Original Research - Special Collection: Mental Health Research in African Organisations

The influence of organisational stressors on the well-being and performance of operational police members

Masefako A. Gumani
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1674 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1674 | © 2019 Masefako A. Gumani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 March 2019 | Published: 10 October 2019

About the author(s)

Masefako A. Gumani, Department of Psychology, School of Social Sciences, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Studies on the influence of organisational stressors on the well-being and performance of operational members of the South African Police Service in the visible policing and detective service programmes in rural areas, like the Vhembe district, Limpopo province, South Africa, have not been conducted yet.

Research purpose: The aim of this study was to explore and interpret operational members’ experiences of organisational stressors, which influence their well-being and performance when attending to critical incidents of rape, domestic violence, murder and road accidents, in the Vhembe district, Limpopo province.

Motivation for the study: The study proposes ways of dealing with organisational stressors that influence the well-being and performance of operational members when performing their tasks.

Research approach/design and method: An interpretative phenomenological research design was used and 17 South African Police Service participants were selected through purposive sampling. Unstructured face-to-face interviews, diary entries and telephonic interviews were conducted and field notes were used to collect the data, which were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis guidelines.

Main findings: The results highlight internal, external, task-related and individual organisational stressors among operational members of the South African Police Service that led to psychological distress, including negative perceptions of self and work, job dissatisfaction, considerations of resignation, increased training needs and strained working relationships.

Practical/managerial implications: A need for a systems perspective on problem-solving, with top-bottom and bottom-up approaches, is proposed to manage organisational stressors among operational members of the South African Police Service in the Vhembe district.

Contribution/value-add: The study contributes towards the contextual understanding and management of organisational stressors in rural operational policing.


Keywords

Critical Incidents; Operational Work; Organisational Stressors; SAPS; Industrial Psychology; Rural Area; Victim Empowerment

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