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54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org
The Role of Job Satisfaction in Employee Retention among Senior High School Teachers in Ghana (A Case of the Asuogyaman District)
Nana Nimo Appiah-Agyekum (Corresponding author) University of Ghana Business School P O box LG 78, Legon-Accra, Ghana Tel: 00233024748218 E-mail: email@example.com Emmanuel Tenakwah Senior University of Ghana Business School P O box LG 78, Legon-Accra, Ghana E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract Job satisfaction is a significant phenomenon in senior high schools. Lowered job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are believed to influence staff member commitment, morale and turnover and this is particularly salient to the teaching profession. It is therefore in the interests of senior high schools and school systems to ensure that levels of job satisfaction are high so that the schools are places of relative stability and student learning. The primary aim of the study was to investigate the role of job satisfaction in employee retention in SHS teachers using the Asuogyaman District in Ghana as a case. To achieve this goal, seventy-five (75) SHS teachers drawn from the five (5) SHS’s in the Asuogyaman district filled questionnaires centering on the subject matter of the project. Their responses were assessed and presented using simple frequency tables. The analysed data was also weighed against the secondary data to derive conclusions for the study. The data was also discussed qualitatively. At the end of the study, it came to light that in job satisfaction indeed played a major role in employee retention among SHS teachers. Also SHS teachers were not satisfied with their conditions of service and were likely to leave if proactive steps were not taken to enhance their conditions of service.
Keywords: Job satisfaction, Retention, Ghana, Teachers, Senior High School
Introduction Global concerns about teacher satisfaction and their subsequent retention are acute principally due to the market transition which has opened up the labour markets and created alternate career paths to current and potential teachers (Bishsay, 1996). In similar fashion, frameworks for understanding academic achievement and the labor force outcomes of schooling have conceptualized teacher quality as a key input (Darling-Hammond, 1997) in the educational sphere.
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org As put by Henry Adams in the Schools and Staffing Survey (1999-2000), "a teacher affects eternity" in the sense that teachers profoundly appreciate the eternal dimensions of their work, for they nourish not only the minds but also the hearts and souls of their students. By serving in schools that emphasize a child's complete development, teachers also have the privileged opportunity to transmit the core academic skills as well as the lessons that count most in life: lessons about spirituality, love, values, the wonder of creation and the purpose of existence. Indeed, the work of the high school teacher is of such significance, it is often regarded as a ministry and a calling, rather than just a job (Van den berg, 2002). Attracting and retaining high quality teachers is therefore a primary necessity as well as a challenge for educational institutions. In Ghana, though senior high school teachers are a crucial element of educational opportunity structures, the recent opening-up of labour markets in general and within the school system has raised concerns about retaining qualified teachers especially in senior high schools serving poor communities. While several factors have been identified as accounting for the above phenomena, recent studies conducted in some developing countries underscore the fact that more than one quarter of the teachers who left teaching did so because of job dissatisfaction (Henke, Choy, Chen, Geis, Alt, & Broughman, 1997). Teacher dissatisfaction and its effects on teacher retention with recourse to the foregoing therefore pose a grave threat to a profession with an increasing demand for members (Darling-Hammond, 1999). Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job (Ubom, 2001). Weiss (2002) also argues that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviours. In Ghana, Job satisfaction is an important component of teachers’ lives that can impact on student safety and academic advancement, staff morale, productivity and performance, quality of care, retention and turnover, commitment to the educational institution and the profession with additional replacement costs (e.g. agency staff) and further attempts to hire and orientate new staff. It has also been shown that when job satisfaction in the teaching profession increases, turnover decreases (Robert et al, 2004). Job satisfaction is also dynamic and can vary according to individual characteristics, expectations, style of management, changes to policy and individual lifestyle choices (e.g. Blegen, 1993; Haynes et al, 2006; Lu, 2005). In addition, demographic factors and teacher specific and school specific characteristics also affect job satisfaction of the senior high school teacher. Recent studies carried out in a number of countries have also drawn attention to the degree of job satisfaction among teachers and have shown that teachers' work “intensification” (Hargreaves, 1994) mirrors societal trends toward overwork (Naylor, 2001). Imposed and centralized system accountability, lack of professional autonomy, relentlessly imposed changes, constant media criticism, reduced resources, and moderate pay have all been related to low teacher satisfaction in many developed countries around the world (Van den Berg, 2002; Dinham and Scott, 1998). The effects of the trends identified above according to Farber (1991) include declining job satisfaction, reduced ability to meet students' needs, significant incidences of psychological disorders leading to increased absenteeism, and high level of claims for stress-related disability. Most importantly, teacher dissatisfaction appears to be a main factor in teachers leaving the profession in many countries. Research into improving satisfaction among 10
