Corporate wellness in a chemical industry in South Africa
Van Schalkwyk, Lourens
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The world of work is changing at a whirlwind speed with mergers, acquisitions, new markets, products, growth as well as many similar business activities being at the order of the day, all aimed at improving income and profits. Fierce competition, and optimisation of resources by businesses, has led to corporations realising that economic and social sustainability cannot be achieved through technology alone and attention has to be given to human needs. Peoples' capacities we progressively being optimised as a strategic important business element and when this resource is neglected, it can have detrimental effects for businesses. This confirms a growing interest and call for wellness and well-being efforts by employers to find out just how happy people are, and what can be done to improve employees' satisfaction. Since employee satisfaction is recognised as important to the success in the workplace, efforts to improve and maintain high levels of job satisfaction will contribute to the overall success of a business. Limited research that can guide interventions in the chemical factory environment to improve general satisfaction in the workplace exists about the relationship between satisfaction in the workplace and subordinate structures influencing job satisfaction and the effect job satisfaction has on general satisfaction in the workplace. This study aimed at investigating satisfaction or wellness in the workplace by focussing on the different layers of satisfaction and how the satisfaction on a level is affected by the level of satisfaction on subordinate levels. To enhance the results of the study, the two primary questionnaires were also validated for use in the chemical factory environment, and sense of coherence and job satisfaction in the chemical factory were analysed at the same time. The research approach followed in this study focussed on a literature study, followed by an empirical analysis of data collected that was related to the specific area of study. A survey design was used to collect the data, using a questionnaire booklet that was distributed to a crosscut sample of employees working in the chemical factory environment. The sample represented all the demographic groups in the organisation ( N = 583). The questionnaires used were the Orientation to Life Questionnaire, Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire, the Health Questionnaire, Work Locus of Control Scale, and Satisfaction with Life Scale, Affectometer, and a biographical questionnaire. In Article 1 and Article 2, two questionnaires considered primary to the study were tested for use in the chemical factory environment. The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire's structural equivalence for use in a multilingual population, and the construct validity of the Orientation to Life Questionnaire in an abbreviated 11-item format, were confirmed. The different levels of job satisfaction and sense of coherence for different demographic subgroups were also determined. Job satisfaction was found to differ significantly between the different language groups, certain age groups, as well as for different job levels. Moreover, while intrinsic job satisfaction increased with age and job level, extrinsic job satisfaction decreased with the level of education. Sense of coherence differed also significantly between some demographic groups, namely language, qualification and job level. In Article 3 the relationship between job satisfaction, sense of coherence, affect and locus of control were tested as an indication of the hierarchical structure of subjective well-being. The hierarchical structure of subjective well-being was confirmed, deducted from the correlation between different variables and the percentage of variance in successive levels of satisfaction explained by the level of satisfaction in subordinate levels. Recommendations were made to the host organisation and for future research.
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