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South African Journal of Education

Print version ISSN 0256-0100

S. Afr. j. educ. vol.28 no.2 Pretoria May 2008

 

CONTENTS

 

Job satisfaction among urban secondary-school teachers in Namibia

 

 

Evy GeorgeI; Daniël LouwII; Gerhard BadenhorstIII

IIs in private practice in Windhoek, Namibia. Her research focuses on education and psychology
IIProfessor in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Free State. He has published books on human development and psychology and his research focuses on community psychology and forensic psychology. E-mail: louwda.hum@ufs.ac.za
IIILecturer in the Department of Psychology of Education at the University of the Free State. He has 10 years lecturing experience and his research interests are psychotherapy and behaviour disorders

 

 


ABSTRACT

An exploratory study on the role of extrinsic and intrinsic factors in determining job satisfaction amongst urban secondary-school teachers in Namibia was undertaken. Biographical variables pertaining to the teachers' gender, age, marital status, school resources, teaching experience, academic qualifications, and rank were investigated to determine whether these had any significant relevance, or made any notable contribution, to the level of job satisfaction experienced. Also, the correlation between burnout and job satisfaction was investigated to determine the extent to which these two factors are related. A sample of 337 secondary-school teachers randomly selected from 17 government schools, in the Windhoek region of Namibia, voluntarily participated in the study. Results showed significant levels of dissatisfaction pertaining to intrinsic factors of work and, more especially, those factors relating to school area and rank. A significant correlation between levels of burnout and job satisfaction was found, particularly in respect of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization, which were shown to correlate with low levels of job satisfaction. Limitations and recommendations pertaining to the study are discussed.

Keywords: burnout; Namibia; job satisfaction; secondary school; teachers


 

 

Introduction

The concept of job satisfaction has received much attention in the past 65 years. Maslow's (1954) hierarchy of needs theory forms the basis of many researchers' discussions and assessments of job satisfaction. Researchers have found a direct correlation between job satisfaction and a sense of self actualization and fulfilment. From this basis, a wide variety of dimensions are focused on, which are primarily related to physical, psycho-social, emotional, and economic factors that collectively link to the employee's overall experience of satisfaction within the work environment. Several points of departure in defining and explaining job satisfaction stem from the various research parameters, but can broadly be categorized into discussions centred around extrinsic and intrinsic motivational factors, expectancy theory, and value theory.

The concept of intrinsic and extrinsic motivational factors relating to the experience of job satisfaction was first documented by Herzberg, Mausner, Snyderman and Barbara (1967). These authors' motivation factor theory distinguished two sets of work factors that determined job satisfaction. One set, namely, motivators (intrinsic factors), related to the actual performing of the work. These factors referred to matters such as recognition, responsibility, advancement, achievement, and the nature of the work. The second set, namely, hygiene factors, comprised extrinsic factors relating to the work environment and included matters such as company policies, supervision, interpersonal relations and working conditions.

Although Tolman and Lewin (cf. Tolman, 1951)conducted most of the original work on expectancy theory as a means of indicating satisfaction, Vroom (1967) is usually credited with the application of the theory within the workplace. Expectancy theory explains how people choose, from various available options, that option which they perceive to be the means of obtaining their goals. It also refers to the perceived probability that effort will lead to good performance and the attainment of desired outcomes. Findings from research by Mosley, Meggins, and Pietri (1993) and Greenberg and Baron (1993) support the expectancy theory. Mosley et al. (1993) maintain that job satisfaction is strongly influenced by the rewards that the individual receives from his or her work. Greenberg and Baron claim that job satisfaction is determined by the degree to which job outcomes, like rewards, match those desired by the individual.

Locke's value theory offers another important perspective on job satisfaction (Locke, 1969), since it links a belief/value system to the experience of, and commitment to, attaining job satisfaction. When people perceive and experience what they are doing as fulfilling, their commitment and productivity increase. This, according to Locke, constitutes job satisfaction.

With these factors in mind, insight can be gained into what constitutes job satisfaction, particularly amongst individuals, as well as amongst groupings of people within certain professions. By understanding the unique individual's motivations and the factors that contribute towards his or her satisfaction, a certain insight is gained in respect of potential needs and lacunae within professional groupings of people.