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org teachers especially at the senior high school level, with recourse to the foregoing, is becoming more and more important given not only that a growing number of teachers leave the profession but also that dissatisfaction is associated with decreased productivity. The study therefore sets out to investigate the role of job satisfaction in employee retention among senior high school teachers using the Asuogyaman District as a case. Job Satisfaction of teachers Definition and concept Job satisfaction of teachers has been the focus of considerable research in recent decades (De Nobile, 2003; Dinham & Scott, 1998). Given the links that have been established between job satisfaction and employee commitment, turnover, absenteeism, productivity and occupational stress (De Nobile & McCormick, 2005; Luthans, 2002; Singh & Billingsley, 1996; Spector, 2000), such interest is, perhaps, not surprising. Job satisfaction is defined as a positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job situation and is linked with the characteristics and demands of one's work (Evans, 2001). People's work-related satisfaction consists of achieving change and improvement, and promoting their growth, which have important implications on teachers' behaviours at work and affect their desire to continue their work and their involvement in the job, and relationship with other staff. Further, while Job satisfaction has been described as favourable or positive feelings about work or the work environment, Job dissatisfaction has been conversely defined as unhappy or negative feelings about work or the work environment (Furnham, 1997). Lawler (1973) also argues that the concept of teacher satisfaction refers to a teacher's affective relation to his or her teaching role and is a function of the perceived relationship between what one wants from teaching and what one perceives it is offering to a teacher. From the general point of view, Morse (1953) views the strength of an individual's “desires, or his/her level of aspiration in a particular area” to be an important factor in job satisfaction. He explains that those with the strongest desires or highest aspirations are least happy with their job if the environment does not facilitate satisfaction of their needs. Along these lines, Maeroff (1988) describes teachers' “sense of empowerment” as a major way “to make teachers more professional and to improve their performance”. The power Maeroff referred to is “the power to exercise one's craft with confidence and to help shape the way that the job is to be done”. Without slighting the above, it is universally held (see van den Berg, 2002; Dinham and Scott, 2002) that in terms of definitions, there is no generally agreed upon definition of teacher job satisfaction or of what constitutes teacher satisfaction although there might be some international trends such as, the notion that teachers are most satisfied by matters intrinsic to the role of teaching: student achievement, helping students, positive relationships with students and others, self growth and so on. In conclusion, Dinham and Scott (1999) argue that context seems to be the most powerful predictor of overall satisfaction. As Cherniss (1995), points out: “People can make their lives better or worse but what they think, how they feel and what they do are strongly shaped by the social contexts in which they live”. Rewards of teaching Various rewards of teaching have been identified that impacts strongly on job satisfaction and subsequently teacher retention in the educational sphere. Though varying dimensions exist in the typologies of these rewards, they can broadly classified as being intrinsic/ primary 11
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org rewards or secondary rewards. Miller et al (1999) cautions however that these rewards as identified below may accrue to experienced and trained professional teacher rather than all teachers as a whole in addition to the traditional financial and economic rewards of the teaching profession. Intrinsic or Primary Rewards Studies of the satisfaction of grade school and high school teachers conclude that the joy of teaching comes from intrinsic rewards such as helping students learn, seeing their successes, and making a difference in their lives (Plihal, 1982). Observing the outcomes of teaching therefore satisfies teachers’ altruistic need to contribute to society, and interacting with students, in itself, also brings great satisfaction. These intrinsic rewards are central for those who persevere as teachers and critical to preventing job stress and burnout. It is important to note that individual teachers differ in their interest in teaching and in the enjoyment it brings them. While some find little joy in teaching, for others, it is the most rewarding aspect of their work. For some teachers, the primary rewards of teaching may substitute for their loss of satisfaction in the conditions of service. Kirz and Larsen in their study of the impact of teaching made known that 73.7% of respondents were still teaching because of the pleasure or interest they gained from teaching. Secondary rewards Teaching may bring a number of other benefits to teachers at the senior high school level. In the first instance, Foley et al (1996) recount that teachers may feel a renewed sense of the importance of their work. They explain that without receiving feedback from learners, teachers often have no mirror in which to view their work therefore many become lost in the day-to-day tasks of changing pupil behaviour. By watching and listening to themselves as they interact with students and through feedback from students however, teachers again see the depth of their knowledge and experience and the contributions they make to people's lives. Secondly, working with learners may help teachers keep abreast of changes in their areas of competence thereby enhancing the intellectual stimulation of their job. This view sees teaching is a powerful motivator for learning as teachers may bring to the learner-educator relationship, knowledge and perspectives they have acquired during their training. They may also serve as a constructive and accepted link between community values and academic ideals. Thirdly, teachers may enjoy the presence of pupils in their numbers in their classrooms. They may gain confidence in their teaching skills as more and more pupils are put under their tutelage. Even in some communities, educational facilities have marketed the teaching roles and depth of their staff to attract pupils. Teachers may even feel empowered by the opportunity to help students learn, which in turn may bring a new level of trust and collegiality between themselves and their students. They may also appreciate the opportunity to contribute to the education of future leaders, adding interest and perceived value to their jobs. Career satisfaction and dissatisfaction Career satisfaction and motivation are two concepts which are often, understandably, somewhat confused. Generally, motivation according to Nadler and Lawler (1991) is taken to mean a stimulus for behaviour and action in the light of a particular context, while satisfaction - and indeed dissatisfaction - is usually taken to mean a product of behaviour and action in the light of a particular context or environment. However, both phenomena are inextricably linked through the influence each has on the other. Herzberg, for example, while identifying lower order needs (“hygiene factors”) and higher order needs (“motivators”), was also concerned
