Original Research

Pre-conditions for employee motivation to curb Zimbabwe’s academic brain drain

Tsitsi T. Kanonge, Mark H.R. Bussin
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 20 | a1819 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v20i0.1819 | © 2022 Tsitsi T. Kanonge, Mark H.R. Bussin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2021 | Published: 19 August 2022

About the author(s)

Tsitsi T. Kanonge, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Mark H.R. Bussin, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, Faculty of Management, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Orientation and research purpose: In this article we explore an applicable framework of pre-conditions for employee motivation so as to help curb Zimbabwe’s current brain drain challenge.

Motivation for the study: After observing that current literature does not seem to address the questions around what actually compels employees to stay within their jobs, especially in politically and socio-economic unstable countries; we sought to understudy current employees in Zimbabwe’s institutions of higher learning.

Research approach/design and method: The case study, which is qualitative in nature, studies two research sites, namely, one public and one private university. From the two sites, participants are purposefully selected to be interviewed.

Main findings: Through the interviewed participants, the study reveals a new wave of brain drain. As opposed to the traditional political and socio-economic push factors, the study highlights that the current brain drain is being driven by unresponsive administration systems which have failed to meet employee needs, although this task is achievable. Through the study, a range of needs, which vary in terms of priority from one age generation to another, are identified. The study reveals that the needs, although varying in their nature, should be considered as part of the processes to change.

Practical/managerial implications and contribution/value-add: The intervention required to address Zimbabwe’s academic brain drain challenge is a sense of responsiveness on the part of the employer. In situations where dialogue is the required solution, collected data red-flags the manifestation of unresponsive administration systems in its place. This has left employees extremely frustrated.


brain drain; dialogue; employee motivation; pre-conditions; unresponsive


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Crossref Citations

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