Original Research

Resistance to change, work engagement and psychological capital of academics in an open distance learning work environment

Johanna C. Diedericks, Frans Cilliers, Adéle Bezuidenhout
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 17 | a1142 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v17i0.1142 | © 2019 Johanna C. Diedericks, Frans Cilliers, Adéle Bezuidenhout | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 13 November 2018 | Published: 12 November 2019

About the author(s)

Johanna C. Diedericks, Department of Human Resource Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Frans Cilliers, Department of Industrial and Organisational Psychology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Adéle Bezuidenhout, Department of Human Resource Management, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: In the present knowledge economy, the external environment is rapidly evolving and organisations are increasingly demanding much more from their employees. Psychological capital (PsyCap) and work engagement (WE), seen as positive human resource strengths and psychological capacities, can be developed and effectively managed for enhanced work performance. Employees’ resistance to change (RTC) is a key barrier to organisational change.

Research purpose: To investigate the interrelationships between PsyCap, WE and RTC of open distance learning (ODL) academics.

Motivation for the study: Little empirical research has investigated the application of positive work and organisational psychological functioning of ODL academics. Universities can use the study results to develop strategies which may enable institutions and individuals to flourish through positive well-being despite change.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative survey including a probability sample of 208 (N = 208) academics was utilised. Structural equation modelling was used to analyse the data.

Main findings: The results reveal a meaningful positive relationship between the positive psychological constructs of PsyCap and WE, and a meaningful negative relationship between the psychodynamic construct RTC, and the positive psychological constructs of PsyCap and WE. Structural equation modelling indicated an adequate fit of conceptual structural model.

Practical/managerial implications: Results suggest that reduced RTC and increased positive psychological behaviour could contribute to a positive organisation and individual well-being in a changing work environment.

Contribution/value-add: This study adds to the body of knowledge and insights into positive work and organisational functioning of academics in a changing ODL work environment.


Keywords

positive work and organisational psychology; academics; open distance learning; resistance to change; work engagement; psychological capital; flourishing; well-being; positive organisation

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