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org with satisfactions and dissatisfactions flowing from these and the need to strengthen motivators in order to engender long term career satisfaction. Despite the distinction made above, there exist in the teaching field, an argument on career motivation and satisfaction, including the debate over extrinsic versus intrinsic motivation (see Owens, 1995) and the influence of satisfiers and dissatisfiers by writers ostensibly labeled as “motivation” theorists. Dinham (1995) in relation to the above revealed in an study involving resigned teachers that the factors contributing to teacher satisfaction were largely discrete from those contributing to teacher dissatisfaction, and that when teachers made the decision to resign, the sources and strength of their satisfiers were basically unchanged, while it was the increase in the strength of their dissatisfiers that had “tipped the balance” and precipitated the “resignation decision”. Overwhelmingly, “satisfiers” were phenomena and rewards “intrinsic” to teaching, such as pupil achievement, teacher achievement, changing pupil attitudes and behaviours in a positive way, recognition from others, mastery and selfgrowth, and positive relationships. Satisfiers were largely universal across sex, teaching experience, position held, location, and type of school. “Dissatisfiers”, on the other hand, were phenomena more “extrinsic” to the teaching of students and included impacts of changes to educational policies and procedures, greater expectations on schools to deal with and solve social problems, the declining status of teachers in society, poor supervision, being treated impersonally by employers, new responsibilities for schools and increased administrative workloads. In short, dissatisfiers were phenomena perceived as detracting from or militating against the “core business” of teaching students. Dinham also brought to light that the relative strength of teachers’ dissatisfiers had increased over time due to social and educational change, and that “control” was a key issue, in that in many cases, imposed changes impacting on schools had to be implemented with little room for discretion on the part of principals and teachers and with little practical help from above, with resultant dissatisfaction. There was thus a direct causal link between increased dissatisfaction and increased stress. Luthans (2002) commenting on Dinham’s study elucidates that such a “two factor” model of teacher satisfaction is broadly consistent with earlier findings of Herzberg et al. (1959), Sergiovanni (1967), and the work of Schmidt (1976) and others, although what is perhaps novel in the resignation study findings is the relative “quarantining” or insulation of teacher satisfiers and satisfaction strength from the effects of change, and the impact of change on dissatisfiers, which are more dynamic both in form and strength and which were found to respond to changes occurring within education systems and society generally. Determinants of teacher satisfaction It is evident that levels of job satisfaction felt by teachers in similar work environments can vary from one individual to another. Demographic factors may play a role in the level of job satisfaction perceived by teachers (Bogler, 2002). In particular, literature suggests four variables that may have significant interactions with teacher job satisfaction, namely; gender, age, experience/tenure and position. Various studies conducted on the determinants or measures of satisfaction have also concluded that while experienced teachers in particular may be vulnerable to job dissatisfaction and subsequent intention to leave the profession (Ramsey, 2000), younger teachers on the other hand will often face more challenges in their role due to limited experience and the fact that teaching skills develop over time will challenge their self confidence and influence their attitudes to the job.
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org
There are however other factors which strongly determine the level of satisfaction enjoyed by teachers from their work which though significant in developing countries, have not been deeply examined. The study shall thus focus on three of such measures of satisfaction as identified by De Nobile and McCormick (2006) which determines whether teachers perceive teaching as their ideal profession, whether teachers want to change their profession, and whether teachers are satisfied with the local education bureau. These factors are community factors (teachers are more satisfied in communities with greater economic and social resources, and in communities that are less remote); school environment (Teachers are more satisfied in schools with better economic resources, in larger schools, in schools where there are more opportunities for professional advancement, and in schools where there is an organizational climate that supports teacher collaboration); and Teacher background (Young teachers, male teachers and teachers with greater human capital are less satisfied, while teachers who are more socially similar to the local community are more satisfied). Theoretical Framework A feature of the conceptualization of career satisfaction in the literature is the role that ‘need fulfillment’ plays in satisfaction, something which connects with the well known motivation work of Maslow (1970) and Alderfer (1972). According to this view, job satisfaction is an indicator of the degree of need fulfillment experienced by an individual. A further feature of the literature on career satisfaction is the view that satisfaction is a dynamic construct which equates to how an individual feels about his or her job. The presence or absence of certain factors will influence the global satisfaction one experiences. This view derives from Herzberg’s work, and tends to group those factors influencing job satisfaction into two broad domains: intrinsic matters “built” into the nature of the work itself, such as achievement, which tend to promote satisfaction; and matters more extrinsic to the central purpose of the worker and job, such as poor working conditions, which tend to result in dissatisfaction through their presence, but do not result in an increase in job satisfaction when they are absent. Another way of expressing this view is that it rejects the