On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751
Tydskr. geesteswet. vol.49 n.2 Pretoria 2009
Is the academic work role still sustainable?
Departement Bedryfsielkunde, Universiteit van die Vrystaat, Bloemfontein firstname.lastname@example.org
Literatuur dui daarop dat die akademiese werksbedeling en, by implikasie, akademici onder geweldige druk verkeer en dat hierdie toedrag van sake waarskynlik moeilik volhoubaar gaan wees vanweë talle eksterne sowel as interne invloede en veranderinge binne en buite hoër onderwys. Hierdie veranderinge dra daartoe by dat die akademiese werksbedeling tans as een van die mees stresbelaaide beroepe beskou word, wat terselfdertyd ook die werkstevredenheid van akademici dienooreenkomstig gaan beïnvloed. Daar is aanduidings in die literatuur dat dit heel waarskynlik in die toekoms gaan toeneem en dat die werksbedeling toenemend veeleisend gaan word, te midde van 'n reeds komplekse taak. Die gevolg hiervan lei tot 'n verskeidenheid negatiewe uitkomste vir die akademiese professie, akademici, hoëronderwysinstellings, hoër onderwys in die algemeen, asook al die ander rolspelers wat direk by hoër onderwys baat.
Trefwoorde: Hoëronderwysinstellings, hoër onderwys, akademici, stres, werksdruk, akademiese loopbaan, werkstevredenheid, akademiese werksbedeling
Literature indicates that the academic work role and, by implication, academics suffer tremendous pressure and that this role will probably be difficult to maintain and sustain in future. This is the result of numerous external and internal influences within and outside of higher education. The internal and external aspects impacting on higher education should, however, not be regarded in isolation, since there is a systemic interdependence between these aspects which collectively form and dominate the current higher education environment.
External aspects which currently influence the academic work role and will continue to do so in future, include globalisation and the increased application of advanced information technology and technology within all aspects of higher education. Literature also indicates a shift in higher education from institutions that were primarily the domain of the elite to institutions that strive to admit a greater variety and larger numbers of students who do not necessarily possess the required academic foundation. The increasing competition among institutions in order to ensure survival and financial sustainability contributes to the fact that - like all other organisations - higher education institutions (and by implication academics) continually have to pay attention to the changing needs and requirements of their primary clients, namely the labour sector, students, and governments. Maintaining and ensuring ongoing quality are currently high on the agenda of higher education and most higher education institutions. Implementing and ensuring quality in higher education institutions relate to and address all aspects of higher education, including curriculum development, teaching and research - all of which must be managed by academics.
The academic work role is, however, not only influenced by external realities, but also by various internal realities. One of the primary aims of any higher education institution is making available and establishing high quality teaching and learning experiences for its students. Academic staff members are primarily responsible for establishing and managing these aspects and learning environments. However, the way in which teaching and learning takes place is influenced by numerous aspects, including higher student numbers as a result of, among other things, greater accessibility and the incorporation of technology (as previously mentioned). Literature indicates that research, which is one of the core tasks of any academic, may be under pressure as a result of, among other things, the absence of resources and structures. In addition academics complain about a lack of time to do research because other tasks have to be undertaken concurrently. Yet research is regarded as the most important criterion whereby academics obtain stature and promotion. In addition to teaching and research responsibilities, the work pressure of academics is increased due to further responsibilities in the form of increased community service, and administration and entrepreneurial activities. Although administrative responsibilities form a part of the non-core activities of academics, they require additional time and inputs in an already complex work environment.
In order to address the preceding dilemmas resulting from the internal and external realities, part-time teaching staff members are appointed to decrease the teaching load of full-time appointed academic personnel. Although temporary teaching staff members are utilised, full-time academics still bear the supervisory responsibilities and carry the administrative load associated with this type of appointment by higher education institutions.
Higher education institutions - more so than any other organisation - depend on the intellectual abilities and the commitment of academic staff. The intellectual and creative abilities of this group largely determine the existence and sustainability of higher education institutions. The preceding changes and realities contribute to the academic work role being one of the most stressful careers, while simultaneously also influencing the work satisfaction of academics. There are indications in the literature that this will most probably increase in future and that the work role will escalate and be more demanding in the midst of an already complex task. If the academic work role is not reviewed it may lead to a variety of negative outcomes for a variety of stakeholders. These include the academic profession, academics, higher education institutions, and higher education in general, as well as all the other role-players who directly benefit from higher education, as already mentioned in the literature.
