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Article
Publication date: 25 January 2019

Michael Esop and Carolyn Timms

The purpose of this paper is to provide an indication as to the motivation of people to remain in academic positions where substantial economic inequity is present and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an indication as to the motivation of people to remain in academic positions where substantial economic inequity is present and more favourable alternative employment is possible. This is important for the retention of qualified academic staff in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and for the supply of well-educated workers in this developing country.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors surveyed 94 national (indigenous) academic staff at a prominent PNG university for their perceptions of organisational justice and management support, with an aim determining if these variables were related to workers’ affective commitment (AC) and intentions to turnover. The surveyed staff members are all employed on an inequitable basis in that their salaries and living conditions are inferior to those of equally qualified expatriate academic staff.

Findings

The research found that staff members’ emotional connection (affective commitment (AC)) to their work was predicted by organisational support, whereas lack of organisational support predicted academic staff turnover.

Practical implications

Universities must provide supportive environments to enable staff to remain focussed and committed in order to maintain high morale and reduce turnover in academic staff.

Originality/value

Previous research on this topic has emphasised the economic inequity faced by national academic staff members in PNG’s high education institutions. The current research applies motivation theory to people experiencing this obvious inequity. It finds that an environment where workers experience management support and a sense of intrinsic reward can effectively influence their intention to remain at their place of work as well as their emotional connection to their institution and their students.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 11 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2018

Carolyn Timms, Tracey Fishman, Alexander Godineau, Jamie Granger and Tariro Sibanda

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship of undergraduate university students’ course experience (learning community (LC), clear goals and standards…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relationship of undergraduate university students’ course experience (learning community (LC), clear goals and standards, student support, study-family affect (SF affect) and autonomy) to their well-being, as measured by psychological engagement (dedication, absorption and vigour) and burnout (exhaustion and disengagement/cynicism).

Design/methodology/approach

First-year psychology students (n=128) were surveyed using previously validated measures of their well-being and experiences at university.

Findings

Belonging to a LC (where students were encouraged to develop fluidity with the subject matter and share insights) was positively related to students’ psychological engagement. By contrast, the provision of ready access to course materials did not predict student engagement. Knowledge of goals and standards predicted that students would find course work energising (vigour). Respondents reported that SF affect (where participation at university enhances family life) was related to their engagement at university. In addition, mature age students (over the age of 25 years) reported higher levels of engagement in their study than did younger students.

Research limitations/implications

The dominant predictor of student well-being (LC) was redolent of two important psychological human needs (affiliation and mastery). The central nature of this variable to student well-being is therefore currently undifferentiated and calls for the application of more finely tuned instruments to predict student well-being.

Originality/value

The current research applied measures from the widely validated Course Experience Questionnaire (Ramsden, 1991) as predictors of students’ psychological engagement and burnout. It highlights the value of personal relationships and community in university students’ mastery of difficult course material.

Details

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2050-7003

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Article
Publication date: 4 September 2017

Xi Wen Chan, Thomas Kalliath, Paula Brough, Michael O’Driscoll, Oi-Ling Siu and Carolyn Timms

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mediating roles of work and family demands and work-life balance on the relationship between self-efficacy (to regulate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the mediating roles of work and family demands and work-life balance on the relationship between self-efficacy (to regulate work and life) and work engagement. Specifically, it seeks to explain how self-efficacy influences employees’ thought patterns and emotional reactions, which in turn enable them to cope with work and family demands, and ultimately achieve work-life balance and work engagement.

Design/methodology/approach

Structural equation modelling (SEM) of survey data obtained from a heterogeneous sample of 1,010 Australian employees is used to test the hypothesised chain mediation model.

Findings

The SEM results support the hypothesised model. Self-efficacy was significantly and negatively related to work and family demands, which in turn were negatively associated with work-life balance. Work-life balance, in turn, enabled employees to be engaged in their work.

Research limitations/implications

The findings support the key tenets of social cognitive theory and conservation of resources (COR) theory and demonstrate how self-efficacy can lead to work-life balance and engagement despite the presence of role demands. Study limitations (e.g. cross-sectional research design) and future research directions are discussed.

Originality/value

This study incorporates COR theory with social cognitive theory to improve understanding of how self-efficacy enhances work-life balance and work engagement through a self-fulfilling cycle in which employees achieve what they believe they can accomplish, and in the process, build other skills and personal resources to manage work and family challenges.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 38 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 23 September 2013

Carolyn Timms and Paula Brough

The purpose of this paper is to compare the explanatory power of two theoretical frameworks in regard to the work engagement of 312 Queensland teachers from non-government…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to compare the explanatory power of two theoretical frameworks in regard to the work engagement of 312 Queensland teachers from non-government schools. The first theoretical model is the job demands-resources (JD-R) theory which suggests that work engagement will be evident if people report an abundance of resources in their work environment. The second perspective is self-determination theory (SDT) which suggests that work engagement will be evident if people are able to satisfy their personal psychological needs within the work environment.

