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

Antecedents of psychological well-being among workers within small and medium enterprises

Eugine T. Maziriri, Tinashe Chuchu, Nkosivile W. Madinga
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 45 | a1691 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v45i0.1691 | © 2019 Eugine Tafadzwa Maziriri, Tinashe Chuchu, Nkosivile Welcome Madinga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2019 | Published: 10 October 2019

About the author(s)

Eugine T. Maziriri, Department of Marketing, School of Economic and Business Sciences, Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Department of Business Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Tinashe Chuchu, Department of Marketing Management, Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Nkosivile W. Madinga, Department of Marketing, School of Management Studies, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa


Orientation: In the contemporary business environment, employee mental health is neglected, especially in mental health research and practice in African Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). This occurs even though this sector is the largest contributor to developed economies. This study highlights the importance of psychological well-being in SME performance and the individual employee.

Research purpose: To investigate the influence of perceived organisational support, career goal development and empowering leadership on the psychological well-being of SME employees in Gauteng province, South Africa.

Motivation for the study: Despite increasing research on SMEs, few studies have investigated the impact of perceived organisational support, career goal development, and empowering leadership on psychological well-being in a Southern African context.

Research approach/design and method: This study followed a quantitative approach, using the survey methodology where a structured questionnaire was administered to 250 SME employees. To evaluate the psychometric properties of measurement scales, a confirmatory factor analysis was performed. Structural equation modelling was used to test the hypotheses.

Main findings: Perceived organisational support, career goal development and empowering leadership have a positive and significant impact on the psychological well-being of SME workers. A robust, positive and significant relationship exists between empowering leadership and psychological well-being.

Practical/managerial implications: The results indicate that SME managers in South Africa should pay more attention to, or place greater emphasis on, supporting employees in their organisations, recognising and assisting them in achieving their goals, and empowering them to be happy at work. If the psychological well-being of employees is prioritised, SME business performance will ultimately improve.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the current body of Africa’s industrial psychology and mental health literature – a field that has received little research attention in developing countries like South Africa.


Mental Health; Small and Medium Enterprises; SME; Psychological Well-Being; Mental Health Research.


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Crossref Citations

1. Psychological Well-being of Employees, its Precedents and Outcomes: A Literature Review and Proposed Framework
Himani Mishra, M. Venkatesan
Management and Labour Studies  vol: 48  issue: 1  first page: 7  year: 2023  
doi: 10.1177/0258042X221117960