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Adult Development And The World Of Work Education Essay

1. Introduction

Research on the job satisfaction of personnel employed within the higher education crucial, as it can identify those variables that lead to either job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Hoppock (in Aziri:2011) defines job satisfaction as any combination of psychological, physiological and environmental circumstances that cause a person truthfully to say I am satisfied with my job. When employees are discontent within a working environment, mental and physical health issues may manifest. Occupational stress is defined as stress caused at work and which may inflict a mental, physical or emotional burden upon a worker (Wikipedia). The consequences of a stressed and sickly workforce pose numerous deleterious implications for higher education institutes. In many cases, dissatisfied staff will be absent more often, their motivational levels will be affected and the frequency of resignations may increase (Oshagbemi 1996: 389 in Schulze: 2006). In an ideal working world, employers would aspire to creating an environment that eliminates those factors that influence staff morale; primarily due to the financial implications from the effects thereof. A satisfied workforce possess a high level of work (occupational) wellness, which is defined as “seeking personal satisfaction and enrichment in one's life through work” (University of Illinois: Wellness Centre).

This assignment will seek to collect quantitative data so as to measure the levels of job satisfaction, occupational stress and work wellness. From the findings, recommendations will be proposed to deal with the most commonly identified challenges.

2. Problem Statement

The level of job satisfaction amongst staff members in higher education institutions will need to be ascertained. In this regard, the research question can be phrased as;

To what degree are the academic staff at Al Waqad Technical College satisfied in their positions of employment?

3. Aim

The aim of the research is:

To identify the extent of job satisfaction amongst staff at Al Waqad Technical College ( Qatar )

4. Literature Review

4.1. The primary causes of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction

4.1.1. An African Perspective

Professor Schulze conducted a study on those factors that impact on the job satisfaction of academics in higher education (HE) in South Africa. The study differed from previous studies by including a comparison between demographics and job satisfaction. Her subjects were selected from a distance education institution and a residential university. Overall, 75 % of the respondents indicated job satisfaction within the HE sector. The Qatari report replicated a similar pattern, in that from the 5 respondents, 4 of the individuals (80 %) indicated that they were satisfied with their careers as adult facilitators. Schulze refers to Herzberg’s (1957) paradigm of verifying levels of job satisfaction. Motivators or non –pecuniary elements (Stevens:2005) refers to those factors that are impossible to measure within the parameters of the original work contract i.e. relationships with colleagues and management style. On the other hand, pecuniary ( hygiene ) factors are easily identifiable and also have a bearing on the levels of job satisfaction of HE academics. In the South African study, a positive correlation was revealed between job satisfaction and physical conditions and support (Schulze:2006). Of the pecuniary factors investigated, respondents were most satisfied with the actual nature of the work. Interpersonal rapport between colleagues was identified as having the highest rating amongst the hygiene (non-pecuniary) aspects of the working environment. Regarding general job satisfaction, the following variables (in rank order) were recognised by Schulze as the three primary cause of job satisfaction: physical conditions, support from management and the nature of research.

Ssesanga (2012) in his study of two Ugandan universities with 182 respondents presents similar findings to Schulze. Although his research is organized within an African context, Ugandan is essentially a low-income nation in contrast to South Africa. In his study of, the major factors contributing g to job satisfaction were the behaviour of co-workers, supervision from management and the inherent qualities of teaching. In similar regard, subjects from the study conducted in Qatar, were satisfied with the general work atmosphere and the core characteristics of adult facilitation. Of the numerous aspects of HE academic employment, Schulze and Ssesanga share the following three issues that commonly led to dissatisfied academic staff; political interference from government, unsatisfactory remuneration and poor prospects for promotion. In the study at Al Waqad Technical College (Qatar), participants shared only the factor of unsatisfactory remuneration with the aforementioned authors’ findings.

