Subjective well-being of academic staff in a South African university: the role of work-life balance, job demands and job resources.
Oyelami, Olubukunmi Idowu.
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The purpose of this study was to examine how academic staffs in a selected public university evaluate the overall quality of their lives. In recognition of the changes in the higher education sector and its potentially detrimental impact on work, health and well-being of academics, this research investigated how academics evaluate their well-being in respect to work-life balance, job demands and job resources. A qualitative analysis was selected as the suitable research design. This research surveyed the narratives of ten academic staff members from different departments using semi-structured in-depth interviews. In line with the theoretical framework of this study, an interpretive phenomenology research design was used. A thematic analysis revealed a range of issues related to wellbeing. These were then grouped into four central themes namely, negotiating a healthy life, interplay of job demand and subjective-wellbeing, available resources and personal resources. The subjective well-being among academic staff’s was found to be rooted in the work environment as well as in other essential life environments such as the family, networks, community, and, more broadly, the society to which they belong. This study further revealed that there is relationship between environmental influences, individual competencies and feeling of agency that cannot be separated in the discourse of subjective wellbeing. Participants placed stronger emphasis on the coherent sense of the self in shaping their life satisfaction. It was found that there was normative pressure amongst academics to be the architect of their wellbeing, the situation in which demanded the availability of sturdy psychological resources. As such, well-being appears rooted in their ability to construct a consistent dialogical self, leading to a satisfactory sense of wellbeing.