Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SA Journal of Industrial Psychology]]> vol. 46 num. 1 lang. es <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Gender differences in self-perception accuracy: The confidence gap and women leaders' underrepresentation in academia</b>]]> ORIENTATION: The study reported here explores the preconceived notion of women's missing agency - characterised by a lack of confidence - as an explanation for their continued underrepresentation at senior leadership levels in higher education institutions (HEIs) in South Africa. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The study investigated gender differences in self-perception accuracy, defined as self-other agreement. The concept of confidence in this article refers to a high degree of self-perception accuracy defined as self-other rating agreement. Motivation for the study: One of the reasons for the underrepresentation of women in senior leadership levels frequently cited in the literature is the relationship between self-confidence and effective leadership. This phenomenon has however not yet been researched in the context of South African HEIs. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A quantitative, cross-sectional study of gender differences in self-perception accuracy using data collected from a 360-degree assessment intervention amongst the total population (N = 112) of academic managers in a HEI in South Africa was conducted. The realised sample consisted of 74 managers with an average of 9.5 raters per participant. MAIN FINDINGS: The results revealed that significant gender differences with regard to self-perception accuracy emerged. This was in spite of the fact that male and female leaders were perceived to be equally effective by their raters. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The implications of women leaders' inaccurate self-perceptions on their career progression and the design of leadership development programmes aimed at improving gender disparity are discussed. Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the factors that contribute to the slow advancement of women to senior leadership positions in HEIs. <![CDATA[<b>The impact of coachee personality traits, propensity to trust and perceived trustworthiness of a coach, on a coachee's trust behaviour in a coaching relationship</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Coaching continues to grow in importance as a learning and developmental intervention in organisations. It is therefore important to understand what makes coaching successful. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The coaching relationship is a known predictor of coaching success, and trust is a key ingredient of a high-quality coach-coachee relationship. This study investigated whether coachee characteristics influence trust in a coaching relationship MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Research on trust from the coachees' perspective is sparse, and specifically it is not known which characteristics of the coachee influence trust behaviour (TB) in the coaching relationship. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: This study used a cross-sectional survey (n = 196) to measure coachees' propensity to trust, perception of the trustworthiness (TW) of their coach, TB and their Big Five personality traits. Structural equation modelling was used for analysis. MAIN FINDINGS: Results revealed that neither personality traits nor propensity to trust are predictors of coachee TB. Only the extent to which the coachee perceives the coach to be trustworthy predicts coachee TB. No indirect and moderation effects were observed PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Coaches can actively work towards increasing their TW and by implication the TB of the coachee by demonstrating competence, integrity and ability. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADDITION: This study makes an important contribution to the under-researched field of the role of coachees' characteristics in successful coaching engagements, in the process contributing to the understanding of what affects coaching efficacy. <![CDATA[<b>Towards positive institutions: Positive practices and employees' experiences in higher education institutions</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Positive organisational functioning is a paradox. Both positive and negative tendencies could enable positive functioning. While an overemphasis on either the positive or the negative aspect is dysfunctional, positive factors must be given extra emphasis for positivity to occur because negativity usually dominates RESEARCH PURPOSE: This study aimed to investigate how positive organisational practices relate to job demands and resources, person-environment fit and well-being MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Work in organisations and experiences thereof are not always positive. However, focussing on positive practices even when the context and experiences thereof are negative might facilitate positive functioning of individuals and their institutions. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A cross-sectional survey design was used with a convenience sample of 339 academic employees from three higher education institutions in South Africa. The Positive Practices Questionnaire, the Job Demands-Resources Scale, two perceived person-environment fit scales and the Flourishing-at-Work Scale - Short Form were administered. MAIN FINDINGS: Results from latent profile analyses provided evidence of four latent profiles. Analysis showed that a perceived lack of positive practices in institutions was associated with perceptions of overload, lack of role clarity, poor supervisor and co-worker relationships, lack of person-environment fit, and reduced emotional, psychological and social well-being. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Interventions should be employed by leaders to address positive practices in higher education institutions. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to scientific knowledge regarding the relations between positive organisational practices and experiences of job demands and resources, person-environment fit and well-being of academics. <![CDATA[<b>Public school teachers' satisfaction with retention factors in relation to work engagement</b>]]> ORIENTATION: The quality of education is influenced by the engagement, well-being, retention and performance of teachers. Literature shows that teachers are exiting the teaching profession at an alarming rate, and there are various and intertwined reasons compelling teachers to leave their jobs. RESEARCH PURPOSES: The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of retention factors on work engagement. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Turnover among teachers is high, and many teachers are leaving the profession during their early years of teaching. An empirical investigation of the relationship between retention factors and work engagement and the results of utilising retention factors and work engagement to facilitate employee retention is needed. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A quantitative design was used, and 278 questionnaires were collected from a convenience sample of teachers from public schools in the Tshwane Municipality. MAIN FINDINGS: Correlational analysis revealed significant relationships between retention factors and work engagement. Multiple regression analyses revealed that retention factors significantly predict work engagement. The main practical contribution of this study is the way in which it has demonstrated that retention factors relate to and predict work engagement PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations should provide their employees with improved compensation, training and development, and career opportunities as this may improve employees' work engagement. Therefore, organisations should determine whether employees are satisfied with these retention factors as provided in the organisation. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study adds to the psychological attachment theory by suggesting that employees satisfied with retention factors in their organisations are more likely to be engaged. <![CDATA[<b>The indirect relationship between personality and performance through job crafting behaviour</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Individual personality is known to have a direct impact on job performance. Yet, little is known about the behavioural processes through which personality unfolds and ultimately affects employee performance. RESEARCH PURPOSE: This study set out to investigate the indirect relationship between personality and performance through job crafting behaviour. Job crafting, the proactive changes employees make to their task, relational and cognitive job boundaries, has been shown to relate to a number of positive employee and organisational outcomes. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Individual differences, such as personality, affect the manner in which employees approach their work, be it in the tasks they complete or the relationships that they build with others. It is thus imperative to understand how unique personality traits have an impact on important business outcomes such as job performance. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A quantitative cross-sectional research design was conducted amongst a sample of South African working individuals (N = 580). Structural equation modelling (SEM) was the primary statistical technique used to investigate the research hypotheses. MAIN FINDINGS: The study results showed that the 'Big Five' personality traits indirectly influenced job performance (i.e. in-role behaviour, organisational citizenship behaviour) through job crafting as a mediator. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Organisations who take the initiative to truly understand their employees and their unique personalities have a greater chance of leveraging valuable employee and business outcomes such as job crafting and job performance. Incorporating valid and reliable personality measures in an organisation's recruitment and selection process may thus prove beneficial in predicting proactive work behaviours and overall employee performance. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study contributes to the limited knowledge surrounding the individual antecedents of job crafting behaviour and further shows how one's predisposition (i.e. personality) can have an indirect impact on performance through the behaviours employees engage in, such as job crafting. <![CDATA[<b>All eyes on Sudan: The journey of female psychologists in the theatre of operation</b>]]> ORIENTATION: South African National Defence Force (SANDF) psychologists fulfil one of the most challenging roles within the psychological profession when deployed in peacekeeping operations (PKOs). RESEARCH PURPOSE: This study aimed at gaining an in-depth understanding of the experiences of female military psychologists during deployment in a PKO in the Darfur region. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The study aimed to gain an insight into the unique experiences of female SANDF psychologists in the theatre of operation (deployment area) and to create a body of knowledge regarding SANDF psychologists' deployment experiences, with specific reference to female psychologists. RESEARCH DESIGN/APPROACH AND METHOD: A case study approach informed the framework for the study set against the backdrop of a qualitative, constructivist, hermeneutic research paradigm. Written personal accounts were evoked through visuals or photographic materials, obtained during in-depth interviews. Researchers used content analysis, and developed themes and subthemes with the use of an open-coding approach. MAIN FINDINGS: Three main themes were elicited: deployment experiences, peacekeeping deployment experiences and experiences of female psychologists. Each theme was supported by four subthemes. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The study facilitated an increased understanding of the personal impact of PKO experiences on the journey of female psychologists serving in the SANDF in Darfur. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This research provides a platform for the sharing and understanding of the unique experiences of health care workers of the SANDF deployed in the mission area, with specific reference to female psychologists. This co-created understanding acts as a space where psychologists can share a community for support if required post-deployment. <![CDATA[<b>Work-to-family interface and well-being: The role of workload, emotional load, support and recognition from supervisors</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Considering the negative and positive consequences of burnout and work engagement, respectively (i.e. concepts used in reference to well-being), for both workers and organisations, it is crucial to identify their antecedents in order to prevent burnout and foster work engagement. RESEARCH PURPOSE: We investigated the mediating role of work-to-family conflict (WFC) and work-to-family enrichment (WFE) in the relationships between work environment (i.e. emotional load and workload as job demands; support and recognition from supervisors as job resources) and well-being (i.e. work engagement and burnout). The buffering effect of job resources in the job demands-WFC relationships was also tested. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The present research tries to respond to recent recommendations in the field of work-family interface and burnout. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A total of 226 employees of a Belgian Federal Public Service were surveyed. Our cross-sectional research model was tested using structural equation modelling with Mplus. MAIN FINDINGS: Workload and support were related to WFC, whereas only recognition was related to WFE. Both WFC and WFE were related to work engagement and burnout. The two job resources buffered the workload-WFC relationship PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Supervisors can increase WFE by recognising employees' efforts and reduce WFC by promoting a supportive work environment and reducing the workload. By doing so, supervisors increase work engagement and decrease burnout, thus enhancing workers' well-being. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADDITION: This study highlights that the two job resources operate in different ways regarding work-to-family interface: recognition activates the resource generation and motivational processes, whereas support operates in the resource depletion and health impairment processes. The role of supervisors is thus crucial in the emergence of workers' well-being. <![CDATA[<b>An investigation of gender-based differences in assessment instruments: A test of measurement invariance</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Practitioners and researchers often assume that the psychometric instruments they use are invariant and that they therefore measure similar constructs in a comparable manner across men and women respondents. This assumption is, however, rarely tested, leading to an undetected bias in research findings or an adverse impact because of the presence of non-invariance. RESEARCH PURPOSE: After presenting essential information about measurement invariance (MI) and arguing for the testing thereof, this research aims to reveal the prevalence of MI across several frequently used psychometric instruments credulously used based on the assumption the revenant constructs are measured equivalently across gender exists. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Firstly, this study aims to increase awareness regarding MI, a property that can be tested statistically. Secondly, the research aims to make practitioners aware of the presence of bias in psychometric instruments, specifically to identify instruments that could be included in investigations which attempt to understand gender matters in the workplace. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: Cross-sectional survey data, pertaining to seven standard instruments, related to innovative work behaviour, were analysed. Pairwise, multigroup confirmatory factor analyses with robust maximum likelihood estimation were used to examine configural, metric, intercept and strict invariance, as well as the equivalence of the latent means. MAIN FINDINGS: The findings were binary, with four of the instruments showing MI at an equal latent means level, whilst three instruments were non-invariant at the configural level. Measurement invariance was either accepted completely or rejected completely PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The serratedness of findings, even when using well-recognised and frequently used psychometric instruments, exposes the prevalence of non-invariance in some instruments, thereby necessitating the standard testing for MI. These findings also specify the instruments that are MI (in terms of gender), which allow other researchers and practitioners to use these instruments with more confidence when measuring and comparing men and women respondents in their studies. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This research demonstrates the ease with which MI testing can be performed and alerts researchers to do MI testing when conducting cross-group studies, as the prevalence of measurement non-invariance is high. <![CDATA[<b>An evaluation of job crafting as an intervention aimed at improving work engagement</b>]]> ORIENTATION: In the construction industry, a lack of engagement by employees can have serious and costly health and safety consequences. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to evaluate whether a job-crafting intervention could improve the work engagement of individuals employed in the construction industry. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Because of tight deadlines and stringent requirements, managers in the construction industry are often unable to reduce the demands on, or increase the resources available to, their employees. Hence, if employees are to increase their work engagement, they need to exert personal agency by recrafting their own jobs. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A quasi-experimental research approach was used. One group of employees (n = 33) completed the pre- and post-measures and participated in a 1-day job crafting training session. A comparison group (n = 22) only completed the measures, at the same intervals. MAIN FINDINGS: At the post-intervention measurement point, participants exposed to the intervention showed significantly higher levels of work engagement than those in the comparison group. Across the entire sample, changes in work engagement were correlated with changes in job-crafting behaviours but were not, however, correlated with changes in job demands and resources. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Job-crafting interventions have the potential to enable employees to proactively improve their work engagement. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The study findings support a relatively rich literature, which suggests that employees who take a proactive role in crafting their job-related tasks and environments tend to take on psychologically fulfilling activities and will be more engaged in their work. <![CDATA[<b>Numbers conceal the intricacies in categorising qualitative research in organisational studies: What lies beneath the surface?</b>]]> ORIENTATION: The characterisation of research as qualitative because it does not use statistics is expedient but tends to conceal the intricacies implicit in such a categorisation. Many novice researchers believe that qualitative research is limited to non-numerical data. