Original Research

Person-environment fit, flourishing and intention to leave in universities of technology in South Africa

Christine Janse van Rensburg, Sebastiaan (Snr) I. Rothmann, Elsabe Diedericks
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 43 | a1422 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v43i0.1422 | © 2017 Christine Janse van Rensburg, Sebastiaan (Snr) I. Rothmann, Elsabe Diedericks | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 November 2016 | Published: 24 April 2017

About the author(s)

Christine Janse van Rensburg, Department of Human Resource Management, Vaal University of Technology, South Africa
Sebastiaan (Snr) I. Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, South Africa
Elsabe Diedericks, Optentia Research Focus Area, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, South Africa


Orientation: Retaining staff is vital to ensure that universities accomplish their missions. To optimise the potential of staff members and retain staff, it is necessary to study their flourishing and fit in their jobs and organisations.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between person-environment fit, flourishing at work and intention to leave.

Motivation for the study: Research is needed to validate a measure of flourishing at work. Outcome variables such as intention to leave have not been studied in relation to flourishing at work. Moreover, it is necessary to study antecedents of flourishing at work, such as person-environment fit.

Research approach, design and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample of 339 academic employees from three universities of technology in South Africa. Three perceived fit scales, the Flourishing-at-Work Scale (FAWS) and the Turnover Intention Scale were administered.

Main findings: Findings supported a three-factor model of flourishing at work, consisting of emotional, psychological and social well-being. The highest mean frequencies on flourishing dimensions were obtained for competence and emotional engagement. The lowest mean frequencies were obtained for relatedness and social well-being. Person-environment fit predicted intention to leave, both directly and indirectly, via flourishing. The findings support the internal consistency and validity of the FAWS.

Practical/managerial implications: Managers and human resource practitioners should consider the use of a multidimensional measure to assess flourishing at work. Considering certain dimensions of well-being at work (e.g. work engagement and competence of employees) without considering other dimensions (e.g. job satisfaction, affect balance and meaning at work) will not be sufficient to assess and promote the subjective well-being of employees.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to knowledge regarding the reliability and validity of a measure of flourishing at work. It confirms that person-environment fit has a strong positive effect on flourishing of employees and a strong negative effect on their intentions to leave.


flourishing; work; well-being; person-environment fit; intention to leave


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Crossref Citations

1. Workplace flourishing: Measurement, antecedents and outcomes
Kleinjan Redelinghuys, Sebastiaan Rothmann, Elrie Botha
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology  vol: 45  year: 2019  
doi: 10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1549