ISSN 2071-0763
Print version ISSN 0258-5200

SA j. ind. Psychol. vol.34 n.1 Johannesburg  2008




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



Sumaya Laher

Department of Psychology, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa





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.

Keywords: Five-Factor model, individualism, collectivism, personality, spirituality



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Sumaya Laher


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