The impact of working conditions on commitment of academic employees: A socio-affective perspective


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Academic employees face declining working conditions that may reduce the level of commitment to resource-constrained public higher education institutions. The purpose of the study is to examine whether strong social interactions at work affect academic employee commitment amid a poor state of physical working conditions in under-resourced public higher education institutions. A cross-sectional survey obtained data from 63 academic employees across six faculties at a large, under-resourced public higher education institution located in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Academic employees taught many under-prepared students, primarily from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, using limited physical resources. The linear regression (r = –.0.52, CR = 3.21, p = < .001) results showed that stable social interactions were associated with high employee commitment in resource-constrained institutions. Academic employees remain highly committed to the institution despite the poor physical working conditions. The study extends the affective perspective by showing that employees build regular social interactions to remain highly committed and overlook limited access to physical workplace resources. Leaders ought to create regular social interaction opportunities between employees to foster high employee commitment amid inadequate physical working conditions.

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    • Table 1. Demographic profile of respondents
    • Table 2. Organizational commitment and working conditions validity and reliability
    • Table 3. Association between organizational commitment and working conditions
    • Table 4. High organizational commitment and poor working conditions
    • Table 5. Social interactions of working conditions descriptive results
    • Conceptualization
      Baphiwe Daweti
    • Data curation
      Baphiwe Daweti
    • Investigation
      Baphiwe Daweti, Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha
    • Writing – original draft
      Baphiwe Daweti, Njabulo Khumalo
    • Resources
      Njabulo Khumalo
    • Visualization
      Njabulo Khumalo
    • Writing – review & editing
      Njabulo Khumalo, Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha
    • Formal Analysis
      Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha
    • Funding acquisition
      Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha
    • Methodology
      Pauline Edwige Ngo-Henha