THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OCCUPATIONAL STRESS AND ORGANISATIONAL COMMITMENT AT HIGHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS.
DR S. SETATI
The relationship between occupational stress and organisational commitment at higher educational institutions.
Occupational stress, job performance, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, ill health
This chapter introduces the reader to the background of the problem, problem statement, research questions and objectives of which they have arisen from the problem statement. It also indicates how the data will be collected and analysed.
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM
In South Africa, the higher education sector is composed of universities, colleges, technikons, and universities of technologies. These higher educational institutions provide training and education that contributes positively to the growth of the national economy (Florida, 2002). The government is embarking on a journey in expanding and building new universities specifically in rural areas. The driving force of this is the current high rate of unemployment which is arguably the single most significant obstacle to poverty reduction in South Africa (Ligthelm, 2006:30). The incidence of unemployment falls most harshly on young South Africans, who are generally low-skilled and have little to no experience of formal employment (National Treasury, 2011:12). According to Egron-Polak, Schutte and Steyn (2002), it is important for institutions of higher education to continuously bring new ideas, transform the society and to be subject of community development and the world. Currently, the world is going through a massive change and a huge transformation is taking place in the workplace specifically higher educational institutions and this has radically affected the nature of work (Ferres, Firns & Travaglione, 2000) .According to Barkhuizen and Rothmann (2008), the South African education system has experienced a complex restructuring process that involves merging of higher education institutions such as universities and colleges. The process of merging is accompanied by poor staff morale and staff insecurities due to retrenchments, redundancies, and redeployment. According to Blackmore (2002), restructuring of higher educational institutions is not solely a South African problem. Universities and colleges in countries such as Canada, Russia, China, USA, and Great Britain have undergone the restructuring process. Several arguments as to why higher educational institutions are undergoing restructuring process have been placed. Kraak (2004), accentuates that the inability of governments to subsidies education, restructuring of global capitalism, technological advances, social-political changes have triggered the restructuring of higher educational institutions. The restructuring of higher education institution places high demands on academic staff leading to high occupational stress levels (Schutte & Steyn, 2002).The 1996 survey of the academic profession proves that the changes in higher education institutions affect staff in many ways. The changes include demands for greater accountability, value of money, efficiency, quality and autocratic management styles (AUT, 1990). Barkhuizen and Rothman (2008), postulates that apart from the kinds of stress related to academic work in another perspective, the South African academics have had to face radical transformation of the society and the demand that education itself become transformed while making a contribution to the wider society transformation. Recently, the levels of stress of academic staff on educational...
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