When stress is high and job satisfaction is low: Narratives of reconciliation

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Abstract

Academic environment has been changing owing to the influence of strong market-driven public management model and the impact of globalization. It is unsurprising that academics’ work life also evolves in response to these systemic changes. According to an empirical study analyzing public data from 19 higher education systems around the world it was, found that these systems can be understood canonically into four quadrants, using level of stress and level of satisfaction as the two key varying dimensions. Hong Kong was categorized under the High Stress yet Low Satisfaction cluster. What is intriguing, with the most deterring work environments out of the four possible quadrants in the analysis, the turnover rate in Hong Kong academia is not higher than other of the countries clustered into other quadrants. The objective of the study then is to delve into Hong Kong academics’ psychological world and examine how they make sense from the discord between high stress and low job satisfaction they experienced. We employed the narrative inquiry method to gain in-depth understanding of 8 academics (convenient sampled from 2 universities) in Hong Kong, which their teaching experiences ranged between 7 to 25 years. Each interview lasted for approximately 1.5 hours. Three themes were extracted: 1) interpretation of the relationship between research and teaching; 2) coping strategies to remain resilient; and 3) resolution on the disparate directions between the demands imposed by the system and their personal aspired ideologies in education and academia. Copyright © 2019 CESHK Spring Conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Fingerprint

job satisfaction
reconciliation
Hong Kong
narrative
public management
Teaching
turnover
work environment
Ideologies
education system
coping
globalization
interpretation
university
market
interview
education
experience

Citation

Lee, W. S., & Yu, W. M. (2019, March). When stress is high and job satisfaction is low: Narratives of reconciliation. Paper presented at the CESHK Spring Conference 2019: Sustainable Development and Comparative Education: Goals, Reification and Heresies, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.