|dc.description.abstract||With the introduction of positive psychology the aim with organisational psychology shifted
to finding the 'happy/productive' worker and focusing more on work wellness. Historically,
working in a higher education institution has generally been considered relatively stress-free
and highly satisfying. However, recently the world of work has started to change drastically,
which also holds true for higher education institutions. Since 1994, the democratic post apartheid
government of South Africa has attempted to redress the injustices of the apartheid
era. One of the focus areas of redress is the educational system. This has resulted in a
restructuring of the broad higher education system, which implies consequences for the
governance of all tertiary institutions.
This research focused on the total spectrum of wellness - from unwell-being (e.g. burnout
and stress) to well-being (e.g. work engagement). The moderating effects of organisational
commitment and affectivity were investigated in order to establish a work wellness profile
that will serve as basis for a wellness programme within the work environment. The
objectives of this research were to standardise the MBI-GS, UWES and ASSET for
employees of higher education institutions as well as to develop and test a causal model of
work wellness for this specific group.
The research findings are set out as four separate articles, each consisting of a brief literature
overview and an empirical study. A cross-sectional design, whereby a sample is drawn from
a population at a particular point in time, was used. The data for this study were collected
from 372 academic and administrative employees at a higher education institution in South
Africa. The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI-GS), Cognitive Weariness Scale (CWS),
Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES), An Organisational Stress Screening Tool
(ASSET), Job Characteristics Scale (JCS), Affectometer 2 (AFM) and a biographical
questionnaire were administered. Descriptive statistics, correlations, analysis of variance,
canonical analysis, multiple regression analysis and structural equation modelling were used.
Structural equation modelling confirmed a four-factor model of burnout consisting of
exhaustion, cynicism, professional efficacy, and cognitive weariness. The scales showed
acceptable internal consistencies. Analysis of variance revealed differences in burnout for
groups with different languages and different years of experience at the institution. A three-factor
model of the three UWES dimensions of vigour, dedication and absorption was
confirmed. Practically significant differences were found in engagement levels of employees
in different language groups, those with different years of experience at the institution and
between academic and administrative employees. Acceptable construct validity and internal
consistency were found for the ASSET. Compared to normative data, the participants
reported significantly high levels of physical ill health, psychological outcomes of stress, and
perceived lack of commitment from the organisation. Analysis of variance revealed
differences in occupational stress levels for all the biographical variables tested.
Multiple regression analysis was used to determine the factors that predict burnout and work
engagement. The results showed that engagement can be considered a positive indicator of
employee wellness and that job resources and positive affectivity contribute to engagement.
Work engagement was related to low burnout scores, while professional efficacy was
associated with work engagement. Burnout and physical and emotional strain are negative
indicators of employee wellness, while overload, negative affectivity and low levels of
primitive affectivity contribute to burnout.
Recommendations for the organisations and future research were made.||