Job insecurity, job satisfaction and general health in a higher education institution
Setati, Tlou Samuel
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Organisations throughout the world have to cope with an increasing rate of change. These organisational changes are due to a number of reasons, which include social, technological, economic and political reasons. These result in a change in government regulations. In South Africa, the changes include the merging of higher education institutions and changes in the educational landscape. The public higher education institutions were reduced by the Department of Higher Education and Training from 36 to 23. Same changes include new universities of technologies and mergers of other universities plus more comprehensive universities. Recently, government established two new universities, one in Mpumalanga and another in the Northern Cape. Job insecurity, job satisfaction, occupational stress, sense of coherence, and general health are key aspects of the higher education institutions during and after the transformation process. This study aimed to determine the relationship between job insecurity, job satisfaction, occupational stress, sense of coherence, and general health of employees in a higher education institution. The literature reviewed showed that job insecurity occurs as a result of a merger, which is one of the multiple antecedents in a job insecurity model. However, a merger, as an organisational condition, changes individual perceptions about job insecurity and its consequences. Job satisfaction, occupational stress, and general health are consequences of job insecurity. From the reviewed literature, it is clear that the employees’ lack of resources is a very serious challenge in their endeavour to perform their duties. Lack of resources results in the poor performance of employees and their inability to use their capabilities to deal with every day work-related challenges. A cross-sectional design with employees in higher education institution (N=229) was used. The Job Insecurity Inventory, Minnesota Job Satisfaction Questionnaire, An Organisation Stress Screening Tool, Orientation to Life Questionnaire, and General Health Questionnaire, and a biographical questionnaire were utilised. Statistical analyses were carried out for the three articles in the study with the help of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (IBM-SPSS) program. Statistical methods used in this article consisted of descriptive statistics (for example, means, standard deviations and frequencies), Cronbach alpha coefficients, explanatory factor analyses, Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients, multiple regression analysis and mediation analysis (Omnibus procedure). The results of article 1 showed that job insecurity was statistically significantly related to general health (somatic symptoms, social dysfunction, hopelessness and worthlessness). This implies that employees who experience high job insecurity also experience problems with their health. General health had a practically significant negative correlation with sense of coherence. Literature reviewed states that a weak sense of coherence leads employees to perceive situations as threatening (that is, high job demands and low job resources), and could lead to ill health. The research findings clearly indicate that sense of coherence does not moderate the relationship between job insecurity and general health. Regarding the results of article 2, a practically significant negative relationship exists between occupational stress and job satisfaction (intrinsic, supervision, extrinsic). This means that employees with high levels of occupational stress display lower job satisfaction and vice versa. Occupational stress and general health have a negative relationship, implying that different occupational stress factors (work demands, insecurity and work relations) relate to the general health of employees. Employees, who experience high work demands, are insecure and experience poor work relations with their colleagues or supervisors, have problems with their health and do not enjoy normal day-to-day activities in the organisation. Job satisfaction displays a practically significant negative correlation with general health. This implies that employees who are not satisfied with the intrinsic satisfaction of their job and working environment experience headaches and lack physical energy. Such employees generally feel sick. They do not enjoy every day activities since they doubt their own competence and the meaning of life. Both occupational stress and job satisfaction are statistically significant predictors of general health. In conclusion, the results of this article report that job satisfaction mediates the relationship between occupational stress and the general health of employees in a higher education institution. The results of article 3 showed that practically significant positive relationships exist between sense of coherence and job satisfaction. Employees with a higher sense of coherence are more satisfied and motivated to work. They are more comfortable with other colleagues and the general working conditions. Employees with a strong sense of coherence are more resourceful in handling different work-related aspects, and they tend to experience higher job satisfaction. It was concluded that sense of coherence moderates the relationship between job satisfaction and some aspects of general health. The results imply that people with lower levels of sense of coherence are more dependent on job satisfaction to experience good health. This has direct implications for vocational and industrial psychologists, as well as higher educational institutions. Recommendations for future research were made.