Original Research

Towards positive institutions: Positive practices and employees’ experiences in higher education institutions

Christine Janse van Rensburg, Sebastiaan Rothmann
SA Journal of Industrial Psychology | Vol 46 | a1733 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajip.v46i0.1733 | © 2020 Christine Janse van Rensburg, Sebastiaan Rothmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 August 2019 | Published: 25 February 2020

About the author(s)

Christine Janse van Rensburg, Department of Human Resource Management, Vaal University of Technology, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, South Africa

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Orientation: Positive organisational functioning is a paradox. Both positive and negative tendencies could enable positive functioning. While an overemphasis on either the positive or the negative aspect is dysfunctional, positive factors must be given extra emphasis for positivity to occur because negativity usually dominates.

Research purpose: This study aimed to investigate how positive organisational practices relate to job demands and resources, person–environment fit and well-being.

Motivation for the study: Work in organisations and experiences thereof are not always positive. However, focussing on positive practices even when the context and experiences thereof are negative might facilitate positive functioning of individuals and their institutions.

Research approach/design and method: A cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample of 339 academic employees from three higher education institutions in South Africa. The Positive Practices Questionnaire, the Job Demands–Resources Scale, two perceived person–environment fit scales and the Flourishing-at-Work Scale – Short Form were administered.

Main findings: Results from latent profile analyses provided evidence of four latent profiles. Analysis showed that a perceived lack of positive practices in institutions was associated with perceptions of overload, lack of role clarity, poor supervisor and co-worker relationships, lack of person–environment fit, and reduced emotional, psychological and social well-being.

Practical/managerial implications: Interventions should be employed by leaders to address positive practices in higher education institutions.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the relations between positive organisational practices and experiences of job demands and resources, person–environment fit and well-being of academics.


positive organisational practices; job demands and resources; person–environment fit; well-being; organisational behaviour.


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Crossref Citations

1. Organizational Happiness Dimensions as a Contribution to Sustainable Development Goals: A Prospective Study in Higher Education Institutions in Chile, Colombia and Spain
José Luis Silva Munar, Susana De Juana-Espinosa, Laura Martínez-Buelvas, Yanina Vecchiola Abarca, Joan Orellana Tirado
Sustainability  vol: 12  issue: 24  first page: 10502  year: 2020  
doi: 10.3390/su122410502