"I like being a teacher": career satisfaction, the work environment and work engagement

Timms, Carolyn, and Brough, Paula (2013) "I like being a teacher": career satisfaction, the work environment and work engagement. Journal of Educational Administration, 51 (6). pp. 768-789.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to compare the explanatory power of two theoretical frameworks in regard to the work engagement of 312 Queensland teachers from non-government schools. The first theoretical model is the job demands-resources (JD-R) theory which suggests that work engagement will be evident if people report an abundance of resources in their work environment. The second perspective is self-determination theory (SDT) which suggests that work engagement will be evident if people are able to satisfy their personal psychological needs within the work environment.

Design/methodology/approach – The current research collected data from the same participants on two occasions with a six-month interval. Hierarchical multiple regression analyses were conducted to test the research hypotheses both cross-sectionally and longitudinally.

Findings – It was found that the SDT provided the more compelling explanation for work engagement, in that career satisfaction (rather than job satisfaction) was a robust predictor of work engagement, although some evidence was also found for a contribution of the psycho-social work environment (supporting the JD-R model) in teachers' work engagement or burnout. It was concluded that these two theoretical perspectives are compatible.

Practical implications – It is recommended that future studies of work engagement include some measurement of people's satisfaction that the career they have chosen fulfils their personal aspirations.

Social implications – The theories of SDT (work engagement as a fulfilment of psychological needs) and JD-R (work engagement as a balance of job demands and resources), while coming from different directions appear to be compatible, with each perspective enriching the other and affording administrators a more complete understanding of dynamics affecting the psychological health of teaching staff.

Originality/value – Previous work involving the JD-R and work engagement has focused on the immediate psycho-social environment of the workplace. The current research finds that career satisfaction predicts all dimensions of work engagement in cross-sectional analysis and over time. This supports insights from SDT and suggests that a more complete understanding of the dynamics of work engagement must include people's opportunity to redress psychological needs within the workplace.

Item ID: 26367
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0957-8234
Keywords: work engagement, teachers, career satisfaction, self-determination theory, job demands and resources theory
Funders: Griffith Health Institute Project Grant
Date Deposited: 08 Oct 2013 02:51
FoR Codes: 17 PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES > 1701 Psychology > 170107 Industrial and Organisational Psychology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930202 Teacher and Instructor Development @ 20%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920504 Occupational Health @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930401 Management and Leadership of Schools/Institutions @ 30%
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