Research specifically pertaining to job satisfaction amongst teachers has recently begun to receive much attention owing to the decrease in popularity and status of the teaching profession as a whole (Gendin & Sergeev, 2002), as well as to the high teacher turnovers recorded in many countries over the past few decades (Buckley, Schneider & Shang, 2005; Kotterman, 2000). Changes in education policies, the children's rights movement and legislation changes have not only seen teachers increasingly becoming the targets of criticism, but have also led to high incidences of burnout and general dissatisfaction among teachers world-wide (Ingersoll, 2001; Tye & O-Brien, 2002). Because of the impact of the constant demands that are made on teachers to produce better results and aim for higher educational objectives, investigations as to the experience of teachers in respect of their work situation have become increasingly necessary.

Although no research has been done on job satisfaction amongst teachers in the Namibian context, trends similar to those recorded in other countries were evident from conversations with teachers in schools in Windhoek. In addition to the common denominators found in most countries regarding job satisfaction, it is widely accepted that the many changes that have taken place in the Namibian educational system, since the country gained independence in 1990, have additionally impacted on these teachers' experience of job satisfaction. Several teachers verbally reported that they experienced these changes as stressful, owing to the rapidity of the changes and the fact that they had not been prepared for the immense impact of these changes, which in turn affected their ability to cope with the new demands. In order to determine whether unique variables, such as the political changes mentioned, geographical isolation, mixing of first and third-world cultures, and the specific needs and expectations of the teachers, played a role, this exploratory study was done, to provide a background against which potentially more detailed research could be conducted.

 

Factors influencing job satisfaction amongst teachers in African and other countries

The ensuing discussion will be based on research findings from some African and other countries, which illustrate how intrinsic and extrinsic factors influence the job satisfaction of teachers in a diversity of contexts.

(a) African countries

Since in the present study we focused on job satisfaction among teachers in Namibia, more emphasis will be given to literature referring to previous studies conducted in other African countries, so as to provide an African context to the discussion.

In South Africa, the teaching context is somewhat different from that found in most other African countries, because of the inequality that had existed between the educational systems provided for the white and the black sectors of the population, respectively, during the apartheid era. Up until 1990, Namibia was a South African protectorate, subject to South African government rules, and hence fundamentally part of the apartheid system. In this respect, research that was conducted with South African teachers may also shed light on aspects of Namibian teachers' experiences.

In research conducted by, amongst others, Esterhuizen (1989), Hillebrand (1989), Steinberg (1993), and Steyn (1992) on the factors influencing job satisfaction among white teachers in South Africa, the variables that emerged from these studies were aspects pertaining to working conditions; interpersonal relations with managers, colleagues and learners; professional development; management style; and community involvement. Factors influencing job satisfaction among white teachers covered a broad spectrum, and included intrinsic as well as extrinsic factors.

Research conducted by Van der Westhuizen and Du Toit (1994) on the factors influencing job satisfaction among black female teachers in South Africa indicated that all the job satisfaction factors revolved around the teacher's learners, her teaching, and her own security. It was apparent that she sought her job satisfaction within her classroom. Factors concerning her personal life and her relationships with colleagues were also accorded high priority, indicating that intrinsic factors played an important role in determining job satisfaction.

Significant indicators of job satisfaction which emerged from a study done by Mwamwenda (1995) in the Transkei included positive relationships between teachers and principals, colleagues, learners, and parents; holidays; learners' results and achievements; and the fact that teaching is culturally considered to be a fine and challenging profession. This study therefore also seems to highlight the importance of intrinsic factors in determining job satisfaction among the teachers in the sample.

A report issued by the National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa (2002) highlighted the following aspects regarding teacher morale:

• One in every four educators has a sense of low morale towards the profession.

• There was a perception that a further 33.7% of colleagues had an indifferent level of morale towards the profession.

• 38.2% had a negative morale towards job satisfaction.

• Factors highlighted in this report, which had a negative effect on teacher morale, included the following: poor leadership style of the provincial departments (65.5%); lack of quality of support received from Department officers (63.2%); continuous change in educational methodology and policy (60.0%); poor salary package (58.1%); poor quality of communication by the Department with its schools (53.4%); lack of promotion prospects (50.8%); amount of paperwork (49.3%); lack of educational resources in the classroom (43.7%); amount of authority given by the Department of Education to take own initiative (41.1%); low educator learner ratio (37.4%); teaching learners who have a low morale (37.4%).

