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n South African Journal of Higher Education - Meaningfulness of work for a diverse group of women working in higher education institutions

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Abstract

The construction of meaningfulness at work impacts on individual, psychological and work-related outcomes. The meaningfulness of work, however, in the context of women leaders working in higher education institutions (HEIs), has not yet been comprehensively researched and understood in South Africa and internationally. This article explores the perspectives on meaningfulness of work for women leaders working in HEIs in South Africa and internationally. With regard to meaningfulness at work, limited research exists on HEIs in South Africa and internationally. This needs to be explored in-depth from emic female perspectives to contribute both to the benefit of women working in HEIs and to the transformation goals of organisations. The data from a qualitative research study within the phenomenological paradigm are presented. The research methods included the collection and analysis of 29 in-depth interviews with South African and international women leaders working in academic and administrative positions in HEIs. The findings showed that women leaders in HEIs connect meaningfulness to five main categories, namely, career, life values, spirituality, race and gender identity. HEIs need to focus more on the construction of meaningfulness at work for women leaders so as to provide empowering working conditions. This article contributes to the limited literature on meaningfulness at work for women leaders within HEIs. It also provides conclusions and recommendations.

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/content/high/29/6/EJC191481
2015-01-01
2016-12-04
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