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The study contributes to the ongoing methodological debates by illustrating that the theoretical underpinnings, and not the non-numerical data, are central to determine what constitutes qualitative research. Motivation for the study: The main purpose of this article is not to debate the question of which research approach is more scientific, rather to distil the theoretical underpinnings of qualitative research to empower those less experienced in qualitative research to make sense of them. RESEARCH DESIGN: This article is a theoretical study based on a critical literature review and engages critically with methodological issues pertinent to qualitative research. MAIN FINDINGS: While the article is rooted in the notion of methodological pluralism, it focuses on the intricacies implicit in categorising research as qualitative and uses a Q methodological empirical study on trust in business alliances to buttress the view that research can use statistics and remain true to the tenets of qualitative research.. PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: An understanding of the role of the theoretical tenets of qualitative research may be essential to empower those who desire to do qualitative research in management and organisational studies CONTRIBUTION OR VALUE-ADD: The study builds on existing knowledge and contributes to the ongoing cutting-edge methodological debate by explicating the tenets of qualitative research with the objective of optimising its understanding and application. <![CDATA[<b>Variance in employee engagement: A qualitative analysis amongst public school teachers in the Cape Winelands education district</b>]]> ORIENTATION: The Global Competitiveness Index Report 2017 - 2018, which ranks the quality of 124 countries' education system, positioned South Africa 114th. Challenges with the quality of basic education offered in many public schools across South Africa are attributed to the lack of employee engagement amongst teachers. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this study was, firstly, to identify the most salient antecedents of variance in employee engagement amongst teachers and, secondly, to explore the relational dynamics that exist amongst these antecedents. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The study was motivated by the intention to inform human resource practices and interventions that can be adopted to facilitate optimal teacher engagement and subsequently performance. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A modified version of the interactive qualitative analysis (IQA) methodology was adopted to generate and collect primary qualitative data, but the data analysis was performed in accordance with the prescribed methodology. Initial (n = 37) and follow-up (n = 28) individual interviews were conducted amongst teachers from 12 mainstream public schools in the Cape Winelands education district. MAIN FINDINGS: Teacher-level, school-level, community-level and societal-level determinants were identified that explain variance in employee engagement amongst teachers. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Human resource practices and interventions that may nurture employee engagement amongst teachers are recommended. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study identified the most salient antecedents of variance in employee engagement amongst teachers in the Cape Winelands District and the findings allow for a number of recommendations regarding interventions to facilitate teacher engagement and ultimately performance. <![CDATA[<b>Well-being of judges: A review of quantitative and qualitative studies</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Research regarding the well-being of judges is essential given the effects thereof on their work and contextual performance. RESEARCH PURPOSE: This study aimed to review qualitative and quantitative empirical studies on the well-being of judges. Because of the limited availability of empirical studies on this topic, research in only five countries was included. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The state of judges' well-being may affect, among others, their decision-making ability and their decorum in court. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A scoping review was used to synthesise research evidence on the well-being of judges. Relevant literature was searched using computerised databases, covering the period from January 2008 to May 2018. Eleven studies met the inclusion criteria. Using the ATLAS.ti 8 programme for qualitative data analysis, the data were extracted from 11 articles. MAIN FINDINGS: A variety of job demands, such as judges' heavy workloads and time constraints, emotional demands of their work, negative work-home interference and their safety concerns, had a negative effect on their well-being. Despite the stressors and occupational demands to which judges were subjected, some judges experienced high levels of well-being because of, inter alia, the autonomy they had over certain aspects of their work, the nature of their work and positive relationships with their colleagues. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Interventions should be employed to address stressors and job demands, as well as job resources that affect judges' well-being. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study adds to scientific knowledge vis-à-vis the well-being of judges. <![CDATA[<b>The role of emotional intelligence and autonomy in transformational leadership: A leader member exchange perspective</b>]]> ORIENTATION: The role of emotional intelligence, autonomy and leader member exchange (LMX) is examined in the relationship between transformational leadership and unit-level performance. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The goal of the present study was to investigate the role of emotional intelligence and autonomy in the effectiveness of leadership in organisations through high LMX relationships MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The relationship between transformational leadership and unit-level performance is well documented. However, the specific role of emotional intelligence, job autonomy and high-quality LMX relationships as transmission mechanisms is not well understood. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: The study used an ex post facto research design and a convenience sampling approach. A sample of employees working as managers (n = 226) in a large financial institution in South Africa participated in the study. The proposed conceptual model was empirically tested by means of simple and hierarchical regression analyses. MAIN FINDINGS: The results suggest that transformational leadership is effective in driving follower performance through emotional intelligence and strong LMX relationships. Furthermore, LMX and emotional intelligence fully mediate the relationship between transformational leadership and job performance PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The effectiveness of transformational leaders can be explained through the strong LMX relationships that they develop with followers by using emotional intelligence as an influencing strategy. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The study aims to explain the primary mechanism through which transformational leaders encourage job performance and high unit-level performance. The results indicate emotional intelligence as an important mechanism used by transformational leaders to build strong teams, which ultimately results in high-performing teams. <![CDATA[<b>Exploring the prevalence of workplace flourishing amongst teachers over time</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Research indicates that teachers are more vulnerable to work-related stress, psychological distress and burnout than many other occupational groups. Despite these hindrances, and against all odds, some teachers are able to feel and function well at work. As positive teacher functioning is an achievable objective, it is important that more studies focus on the positive aspects associated with teacher functioning. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The aim of this was to determine whether workplace flourishing is non-static in nature and that employees' functioning levels may fluctuate positively or negatively over time. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Studies predominantly looked at workplace flourishing from a cross-sectional viewpoint. This is problematic, as it provides little information on how employee well-being develops over time. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A longitudinal survey design was used with 202 secondary school teachers. The Flourishing-at-Work Scale and Turnover Intention Scale were administered. A series of analyses (confirmatory factor analysis, longitudinal measurement invariance, cross-tabulations) were performed to achieve the study objectives. MAIN FINDINGS: The results showed that teachers experienced notable changes in their classification categories (non-flourishing vs. flourishing) over time and that these changes were related to their intention to leave. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Because of the impact workplace flourishing may have on individual performance and retention, it is important for organisations to continuously monitor their employees' levels of functioning. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: This study results should offer new insights into how employee well-being develops over time, the complexity of individual uniqueness and evidence for individualising well-being interventions. <![CDATA[<b>The validation of the servant leadership scale</b>]]> ORIENTATION: When opening any newspaper across the globe, the dominant narrative appears to be a driving obsessive preoccupation with how leaders consciously and often unconsciously create a working environment that serves their personal interests, fears and desires. This treacherous preoccupation inevitably influences a person's leadership style and leadership agenda and therefore stands in direct opposition to what come to be known as servant leadership. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of this article was to validate the 7-item servant leadership questionnaire (SLQ7) within the South African context. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Owing to the emergence of the notion of servant leadership in South Africa, there exists a need for a valid measure of servant leadership in an organisational setting. Many leadership instruments developed in foreign countries (also the SLQ) are merely used by leadership scholars without assessing its transferability to that specific context, and this poses scientific and ethical challenges. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHOD: A convenience sample of 1764 respondents, employed in both private and public sectors (employed in 31 different organisations), relatively well representative of the South African workforce in general, was used for this study. MAIN FINDINGS: An exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis yielded a one-factor solution of servant leadership that has acceptable psychometric and fit properties. The instrument was further found to have adequate convergent validity (compared with cognate leadership and organisational behaviour constructs PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The SLQ7 version was found to be suitable for use across different samples, including the private and public sectors, and could be used with confidence within the South African context. CONTRIBUTION/VALU E-ADD: This study's contribution to science, practice and the community is based on the importance of the servant leadership construct when leading people, specifically in the South African (and African) context. The study confirms the servant leadership scale as a valid and reliable measuring instrument in the South African context and, determines how servant leadership impacts organisational behaviour within the South African and African context. <![CDATA[<b>Model of coping with occupational stress of academics in a South African higher education institution</b>]]> ORIENTATION: Occupational stress is a phenomenon that affects the physiological and psychological health and well-being of academic staff in higher education institutions (HEIs). RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purposes of this study were: (1) to test a structural model of occupational stress and coping for academics in a South African HEI, and (2) to determine whether the proposed adaptive coping strategies positively and significantly predict coping success. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: Occupational stress among academics will increase unless strategies and mechanisms are adopted to cope with the environmental demands in their profession. Higher education institutions seeking to promote academics' health and well-being should first comprehend the complexities of the coping process. There is thus a need for a more holistic view of coping with occupational stress in academia. RESEARCH APPROACH/DESIGN AND METHODS: A quantitative approach, using a cross-sectional, survey design, collected 305 responses from a convenience sample of academics. The Comprehensive Coping Strategies Questionnaire (CCSQ) was administered to the participants. Statistical analyses included descriptive statistics, thematic analysis, exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, standard multiple regression analysis and structured equation modelling. MAIN FINDINGS: The theoretically hypothesised model had a good fit with the empirically manifested structural model. Academics experience both organisation- and job-specific stressors that elicit distressing emotions. Academics adopt adaptive coping strategies, which are associated with coping success. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: Higher education institutions should implement interventions to eliminate occupational stressors and should encourage academic staff to adopt adaptive coping strategies by arranging stress management courses and Affect Regulation Training (ART). CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The study contributes toward a more holistic view of coping with occupational stress in academia, especially within a South African higher education context.