Original Research

Job performance: Working conditions of urban teachers in Zimbabwean schools

Victor C. Ngwenya
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 19 | a1454 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v19i0.1454 | © 2021 Victor C. Ngwenya | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 14 August 2020 | Published: 16 April 2021

About the author(s)

Victor C. Ngwenya, Department of Educational Management and Leadership, Faculty of Education and Arts, Zimbabwe Open University, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe; and, College of Economic and Management Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Orientation: For Zimbabwean schools to deliver quality education in this competitive and hyperinflationary environment, teachers must be paid a living wage, which is commensurate with their noble profession to spruce up their public image and retain the best.

Research purpose: The research established the Zimbabwean urban teachers’ working conditions, which affected their job performance and proffered remedies.

Motivation for the study: Schools with favourable working conditions attracted, developed and retained highly qualified, experienced and effective teachers. The opposite resulted in low productivity, high turnover, absenteeism, moonlighting, job hopping and attrition.

Research approach/design and method: A qualitative approach informed by a constructivist grounded theory was used. Sixteen experienced teachers and four education managers had their lived experiences on the phenomenon under investigation interrogated as experienced in Bulawayo Metropolitan Province (BMP).

Main findings: The findings suggested that the improvement of the teachers’ working conditions enhanced their job performance. Teachers bemoaned the low remunerations that could not meet their basic physiological needs, which were fundamental in enhancing their job performance. They also claimed that the teacher to learner ratio and curriculum demands overworked them amid the scarcity of resources. Sponsored career development opportunities were unavailable.

Practical/managerial implications: Improving the working conditions of teachers would not only enhance their job performance but also reduce high turnover, attrition rate and moonlighting, which has become a malaise in Zimbabwean schools.

Contributions/value-add: The study revealed that improving the remuneration for teachers has a domino effect on their poor working conditions.


job performance; teacher burnout; teachers’ working conditions; motivational factors; turnover


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