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A comparative perspective of academic brain drain at selected universities in Ethiopia and South Africa.

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The aim of this study was to examine the possible factors contributing to the intention of scholarly staff to withdraw at three sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) universities, specifically at Addis Ababa University (AAU), Haramaya University (HU) and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). The information was gathered from 596 scholastic staff individuals and 29 purposively chosen key sources who are senior scholarly individuals who have been working in different managerial positions as dignitaries, scholarly pioneers or heads of offices, deputy-vice chancellors and vice presidents at the three universities. The investigation comprised a mixed methods research approach whereby the quantitative information was gathered by means of surveys and the qualitative information was by means of face-to-face personal meetings. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were utilised to break down quantitative information using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programming version 24, while thematic analysis was utilised to dissect subjective information. Examination of the data demonstrated that selected demographic factors predicted the intention of scholarly staff to depart from the two Ethiopian universities whereas none of the factors predicted this at UKZN. Notwithstanding the above findings, the impact of selected factors on the scholarly staff’s intention to withdraw uncovered that the job-related attributes of the quality of work life (QWL_JC), procedural justice (OJ_PJ) and rewards and benefits (R&B) dimensions were noteworthy for AAU. The examination of subjective information demonstrated that compensation, poor working conditions and poor maintenance approaches and systems are of the key reasons why academic scholars intend to leave their institutions. On the contrary, the job characteristics dimension of QWL, leader-subordinate relationship (LMX) and R&B were found to be significantly influencing academic staff’s propensity to leave Haramaya University. In this regard, subjective outcomes demonstrate that aspects such as compensation, poor working conditions, poor retention policies and strategies, politics and legislative issues, lack of appropriate technology and infrastructure, a sentiment of dissatisfaction, absence of adaptable guidelines and structures, and geographic setting of the university were the reasons causing academic staff to depart at HU. In contrast to this, only R&B were found to be significant at UKZN. In addition, analysis of qualitative information revealed that remuneration, poor working conditions, dissatisfaction, and retirement are the main reasons for the propensity of academic staff to depart. Based on the analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, conclusions have been drawn and key recommendations have been forwarded to help the institutions retain their academics.


Doctoral Degree, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.