Antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers
Van der Vyver, Corné
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Orientation: Quality education is dependent on the well-being, engagement, performance and retention of teachers. Meaningful work might affect these employee and organisational outcomes. Research purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers. Motivation for the study: Meaningful work underpins people's motivation and affects their well-being and job satisfaction. Furthermore, it is a significant pathway to healthy and authentic organisations. However, a research gap exists regarding the effects of different antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work. Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional survey was used with a convenience sample of 513 teachers. The Work-Life Questionnaire, Revised Job Diagnostic Survey, Co-worker Relations Scale, Work and Meaning Inventory, Personal Resources Scale, Work Engagement Scale, Turnover Intention Scale and a measure of self-rated performance were administered. Main findings: A calling orientation, job design and co-worker relations were associated with meaningful work. A low calling orientation and poor co-worker relationships predicted burnout. A calling orientation, a well-designed job, good co-worker relationships and meaningful work predicted work engagement. Job design was moderately associated with self-ratings of performance. The absence of a calling orientation predicted teachers' intention to leave the organisation. Practical/managerial implications: Educational managers should consider implementing interventions to affect teachers' calling orientation (through job crafting), perceptions of the nature of their jobs (by allowing autonomy) and co-worker relations (through teambuilding) to promote perceptions of meaningful work. Promoting perceptions of meaningful work might contribute to lower burnout, higher work engagement, better self-ratings of performance and retention of teachers. Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the effects of three antecedents, namely a calling orientation, job design and co-worker relationships on meaningful work. It also contributed to knowledge about the effects of meaningful work on employee and organisational outcomes.