Flourishing of academics in Universities of Technology2
Janse van Rensburg, Christine
MetadataShow full item record
Higher education in South Africa is dynamic, ever-changing, and experiences high turnover. In order to keep up with these transformations, organisations need to create conducive environments that foster positive organisational behaviour and capitalise on employee strengths. Positive psychology acknowledges that aspects of flourishing produce positive organisational and employee behaviours and outcomes. Organisations should therefore invest in ways to enable their employees to flourish. Flourishing in general life refers to high levels of emotional, psychological and social well-being in terms of feeling and functioning well (Keyes, 2007). Subjective well-being refers to the levels of positive and negative affect and the overall satisfaction with life. Psychological well-being consists of individuals’ positive functioning in life. Social well-being relates to individuals’ evaluation of their functioning on a public and social level. Individuals also experience flourishing in the work and organisational context. Flourishing at work originated from literature of flourishing in general life and orientations of subjective wellbeing in positive psychology. Emotional, psychological and social well-being aspects are also incorporated in work flourishing. The concept of flourishing at work can be seen as an employee’s desirable state of well-being, and can be achieved through positive experiences and effective management of work-related factors, thus feeling and function well. Limited studies regarding flourishing in work and organisational contexts exist. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of various factors in the work and organisational environment on flourishing in universities of technology. A cross-sectional survey design was used to gather data regarding the flourishing of employees in higher education in South Africa. A stratified random sample (n=339) was taken of academics in three universities of technology (UoTs), in the Free State and Gauteng provinces in South Africa. The measuring instruments used were the Flourishing-at-Work Scale, Flourishing-at-Work Scale – Short Form, three Perceived Fit Scales, Turnover Intention Scale, Job Demands-Resources Scale and two Performance Scales. Confirmatory factor analysis, descriptive statistics, and regression analyses were employed. Structural equation modelling was used to test structural models of work flourishing and its relation to individual and organisational antecedents and outcomes. The results of study 1 supported a three-factor model of flourishing at work (as measured by the Flourishing-at-Work Scale – Long Form), consisting of emotional well-being (positive affect, negative affect and job satisfaction), psychological well-being (autonomy, competence, relatedness, learning, meaning and purpose, and engagement), and social well-being. The internal consistencies of all the scales were acceptable. Person-environment fit predicted flourishing at work, which in turn predicted intention to leave. Furthermore, P-E fit predicted intention to leave, both directly and indirectly via flourishing. These findings provide support for the reliability and validity of the Flourishing-at-Work Scale for academics in universities of technology. The findings of study 2 supported a three-factor model of flourishing at work (as measured by the Flourishing-at-Work Scale – Short Form), consisting of emotional, psychological and social well-being. The internal consistencies of the scales were acceptable. The mean frequencies showed that 12.4% of academics were languishing, 44.5% were experiencing moderate wellbeing at work, and 43.1% were flourishing, Job resources (role clarity, advancement and coworker relations) had a large positive effect on flourishing at work, and flourishing at work had a small positive effect on individual job performance. Workload did not predict languishing or flourishing in the organisational environment. Study 3 showed that supervisor support was a positive predictor of flourishing in the work context. The results showed that supervisor support had an effect on flourishing at work and a lack of flourishing at work had a large effect on intentions to leave. Autonomy-, competence and relatedness supervisor support showed the strongest correlation with social well-being. Supervisor support was statistically significantly and negatively related to intention to leave.