ORIENTATION: Various countries recognise human resource (HR) management as a bona fide
RESEARCH PURPOSE: The objective of this study was to establish whether one could regard HR
management, as practised in South Africa, as a profession.
MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Many countries are reviewing the professionalisation of HR
management. Therefore, it is necessary to establish the professional standing of HR
management in South Africa.
RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: The researchers used a purposive sampling strategy
involving 95 participants. The researchers achieved triangulation by analysing original
documents of the regulating bodies of the medical, legal, engineering and accounting
professions internationally and locally as well as the regulating bodies of HR management
in the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (USA) and Canada. Seventyeight
HR professionals registered with the South African Board for People Practices (SABPP)
completed a questionnaire. The researchers analysed the data using content analysis and
Lawshe’s Content Validity Ratio (CVR).
MAIN FINDINGS: The results confirm that HR management in South Africa adheres to the four
main pillars of professionalism and is a bona fide profession.
PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The article highlights the need to regulate and formalise
HR management in South Africa.
CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study identifies a number of aspects that determine
professionalism and isolates the most important elements that one needs to consider when
regulating the HR profession.