Nhundu (1994) found in his research that self-appraisals and role-clarity factors emerged as the major predictors of overall job satisfaction among teachers in Zimbabwe. An important finding was that self-appraisals were a better predictor of overall job satisfaction than the appraisals by the teachers' supervisors. This could indicate that supervisors are not as well informed about the inner feelings, experiences and perceptions of an employee as they assume. Background variables such as gender, school level, and school size did not seem to be stable predictors of job satisfaction among Zimbabwean teachers. It also appears from this study that intrinsic, rather than extrinsic factors played an important role as precursors to perceived job satisfaction among this population of teachers.

In Botswana, Chimbganda (1999) conducted research that focused mainly on teachers of English as a second language. Although the study did not measure the teachers' job satisfaction per se, findings indicated that factors such as workload (including extra-curricular activities), class size and working conditions played an important role in determining whether the teachers in the sample found their job satisfying or not. In this study, the focus on job satisfaction precursors appeared to be more extrinsic in nature. A study done by Pii (2003) in Lesotho found that factors such as compensation, recognition, institutional policies and practices, working conditions, supervision and human relations were significantly associated with job dissatisfaction.

The Southern Africa Consortium for Monitoring Education Quality (SACMEQ,1998) conducted a survey of Namibian Schools. In this survey teachers considered the following factors as the "most important" for their work satisfaction: the provision of study opportunities, seeing their learners learn, quality of school management and administration, level of teacher salary, and the quality of classroom supplies. Based on these findings a policy suggestion was made to introduce financially sustainable measures to improve job satisfaction with particular emphasis on the factors mentioned previously.

(b) Countries abroad

Wisniewski (1990) found that there were mainly three related factors that influenced the job satisfaction experienced by Polish teachers. These were good pay, good organization of the school, and the atmosphere in the school — an environment congenial to the teachers' needs, as well as good conditions for experimenting in teaching and education.

According to Tuettemann (1991), the vast majority of secondary-school teachers in Western Australia considered classroom success, acknowledgement and recognition to be important factors associated with job satisfaction. In another Australian study by Rice and Schneider (1994), participation in decision-making and autonomy were identified as contributing to job satisfaction. Both studies therefore ascertained that among Australian teachers, intrinsic factors seemed to play the primary role in job satisfaction.

In the United Kingdom, job satisfaction amongst teachers was influenced by factors such as student learning and achievement, professional development, relationships with colleagues, and the status and image of teaching (Scott, Cox & Dinham, 1999). Overall, Scott et al. found that the sources of teachers' satisfaction in the UK lay within the domain of the intrinsic rewards of teaching and were centred around learner and teacher achievement.

A study among Turkish special-school teachers showed that the more experienced teachers have less job satisfaction than their less-experienced colleagues (Sari, 2004). This corroborated findings by the National Center for Educational Studies in the USA (1997), which also found that in public schools younger and less experienced teachers have higher levels of satisfaction than older and more experienced teachers. However, in private schools the relationship was found to be bipolar. The very youngest and very oldest teachers had the highest levels of satisfaction, as did the least and most experienced.

The greatest areas of dissatisfaction for Juvenile Justice teachers in Georgia, USA, were disruptive behaviour, work overload manageability and lack of parental support (Houchins, Shippen & Cattret, 2004). In a study done by Mottet, Beebe, Raffeld and Medlock (2004) at the Texas State University, over half of the total variance in teacher job satisfaction was attributed to student verbal and non-verbal responsiveness.

 

Effects of a lack of job satisfaction

Mwamwenda (1995) found that a lack of job satisfaction resulted in frequent teacher absenteeism from school, aggressive behaviour towards colleagues and learners, early exits from the teaching profession, and psychological withdrawal from the work. Mwamwenda also highlighted the cost implications that result from high absenteeism, not only for the employer, but also for society as a whole.

According to Steyn (1992), the manifestation of job satisfaction has implications for the teacher as well as for the educational system in which he or she is employed. The different attitudes of the teacher, his or her physical well-being and life expectancy, absenteeism and turnover, as well as success in the profession, are all dependent on the degree of job satisfaction experienced by the teacher. Steyn adds that even the effectiveness of an educational system depends largely on the job satisfaction of the teachers employed in the system.

Low job satisfaction has been cited as a possible cause of the current teaching crises in the UK (Crossman & Harris, 2006). Kotterman (2000) also mentions the support for practising teachers as one of the keys to long-term retention of teachers. From research findings on teacher burnout (see George, Louw & Esterhuyse (submitted) and job satisfaction, it has become clear that there appears to be a link between these two phenomena. A number of the factors causing both phenomena, as well as the effects of both on the teaching profession, appear to correspond. Researchers such as Borg and Riding (1991), Carr (1993), and Decker and Borgen (1993) have noted a correlation between burnout and job satisfaction.

Workers may be very satisfied with one aspect of their work, while being indifferent to another aspect, and even dissatisfied in respect of yet another aspect. Researchers such as Neuman, Reichel and Saad (1988) claim that this could be one of the reasons why teachers are willing and prepared to stay in their profession despite discomfort and a desire to stop teaching.

All the foregoing findings and discussions highlight the value of gaining insight into job satisfaction factors amongst teachers so as to begin to find ways to remedy the apparent situation that prevails within the teaching profession. In the present investigation we aimed to determine some of these factors amongst Namibian teachers.

 

Method

Measuring instruments

The following measuring instruments were used to determine job satisfaction and burnout among the sample of Namibian secondary-school teachers.

• Biographical questionnaire

A self-compiled questionnaire was used to collect data such as gender, age, marital status, school area, teaching experience, qualifications, and rank.

Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ)

The MSQ (Weiss, Dawis, England & Lofquist, 1967) is used worldwide to measure the job satisfaction of employees, including teachers. The MSQ has been used successfully in several studies in South Africa (e.g. Bester & Boshoff, 1997; Boshoff & Hoole, 1998; Van der Vyver, 1998).

• The Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI)

Teacher burnout was measured by using the MBI (Maslach & Jackson, 1986; Maslach et al, 1996). The MBI has been shown to be fairly reliable and valid. For example, Cronbach alpha coefficients ranging from 0.71 to 0.90 have been reported for the three sub-scales (Maslach, Jackson & Leiter,1996). In South Africa, similar psychometric properties have been reported (Jeena, 1998; Kotze, 1996; Moodley, 1995; Padayachee, 1993; Pretorius, 1994, Rutsch, 1997; Van der Linde, Van der Westhuizen & Wissing, 1999).

For practical purposes it was decided to include only teachers from secondary schools in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. Permission for this study was granted by the Director of the Windhoek Region, one of the educational regions in Namibia. Four-hundred and eighty teachers were randomly selected from the 17 government schools in Windhoek to participate in the study. Both teachers and management members were included in the sample. Each set of questionnaires, consisting of the biographical questionnaire, the MBI, and the MSQ, was accompanied by a covering letter explaining the purpose of the study to the participants. The principals of the schools were contacted concerning the study, and the sets of questionnaires were personally delivered to the participating schools, where they were distributed to the teachers and collected after completion. A total of 337 participants responded, giving an overall response rate of 70.0%.

Since the MBI and MSQ were standardized in the USA, and no psychometric information was available as far as Namibians were concerned, it was decided to determine the reliability of the instruments by investigating their internal consistency. This was done by calculating Cronbach's alpha coefficients using the SPSS computer program (SPSS Incorporated, 1983). The coefficients are indicated in Table 1.

 

 

The coefficients in Table 1 indicate that the subscales of the MSQ and MBI measuring instruments produced measures that had an acceptable to high level of internal consistency for the Namibian sample used.

With the exception of age, all the biographical variables considered in the study were measured on the nominal scale. For the further analyses that follow, it was decided to divide the teachers' ages in the following manner:(a) 30 years and younger; (b) 31-40 years; and (c) older than 40 years. The average age of the total research group was 37.62 years, with a standard deviation of 8.95. The youngest teacher in the research group was 23 years old, whilst the oldest was 60 years of age.

Information on the distribution of the 337 teachers concerning the seven biographical variables was calculated by means of the SAS computer program (SAS Institute, 1985) and is presented in Table 2. It should be noted that, for practical purposes, some of the original categories for a specific biographical variable were grouped together so that they could be used meaningfully in the analyses.

 

 

From Table 2, it is clear that approximately two-thirds of the participants comprised female teachers, of whom the majority were married. A slightly higher number of teachers, from the reasonably resourced schools, than the number, from the schools with above-average resources, were in the research group. As far as teaching experience was concerned, the group was relatively equally distributed amongst the different categories. The majority of participants were not in managerial positions, whilst approximately two-thirds of the group held either a Bachelor's degree or higher qualification.

