2023-01Thematic Section
Undertaking Empirically-Engaged African Philosophy: The Development and Validation of the African Time Inventory


Cross-cultural conflict is often rooted in variation between values from different cultures, for example, differences in time orientation. Usually, individuals are monochronic or polychronic regarding time orientation. In South Africa, the term African time represents a nuanced polychronic time orientation. As this term is often used pejoratively, it is cardinal to break down stigmatization and create cultural awareness regarding this unique time orientation. In this paper, we argue that people must be cognizant of particular time orientations to facilitate intercultural dialogue better and lessen conflict. With this in mind, we employed empirically-engaged African philosophy and developed the African Time Inventory (ATI). We theoretically introduce African time as a unique time orientation during the scale development process. The psychometric properties of the ATI are presented and proved to be reliable and valid in South Africa. In praxis, utilizing the ATI can facilitate decolonization resulting from some needed cultural awareness for dialogue and conflict mitigation.


African time, African Time Inventory, cultural awareness, polychronism, time orientation, intercultural communication, African philosophy, experimental philosophy

How to cite:

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C., and Petrus Nel. “Undertaking Empirically-Engaged African Philosophy: The Development and Validation of the African Time Inventory.” Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture 7, no. 1 (2023):  47-64. https://doi.org/10.14394/eidos.jpc.2023.0004.


Aïda C. Terblanché-Greeff
Department of Philosophy, University of Johannesburg
Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

Petrus Nel
Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg
PO Box 524, Auckland Park 2006, South Africa


Adams, Simon J., and Wendelien van Eerde. “Polychronicity in Modern Madrid: An Interview Study.” Time & Society 21, no. 2 (2012): 175-202. https://doi.org/10.1177/0961463X11420063.

Adjaye, Joseph. “Modes of Knowing: Intellectual and Social Dimensions of Time in Africa.”  Kronoscope 2, no. 2 (2002): 199-224. https://doi.org/10.1163/156852402320900742.

Andow, James. “Qualitative Tools and Experimental Philosophy.”  Philosophical Psychology 29, no. 8 (2016): 1128-41. https://doi.org/10.1080/09515089.2016.1224826.

Bentler, Peter M. EQS 6, Structural Equations Program Manual. Encino, CA: Multivariate Software Inc., 2006.

Bluedorn, Allen C., Carol Felker Kaufman, and Paul M. Lane. “How many things do you like to do at once? An Introduction to Monochronic and Polychronic Time.” Academy of Management Perspectives, 6, no. 4 (1992): 17-26. https://doi.org/10.5465/ame.1992.4274453.

Boateng, Godfred O., Torsten B. Neilands, Edward A. Frongillo, Hugo R. Melgar-Quiñonez, and Sera L. Young. “Best Practices for Developing and Validating Scales for Health, Social, and Behavioral Research: A Primer.” Frontiers in Public Health 6, no. 149 (2018): 1-16. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00149.

Carpenter, Serena. “Ten Steps in Scale Development and Reporting: A Guide for Researchers.” Communication Methods and Measures 12, no. 1 (2018): 25-44. https://doi.org/10.1080/19312458.2017.1396583.

Cilliers, Johan. “The Kairos of Karos: Revisiting Notions of Temporality in Africa.” Stellenbosch Theological Journal 4, no. 1 (2018): 113-32. https://doi.org/10.17570/stj.2018.v4n1.a06.

Columbus, Ogbujah. “African Cultural Values and Inter-Communal Relations: The Case with Nigeria.” Developing Countries Studies 4, no. 24 (2014): 1-11.

Darley, William K., Denise J. Luethge, and Charles Blankson. “Culture and International Marketing: A Sub-Saharan African Context.” Journal of Global Marketing 26, no. 4 (2013): 188-202.

Diagne, Souleymane Bachir. “On Prospective: Development and a Political Culture of Time.” Africa Development 29, no. 1 (2004): 55-70.

Dissel, Jovika. “Validation of a Scale to Measure Time Perspective in an African Context.” Masters diss., North-West University, 2007. http://hdl.handle.net/10394/1820.

Faucher, Colette. “Preface.” In Advances in Culturally-Aware Intelligent Systems and in Cross-Cultural Psychological Studies, edited by Colette Faucher, vii-xiii. Cham: Springer, 2018.

Froemling, Kristin K., George L. Grice, and John F. Skinner. Communication: The Handbook. London: Pearson Education, 2011.

