Antecedents and outcomes of happiness of managers in the agricultural sector in South Africa
Swart, Johannes Petrus
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The happiness of managers is an important research theme for several reasons. Managers spend most of their working day with people, are constantly interacting with various social systems and are role models for happiness in organisations. Furthermore, happiness (in terms of feeling and functioning well) is associated with mental health and positive organisational outcomes. The prevalence of positive mental health is relatively low, with less than a third of the population experiencing high mental health. Research about happiness is necessary given that gains in mental health predict declines in mental illness. Two conceptualisations of happiness, namely authentic happiness (Seligman, 2002), and flourishing (Keyes, 2005) include dimensions of feeling and functioning well. No studies have been conducted regarding the happiness of managers in South Africa. Therefore, research is necessary to investigate the factors associated with happiness, as well as the pathways to managers’ happiness. Psychological need satisfaction is an important pathway through which social-contextual variables impact happiness of people. The aim of this research was to investigate the state of, antecedents and outcomes of happiness of managers in the agricultural sector in South Africa. A cross-sectional design with managers in the South African agricultural sector (N = 507) was used. The Orientations to Happiness Questionnaire, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Job Satisfaction Scale, Organisational Citizenship Behaviour Scale, Organisational Commitment Scale, Antecedents Scale, Work-related Basic Need Satisfaction Scale, Work Engagement Scale, Mental Health Continuum Short Form, Questionnaire for Eudaimonic Well-being, Work-role Fit Scale, Work-Life Questionnaire and Turnover Intention Scale were utilised. Cronbach alpha coefficients, exploratory factor analysis, Pearson correlations, multiple regression analysis, descriptive statistics and mediational analysis (Omnibus procedure) were applied. Structural equation modelling was used to test a structural model of orientations to happiness and its relation to various organisational outcomes. The results of study 1 showed that orientations to happiness (i.e. pleasure, meaning and engagement) had strong direct effects on subjective well-being, job satisfaction and organisational citizenship behaviour. Orientations to happiness impacted job satisfaction indirectly through subjective well-being. Subjective well-being had a strong direct and positive effect on job satisfaction. Orientations to happiness and subjective well-being affected organisational commitment indirectly through their effects on job satisfaction. Concerning happiness as flourishing at work, the results of study 2 showed that 3% of the managers were languishing, 48.5% were moderately flourishing, while 48.5% were flourishing. Task characteristics, supervisor relations, availability of resources impacted job satisfaction, emotional and psychological well-being of managers. Remuneration was associated with job satisfaction, emotional and social well-being. Task characteristics, supervisor relations, personal resources and remuneration satisfied the psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness, which impacted job satisfaction, work engagement and flourishing of managers positively. The results of study 3 showed that factors contributing to meaningful work (work role fit, good co-worker relations, meaningful tasks and work beliefs) had direct effects on psychological need satisfaction, purpose and meaning in life, organisational citizenship behaviour and turnover intention. Work role fit, co-worker relations, task characteristics and career orientation (as a work belief) impacted meaning and purpose in life indirectly through competence satisfaction. Purpose in life impacted turnover intention negatively via psychological need satisfaction, while meaning in life impacted organisational citizenship behaviour and turnover intention via competence and relatedness satisfaction. Recommendations for future research were made.