Occupational stress, psychological capital and job satisfaction among public and private school teachers within one region in KwaZulu-Natal.
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Orientation: A large amount of research conducted internationally has revealed that most teachers regard teaching as rewarding, however at the same time many teachers reported a high level of stress as well as the experience of symptoms of burnout (Stoeber & Rennert, 2008; Williams & Gersch, 2004; van Zyl & Pietersen, 1999). Emotional exhaustion among teachers has been linked to an excessive workload, thus resulting in teachers leaving the profession. This is problematic as emotional exhaustion is not healthy and teachers need to find a way to manage the stress they encounter on a daily basis (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2011). The development of psychological capital (PsyCap), has been found to have an impact on occupational stress and job satisfaction (Luthans & Avolio, 2003). Numerous studies have proven that individuals with greater PsyCap have a more positive perspective on life (Luthans & Avolio, 2003; Luthans, Youssef & Avolio, 2007). Individuals who have greater PsyCap are physically healthy and have stronger immune systems; furthermore they live longer (Luthans, Youssef & Avolio, 2007). Therefore the development of teachers’ PsyCap is essential in order to reduce occupational stress and to increase job satisfaction. Research Aim: The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between occupational stress, PsyCap and job satisfaction among public and private school teachers in one district within KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. Further, to look at the differences between PsyCap, job satisfaction and occupational stress between private and public school teachers. Finally to determine the best predictors of job satisfaction. Motivation for the Study: This study aimed to identify the nature of the relationship between occupational stress, PsyCapand job satisfaction among public and private school teachers in one district within KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. The study also aimed to identify the differences between PsyCap, job satisfaction and occupational stress between private and public school teachers. The study then aimed at identifying whether PsyCap is the best predictor of job satisfaction. Research Design, Approach and Method: A cross-sectional survey design was used to answer the research questions. A non-probability sampling, specifically convenience sampling, was used in the schools within one region in KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa. A sample of 100 teachers participated in the research. The measuring instruments administered were the Psychological Capital Questionnaire (PCQ), the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), the Occupational Stress Inventory (OSI-r) and a biographical questionnaire. Main Findings: Consistent with previous research statistically significant positive relationships as well as practically significant relationships were found between PsyCap and job satisfaction, furthermore there was a statistically significant negative relationship between PsyCap and occupational stress. This indicates that higher levels of PsyCap are associated with higher levels of job satisfaction, furthermore higher levels of PsyCap are associated with lower levels of occupational stress. This empirically confirmed the discriminant and convergent validity of the dimensions in a South African context. The sub-construct of hope within PsyCap was a strong predictor of both intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction. In addition to this, total PsyCap was a good predictor of total job satisfaction. VI Practical/Managerial Implications: PsyCap plays an important role in positive organisational outcomes such as job satisfaction and low levels of occupational stress. The Department of Education within the public sector needs to develop as well as implement interventions within schools that would result in the increase of PsyCap of teachers within private and public schools. In addition to this PsyCap can be used for selection and retention strategies. This would be valuable to identify psychological strengths of teachers and then harness this in order to increase job satisfaction as well as cope with occupational stress. Contribution/Value-Add: This study contributes to the positive psychology literature on PsyCap, job satisfaction and occupational stress regarding teachers within the South African context. Furthermore this study highlighted the important of PsyCap in predicting job satisfaction. This study also gave recommendations for interventions for teachers within private and public schools.