Original Research

Antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers

Elmari Fouché, Sebastiaan (Snr) Rothmann, Corne van der Vyver
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 43 | a1398 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1398 | © 2017 Elmari Fouché, Sebastiaan (Snr) Rothmann, Corne van der Vyver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 July 2016 | Published: 24 March 2017

About the author(s)

Elmari Fouché, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Sebastiaan (Snr) Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vaal Triangle Campus, South Africa
Corne van der Vyver, School of Education Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Quality education is dependent on the well-being, engagement, performance and retention of teachers. Meaningful work might affect these employee and organisational outcomes.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work among school teachers.

Motivation for the study: Meaningful work underpins people’s motivation and affects their well-being and job satisfaction. Furthermore, it is a significant pathway to healthy and authentic organisations. However, a research gap exists regarding the effects of different antecedents and outcomes of meaningful work.

Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional survey was used with a convenience sample of 513 teachers. The Work-Life Questionnaire, Revised Job Diagnostic Survey, Co-worker Relations Scale, Work and Meaning Inventory, Personal Resources Scale, Work Engagement Scale, Turnover Intention Scale and a measure of self-rated performance were administered.

Main findings: A calling orientation, job design and co-worker relations were associated with meaningful work. A low calling orientation and poor co-worker relationships predicted burnout. A calling orientation, a well-designed job, good co-worker relationships and meaningful work predicted work engagement. Job design was moderately associated with self-ratings of performance. The absence of a calling orientation predicted teachers’ intention to leave the organisation.

Practical/managerial implications: Educational managers should consider implementing interventions to affect teachers’ calling orientation (through job crafting), perceptions of the nature of their jobs (by allowing autonomy) and co-worker relations (through teambuilding) to promote perceptions of meaningful work. Promoting perceptions of meaningful work might contribute to lower burnout, higher work engagement, better self-ratings of performance and retention of teachers.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the effects of three antecedents, namely a calling orientation, job design and co-worker relationships on meaningful work. It also contributed to knowledge about the effects of meaningful work on employee and organisational outcomes.


Keywords

meaningful work; work beliefs; work design; performance; intention to leave; burnout; secondary school teachers

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Crossref Citations

1. Fostering meaningful work in organizations: A multi-level review and integration
Evgenia I. Lysova, Blake A. Allan, Bryan J. Dik, Ryan D. Duffy, Michael F. Steger
Journal of Vocational Behavior  vol: 110  first page: 374  year: 2019  
doi: 10.1016/j.jvb.2018.07.004