Job calling : testing the effects on engagement and health in the South African police service

Basson, Leanne (2016-12)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Literature related to the South African Police Service (SAPS) consistently highlights the negative aspects of SAPS work environments and the resultant adverse impact on workers’ well-being. More specifically, research evidence regarding the police shows an increase in reported cases of illness, posttraumatic stress, medical boarding, burnout, substance abuse and suicide as well as a decrease in the level of job satisfaction and performance, compared to the norms of the general population (Swanepoel & Pienaar, 2004). Furthermore, it has also been articulated in national and international research that police work entails a substantial amount of risk and difficulty, and when compared with other occupations, police work has been described as particularly stressful. However, Bakker and Demerouti (2014) report that some employees, regardless of high job demands, do not develop occupational health issues but seem to cope better than others under highly demanding and stressful work conditions. To build on these findings, the present study took a detailed look at factors affecting the well-being of employees of the SAPS. More specifically, seeing that limited research has been conducted on calling as a construct and its effects as a personal resource on employee engagement and occupational health in the SAPS, the following research-initiating questions were asked: a.How has calling been defined and measured in the workplace? b.How does calling network with other variables to influence engagement andoccupational health in the workplace? c.What is the effect of calling on engagement and occupational health in theworkplace? The job demands-resources (JD-R) model (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014) was used as a framework to investigate these research-initiating questions in the Western Cape and Northern Cape SAPS. The primary objective of this study was to develop and empirically test a calling structural model, derived from the theory, which would explain the antecedents of variance in work engagement and occupational health. The antecedents comprised job characteristics (as a job resource), calling (as employees’ personal resources) and job demands present in the SAPS environment. An ex post facto correlational design was used to test the formulated hypotheses. Quantitative data was collected from 339 SAPS employees by means of nonprobability convenience sampling. A self-administered hard-copy survey as well as an online version of the survey was distributed to police stations and offices in the Western Cape, while only the online version of the survey was distributed to the police stations and offices in the Northern Cape. This took place after formal permission had been received from the SAPS to conduct the research and ethical clearance had been received from Stellenbosch University, and given that the SAPS employees had agreed to participate in the research study. The measuring instruments consisted of 1) the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES-17) (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2003); 2) the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) (Goldberg & Hillier, 1979); 3) the revised Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS) (Boonzaier, Ficker & Rust, 2001); 4) the 12-item calling scale (Dobrow & Tosti-Kharas, 2011); and 5) the Police Stress Inventory (PSI) (Swanepoel & Pienaar, 2004). The data was analysed using item analyses and structural equation modelling, whereby partial least squares path analysis was conducted to determine the significance of the hypothesised relationships. From the 11 hypotheses formulated in the study, seven were found to be significant. More specifically, hypotheses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 were all found to be statistically significant and therefore supported JD-R theory (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014), which postulates that job demands are generally the most important predictors of occupational health issues, whereas job resources and personal resources are generally the most important predictors of work engagement. Hypotheses 8, 9, 10 and 11 were found to be not significant; however, these hypotheses were related to the moderating effects. Furthermore, it was also found during the interpretation of the final scores that employees of the SAPS were highly engaged in their work, experienced high levels of occupational health, had access to jobs equipped with a variety of job characteristics, experienced high levels of calling and seemed to experience low levels of job demands. The findings of the study shed light on the importance of developing and maintaining interventions that can foster job and personal resources in the pursuit of optimising work engagement and occupational health. In addition, the importance of calling as a personal resource was emphasised for employees of the SAPS to cope more effectively with their existing job demands, which cumulatively then results in a decrease in the employees’ level of occupational health issues.