notion that factors giving rise to teacher satisfaction and teacher dissatisfaction are arranged along the same continuum. To better understand employee attitudes and motivation, Frederick Herzberg performed studies to determine which factors in an employee's work environment caused satisfaction or dissatisfaction. He published his findings in the 1959 book The Motivation to Work. The studies included interviews in which employees where asked what pleased and displeased them about their work. Herzberg found that the factors causing job satisfaction (and presumably motivation) were different from those causing job dissatisfaction. He therefore developed the motivation-hygiene theory to explain these results. He called the satisfiers motivators and the dissatisfiers hygiene factors, using the term "hygiene" in the sense that they are considered maintenance factors that are necessary to avoid dissatisfaction but that by themselves do not provide satisfaction. Table 1 presents the top six factors causing dissatisfaction and the top six factors causing satisfaction, listed in the order of higher to lower importance. Herzberg reasoned that because the factors causing satisfaction are different from those causing dissatisfaction, the two feelings cannot simply be treated as opposites of one another. The opposite of satisfaction is not dissatisfaction, but rather, no satisfaction. Similarly, the
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org opposite of dissatisfaction is no dissatisfaction. While at first glance this distinction between the two opposites may sound like a play on words, Herzberg argued that there are two distinct human needs portrayed. First, there are physiological needs that can be fulfilled by money, for example, to purchase food and shelter. Second, there is the psychological need to achieve and grow, and this need is fulfilled by activities that cause one to grow. From the above table of results, one observes that the factors that determine whether there is dissatisfaction or no dissatisfaction are not part of the work itself, but rather, are external factors. Herzberg often referred to these hygiene factors as the process of providing incentives or a threat of punishment to cause someone to do something. Herzberg argues that these provide only short-run success because the motivator factors that determine whether there is satisfaction or no satisfaction are intrinsic to the job itself, and do not result from carrot and stick incentives. A replication of Herzberg’s work with 71 teachers by Sergiovanni (1967) and an interview study with 57 resigned teachers by Dinham (1992) are two examples of research confirming this “two factor” theory of teacher career satisfaction, whereby the factors giving rise to satisfaction and dissatisfaction are largely mutually exclusive. In both studies cited above, responses from subgroups tended not to differ, with intrinsic aspects of teaching such as student achievement and teacher self-growth found to be uniformly satisfying, while extrinsic factors such as poor interpersonal relations and administrative responsibilities were found to be uniformly dissatisfying. While there have been criticisms of Herzberg’s “two factor theory” of job satisfaction-dissatisfaction, it has been widely accepted and applied to the study and management of organisations. Owens (1995) sums up the relevance of the concerns raised in Herzberg’s work, in his conclusion that “Herzberg’s research - after exhaustive review in the literature over a period of two decades - must be accepted as representing the state of the art”. Herzberg’s “two factor theory” and work derived from it, in lieu of the above, formed an important basis of the study outlined in this paper. This is because the study assumes that the factors to be considered in improving job satisfaction of teachers in the Asuogyaman District are two-fold as prescribed by Herzberg. The first one relates to the physiological needs that can be fulfilled by money, for example, to purchase food and shelter. Secondly, there is the psychological need to achieve and grow, and this need is fulfilled by activities that cause one to grow, for example, recognition and opportunities for advancement. Job satisfaction Questions under this section were aimed at finding out the knowledge and level of understanding of the respondents concerning the object of the research. It also embodies an exposé of job satisfaction with specific reference to the Asuogyaman district as well as an attempt to find out respondents’ perception of the nature of relationship between job satisfaction and teacher retention in the district. Responses provided are summarised in table 2. Issues of teacher satisfaction have been heightened in recent times by the various actions and pressures being initiated by unionized teachers (both Ghana National Association of Teachers and the National Association of Graduate Teachers). Also poor performance of students and pupils in the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) and Basic Education and Certificate Examination (BECE) especially in rural and peri-urban areas
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org have been attributed to lack of facilities and teacher dissatisfaction. Another major issue that may be linked to the creation of awareness on issues of job satisfaction is the Single Spine Salary Scheme. Basing on Ramsey’s (2000) account that career satisfaction is a dynamic construct which equates to how an individual feels about his or her job and is thus not likely to be same among persons, respondents were asked if they were individually satisfied with their work. In response, 30% of respondents answered in the affirmative while 49% of respondents answered in the negative. The remaining 21% indicated that they were partly satisfied with their jobs. Though it may seem alarming that as much as 49% of respondents were not satisfied with the jobs, this result is far more encouraging than results of other studies conducted in similar environments1 which produced higher percentages of teachers in rural areas not satisfied with their jobs. To provide a better understanding of their answers provided in relation to whether or not they were satisfied with their work, respondents were asked to identify what satisfied or dissatisfied them about their work. While Job satisfaction has been described as favourable or positive feelings about work or the work environment, job dissatisfaction has been conversely defined as unhappy or negative feelings about work or the work environment (Furnham, 1997). Respondents who had earlier on indicated that they were satisfied with their work pointed out that the favourable or positive feelings