Stress management and its impact on work performance of educators in public schools in KwaZulu–Natal
This study focuses on stress management of educators, and specifically in the KwaZulu–Natal geographical region. The study consists of four focus areas (which are presented in article format), namely: * The first article identifies the role–players and their functions in delivering quality education to all South Africans. The article identifies the role–players from literature research and discusses their influences on the South African educational environment. A biographical profile of the educators of the KwaZulu–Natal area is compiled in the article by means of empirical research. * The second article employs both theoretical and empirical research to focus on the causes of stress to educators in public schools. In addition to identifying the causes of stress, the article also determines how stress impacts on the work performance of educators in KwaZulu–Natal. * The third article reports on management and leadership qualities of a school, and how guidance can assist in the transformation process. The study further examines the effects of a principal's leadership behaviour on the school's learning culture in KwaZulu–Natal. * This final article is a comparative study. It provides an overview of similarly focussed studies by Jackson (2004), Jackson and Rothman (2006) and Van Wyk (2006) with regard to the causes of stress among educators (but in different application settings namely the North West and Free State provinces). The focus in the final article is to determine if the stressors and its influences in education are generic throughout South Africa, or localised to KwaZulu–Natal. The research design consisted of selecting four districts randomly from the twelve in KwaZulu–Natal. From these districts, a total of 1 500 participants were randomly selected from the total population of 2 123 educators in the four districts. This amounted to a sample of 70.6% of the population). A total of 358 respondents completed the questionnaires resulting in a response rate of 23.3%. The study employed the statistical software programme SPSS 17.0 for Windows to analyse the data. A number of quantitative statistical techniques befitting the doctoral level of research were used to analyse the data. These techniques are: * Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy; * Bartlett's test of sphericity; * Exploratory factor analysis; * Cronbach Alpha's reliability coefficient; and * Pearson's correlation coefficient. The major findings of the study were that: * Three major role–players are identified in the first article, namely the educators, the Department of Education and the learners. To effectively facilitate quality education, management is a crucial component, whilst these role–players are also influenced by the macro environment. * The second article identified causes of stress. These causes account for a favourable 71.6% of the variance explained, and are: organisational support, overload, remuneration, control, job insecurity, job opportunities and growth opportunities. * The third article identified seven factors of importance in management and leadership. These factors explained a favourable 78.6% variance and are: Management and leadership styles, financial security, management and leadership fairness, stressors, empowerment, job security and sense of control over the work environment. * In the final article it is clear that the stressors are generic to South Africa. The majority of stressors have been identified by studies in the Free State, North West and in this study in KwaZulu–Natal. These stressors are organisational support, overload, growth opportunities / task characteristics, rewards and remuneration, and job insecurity. The ultimate recommendation of the study is because stress impacts negatively on the educators and their performance, a national strategy is partly required to improve educator stress as there are a number of common stressors in the three separate studies. Yet, further research is needed to substantiate the prevalence of these factors in all the provinces. A provincial approach is recommended for province specific stressors, while the national strategy could address the common stressors in conjunction with a provincial stress relieve programme. The study culminates in a final perceptual map of stressors, it causes and educator management that could handsomely assist in the drafting of such a national stress strategy for educators.