Original Research

Occupational stress, uncertainty and organisational commitment in higher education: Job satisfaction as a moderator

Hlanganipai Ngirande
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1376 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1376 | © 2021 Hlanganipai Ngirande | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 April 2020 | Published: 20 January 2021

About the author(s)

Hlanganipai Ngirande, Department of Industrial Psychology, Faculty of Management and Commerce, University of Fort Hare, Alice, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Committed employees contribute to the success of an organisation. Therefore, organisations need to understand the level of employees’ occupational stress and uncertainty to minimise their negative effects on both the individuals and the organisation. Organisations should also understand the effect of job satisfaction in explaining occupational stress and organisational commitment, as well as uncertainty and organisational commitment.

Research purpose: The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationships between occupational stress, uncertainty and organisational commitment of academic staff from two South African historically black institutions of higher learning. The study further investigated whether job satisfaction moderated the relationship between (1) occupational stress and organisational commitment and (2) uncertainty and organisational commitment.

Motivation for the study: Institutions of higher learning gain a competitive advantage by having a committed workforce. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the drivers of organisational commitment to attain organisational success.

Research approach/design and method: A quantitative approach by using a cross-sectional survey design was used to collect data from the academic staff from two institutions of higher education (n = 424). Both institutions are contact institutions and are of the same level. Cronbach’s alpha coefficients, factor analysis, Pearson product–moment correlation coefficient and multiple regression analyses were used to analyse the data.

Main findings: This study found a negative, significant relationship between occupational stress and organisational commitment and a negative relationship between uncertainty and organisational commitment. However, uncertainty was found to be only a significant predictor of organisational commitment. The study also found that job satisfaction moderates the relationship between uncertainty and organisational commitment. However, it does not moderate the relationship between occupational stress and organisational commitment.

Practical/managerial implications: Institutions of higher learning need to establish a conducive working climate and provide employee assistance programmes to minimise the levels of occupational stress and uncertainty and improve job satisfaction to have committed academic staff.

Contribution/value-add: The research is one of the few studies that explored the moderating role of job satisfaction with the relationship between occupational stress and organisational commitment, and the relationship between uncertainty and organisational commitment in the higher education sector. Hence, it adds new information to the body of knowledge in the sector. Institutions of higher learning can consider evaluating the levels of occupational stress, uncertainty and job satisfaction of their academic staff to promote the issue of the organisational commitment of their employees. Thus, this study has the potential to influence organisational policy on how to reduce work stress and uncertainty and improve organisational commitment.


Keywords

academic staff; confirmatory factor analysis; higher education; job satisfaction; moderator; occupational stress; organisational commitment; South Africa; uncertainty

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