ERIC Number: EJ1063656
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jun
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
Pushing a Stone up a Hill: A Case Study of the Working Environment of South African Academics
Portnoi, Laura M.
Research in Comparative and International Education, v10 n2 p257-274 Jun 2015
South African higher education has been experiencing profound and vigorous transformations in the post-apartheid era. At the same time, global trends toward competition and employment equity contribute to the complexities of the country's higher education environment. These global and local developments combine to impact the working environment of South African academics. This qualitative study employed a phenomenological approach to explore the "lived" experiences of 20 South African academics operating within this changing academic workplace at a case study institution. Although the findings pointed to several "pull" factors representing positive aspects of the university's working environment, six "push" factors emerged as the study's most salient and robust research findings: (1) lack of induction/training, (2) working with underprepared students, (3) unmanageable workloads, (4) issues of race and power, (5) challenges for female academics, and (6) frustrations regarding slow institutional change. An additional key theme centered on findings related to potential decisions to depart from the institution or academia. When combined with prior research, the findings suggest an imperative for South African higher education institutions to focus on improving the environment in which academic staff conduct their work, particularly given the post-apartheid impetus to transform institutions for both equity and global competition purposes.
Descriptors: Case Studies, College Faculty, Foreign Countries, Educational Change, Social Change, Global Approach, Competition, Equal Opportunities (Jobs), Work Environment, Qualitative Research, Phenomenology, College Preparation, College Students, Faculty Workload, Race, Power Structure, Decision Making, Teacher Attitudes, Work Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa