Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Linkage between Work-Related Factors, Employee Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: Insights from Public Health Professionals

Academic journal article SA Journal of Human Resource Management

The Linkage between Work-Related Factors, Employee Satisfaction and Organisational Commitment: Insights from Public Health Professionals

Article excerpt


As the costs of health services continue to soar in South Africa, the heavily subsidised public health sector has emerged as the major health service provider for the greater South African populace (Pillay, 2009). However, several challenges, emanating from both the internal and external environment, have mushroomed that tend to inhibit the ability of public health institutions to achieve their goals. In the external environment, a major challenge relates to increasing competition from the private health services providers (George, Gow & Bachoo, 2013). However, on the internal front, the principal impediment is the increasing number of cases of disgruntlement amongst public health professionals. This is evidenced by episodic industrial action in the sector as well as the high staff turnover amongst health professionals who may be destined for greener pastures in Western countries (Dhai, Etheredge, Vorster & Veriava, 2011). As suggested by Blaauw et al. (2013), public health professionals have the potential to be part of the central government's solution to key problems within the health-care systems. It is important then, to investigate the significant predictors of employee satisfaction and how the latter may subsequently contribute to the development of organisational commitment. This will clearly contribute to managerial solutions to the problems that are currently entrenched in the public health-care system.

In response to various developments in the South African public health sector, a number of fairly recent research projects have been conducted to investigate the dynamics within public health institutions in South Africa (e.g. Chaiyachati, Loveday, Lorenz, Lesh & Larkan, 2013; Dhai et al., 2011; George, Atujuna & Gow, 2013; Lehmann & Gilson, 2013). A number of studies (Appel, 2006; Blaauw et al., 2013; George, Atujuna & Gow, 2013; Ludy, 2005; Pillay, 2009; Ramasodi, 2010; Visser, McKenzie & Marais, 2012) concentrated on specific aspects of organisational behaviour amongst public health professionals in various regions of South Africa. The presence of an array of literature focusing on public health sector employees in South Africa provides testimony to the significance of this sector. However, gaps in the literature still exist with regard to the drivers of employee satisfaction and organisational commitment in the public health sector, which gives impetus for further empirical focus on the area.

The current study sought to investigate the relationship between three work-related factors, person-environment fit, work-family balance and perceived job security, and employee satisfaction and organisational commitment amongst health professionals in public health institutions. There is an apparent lack of evidence from studies that examined this combination of relationships in the context of South African public health institutions. In view of this, this study proposes a conceptual framework that is yet to receive prior empirical scrutiny within the South African setting. Additional impetus is provided to investigate the employees' reasons to stay satisfied and committed as public health professionals are of strategic importance to the nation. Therefore, a need exists to extend empirical research evidence that captures the dynamics surrounding the behaviour of public health professionals in South Africa.

Literature review Employee satisfaction

Researchers vary in their definitions of the concept of employee satisfaction. Employee satisfaction may simply be perceived as the feelings of individuals about their jobs (Arndta, Todd & Landry, 2006). Sieger, Bernhard and Frey (2011) conceptualise employee satisfaction in terms of how people feel about their jobs and different aspects of their jobs. In support, Ellickson and Logsdon (2002) define employee satisfaction as the extent to which employees like their work. As such, employee satisfaction is an assemblage of factors that depend on the interaction of employees (Fisher, 2000), their individualistic characteristics such as demography, emotions and personality (Cote & Morgan, 2002), job values and reward expectations such as salary and promotion, environmental factors (Ivancevich & Matteson, 2005) as well as other factors that may be specific to the unique nature of work being performed such as autonomy, role stress and teamwork (Concha, 2009). …

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