Formulation of hypotheses

Research hypothesis 1

A significant difference exists in respect of the average job satisfaction scores (intrinsic, extrinsic, and general) for the population of Namibian secondary-school teachers concerning their gender, age, marital status, school area, teaching experience, academic qualifications, and rank.

Research hypothesis 2

A statistically significant correlation exists between burnout and job satisfaction scores for the population of Namibian teachers. A negative correlation is expected between burnout (emotional exhaustion and depersonalization) scores and job satisfaction (intrinsic, extrinsic, and general) scores. In contrast, a positive correlation is expected between a lack of personal accomplishment scores and job satisfaction scores.

Statistical procedures

Before proceeding with a discussion of the statistical procedures, it should be made clear that, according to research hypothesis 1, teachers would have to be compared with regard to all seven biographical variables concerning their levels of job satisfaction. As indicated in Table 2, some of the biographical variables (gender, marital status, school area, qualification, and rank) were divided into only two categories, whereas age and teaching experience were divided into three categories. Consequently, different statistical procedures were used to test this hypothesis. In cases where only two categories were present for a specific biographical variable, the Hotelling T-square test for independent groups was used (Tabachnick & Fidell, 1989). For the variables for which statistically significant T 2 values were obtained, the differences were followed up by means of post-hoc t tests.

Where more than two categories were present for a biographical variable, a multi-variate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed. In cases where a significant result (F value) was obtained with the MANOVA analyses, the results were followed up with one-way analyses of variance. Since more than two categories (subgroups) per biographical variable were taken into account in this case, the Scheffé procedure was used to determine which of the average scores on the dependent variables of the subgroups showed a statistically significant difference. With MANOVA analyses, statistical inferences are based on the following assumptions (Du Toit & Stumpf, 1982):

• The dataset will have to originate from a multi-variate normal population,

• with equal subgroup covariance matrices, and

• the subgroups are a collection of the various independent datasets.

With regard to the first assumption, it could be accepted with relative certainty that the dataset came from a multi-variate normal population. The lowest number of observations per level in respect of the three independent variables was 51 and, according to the central-limit theorem (Huysamen, 1983), it could therefore be assumed that the means of the sub-population had approximate multivariate normal distribution.

To determine whether the datasets satisfied the conditions for the second assumption, namely, equal subgroup covariance matrices, a section of the SAS-DISCRIM procedure was used (SAS Institute, 1985). When a significant 2 value is obtained by means of this procedure, it indicates uneven subgroup covariance matrices. This assumption was investigated for both biographical variables (age and experience) regarding the sub-scales of the MBI. Not one of the 2 values was significant on at least the 0.01 level and therefore it could be accepted that equal subgroup covariances existed for these two biographical variables. The 0.01 level was used in this study.

As far as the third assumption is concerned, it appeared from the research design that the subgroups were mutually independent.

 

Results and discussion

Before proceeding with the discussion of the results pertaining to the formulated research hypotheses, the descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) of the relevant dependent variables for the research group as a whole are indicated and discussed briefly. The job satisfaction profiles are then investigated.

Descriptive statistics

Concerning job satisfaction, the findings from the MSQ (Table 3) indicate that the Namibian teachers experienced a lower level of job satisfaction compared to an American norm group, in terms of findings by Maslach and Jackson (1986). However, the present results compared favourably with the results of similar studies done in South Africa (Alexander, 2000; Julius, 1999; Nkonka, 1999; Tuffour, 2000).

 

 

Job satisfaction profiles

To determine the levels of job satisfaction (on the three subscales of the MSQ) experienced by the Namibian teachers, their scores on the three subscales were divided into the categories "satisfied", "neutral" and "dissatisfied". The results appear in Table 4.

 

 

Table 4 shows that approximately two-thirds of the teachers experienced high levels of dissatisfaction with intrinsic factors, while nearly 90% experienced an attitude towards extrinsic factors that varied from neutral to satisfied. However, in another Namibian study teachers reported a shortage of about 40% writing place (such as a desk) in different areas in Namibia (SACMEQ, 1998). They also noted some other extrinsic factors they considered as important for their work satisfaction: quality of school management and administration, level of teacher salary, and quality of classroom supplies.