about the work and work environment included the recognition and respect accorded to them by community members, imparting knowledge to children, opportunities for further development, the fact that they had relatively more time to pursue other activities because of their relatively flexible work schedules as well as the relatively low cost of living in their community. This is consistent with Dinham and Scott (2002) who identify international trends relating and pointing to the fact that teachers are most satisfied by matters intrinsic to the role of teaching: student achievement, helping students, positive relationships with students and others, self growth and so on. On the other hand, respondents who were not satisfied with their work identified the factors that made them unhappy or led to negative feelings about their work and work environment as unfavourable government and Ghana Education service policies, their conditions of service and remuneration. The responses derived here are in line with the results of similar studies conducted by Sergiovanni (1967) and Dinham (1992). However, appear contradictory to Herzberg’s (1959) stance that factors that make teacher unsatisfied with their work have more to do with Psychological needs (the need to achieve and grow) than by physiological needs that can be fulfilled by money. Respondents who were partly satisfied in sum provided that though their work and work environment was not bad, they believed they could have gotten more favourable conditions of service in other professions. Others were satisfied with the work environment which in their view was conducive but were not satisfied with their work which they felt was under appreciated. Interestingly, in answering why they were satisfied or dissatisfied with the factors identified above, two contrasting opinions were held by respondents. While respondents who were satisfied believed that given the current circumstances, the educational sector was doing its best to motivate teachers and all efforts were being made to further enhance the sector, the greater portion of respondents believed that they partial or full dissatisfaction stemmed from the fact that little was being done for teachers in comparison to other professionals though they believed that the government and other stakeholders were in a position to enhance job 16
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org satisfaction among teachers. Evidence from the literature provides a direct relationship between job satisfaction and teacher retention. Specifically, Shann (1998) and Lumsden (1998) identified the some factors which contribute to increased teacher dissatisfaction and to teachers leaving the profession. They further found these factors which include problems/frustrations with the variety of administrative routines and accompanying paperwork; poor communication channels; low pay; few possibilities for career promotion or growth; and the declining respect for the profession to be highly present in rural settings than urban ones. All respondents in confirmation of the above agreed without reservations that indeed there was a relationship between job satisfaction and teacher retention in their respective schools. In reflection of the above only 13% of respondents admitted that they would not leave the teaching profession if they had other resourceful opportunities with the remaining 87% strongly asserting that they would leave the profession without second thoughts. These responses when considered, seriously holds dire consequences for the educational sector in Ghana and has points to the kind of future the educational sector will have if prompt actions are not taken to resolve the issues of teacher dissatisfaction in Ghana. Determinants of job satisfaction This section of the analyses is dedicated to assessing the determinants of job satisfaction among teachers within the Asuogyaman district as a precursor to identifying measures for enhancing job satisfaction among teachers and subsequently teacher retention within the district. This is based on Bogler’s (2002) account that the levels of job satisfaction felt by teachers in similar work environments can vary from one individual to another with demographic factors playing a major role in the level of job satisfaction perceived by teachers. The perceptions of respondents were thus assessed based on measures of satisfaction in developing countries proposed by De Nobile and McCormick (2006) which determines whether teachers perceive teaching as their ideal profession, whether teachers want to change their profession, and whether teachers are satisfied with the local education bureau. Community factors The first of these factors identified by De Nobile and McCormick (2006) are community factors. In their view such factors which center on the community within which the teacher resides and works is a principal determinant of his satisfaction and subsequent retention. Thus, teachers are more satisfied in communities with greater economic and social resources, and in communities that are less remote. Most of the respondents believed that their satisfaction with their current jobs was in some way influenced by community factors. Only 8% saw no link between their satisfaction and the community they worked in. The study further went to assess how some specific community indicators influenced the satisfaction levels of teachers within the Asuogyaman District. Firstly respondents were asked to indicate what their level of motivation will be if they were working in an area with fewer economic resources. Economic resources in simple terms refer to the factors needed to engage in productive, profit-making activities. These factors include but are not limited to markets, arable or mineral rich land, labour in their right quantity and with the right skills, both fixed and/or current capital which are needed to produce goods and services for a fee. Ultimately, because these factors are needed for productivity in the community, their absence according to
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org De Nobile and McCormick (2006) creates a community poverty situation. Though these factors have not been established as direct determinants of job satisfaction, they have been identified as complementary factors and also as key basis for choosing, settling or leaving communities (Appiah-Agyekum, 2006). Ideally, teachers will therefore be influenced to remain in communities with higher economic resources than in communities with lower economic resources. This was supported by the fact that 21% of respondents said they would be dissatisfied and 52% said they would be very dissatisfied in a community with fewer economic resources.