4.1.2. A Westernised Perspective

Stevens (2005) studied ten higher education institutions to ascertain what factors motivated academics to leave their places of employment. From a total of 2 722 respondents, staff rated the following qualities most highly; the nature of the work, the prospect of working semi-autonomously and a congenial working relationship with colleagues. Those findings relating to the satisfactory nature of teaching were replicated in the Qatari study. Incidentally, such factors are of a non-pecuniary nature. Sharing some similarities with Schulze and Ssesanga, academics were least gratified by salaries, total remuneration package and opportunity for career advancement.

4.1.3. International Comparison

Bentley et al (2012) examined the job satisfaction of academics from across 12 countries. South Africa was included in the sample population. The researchers emphasize that cultural and national contrasts would need to be taken into consideration. Despite these differences, only 17 % of respondents displayed general discontentment with their careers. Similarly, Schulze (2006) brought to light that almost 75 % of respondents were satisfied with their vocation.

Findings from the research showed that international staff are primarily dissatisfied with inefficient administrative routines, inadequate support structures for teaching and learning and poor congeniality between administrators and academic staff. Incidentally, interpretation of the results from the Qatari study revealed that none of the aforementioned factors were issues contributing to job dissatisfaction. Bentley et al’s study also exposed positive correlations between job satisfaction and promotion.

TABLE 1: Summarised table of literature review findings

Researcher

Countries Studied

Primary sources of job satisfaction

Primary sources of job dissatisfaction

Schulze, S

South Africa

Physical conditions, support, nature of research, 75 % of respondents satisfied

Promotion, remuneration, political meddling

Bentley, P et al

12 countries

Promotion, 83 % of respondents generally satisfied

Administrative red – tape, poor support structures, lack of congenial working environment

Stevens, P

United Kingdom

Nature of the work, working semi-autonomously, congenial working relationships

Promotion, salaries, remuneration

Ssesanga, N

Uganda

Co-worker behaviour, managerial supervision,

teaching process

Remuneration, political interference, promotion

5. Research Design

A feedback form (questionnaire) was drawn up and is adapted from (MEDAE2S/101

FEEDBACK FORM*

LEVELS OF JOB SATISFCATION AT HIGHER EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS

Y 1 -2

Dear Participant,

Research is currently being conducted to determine the levels of job satisfaction experienced by academic workers in Higher Education institutions. The focus of the research will be on the following constituents:

Section 1 - Bio data

Section 2 - Particular aspects of job satisfaction

Please complete the following questionnaire relating to job satisfaction in the higher education institution that you are employed with.

NOTES:

It is not necessary to disclose your name

Your anonymity is assured

Please answer the questionnaire as honestly as possible

The information derived from the questionnaire will remain strictly confidential

INSTRUCTIONS:

Signify your response by placing ONE appropriate number in the designated square.

SECTION 1. BIODATA

QUESTION

Response

Office use

1. Gender

Male = 1

Female = 2

Y3

2. Age

20 – 34 years = 1

35-45 years = 2

Older than 45 years = 3

Y4

3. Total years of teaching experience

4-15 years = 1

16 – 25 years = 2

25 years and above =3

Y5

SECTION 2. PARTICULAR ASPECTS OF JOB SATISFACTION

This section of the feedback form requires you to indicate the degree of satisfaction that you experience with your job using the following rating scale:

1=Totally Disagree

2= Somewhat Disagree

3= Not sure

4= Somewhat Agree

5 = Totally Agree

To what degree are you content with your position as a staff member at your higher education institution?

Response( 1-5 )

Y6 Y6

1=Totally Disagree

2= Somewhat Disagree

3= Not sure

4= Somewhat Agree

5 = Totally Agree

I am satisfied with:

QUESTION

RESPONSE ( 1 – 5 )

OFFICE USE

4

My relationship with managerial staff

Y7

5

Interpersonal communication with colleagues

Y8

6

Interpersonal communication with students

Y9

7

The motivational level of students

Y10

8

The dissemination of subject content to students

Y11

9

My ability to perform the role as an educator and achieve goals

Y12

10

The Length of vacations

Y13

11

The general working atmosphere

Y14

12

My ability to facilitate the development of students with high-levels of competency

