SA Journal of Industrial Psychology
On-line version ISSN 2071-0768
MAY, Michelle S.; CILLIERS, Frans and VAN DEVENTER, Vasie. Exploring the (k)not of relationship between lecturers and management at a historically Black university: the lecturer's perspective. SA j. ind. Psychol. [online]. 2012, vol.38, n.2, pp. 96-106. ISSN 2071-0768.
ORIENTATION: Within the new South African socio-political context this research focussed on lecturers' at historically Black universities who were confronted with unresolved experiences in their relationship with management. The analysis of these experiences provided an in-depth understanding of systems psychodynamics in tertiary education. RESEARCH PURPOSE: The purpose of the research was to describe the experiences of nine lecturers in a particular historically Black university (HBU), in order to analyse and interpret the conscious and unconscious dynamics operating in their relationship with management. MOTIVATION FOR THE STUDY: The researchers were interested in the in-depth psychological experiences of lecturers at this HBU as a platform towards understanding present day South African lecturing experiences. RESEARCH DESIGN, APPROACH AND METHOD: Qualitative, descriptive research was used. Hermeneutic phenomenology, using the systems psychodynamic perspective, allowed for the description and interpretation of the lecturers' experiences of their relationship with management. In-depth interviews with nine lecturers were thematically analysed which resulted in five themes. Five working hypotheses were formulated and integrated into the research hypothesis. MAIN FINDINGS: Five themes manifested, namely, the (k)not of performance, mutual disqualification and mistrust, White lecturers and Black management, power struggle and the (k)not of relationship. PRACTICAL/MANAGERIAL IMPLICATIONS: The research highlighted the importance of understanding the psychodynamics operating in the relationship between lecturers and management as a result of certain ineffective socio-technical aspects in the organisation. CONTRIBUTION/VALUE-ADD: The research contributed towards knowledge about inter-group relations between different role players in HBUs and how these dynamics impact on the performance of both lecturers and management.