An even greater percentage of workers expressed that they will be dissatisfied (45%) or very dissatisfied (44%) working in areas where revenues are low and work opportunities are few. As evident from the responses derived earlier, most teachers in Ghana perceive their remuneration as being inadequate and unsatisfying. Communities with opportunities for extracurricular activities and a relatively high level of income will thus influence teachers in their decisions to stay or leave a particular community or even leave the profession. Such communities are those that offer teachers the opportunity to do part-time classes of other parttime services after school, on weekends or during vacation. The presence of work opportunities as a determinant of teacher satisfaction becomes more relevant when consideration is given to the fact that the teacher in making his decision to stay will consider the options that favour not only himself but his spouse. They will thus be willing to live in community that offers work opportunities and relatively high revenue to their spouses and other dependents than in those that do not. The debate on whether small population size is a positive or negative influence on job satisfaction of teachers is ongoing with varying reasons provided by both sides. While proponents of the view that small population size rather leads to high job satisfaction support their arguments with the fact that teachers in such communities are closely bonded, known, recognized, encouraged and have a personal relationship with the community members opponents to this view think the contrary. Rather they suggest that teachers feel no drive to excel in such small communities and may not have the necessary socio-economic factors they need within the community. Further, concerns of the effects of such communities on the family of the teacher result in lower job satisfaction. Though the division along these lines may account for the 13% of respondents who said they will be satisfied in a small community, there is doubt in literature on the influence living in a remote community where connections to the outside world are limited will has on job satisfaction of teachers. Especially in this era of globalization and urbanization, such conditions present strong dissatisfying situations for teachers who resist vehemently postings to such areas. It is however paradoxical when the above is assessed against the background that a good number of Ghanaian communities are predominantly rural and are limited in connectivity to the outside world. On what their level of satisfaction will be in a community with limited social resources, 19% of respondents said they would be dissatisfied while 81% of respondents said they would be very dissatisfied. Social resources, as used here simply refer to the social amenities and infrastructure necessary for living in a modern day world. Notable social amenities considered by Ghanaian include the presence of potable water, electricity, effective transportation 18
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org networks, education and health facilities, effective communications networks, social amenities like KVIPs and others. These factors become dissatisfiers to teachers who will in effect be unwilling to work since it will be unbearably difficult for them and/or their families to live and work in a community without these resources. The level of education of the community also influences whether teachers will be satisfied working there and will in effect be retained in the community. However, responses derived on this question provide mixed values on whether this factor leads to satisfaction of dissatisfaction. In a follow up question, the 11% and 48% of respondents who were very satisfied and satisfied respectively shared that such communities will provide them the challenge that will motivate them to put in more effort. They also explained that such a community will further provide them the satisfaction of knowing that they a making a positive contribution to a community that really needs their services. The 18% (8% dissatisfied and 10% very dissatisfied) who held the contrary opinion believed that such communities held little appreciation for schools and will give them little standards for self-evaluation and performance appraisal. The remaining 33% who were not sure what their level of satisfaction would be in the follow up question provided among others that it will be clear to point out whether they will be satisfied or not without recourse to the attitudes of community members to education. Specifically, some identified that they had been satisfied in teaching in poorly educated communities which realized and appreciated the need to educate their young ones and dissatisfied in other poorly educated communities which placed no premium on education. Given the fact that the community is a major stakeholder in education and must provide the complementary services needed to augment government efforts in the education sector, strong community school linkages are a major determinant of teacher satisfaction especially in rural areas where governmental efforts are shallow and community efforts very necessary. This might explain why all respondents indicated that they will be very dissatisfied (73%) and dissatisfied (27%) in a community with weak linkages to schools. School factors The second determinant of teacher satisfaction is identified by De Nobile and McCormick (2006) as school factors. In their view, teachers are more satisfied in schools with better economic resources, in larger schools, in schools where there are more opportunities for professional advancement, and in schools where there is an organizational climate that supports teacher collaboration. Ingersoll (2001) and Lee and Dedrick (1991) concluded at the end of their respective studies that school size was positively associated with teacher satisfaction (i.e. larger schools tend to have a higher proportion of satisfied teachers). However, answers from respondents presents the contrary with much more teachers expressing that they would be satisfied (41%) and very satisfied (31%) in a small sized school. Respondents in justification of their answer provided that small school size meant small class size and in effect small work load. They will therefore be able to adequately handle and the limited number with relative ease than they would have done for a large school size. The differences in the results from this study and that conducted by Ingersoll (2001); and Lee and Dedrick (1991) does not present two contrasting views but rather goes to buttress the situational context of job satisfaction which provides that teachers in different constructs will be have different shades of satisfaction even on the same elements.
