Variance in employee engagement among public school teachers in the Western Cape province : an exploratory study

Vermooten, Nicola (2018-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In 2011, the National Planning Commission identified poverty and inequality as the most significant burdens facing South Africa. Today, this reality remains unchanged. Abject poverty and high levels of inequality are still noticeable in many aspects of the South African society. Based on a review of the extant literature, the researcher contends that the provision of quality education for all South Africans offers a long-term, sustainable solution to these challenges, especially in public schools. Regrettably, the quality of basic education in South Africa engenders concern. Even though multiple factors contribute to the efficiency and performance of an education system, the researcher claims that teacher quality is one of the most salient determinants. She proposes that well-functioning teachers, who are able and motivated to perform their job optimally, are required to provide quality basic education for all South Africans. For this reason, the study was intended to gain an in-depth understanding of the engagement phenomena among public school teachers. A mixed-methods research design was used to guide the study. It comprised of a qualitative phase (i.e. Parts 1 and 2) and a quantitative phase (i.e. Part 3). During Part 1 of the qualitative phase, initial interviews were conducted with 37 teachers from fee schools (n = 20) and no-fee schools (n = 17) in the Western Cape Province to identify the most salient contextual, organisational, job and individual antecedents of variance in employee engagement. During Part 2 of the qualitative phase, follow-up interviews were conducted with 28 teachers from fee schools (n = 14) and no-fee schools (n = 14) in the Western Cape Province to explore the relational dynamics that exist among the identified antecedents. In addition, the researcher enquired about the stability of the perceived causal relationships (i.e. direction and intensity) and teachers’ level of engagement (i.e. within-person variance) over time during the follow-up interviews. Based on the qualitative results and a review of the extant literature, a structural model emerged, which explained public school teachers in the Western Cape Province’s experience with the engagement phenomenon. A self-report web-based survey was completed by 353 teachers from fee schools (n = 321) and no-fee schools (n = 31) in the Western Cape Province during the quantitative phase to evaluate the emerging structural model1. The web-based survey comprised of valid and reliable instruments that were selected based on the antecedents that were identified during Part 1 of the qualitative phase. The psychometric properties of these instruments were determined using item analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and exploratory factor analysis. The emerging structural model was evaluated using variance-based structural equation modelling. The study made a meaningful contribution to the extant body of knowledge regarding employee engagement. It offers valuable insight into the most salient contextual, organisational, job and individual antecedents of variance in employee engagement among public school teachers in the Western Cape Province, as well as the relational dynamics that exist among these antecedents. Based on the results of the study theoretical conclusions were made to guide future research with regard to employee engagement, and managerial implications were discussed to inform the development and implementation of human resource practices and interventions that may foster employee engagement among all public school teachers.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In 2011, het die Nasionale Beplanningskommissie armoede en ongelykheid geïdentifiseer as die grootste uitdagings wat Suid-Afrika in die gesig staar. Vandag is dit steeds ’n werklikheid. Volslae armoede en hoë vlakke van ongelykheid is nog steeds sigbaar op verskeie terreine van die Suid-Afrikaanse samelewing. Op grond van ’n oorsig van die bestaande literatuur voer navorser aan dat die voorsiening van onderwys van ’n hoë gehalte aan alle Suid-Afrikaners ’n langtermyn, volhoubare oplossing bied vir die bogenoemde uitdagings, veral in openbare skole. Ongelukkig is die gehalte van basiese onderwys in Suid-Afrika ’n bron van kommer. Hoewel daar verskeie faktore is wat tot die doeltreffendheid en prestasie van ’n onderwysstelsel bydra, verklaar navorser dat die gehalte van onderwysers een van die belangrikste voorspellers is. Onderwysers wat goed funksioneer en oor die vermoë en motivering beskik om hul werksverpligtinge optimaal uit te voer, word dus benodig om onderwys van ’n hoë gehalte aan alle Suid-Afrikaners te bied. Om hierdie rede was die doel van die studie om ‘n behoorlike begrip te kry van die verskynsel van werknemer-begeestering onder onderwysers in openbare skole. ’n Gemengde-metodes-ontwerp is gebruik om die studie te rig. Dit het uit ’n kwalitatiewe fase (d.i. Dele 1 en 2) en ’n kwantitatiewe fase (d.i. Deel 3) bestaan. Tydens Deel 1 van die kwantitatiewe fase is aanvanklike onderhoude met 37 onderwysers van fooi-skole (n = 20) en geen-fooi-skole (n = 17) in die Wes-Kaap gevoer om die opvallendste kontekstuele, organisatoriese, werkverwante en individuele voorspellers van variansie in werknemer-begeestering te bepaal. Tydens Deel 2 van die kwalitatiewe fase is opvolgonderhoude met 28 onderwysers van fooi-skole (n = 14) en geen-fooi-skole (n = 14) in die Wes-Kaap gevoer om die verband tussen die geïdentifiseerde voorspellers te ondersoek. Daarbenewens is opvolgonderhoude gevoer om vas te stel hoe stabiel die geïdentifiseerde verbande (d.i. rigting en intensiteit) en onderwysers se vlak van begeestering (d.i. intrapersoonlike variansie) oor tyd is. Op grond van die kwalitatiewe resultate en ’n oorsig van die bestaande literatuur het ’n strukturele model na vore gekom wat onderwysers in openbare skole in die Wes-Kaap se ervaring van die verskynsel van werknemer-begeestering verduidelik. ’n Self-verslag webgebaseerde opname is deur 353 onderwysers van fooi-skole (n = 321) en geen-fooi-skole (n = 31) in die Wes-Kaap voltooi gedurende die kwantitatiewe fase om die strukturele model te evalueer2. Die webgebaseerde opname het bestaan uit geldige en betroubare instrumente wat gekies is op grond van die voorspellers wat gedurende Deel 1 van die kwalitatiewe fase geïdentifiseer was. Die psigometriese eienskappe van hierdie instrumente was deur middel van item-analise, bevestigende faktorontleding en ondersoekende faktorontleding bepaal. Die strukturele model is deur middel van variansie-gebaseerde strukturele vergelykingsmodellering geëvalueer. Die studie het ’n betekenisvolle bydrae gemaak tot die beskikbare kennis oor werknemer-begeestering. Dit bied waardevolle insig in die opvallendste kontekstuele, organisatoriese, werkverwante en individuele voorspellers van variansie in werknemer-begeestering onder onderwysers in openbare skole in die Wes-Kaap, asook die verband tussen hierdie voorspellers. Op grond van die resultate van die studie is teoretiese gevolgtrekkings gemaak om toekomstige navorsing oor werknemer-begeestering te rig, en praktiese implikasies bespreek om die ontwikkeling en toepassing van menslikehulpbron-praktyke en ingrypings wat werknemer-begeestering onder alle onderwysers in openbare skole kan bevorder, toe te lig.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105023
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