Perceived organisational support and commitment among employees at a higher education institution in South Africa
Higher education in a democratic South Africa faces huge challenges – primarily the need to achieve greater equity, efficiency and effectiveness in institutions and across the system. Universities had to open their doors to students of all races, transform curricula to become more locally relevant, and produce scholars able to address South Africa’s problems. When organisations face these changes, they still need to support their employees. They need to ensure that the employees feel secure in their employment to improve their commitment to the organisation. The objective of this study was to investigate the perceived organisational support and organisational commitment of academics in South Africa. A cross-sectional survey design was used. A non-probability convenience sample was taken from a higher education institution in South Africa (N=388).The Survey of Perceived Organisational Support (SPOS) and Allen and Meyer’s Organisational Commitment Scale were administered.Cronbach alpha coefficients, Spearman product correlation coefficients, MANOVAs (to determine differences in demographic groups) and multiple regression analyses were used to analyse the data. Principal component analysis resulted in a two-factor model for perceived organisational support, namely positive support and negative support. Regarding organisational commitment, a two-factor model was also extracted, namely affective commitment and continuance commitment. The results attained from the product-moment correlations indicated that positive support has a negative relationship with negative support. Positive support is also practically significantly related to affective commitment and continuance commitment. A MANOVA analysis was conducted to determine the differences in levels of POS experienced with regard to staff, ethnicity, language, faculty and gender. The results indicated that no significant differences were found in the levels of POS experienced with regard to staff and gender. Statistically significant differences were found between levels of negative support with regard to ethnicity, language and faculties. Statistically significant differences were found between levels of positive support of staff in different faculties. MANOVA was also used to determine differences between staff with regard to commitment levels. Statistically significant differences were found between levels of continuance commitment. Support staff experience higher levels of continuance commitment than academic staff do. Multiple regression analyses indicated that positive support predicted 9% of the variance in affective organisational commitment and 18% of the variance in continuance commitment. Recommendations were made for future research.