Regarding general satisfaction, approximately half of the teachers in the present study showed a neutral attitude while about 40.0% indicated dissatisfaction. From these results it is evident that Namibian secondary school teachers did experience dissatisfaction with their work set-up, and especially with the intrinsic factors of their work. As previously mentioned, intrinsic factors included achievement, recognition, responsibility, and the work itself. Findings concerning Namibian teachers' level of job satisfaction with intrinsic factors are supported by findings from studies in South Africa (Van der Westhuizen & Du Toit, 1994), Transkei (Mwamwenda, 1995), Zimbabwe (Nhundu, 1994), the United Kingdom (Scott et al., 1999) and Australia (Tuettemann, 1991; Rice & Schneider, 1994). Another Namibian study showed that a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic factors was important for the teachers' work satisfaction (SACMEQ, 1998).

In order to further elucidate the analyses, it was decided to focus on only those teachers (N = 219) who experienced dissatisfaction with the intrinsic factors of their work with regard to the seven biographical (independent) variables. The relevant results appear in Table 5.

 

 

Firstly, the results in Table 5 indicate that the majority of teachers, regardless of which category of the biographical variables they represented, reported a high level of dissatisfaction with the intrinsic factors of their job. These findings are supported by results from a study by Frase (1989) in which it was determined that intrinsic factors were more powerful motivators than extrinsic factors. Furthermore, it was clear that teachers who were dissatisfied with the intrinsic factors of their work were distributed relatively equally among the different categories of a specific biographical variable. However, in the case of school area, proportionately more teachers in the schools with above-average resources were dissatisfied with intrinsic factors, compared to teachers in schools with average resources. The same tendency was observed regarding rank. In comparison to teachers in non-managerial positions, proportionately more teachers in managerial positions indicated dissatisfaction with the intrinsic factors of their job. A further discussion of the variables school area and rank will follow under discussion of the job satisfaction profile.

 

Testing of hypotheses

Research hypothesis 1

The teachers' mean scores on the job satisfaction sub-scales regarding the seven biographical variables were compared. The Hotelling T-square was used for the five biographical variables for which there were only two categories, to compare the means of the three job satisfaction sub-scales (Tables 6 and 7). The remaining two biographical variables (age and experience), which each consisted of three categories, were dealt with afterwards by making use of the MANOVA analyses (Table 8).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mean job satisfaction sub-scale scores for the biographical variables, gender, marital status, school area, highest qualifications, and rank, were compared by means of the Hotelling T-square. The results are indicated in Table 6.

From Table 6 it is clear that the biographical variable, school area, was found to be significant on the 0.01 level. No significant results were found for the other four variables. For the variable, school area, the difference was further analysed by means of Student's t tests for independent groups. The analysis of multiple comparisons was done by means of separate t tests for the three dependent variables. The results appear in Table 7.

Table 7 indicates that the t values for all three MSQ sub-scales produced a p value lower than 0.01, so that it could be accepted that the results were significant on the 0.01 level. The mean scores on all three scales of the MSQ for the teachers from schools with above-average resources were consistently higher than those of teachers from schools with average resources. This meant that, in comparison to the latter group, the teachers in schools with above-average resources were more dissatisfied with all three of the components (intrinsic, extrinsic, and general) of job satisfaction. In this regard, it needs to be mentioned that before the independence of Namibia in 1990, the schools with above-average resources were mainly attended by a white learner population. The situation changed after independence, in that a learner was given the opportunity to attend any school of his or her choice. As a result, the degree of learner integration subsequently became quite high. In fact, in most of the schools with above-average resources, white teachers were dominant with black learners in the majority. These teachers' dissatisfaction with aspects of their work could, to some extent, be attributed to the demands of dealing with different cultures. This assumption is supported by findings of a study on the effects of group racial composition on the job satisfaction of teachers, conducted by Mueller, Finley, Iverson and Price (1999) in the USA. These researchers found reduced levels of job satisfaction among a predominantly white teaching staff and a predominantly black learner population. Mueller and his co-workers postulated that a possible explanation for this could be found in the lack of understanding of the influence of environmental disadvantages on learner performance. Vandenberghe and Huberman (1999) confirm that teachers' high performance expectations and their emphasis on learner achievement could comprise factors that contribute to their job dissatisfaction.

The analyses were then followed up by using the two biographical variables that each consisted of three categories. For this purpose, the MANOVA procedures were performed, by means of the SAS computer program (SAS Institute, 1985). The results for the MSQ sub-scales appear in Table 8.

From Table 8 it appears that no significant differences existed in respect of the mean MSQ sub-scale scores for teachers from the different age and experience groups. No further statistical analyses were therefore performed.