Y15

13

The grades attained by students

Y16

14

My teaching methodology

Y17

15

The prescribed curriculum

Y18

16

My work load

Y19

17

The quality and relevance of teaching material

Y20

18

The levels of academic workers’ remuneration and salary

Y21

19

Current teaching facilities and physical environment

Y22

20

The social standing and reputation of higher education teaching staff

Y23

Further Comments:……………………………………………………………………………

5.1. Data Collection

From a population of 52 adult educators at Al Qawad Technical College, 5 respondents were randomly selected using probability sampling. The lottery method simple random sampling technique was implemented. Each staff member was allocated a unique number printed on a small piece of card. The cards were placed in a box and mixed up. Five unique numbers were removed from the box. The numbers were cross-referenced with a staff list and each member was approached to participate in the study.

5.2. Interpreting the results

The numeric figures from each of the questions was totalled (Please see TABLE 2. below).

TABLE. 2

SECTION 2: Particular aspects of job satisfaction

Results from Data Collection form

Respondents

QUESTION

1

2

3

4

5

4

My relationship with managerial staff

3

3

2

5

1

5

Interpersonal communication with colleagues

2

5

1

4

3

6

Interpersonal communication with students

1

5

2

1

4

7

The motivational level of students

1

2

2

1

3

8

The dissemination of subject content to students

4

3

2

5

2

9

My ability to perform the role as an educator and achieve goals

1

4

4

2

4

10

The Length of vacations

4

3

4

1

2

11

The general working atmosphere

2

5

3

4

3

12

My ability to facilitate the development of students with high-levels of competency

4

2

2

1

4

13

The grades attained by students

5

1

3

5

5

14

My teaching methodology

2

3

2

3

3

15

The prescribed curriculum

3

4

4

2

5

16

My work load

5

1

2

1

1

17

The quality and relevance of teaching material

4

5

5

3

2

18

The levels of academic workers’ remuneration and salary

2

1

2

3

4

19

Current teaching facilities and physical environment

2

1

2

2

5

20

The social standing and reputation of higher education teaching staff

5

5

3

4

1

6. Conclusion

6.1. Factors influencing job satisfaction

In the study, adult educators were most satisfied with the quality and relevance of teaching material, as well as their perceived status within the educational community. Following this, satisfaction was also derived from the curricular framework that underpinned teaching and learning. Finally, academic workers were pleased with the general working atmosphere that they encountered on a daily basis.

6.2. Factors influencing job dissatisfaction

Adult educators were particularly discontent with the poor motivational levels of students. Next, the financial rewards obtained from working as an adult educator is evidently a factor that contributes to adult educators’ levels of dissatisfaction. The state of teaching facilities and the general teaching environment was also a factor that added to low levels of job dissatisfaction. Lastly, most educators felt that they were ill-equipped to deliver the prescribed curriculum.

TABLE 3.

Primary causes of job satisfaction and dissatisfaction

Primary causes of job satisfaction

Rank 1

Quality and relevance of teaching material

The social standing and reputation of higher education staff

Rank 2

The prescribed curriculum

Rank 3

The general working

atmosphere

7. Recommendations

Although educators experience certain dissatisfaction from various factors, it is evident that changing some of these factors is beyond their control i.e. salary and remuneration. However, the institution concerned could adopt further research into why those factors are contributing to dissatisfaction and what measures could be introduced to rectify the causes of job dissatisfaction. For example, reasons as to why students’ poor motivational levels exist should be identified. Perhaps, students are not receiving the correct guidance from educators or other departments and this factor exacerbates the problematic situation. Students could attend a workshop dealing with setting goals and types of study techniques, as well as essay writing techniques that may improve their grades, and hence their confidence levels. Similarly, professional development workshops for educators could instil more confidence in assisting them to deliver the curriculum at a higher level. The institution could also convene a brainstorming workshop to determine what measures could be introduced to improve the teaching environment i.e. the introduction of technology into lecture rooms, such as electronic smart boards or interactive technologies.

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