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org
Motivation theorists have identified opportunities for personal development as a major predictor of employee motivation and to a large extent job satisfaction and retention. These theorists maintain that employees, being economical beings, would always want to maximize their benefits and will do anything in line with the maximization of these benefits. Thus employees who are provided opportunities for professional development in addition to their remuneration are more likely to work harder and stay on longer since such opportunities aside maximizing the benefits derived by the employee from the organization also enhances the knowledge, skills and abilities of the employee and prepares him for greater occupational challenges. It is therefore not surprising that all respondents (100%) unanimously identified that their level of satisfaction will be very high in schools which offer them opportunities for professional development. Organizational climate that supports teacher collaboration has also been linked to higher levels of teacher satisfaction in the developing world. Such climates that support teacher collaborations include collaborations stressing on norms of continuous improvement; collegiality and professional interactions among the staff and administrative support for teaching in the form of mechanisms of teacher induction and organizational socialization, such as internships and mentoring programs. Though evident in many other countries at the high school level, such collaborations are rather evident in Ghana at the tertiary level where lecturers collaborate in research and other academic exercises than at the senior high school level. This may explain why no clear choice is made on this issue and majority of respondents claimed they were not sure (47%). However, such climates ideally provide a sense of security and support and thus motivate teachers. Just as all respondents (100%) expressed that they would be very dissatisfied in communities with poor social and economic resources, respondents unanimously pointed out that schools with poor socio-economic resources were a negative influence on the level of ob satisfaction and subsequent retention. Evidence from the literature strongly supports this and recognizes the inherent challenges faced by teachers in such facilities where socio-economic resources are lacking, are inadequate or mismanaged. On the ground however, most facilities in rural and most peri-urban areas in Ghana fall in the category of facilities with little socio-economic resources – a situation that results in shortage of teachers in these facilities. In the developing countries, poor salary is one of the most important reasons for leaving teaching in urban and high-poverty public schools (Perie, Baker, & Whitener, 1997). Schlechty and Vance (1983) also propose that low salaries and truncated salary scales are among the main reasons that the most academically able—those with alternative career options—leave teaching. Thus, not only is the quantum of remuneration an issue but also the reliability of the remuneration. Especially, in the developing world where the volatile economic conditions, dysfunctional bureaucracy and resource constraints continually challenge the human resource management in the public sector, the tendency for the salaries of teachers to be delayed is almost becoming a norm. Teachers though will be dissatisfied with the low level of remuneration they receive, will be even more dissatisfied if their meager salaries are not consistent. This was strongly supported by all respondents in this study. Characteristics of the teacher The final determinant of teacher satisfaction is identified by De Nobile and McCormick
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org (2006) as teacher characteristics. In their view, young teachers, male teachers and teachers with greater human capital are less satisfied, while teachers who are more socially similar to the local community are more satisfied. In the United States and later in developing countries, a number of background attributes of teachers themselves have been found to be linked to levels of satisfaction which raises concerns on the influence of demographic factors. These factors until recently were overlooked as more attention was being paid to the environment within which the teachers worked. However, the characteristics of the individual teacher have been proved in research to be another major determinant of whether he will be satisfied or dissatisfied with teaching. Though young teachers have been shown to be more dissatisfied and therefore more likely to leave than older teachers in the USA and other countries of its ilk, (Ingersoll, 2001; Perie et al, 1997), they caution however that this situation might not necessarily be the case in developing countries. Nevertheless, the situation in Ghana as presented by this study shows a stunning similarity with the results of Ingersoll; and Perie et al. A cursory glance at the young teachers in Ghana will unearth that most got into the profession because there was no other alternative for advancement after secondary education. Such persons are thus more likely to leave the profession in search of other more attractive careers. Additionally, most young persons especially those in rural Ghana are unlikely to remain there for long periods since they may not want to waste their youth in a village. However, the opposite is mostly true for old teachers who are more likely to stay as they have reached the peak or twilight of their careers. In addition, women have been generally found to be more satisfied than men (Ma & MacMillan, 1999). 54% and 23% of respondents in semblance of this fact opined that men were dissatisfied and very dissatisfied by teaching than women respectively. In the peculiar Ghanaian environment and considering the relatively low level of remuneration and delays in payments associated with teaching in public educational facilities, men, the traditional breadwinners are less likely to be satisfied with teaching than women who traditionally have the motherly aura to train and educate children. Also, better qualified teachers tend to be more dissatisfied than less qualified teachers and thus more likely to leave teaching (Darling-Hammond, 1984; Schlechty & Vance, 1983). This was also supported by this study with as much as 54% and 23% of respondents proposing respectively that teachers who are better educated will be dissatisfied and very dissatisfied with teaching. This finding may be in part attributable to the fact that teachers with better qualifications perceive more alternative opportunities and may think that they are missing out on the conditions enjoyed by the their colleagues of similar qualifications in the noneducational sectors. The same was also true for teachers in communities similar to their backgrounds with a total of 68% of respondents pointing that such persons will have high satisfaction levels because they will easily blend and find a place in the community and thus feel accepted rather than an outsider. As expected majority of respondents (93%) believed that the answers they provided for this section were not immutable but would change in the positive direction if efforts were made at enhancing their job satisfaction. 4.5 Improving job satisfaction This section of the study was purposed at assessing the existing strategies for enhancing job satisfaction and retention of senior high school teachers in the Asuogyaman district and against that background, prescribe was of enhancing job satisfaction in the district. Respondents were firstly required to identify whether or not there were some strategies in place for enhancing job satisfaction among teachers in the district. In their response, majority