Hypothesis 1 was therefore rejected as a significant difference could only be found in one of the seven tested variables.

Research hypothesis 2

Findings made in a previous study by George, Louw and Esterhuyse (submitted) on teacher burnout among the same Namibian population of secondary-school teachers were analysed in conjunction with findings in this study, in order to determine the possible link, if any, between teacher burnout and the experience of job satisfaction on the part of teachers. For this purpose, the second hypothesis was investigated by calculating Pearson's product moment correlation. The SAS computer program (SAS Institute, 1985) was used to conduct this investigation. The results are given in Table 9.

 

 

The results in Table 9 show that there was a significant correlation between Namibian secondary-school teachers' levels of job satisfaction and burnout. The calculated correlation coefficients were all significant (p = 0.01). The negative correlation between emotional exhaustion (depletion or draining of emotional resources) and the three job satisfaction scores indicated that the higher the level of emotional exhaustion experienced by the teachers, the lower their level of job satisfaction (in respect of all three components). The same tendency appeared regarding depersonalization (feelings of emotional detachment or estrangement) and job satisfaction. On the other hand, the positive correlation between the personal achievement and job satisfaction scores indicated that teachers who experienced high levels of personal achievement were also inclined to experience a high level of job satisfaction (Decker & Borgen, 1993). This illustrated the reciprocal relationship between personal achievement and job satisfaction: the higher the job satisfaction, the higher the sense of personal achievement and psychological gain, which in turn act as a reinforcement to achieve job satisfaction.

Research hypothesis 2 was therefore accepted.

 

Conclusion

The following can be regarded as the main findings of this study:

• The job satisfaction profile of the teachers indicated significantly high levels of dissatisfaction with the intrinsic factors of their work. In this regard, the variables of school resources and rank seemed to play an important role. More teachers in the schools with above-average resources and in managerial positions indicated dissatisfaction with the intrinsic factors of their work. The dissatisfaction of teachers in the amply resourced schools most probably had a bearing on the changes in the educational system in Namibia since the attainment of independence in 1990. An inability to understand the dynamics in a multicultural learner setting could be a contributing factor with regard to teacher dissatisfaction. The high performance levels that teachers tended to expect from previously environmentally disadvantaged learners, and teachers' emphasis on learner achievement, could further give rise to dissatisfaction on the part of teachers. The dissatisfaction expressed by people in managerial positions probably has the same explanation basis: managing all the changes in the new educational system and resulting frustrations creates a breeding ground for job dissatisfaction.

• A significant correlation was found between the Namibian teachers' levels of burnout and job satisfaction. High levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization are indicative of a low level of job satisfaction. On the other hand, high levels of personal accomplishment correlated positively with high levels of job satisfaction.

The following recommendations can be made regarding the above findings:

• The causes of job satisfaction indicated in this research should be further investigated in order to identify the specific aspects that could be rectified.

• Investigations as to whether cultural diversities are causal factors for job dissatisfaction need to be conducted.

• The precise factors causing the higher levels of job dissatisfaction among teachers in managerial positions could be investigated with the aim of structuring capacity-building and support programmes.

However, as in most if not all research, the present study also has certain limitations, which should be taken into account when interpreting the findings.

First, data collection was done by quantitative means only. This procedure does not seem to capture the complexity of teachers' perceptions of their workplace conditions. Therefore, a combination of quantitative and qualitative research would have been a better option. Focus-group interviews could have assisted in achieving a more behaviourally related assessment of the participants' lives at work and a better indication of the exact factors that contributed to their levels of burnout and job dissatisfaction.

Second, in this study the questionnaires were completed during the examination period in Namibia (April), which is usually a stressful time for teachers, and especially for those in managerial positions. This may have had an impact on the responses of the teachers. Since they were preoccupied with duties related to the examinations, the return rate of the questionnaires may also have been jeopardized (Rutsch, 1997).

In conclusion, it needs to be mentioned that continuing research on teachers' levels of burnout and job satisfaction could eventually lead to realistic and successful burnout intervention and prevention programmes. Such intervention and prevention may ultimately result in higher levels of job satisfaction. Teachers would then be more likely to stay in the teaching profession and to find fulfilment in what they do. The hope is expressed that this study will stimulate more research on variables such as those that have emerged in this study as being significant.

 

Acknowledgement

We thank Beverley Peens and Lyzette Hoffman for their editorial assistance.

 

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