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die literatuur oor die Suid-Afrikaanse Polisiediens (SAPD) beklemtoon konsekwent die negatiewe aspekte van die SAPD-werkomgewings en die gevolglike negatiewe impak op werkers se welsyn. Meer spesifiek dui navorsing oor die polisie daarop dat daar ʼn toename in aangemelde gevalle van siekte, post-traumatiese stres, mediese ongeskiktheid vir werk, uitbranding, dwelmmisbruik en selfmoordgevalle is, sowel as ʼn afname in die vlak van werksbevrediging en prestasie vergeleke met gevalle hiervan in die algemene bevolking (Swanepoel & Pienaar, 2004). Dit is verder in nasionale en internasionale navorsing uitgewys dat polisiewerk ʼn hoë vlak van risiko en moeisaamheid behels en dat polisiewerk in vergelyking met ander beroepe as besonder stresvol beskryf word. Bakker en Demerouti (2014) noem egter dat sommige werknemers, hoë werkseise ten spyt, nie beroepsgesondheidsprobleme ontwikkel nie, maar hierdie eise beter blyk te hanteer as baie ander individue in veeleisende en stresvolle werksomstandighede. Om verder te bou op hierdie bevindings het die huidige studie die faktore wat die welstand van SAPD-werknemers beïnvloed deeglik onder die loep geneem. Meer spesifiek, aangesien beperkte navorsing oor roeping as ʼn konstruk onderneem is en oor die effekte daarvan as ʼn persoonlike hulpbron in werknemerbetrokkenheid en beroepsgesondheid in die SAPD gedoen is, is die volgende navorsingsinisiërende vrae gevra: a. Hoe word roeping in die werkplek gedefinieer en gemeet? b. Hoe wisselwerk roeping met ander veranderlikes om betrokkenheid en beroepsgesondheid in die werkplek te beïnvloed? c. Wat is die effek van roeping op betrokkenheid en beroepsgesondheid in die werkplek? Die werkseise-hulpbronne-model (job demands-resources (JD-R) model) (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014) is as raamwerk gebruik om hierdie navorsingsinisiërende vrae in die Wes-Kaapse en Noord-Kaapse SAPD te ondersoek. Die primêre doelwit van hierdie studie was om, op grond van die teorie, ʼn strukturele model van roeping wat die antesedente van variansie in werksbetrokkenheid en beroepsgesondheid verklaar, te ontwikkel en empiries te toets. Die antesedente behels werkskenmerke (as ’n werkshulpbron), roeping (as werknemers se persoonlike hulpbronne), en werkseise wat in die SAPD-omgewing teenwoordig is. ʼn Ex post facto- korrelasionele ontwerp is gebruik om die geformuleerde hipoteses te toets. Kwantitatiewe data is deur middel van nie-waarskynlikheids-gerieflikheidsteekproefneming by 339 SAPD-werknemers versamel. ʼn Selftoegediende vraelys op harde kopie is by polisiestasies en polisiekantore in die Wes-Kaap versprei, terwyl slegs die aanlyn weergawe by die polisiestasies en polisiekantore in die Noord-Kaap versprei is. Dit is gedoen nadat formele toestemming van die SAPD verkry is om die studie te onderneem, asook etiese goedkeuring vanaf die Universiteit Stellenbosch ontvang is, en gegewe dat die SAPD-werknemers toegestem het om aan die navorsing deel te neem. Die meetinstrumente het bestaan uit 1) die Utrecht Work Engagement Scale-vraelys (UWES-17) (Schaufeli & Bakker, 2003); 2) die General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) (Goldberg & Hillier, 1979); 3) die Revised Job Diagnostic survey (RJDS) (Boonzaier, Ficker & Rust, 2001); 4) die Roepingskaal (Dobrow & Tosti-Kharas, 2011); en 5) die Police Stress Inventory (PSI) (Swanepoel & Pienaar, 2004). Die data is met behulp van itemanalises en Strukturele Vergelykingsmodellering (SEM) geanaliseer, waar PLS pad-ontleding onderneem is om die betekenisvolheid van die gehipoteseerde verhoudings te bepaal. Van die 11 hipoteses wat in die studie geformuleer is, is sewe betekenisvol bevind. Meer spesifiek is hipoteses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 en 7 almal statisties betekenisvol bevind, wat beteken dat hierdie hipoteses JD-R-teorie ondersteun (Bakker & Demerouti, 2014). Hierdie teorie postuleer dat werkseise oor die algemeen die belangrikste voorspellers is van beroepsgesondheidsprobleme, terwyl werkshulpbronne en persoonlike hulpbronne oor die algemeen die belangrikste voorspellers van werksbetrokkenheid is. Hipoteses 8, 9, 10 en 11 is nie betekenisvol bevind nie; hierdie hipoteses hou egter verband met die matigende effekte. Daar is verder tydens die interpretasie van die finale tellings gevind dat SAPD-werknemers hoogs betrokke by hulle werk is, hoë vlakke van beroepsgesondheid ervaar, toegang het tot werk wat toegerus is met ʼn verskeidenheid werkskenmerke, hoë vlakke van roeping ervaar en blyk om lae vlakke van werkseise te ervaar. Die bevindings van die studie werp lig op die belangrikheid van die ontwikkeling en onderhouding van ingrypings wat werks- en persoonlike hulpbronne in die nastrewing van die optimering van werksbegeestering en beroepsgesondheid bevorder. Daarbenewens is die belangrikheid van roeping vir SAPD-werknemers benadruk sodat hulle hul huidige werkseise meer doeltreffend kan hanteer, wat dan kumulatief ʼn afname in werknemers se vlak van beroepsgesondheidsprobleme sal veroorsaak.

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