Key words: Higher education institutions, higher education, academics, stress, work pressure, academic career, work satisfaction, academic work role
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1 Sien byvoorbeeld, onder meer, Anderson, Richard en Saha (2002:102), Barkhuizen, Rothman en Tytherleigh (2004:3), Becher en Trowler (2001:17-19), Bellamy, Morley en Watty (2003:13-16), Daly en Dee (2006:776), Gillespie, Walsh, Winefield, Dua en Stough (2001:56), Joseph (2000:45) en McInnis (2000:143).
2 Vergelyk Barkhuizen et al. 2004:2; Becher & Trowler 2001:3; Boughey 2004:5.
3 Soos onder meer aangedui deur Becher & Trowler 2001:7; Cross 2004:406; Martin 1999:12; Monnapula-Mapesela 2002:115).
4 Vergelyk Becher & Trowler 2001:3-4; Martin 1999:11-12; Monnapula-Mapesela 2002:108).
5 Sien onder meer (Bok 2003:86-92; Boughey 2004:3; Coaldrake & Stedman 1999:6-8; CHESD 2004:14; The World Bank 2000:72).
6 Sien Coaldrake & Stedman 1999:7; Monnapula-Mapesela 2002:107.
7 Vergelyk Becher en Trowler (2001:4), Boughey (2004:20), die CHESD (2004:14), Monnapula-Mapesela (2002:101-103), Shay (1997:8), The World Bank (2000:16, 26) en Trowler (1998:22).
8 Vergelyk Becher & Trowler 2001:5; Boughey 2004:6; CHESD 2004:15, Cross 2004:387; Houston et al. 2006:19; Martin 1999:100; McInnis 2000:150).
9 Vergelyk CHE 2000; NCHE 1996; RSA 1995; RSA DoE 1997; RSA MoE 2002; Strydom & Strydom 2004:102-111.
10 Vergelyk Becher & Trowler 2001:7; Bok 2003:59; Jacob 2000:22; Ziman 1996:70.
11 Vergelyk Martin 1999: 10-11; Monnapula-Mapesela 2002:117; Olivier 2005: 23-24.
12 Vergelyk Becher & Trowler 2001:6; Houston et al. 2006:19; Martin 1999:10; The World Bank 2000:53.
13 Vergelyk Houston et al. 2006: 19; Joseph 2000:ix; Martin 1999:100; Rowley 1996:11.
14 Vergelyk Bellamy et al. 2003:14; Boughey 2004:3; CHESD 2004:14-15; Martin 1999:8-12; McInnis 2000:150; Shay 1997:8; The World Bank 2000:40.
15 Vergelyk Barkhuizen et al. 2004:2; McInnis 2000:144-151; Monnapula-Mapesela 2002:208-209.
16 Vergelyk Bagihole 2002:46; Fisher 1994:77; Nicholls 2001:2.
17 Vergelyk Fisher 1994:77; Houston et al. 2006: 19; Oshagbemi 1997:358; Trowler 1998:36.
18 Vergelyk byvoorbeeld Anderson et al. (2002:84), Barkhuizen et al. (2004:19), Olivier et al. (2004:21), Oshagbemi (1996:356; 1997:357) en Ssesanga en Garrett (2005:37).
19 Unknown author 2004:97) [in Chinese Education and Society, 37(2):96-101.
20 Byvoorbeeld Kenway en Lanmead, Soliman en Soliman, Southon en Braithwaite (Bitzer 2007: 25)
Dr Cobus Pienaar is sedert 2002 aan die Departement Bedryfsielkunde van die Universiteit van die Vrystaat verbonde. Hy is tans senior lektor en departementele voorsitter van die departement. Hy het die volgende kwalifikasies verwerf: B.Soc.Sc (cum laude), B.Soc.Sc.Hons (Bedryfsielkunde -cum laude), M.Soc.Sc (Bedryfsielkunde - cum laude) en PhD (Bedryfsielkunde en Hoër Onder-wys). Hy is 'n geregistreerde sielkundige in die kategorie Bedryfsielkunde. Hy tree ook as konsultant vir verskeie instansies op. Sy spesialis gebiede is Loopbaansielkunde, Organisasiegedrag en Opleiding.
Dr Cobus Pienaar has since 2002 been attached to the Department of Industrial Psychology at the University of the Free State. Currently he is a senior lecturer and the departmental chair person. He obtained the following qualifications: B.Soc.Sc (cum laude), B.Soc.Sc.Hons (Industrial Psychology - cum laude), M.Soc.Sc (Industrial Psychology - cum laude) and PhD (Industrial Psychology and Higher Education). He is a registered psychologist in the category Industrial Psychology. He is a consultant for numerous companies. His fields of expertise include Career Psychology, Organisational Behaviour and Training.