Design/methodology/approach

The current research collected data from the same participants on two occasions with a six-month interval. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the research hypotheses both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

Findings

It was found that the SDT provided the more compelling explanation for work engagement, in that career satisfaction (rather than job satisfaction) was a robust predictor of work engagement, although some evidence was also found for a contribution of the psycho-social work environment (supporting the JD-R model) in teachers’ work engagement or burnout. It was concluded that these two theoretical perspectives are compatible.

Practical implications

It is recommended that future studies of work engagement include some measurement of people's satisfaction that the career they have chosen fulfils their personal aspirations.

Social implications

The theories of SDT (work engagement as a fulfilment of psychological needs) and JD-R (work engagement as a balance of job demands and resources), while coming from different directions appear to be compatible, with each perspective enriching the other and affording administrators a more complete understanding of dynamics affecting the psychological health of teaching staff.

Originality/value

Previous work involving the JD-R and work engagement has focused on the immediate psycho-social environment of the workplace. The current research finds that career satisfaction predicts all dimensions of work engagement in cross-sectional analysis and over time. This supports insights from SDT and suggests that a more complete understanding of the dynamics of work engagement must include people's opportunity to redress psychological needs within the workplace.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 51 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 21 August 2007

Carolyn Timms, Deborah Graham and David Cottrell

The present study seeks to elucidate observed mismatches with workload in teacher respondents to a survey exploring aspects of the work environment.

Abstract

Purpose

The present study seeks to elucidate observed mismatches with workload in teacher respondents to a survey exploring aspects of the work environment.

Design/methodology/approach

This phase of the study constituted a pen and paper survey of 298 currently serving teachers in independent schools in Queensland, Australia. Measures used in the research included the Areas of Worklife Survey (AWLS), which identifies matches or mismatches between the worker and organization on six areas of worklife, the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI), and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES).

Findings

One sample t‐tests revealed respondents reported significantly higher matches in the control, community, fairness and values areas of work life than previously surveyed populations, whereas they reported no difference in reward, and significantly more mismatch with workload. Respondents reported significantly higher levels than previously established norms on the OLBI dimension of exhaustion, but similar levels of disengagement. Responses to the UWES revealed significantly higher dedication and absorption and lower vigor than previously established norms. In addition, respondents reported working long hours in order to fulfill all obligations. Expansion of the quantitative data with respondent comments indicated that teachers working independent schools in Queensland have reached a level of workload that is unsustainable and which constitutes a serious risk to their mental and physical health.

Originality/value

This article pinpoints the many reasons why demands made on teachers have extended to a level which is making their work unsustainable and will be of interest to those involved in the teaching profession.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 45 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Article
Publication date: 6 June 2008

Carolyn Timms, Colin Lankshear, Neil Anderson and Lyn Courtney

This paper seeks to identify aspects of work environment, culture or expectations that contributed to women's comfort or discomfort within the information and…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper seeks to identify aspects of work environment, culture or expectations that contributed to women's comfort or discomfort within the information and communication technology (ICT) industry.

Design/methodology/approach

The study is empirical in nature and addresses the perspectives of 178 professional women currently working within the Australian ICT industry who responded to the “Women in ICT” survey conducted through James Cook University. Likert‐scale responses were subjected to principal component analysis and then K‐mean cluster analysis, distinguishing four groups of respondents. Explanations for group membership were then sought from responses to open‐ended survey questions.

Findings

There was common agreement among respondents that, when making their career decisions, they had expected to enjoy good community image, and that their work would be socially useful, satisfying and flexible. Respondents also agreed that careers in ICT are rewarding, and provide opportunities, and disagreed with prevailing negative stereotypes about the industry. Opinions diverged on the organisation‐specific issues of management approachability and equality, as well as around respondents' confidence in their own technical ability and their intention to encourage young women to enter the industry.

Originality/value

This paper identifies distinct patterns of response and thereby provides support for the thesis that the widely reported discomfort of women within the ICT industry is not a cultural (industry‐wide) phenomenon but, rather, one that has its roots within particular workplace relationships. It is these relationships that appear to encourage or undermine confidence and women's intentions to encourage others to enter ICT.

