Assessing the organisational and individual strengths use and deficit improvement among sport coaches
Stander, Frederick Wilhelm
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Traditionally, organisations have focused efforts in developing their people towards improving so-called areas of deficiency, identifying the flaws of employees and putting intervention structures in place to rectify and redress these areas. Limited efforts have seen the accentuation of employees‟ strengths as a means of developing those employees‟ full potential, as prescribed in the Positive Psychology. In a balanced organisational development approach, both areas of strength and deficit should be developed in order to harness optimum human potential and growth. This balanced approach is critical, as it provides for full spectrum development of the individual and creates opportunity for the attainment of positive work-related outcomes, such as work engagement. The objective of this research study was to test a structural model of job resources in the form of organisational strengths use and organisational deficit improvement; personal resources in the form of individual strengths use and individual deficit improvement; and work engagement; to relate the conceptualised job- and personal resources to established job- and personal resources in the nomological net and to investigate possible structural paths between job- and personal resources and work engagement. This study was conducted in order to gain more knowledge and a better understanding of the outcomes of following a balanced strengths use and deficit improvement approach (SDBA), both from an organisational (job resource) and individual (personal resource) perspective. Participants in the research were sport coaches from primary and secondary schools. The Mplus and SPSS programmes were utilised for purposes of statistical analysis. A cross-sectional research approach was used. An availability sample (N = 364) of teachers who act as sport coaches in Gauteng, North-West and Free State based schools was used. Competing measurement models were used to confirm factor structures for adapted versions of the Strengths use and Deficit Improvement Questionnaire (SUDIQ), as well as the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). These measurement models confirmed a four-factor and one-factor model structure for the adapted versions of the SUDIQ and UWES respectively. After factor structures had been confirmed, reliability of the adapted measures was assessed by means of Cronbach alpha coefficient values. The relation of the conceptualised job resources of organisational strengths use and organisational deficit improvement to established job resources was assessed by incorporating the job resources of opportunities for learning and independence at work into the study. In the case of the conceptualised personal resources, individual strengths use and individual deficit improvement were related to self-efficacy and self-esteem. This was done in order to theoretically relate these variables in the nomological net of other job resources and personal resources. Subsequently, structural equation modelling was used to investigate the relationship between the job resources of organisational strengths use and organisational deficit improvement, personal resources individual strengths use and individual deficit improvement; and work engagement. Through categorical estimation the research found individual strengths use to be the strongest predictor of work engagement, followed by individual deficit improvement and organisational strengths use. Organisational deficit improvement was proven as a statistically insignificant predictor of work engagement. After conclusions for the study were drawn, recommendations for the organisation, individual as well as for future research were made.