Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Effects of Job Crafting on Subjective Well-Being Amongst South African High School Teachers

Academic journal article SA Journal of Industrial Psychology

The Effects of Job Crafting on Subjective Well-Being Amongst South African High School Teachers

Article excerpt

Introduction

Amongst all occupations, teaching remains to be one of the most highly stressful (Vazi et al., 2013). Stress and burnout are prevalent problems within the teaching profession and are recognised as a global concern (Chan, 2013). Embedded within a profession that is highly knowledge intensive, teachers often have to juggle simultaneous tasks, ranging from meeting general curriculum requirements to adapting their teaching styles to their students' unique needs (Ghitulescu, 2006). They also have to constantly learn new information and skills, keep up-to-date with technological innovations and deal with students, parents and communities (Pillay, Goddard & Wilss, 2005). Large classroom sizes, limited decision-making latitude, students' behavioural problems, work overload and unfavourable time pressures are additional difficulties that teachers encounter in the workplace (Jackson, Rothmann & Van de Vijver, 2006), all of which may have a negative impact on their well-being (Pretsch, Flunger, Heckmann & Schmitt, 2013). To ensure that teachers continue to perform their pivotal roles in helping their students to grow and develop, they ought to remain physically and mentally well (Pillay et al., 2005).

Job crafting is proposed as a potential strategy that can be used to improve the well-being of South African high school teachers, as well as the overall quality of South Africa's education. Wrzesniewski and Dutton (2001) define job crafting as the process in which employees redesign or modify their jobs. Demerouti (2014) refers to job crafting as the manipulation of job demands and job resources initiated by employees for the purpose of making their jobs more satisfying, engaging and meaningful. With specific reference to the teaching profession, job crafting could entail the adaptation processes used in teaching practice (Ghitulescu, 2006). A recent study amongst early childhood educators reported that teachers who crafted their work, displayed increased levels of work performance, job satisfaction and commitment to their work (Leana, Appelbaum & Shevchuk, 2009). Ghitulescu (2006) advances that teachers continuously craft their working practices in order to deal with the highly complex and demanding nature of their work.

This study concerns itself with the potential beneficial effect that job crafting has on the subjective well-being (SWB) of South African high school teachers. SWB, a term that is often used synonymously with the concept of 'happiness', is associated with various aspects of a person's subjective experience and an evaluation of the quality of their life (Keyes, Hysom & Lupo, 2000). Teachers may experience SWB if they experience feelings of life satisfaction, satisfaction with other domains such as work and family, and if they experience frequent positive emotions (Vazi et al, 2013). Bakker and Oerlemans (2011) proclaim that positive affective states of SWB relate positively to high levels of job performance. In contrast to other positive affective states, work engagement and meaningfulness have been the most robust predictors of life satisfaction (a component of SWB) (Chan, 2013). According to Frankl (1984), meaningfulness is an antecedent to one's SWB. Finally, Basikin (2007) believes that teachers' work engagement is an essential aspect of their work, and thus grants it worthy of investigation.

Research purpose and objectives

This study contends that work engagement and psychological meaningfulness are two important factors contributing to teachers' SWB. Work engagement is defined as 'a positive, fulfilling, work-related state of mind...' (Schaufeli, Salanova, González-Romá & Bakker, 2002, p. 74). In terms of the latter, psychological meaningfulness is defined as 'the value of a work goal or purpose, judged in relation to an individual's own ideals or standards' (May, Gilson & Harter, 2004, p. 14). Experiences of work engagement and psychological meaningfulness have been shown to result in positive work outcomes such as increased organisational commitment (Geldenhuys, haba & Venter, 2014). …

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