A deductive exploration of value-added management in higher education : a job-demand resources perspective
The operational environment of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) has changed rigorously over the past few years in order to stay competitive within its primary, as well as extended sectors. HEIs are experiencing increased pressure to move from traditional not-for-profit entities to a self-funded for-profit business model due to reduced government support and increased competition. The impact of these competitive changes in the educational service industry has raised the strategic importance of service quality (e.g. ‘better product’) and the optimal utilisation of resources. With this in mind, value-added management (VAM) has become a major investigative area in order to enhance service delivery and the integration of optimal resource utilisation. Therefore, a sustainable advantage can be gained when organisations have a better understanding of how to optimally utilise its resources. Furthermore, it is postulated that efficiently produced value-added services are created by satisfied, loyal and productive employees. Employees are therefore significant and inseparable role-players in the creation and delivery of value-adding services that maximise organisational performance and profitability. It is therefore required of HEI management to understand its service-profit chain, including its organisational culture and how academic and support staff are valued and managed. The objective of this study was to explore the importance of value-added management (VAM) of academic and support staff groupings from a Job-Demand Resource (J-DR) perspective. An empirical research design was employed using data obtained from the Organisational Human Factor Benchmark (OHFB) instrument. The research population (n) consisted of 240 participants, which represented an 80.5% population participation rate. Participants included permanent and fixed-termed employees at an HEI in the North West Province. Contingency tables were employed to present the descriptive data. Inferential analyses were used to show the statistical and practical significance of the between-group data results. MANOVA and Cohen’s d tests were used as the basis of analysis. The postulated seven VAM dimensions explored included 1) Employee role clarity, 2) Performance management, 3) Managerial style, 4) Supervisory support, 5) Collegial support, 6) Effective communication and 7) Growth and development opportunities. The juxtaposed results confirmed that academic staff have an overall advantage over support staff across all dimensions. Statistically meaningful differences were only observed for job resource variables Relationship with colleagues and Growth and development opportunities. However, except for Managerial style, small but pertinent practically meaningful results were observed across all job demand and job resource variables. Limitations of the study are identified and recommendations for future research are presented.