Details

Information Technology & People, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0959-3845

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2012

Carolyn Timms, Paula Brough and Deborah Graham

This research sought to identify groups of school employees who were more similar in their responses to burnout and engagement measures, for the purpose of exploring what…

Abstract

Purpose

This research sought to identify groups of school employees who were more similar in their responses to burnout and engagement measures, for the purpose of exploring what was similar in their school experiences. The profiles created in the present research enable a clearer appreciation of what is common to groups of school employees who are experiencing empowerment, ambivalence or distress in their work environments.

Design/methodology/approach

The current research used K‐means cluster analysis to identify school employees (n=953) who were most similar in regard to levels of burnout and engagement in order to achieve some sense of what was common at a group level.

Findings

This process identified five distinct respondent profiles using the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory (OLBI) and the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES). Subsequent MANOVA analyses identified significant differences between cluster groups on the six areas of work‐life (control, workload, reward, community, fairness and values) and hours of work.

Practical implications

One of the most pressing problems faced by school administrators is that of identifying the most appropriate and strategic interventions to use with teaching staff in order to maintain motivation in the face of work pressures. The current research provides some practical insights into the experiences of school employees that may provide direction for such administrators.

Originality/value

By grouping respondents with similar attitudes towards their work this research has provided for more insight into the experiences to those respondents who do not fall at either end of the burnout‐engagement continuum. As such it provides for more effective intervention strategies with employees who are at‐risk.

Details

Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 50 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0957-8234

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Book part
Publication date: 17 March 2010

Michael P. O’Driscoll, Paula Brough, Carolyn Timms and Sukanlaya Sawang

The impact of technology on the health and well-being of workers has been a topic of interest since computers and computerized technology were widely introduced in the…

Abstract

The impact of technology on the health and well-being of workers has been a topic of interest since computers and computerized technology were widely introduced in the 1980s. Of recent concern is the impact of rapid technological advances on individuals’ psychological well-being, especially due to advancements in mobile technology that have increased many workers’ accessibility and expected productivity. In this chapter we focus on the associations between occupational stress and technology, especially behavioral and psychological reactions. We discuss some key facilitators and barriers associated with users’ acceptance of and engagement with information and communication technology. We conclude with recommendations for ongoing research on managing occupational health and well-being in conjunction with technological advancements.

Details

New Developments in Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to Job Stress
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-713-4

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2011

Paula Brough, Greer Johnson, Suzie Drummond, Shannon Pennisi and Carolyn Timms

Advancing knowledge about effectively managing the ageing workforce and ensuring economic sustainability for a growing retired cohort is a recognised priority for…

Abstract

Purpose

Advancing knowledge about effectively managing the ageing workforce and ensuring economic sustainability for a growing retired cohort is a recognised priority for organisational health researchers, employers and governments. The purpose of this paper is to test social perceptions that older workers' cognitive performance and job attitudes compare adversely to their younger colleagues.

Design/methodology/approach

The research assessed samples of older and younger workers in objective tests of cognitive abilities and subjective job attitudes. An opportunity sampling method was employed to recruit a heterogeneous group of participants in Australia (n=172).

Findings

No significant differences in cognitive ability between the groups were identified; older workers were as cognitively skilled for their job as their younger colleagues. No significant group difference for perceptions of social support, job commitment, job satisfaction or turnover intentions was identified.

Research limitations/implications

The cross‐sectional research design adopted by this research prevented a more detailed examination of the data in terms of causal relationships. While the cognitive testing provided objective rather than subjective data and, therefore, is not as susceptible to response biases such as common method variance, the small sample who undertook the cognitive testing is acknowledged as a research limitation.

Social implications

This research has implications for the reduction in unemployment of older workers and directly addresses the social issues of an ageing labour force.

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates that stereotypical assumptions concerning inadequate performance and low job commitment commonly attributed to older workers are not in fact indicative of all ageing employees.

Details

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2040-7149

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 17 March 2010

Julian Barling received his PhD in 1979 from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and is currently associate dean with responsibility for the graduate and…

Abstract

Julian Barling received his PhD in 1979 from the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa) and is currently associate dean with responsibility for the graduate and research programs. Julian is the author/editor of several books, including Employment, Stress and Family Functioning (1990, Wiley) and The Psychology of Workplace Safety (1999, APA). He is senior editor of the Handbook of Work Stress (2005, Sage) and the Handbook of Organizational Behavior (2008, Sage), and he is the author of well over 150 research articles and book chapters. Julian was formerly the editor of the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. In 2002, Julian received the National Post's “Leaders in Business Education” award and Queen's University's Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Supervision in 2008. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, SIOP, APS, and the European Academy of Occupational Health Psychology. He is currently involved in research on leadership, work stress, and workplace aggression.

Details

New Developments in Theoretical and Conceptual Approaches to Job Stress
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-84950-713-4

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