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org of respondents agreed without reservations that indeed there were some strategies for enhancing job satisfaction of teachers2. When asked to identify what components were in the strategy, respondents identified bonuses, study leave, access to loans, accommodation, training and development opportunities and recognition. The issue of job satisfaction in the district to a large extent was therefore not the fact that teachers had low job satisfaction because of the lack of strategies to enhance job satisfaction but rather that the strategies were not adequate or evenly distributed. Specifically, respondents believed that although there was some form of remuneration, it was not commensurate with the required job done. Further, when the remuneration provided was compared with that of other persons with similar qualifications in other sectors of the economy that of senior high school teachers fell woefully short. Therefore more needs to be done if remuneration is to be used effectively as a tool to enhance job satisfaction. Additionally, respondents intimated that though opportunities for further development were sometimes made available to employees through the granting of study leave, the cost of such development was borne by the teacher as it was becoming increasing difficult to get study leave with pay. Additionally, teachers on study leave were sometimes not paid and sometimes not even guaranteed re-appointment after their course. Teachers were thus not motivated by these opportunities because of the cost implications. Respondents therefore believed that effective motivation through the use of opportunities for further development must be handled such that study leave was paid for by the education service either in full or in part. Further, scholarships must be made available to teachers to encourage them to develop themselves. Respondents also provided that their satisfaction with their jobs will be better enhanced if adequate accommodation was provided, more access to loans was facilitated and all bonuses enjoyed by their counterparts in the private educational sector was extended to them. Further recognition for all categories of teachers and effective but respectful communication in their view could motivate workers to put in the extra effort rather than head teachers ordering teachers about and treating them with officiousness. Importantly, respondents identified that the local communities, parents and the district assembly pay more attention to educational matters and complement the efforts of government in the industry. Adequate accommodation and staff common rooms, tools and materials, socio-economic resources and other accoutrements needed by teachers and the entire school for effective teaching and learning must be provided by these stakeholders to enhance the satisfaction of teachers and in effect increase the retention rate of teachers in the district. 5.3 Recommendations The study has been able to identify the determinants of job satisfaction of teachers in Ghana. The study therefore recommends that particular attention be paid to enhancing the community factors, teacher characteristics and the school factors as a means of ensuring that teachers are satisfied with their jobs. Though currently the Government of Ghana and the Ghana Education Service have put some strategies in place to enhance the job satisfaction of teachers, these strategies are inadequate. More attention must therefore be paid by local communities, NGOs, District Assemblies, religious groups and other stakeholders in education to motivate teachers and ensure that they are satisfied so as to positively influence their retention. Additionally, the study unearthed that organizational climates that support teacher collaboration was linked to higher levels of teacher satisfaction in the developing world. Such
European Journal of Education and Learning, Vol.54, 2008 ISSN(paper)2668-3318 ISSN(online)2668-361X www.BellPress.org climates include collaborations stressing on norms of continuous improvement; collegiality and professional interactions among the staff; and administrative support for teaching in the form of mechanisms of teacher induction and organizational socialization, such as internships and mentoring programs. However such collaborations were found to be virtually nonexistent among senior high school teachers. The study therefore recommends that more attention be paid to all stakeholder of education especially teacher unions to building and sustaining these collaborations. Additionally, more attention must be paid to enhancing job satisfaction among Senior High School teachers in the Asougyman District. Specifically, issues of housing, allowances and study leaves must be immediately attended to since these issues influence the satisfaction of the teachers and their subsequent retention in the district The study also recommends that the existing policies on motivation for Senior High School teachers must be reviewed. This stems from the study’s findings that though some policies have been put in place to motivate teachers, these policies are not motivating enough. Policies on pay, incentives and benefits as well as training and development opportunities must be looked at critically The study also recommends that particular attention be paid to the community factors, school factors and the characteristics of the teacher as a means of enhancing the job satisfaction ad employee retention among SHS teachers in the district. This is based on the study’s findings that community and school factors as well as the characteristics of the individual are strong determinants of job satisfaction among SHS teachers and in effect their retention. The study also recommends that parents actively involve themselves in educational issues. Instead of leaving the local and central government institutions to handle issues of teacher motivation, they must however be actively involved in complementing the work of the government agencies since their wards will be the ultimate losers if the teachers are dissatisfied. The study also identified the paucity of empirical knowledge on the subject as a major constraint to the study. The study therefore recommends that more studies be carried out on the linkage between job satisfaction and teacher retention so as to provide concrete assessments of job satisfaction. Further studies on the subject apart from unearthing the other dimensions of job satisfaction among SHS teachers that was not covered by this study will also provide the basis for evidence based practice. 5.4 Conclusion The study has been able to assess the main issues of job satisfaction and its effect on employee retention not only among teachers in the Asuogyaman district but indeed in all districts in Ghana. The study has also been able to prescribe measures through which job satisfaction and employee retention among teachers could be enhanced in Ghana.
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Note 1. see Foley et Note 2. see table 4.3
Table 1 Factors Affecting Job Attitudes
Leading to Dissatisfaction
• • • • • •
Leading to Satisfaction
• • • • • •
Company policy Supervision Relationship w/Boss Work conditions Salary Relationship w/Peers
Achievement Recognition Work itself Responsibility Advancement Growth
Table 2 Questions
Summary of responses on job satisfaction Yes No Partly Total (%) 100 100
(%) (%) (%) Are you satisfied with your work? 30 49 0 21 0
Is there a relationship between job satisfaction and teacher retention in your 100 school? Will you leave the teaching profession if you had other resourceful opportunities? Will you consider leaving the profession is you were dissatisfied? Source: Field data 2010 Table 3 Whether there are strategies for enhancing job satisfaction Frequency Yes No Partly Total Source: Field data 2009 41 23 11 75 Percentage 55 31 14 100 81 89
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