Societal expectations and well-being of academics: views from university lecturers in Ghana

Ofori, D.W and Bell, J (2020) 'Societal expectations and well-being of academics: views from university lecturers in Ghana.' Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 33 (10). pp. 74-84. ISSN 2456-981X

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Background:- The study aimed to investigate how societal expectation on educational accomplishments can affect workplace well-being of university lecturers. University education is seen by society as the highest level of educational accomplishment in a person’s life and people with such accomplishments are often held in higher esteem by society. In Ghana, this expectation puts pressure on lecturers who are known to have attained higher educational accomplishments. Methods:- The study used a qualitative research approach to solicit views from 18 public university lecturers in Ghana. Interpretative Phenomenology Approach (IPA) for data analysis was used to interpret the opinions of lecturers about what society expects of them, how that affects their well-being at work and shifts that are needed to address those expectations. Results:- The study found that society indeed expects a lot from university lecturers (core university functions and other cultural and economic issues). Societal expectations have both positive and negative effects on the well-being of lecturers. Findings show that respect that lecturers receive from society provides leverage for positive well-being, while financial pressures placed on them tend to create emotional stresses which impact negatively on their well-being. Conclusion:- To our knowledge, this study is the first of its kind to examine the experiences of well-being amongst university academics in Ghana. Results suggest that how the role of university academics is perceived by society can create pressures which affect their well-being negatively. This study highlights the importance of these findings and their impact on well-being. It shows that societal expectations are linked to sociocultural beliefs and economic factors in a developing country context. The authors recommend a mind-set shift amongst society and academics to bring expectations from both sides closer together; through education; engaging community talks on the pressures of societal expectations and demands to create awareness, and observing cultural beliefs that impact the understanding of well-being issues. These initiatives could potentially reduce the pressure of unrealistic expectations on academics and other “knowledge workers”.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: university lecturers, workplace, well-being, expectations, pressure
Divisions: Bath Business School
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Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 10:58
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 10:58
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