Furr, R. Michael.  Scale Construction and Psychometrics for Social and Personality Psychology. London: Sage, 2011.

Gillies, Francis. “The Bantu Concept of Time.” Religion 10, no. 1 (1980): 16-30.

Hair, Joseph F., Jr., William C. Black, Barry J. Babin, and Rolf E. Anderson. Multivariate Data Analysis. Andover, Hampshire: Cengage Learning, 2019.

Hinkin, Timothy R. “A Review of Scale Development Practices in the Study of Organizations.” Journal of Management 21, no. 5 (1995): 967-88.

Hinkin, Timothy R. “A Brief Tutorial on the Development of Measures for use in Survey Questionnaires.” Organizational Research Methods 2, no. 1 (1998): 104-21.

Hinkin, Timothy R. “Scale Development Principles and Practices.” In Research in Organizations: Foundations and Methods in Inquiry, edited by Richard A. Swanson, and Elwood F. Holton, 161-79.  San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2005.

Hofstede, Geert H. Culture’s Consequences: Comparing Values, Behaviours, Institutions, and Organizations across Nations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1980.

Hu, Li-tze, and Peter M. Bentler. “Cutoff Criteria for Fit Indexes in Covariance Structure Analysis: Conventional Criteria versus New Alternatives.” Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal 6, no. 1 (1999): 1-55.

Hutchings, Kate, and David Weir. “Guanxi and Wasta: A Comparison.” Thunderbird International Business Review 48, no. 1 (2006): 141-56.

Iacob, Daniel, and Virginia Mihaela Dumitresco. “Cultural Awareness, Sensitivity and Competence: Basic Requirements for Business Success in Nepal and South Africa.” Synergy Bucharest 8, no. 2 (2012): 121-34.

James, Gene M. “The Relationship between Individualism vs. Collectivism and the Culturally Intelligent Behavior of Counselor Trainees.” PhD diss., Oregon State University, 2007. https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/downloads/rv042z24r.

Jones, James M. “Cultural Differences in Temporal Perspectives.” In The Social Psychology of Time, edited by Joseph Edward McGrath, 21-38. Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1988.

Kluckhohn, Clyde. Values and Value Orientations in the Theory of Action: An Exploration in Definition and Classification. New York: Anchor Books Editions. 1951.

Kluckhohn, Clyde. “Universal Categories of Culture.” In Anthropology Today: Selections, edited by Sol Tax, 304-20. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1962.

Koons, Robert C., and Timothy H. Pickavance, T. The Atlas of Reality: A Comprehensive Guide to Metaphysics. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell, 2017.

Kroeber, Alfred L., and Clyde Kluckhohn. Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions. New York: Vintage Books, 1952.

Kudadjie, Joshua N. “Aspects of Ga and Dangme Thought about Time as Contained in their Proverbs.” In Time and Temporality in Intercultural Perspective, edited by Douwe Tiemersma, and Henk Oosterling, 137-48. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

Leung, Kwok, and Soon Ang. “Culture, Organizations, and Institutions: An Integrative Review.” In Cambridge Handbook of Culture, Organizations, and Work, edited by Rabi S. Bhagat, and Richard M. Steers, 23-45. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Malhotra, Naresh K., and Satyabhusan Dash. Marketing Research: An Applied Orientation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2016.

Matondo, Jean Pierre Miahouakana. “Cross-Cultural Values Comparison between Chinese and Sub-Saharan Africans.”  International Journal of Business and Social Science 3, no. 11 (2012): 38-45.

Mbiti, John Samuel. African Religions and Philosophy. London: Heinemann, 1969.

Moreau, A. Scott. “A Critique of John Mbiti’s Understanding of the African Concept of Time.” East African Journal of Evangelical Theology 5, no. 2 (1986): 36-48.

Moustafa, Karen South, Rabi S. Bhagat, and Emin Babakus. “A Cross-Cultural Investigation of Polychronicity: A Study of Organizations in Three Countries.” Paper delivered at the 48th Midwest Academy of Management Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, 2005. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Karen_Leonard/publication/266494824_A_Cross-Cultural_Investigation_of_Polychronicity_A_Study_of_Organizations_in_Three_Countries/links/5582e21608ae6cf036c2fab1.pdf.

Naidoo, P. “Intercultural Communication: A Comparative Study of Japanese and South African Work Practice.” Doctoral thesis, University of KwaZulu Natal, 2011. http://uzspace.unizulu.ac.za/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10530/593/PHD%20Thesis%202011_Paulene%20Naidoo.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y.

Nardon, Luciara, and Richard M. Steers. “The Culture Theory Jungle: Divergence and Convergence in Models of National Culture.” In Cambridge Handbook of Culture, Organizations, and Work, edited by Rabi S. Bhagat, and Richard M. Steers, 3-22. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

Ney, Alyssa. Metaphysics: An Introduction. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014.

Offe, Johanna A. “‘Smart Guys Plan for the Future!’: Cultural Concepts of Time and the Prevention of AIDS in Africa.” Africa Spectrum 36, no. 1 (2001): 53-72.

O’Neill, Elizabeth, and Edouard Machery. “Experimental Philosophy: What is it Good for?” In Current Controversies in Experimental Philosophy, edited by Edouard Machery, and Elizabeth O’Neill, vii-xxix. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014.

Oyserman, Daphna, Markus Kemmelmeir, and Heather M. Coon. “Cultural Psychology, a New Look: Reply to Bond (2002), Kitayama (2002), and Miller (2002).” Psychological Bulletin 128, no. 1 (2002): 110-17.

Pumariega, Audrey. “Mañana, Mañana: Trans-Cultural Perceptions of Time and the Role of Polychronism in Latin American Legal Systems.” The University of Miami Inter-American Law Review 41, no. 1 (2009): 105-27.

Schein, Edgar H. Organizational Culture and Leadership. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2010.

Sidiki, Coulibaly Aboubacar, Sidibe Alassane Sidibe, and Maiga Abida Aboubacrine. “African Culture and the Interrogation of the Eurocentric Conception and Perception of African Time: An Afrocentric Perspective.” International Journal of English Literature in Humanities 5, no. 7 (2017): 776-92.

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C. “Beliefs of Time Orientation from an Indigenous African Perspective: Possible Implications for Climate Change Adaptation.” Master’s diss., North-West University, 2016. http://hdl.handle.net/10394/21245.

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C. “Same-Same, but Not: Comparing Aspects of Cultures in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.” SAGE Open 12, no. 1 (May 2022). doi: 10.1177/21582440221099529.

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C. “Different Strokes and Different Folks: Cultural Nuances of Time Orientation and Social Self-construal.Comparative Sociology 22, (2023): 138-65.

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C., and Petrus Nel. “Measuring Context-Specific Collectivism: The Metzian Ubuntu Inventory.” South African Journal of Philosophy (forthcoming, 2023).

Terblanché-Greeff, Aïda C., Jon-Vegard Dokken, Dewald van Niekerk, and Ruth A. Loubser. “Cultural Beliefs of Time Orientation and Social Self-Construal: Influences on Climate Change Adaptation.” Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies 10, no. 1 (2018): 1-16.

Thomas, David C. “Domain and Development of Cultural Intelligence: The Importance of Mindfulness.” Group & Organization Management 31, no. 1 (2006): 78-99.

Trompenaars, Fons, and Charles Hampden-Turner. Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Cultural Diversity in Business. London: Nicholas Brealey, 1997.

Van den Bergh, Riana. “Cultural Intelligence: A Comparison Between Managers in South Africa and the Netherlands.” PhD diss., University of Pretoria, 2008. http://hdl.handle.net/2263/25209.

Vauclair, Christin-Melanie. “Measuring Cultural Values at the Individual-Level: Considering Morality in Cross-Cultural Value Research.Revista de Administração Mackenzie 10, no. 3 (2009): 60-83.

Wiredu, Kwasi. “Time and African Thought.” In Vol. 4 of Time and Temporality in Intercultural Perspective, edited by Douwe Tiemersma, and Henk Oosterling, 127-36. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1996.

Yang, Ganfu. “Problematic Encounters between Chinese Nationals and Black South Africans in the Building Industry in Johannesburg South Africa: An Intercultural Communication Analysis.” PhD diss., University of Pretoria, 2017. https://repository.up.ac.za/bitstream/handle/2263/65624/Yang_Problematic_2018.pdf?sequence=1.

Open Access Statement:

This is an open access journal which means that all content is freely available without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of the articles, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the author, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Submitting a text to Eidos. A Journal for Philosophy of Culture means that the author agrees with the general conditions of this license. The author does and will maintain copyrights and publishing rights for his/her article without any restrictions.