Causes and consequences of academics’ emotions in private higher education institutions: implications for policy and practice through the lens of affective events theory

Abstract

This study aims at testing a few tenets of affective events theory (AET) from a predictive perspective in the context of Malaysian private higher education sector. Specifically, we examined the impact of workload and autonomy on academics’ job satisfaction through interpersonal conflict and affective states. Additionally, the impact of affective states on job satisfaction via job performance was considered. We gathered data from 325 academics and analyzed them through partial least squares methodology. Our findings corroborated AET tenets considerably. The importance of the joint consideration of workload and autonomy in positively contributing to job satisfaction was highlighted. In addition, positive affect was identified as a stronger predictor of job satisfaction (as an attitude) and job performance (as an affect-driven behavior), comparing with negative affect. Specifically, positive affect was the strongest construct in increasing academics’ job satisfaction in our theoretical model. The findings indicated policy relevance at both the macro and institutional levels and had managerial and practical implications for future research direction in human resource management in the private higher education sector.

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Data availability

Our dataset to estimate the final model is accessible via https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/BYHHBR through HARVARD Dataverse.

Notes

  1. 1.

    The term “company” in one of the items in the original scale changed to “institution” to make it consistent with the university domain.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to appreciate the director and the staff of Malaysian Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN) for their continuous support. The first author is grateful to Zeynab Khodaei and Ilia Ghasemy for their support and understanding and dedicates the paper to his late mother, Zahra Soltan Zamani, for her unconditional care and love.

Funding

This research was supported by the Grant FRGS/1/2019/SS05/USM/02/5 from the Ministry of Education Malaysia to Majid Ghasemy.

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Correspondence to Majid Ghasemy.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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The performed procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee (USM/JEPeM/19090523) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. No consent was required since the participation was voluntary, information was anonymized, and the paper does not include images that may identify the person.

Appendix A

Appendix A

Items of the final model and their descriptive statistics

Code Item Mean SD
AUTO1 Management let people make their own decisions much of the time 3.019 1.048
AUTO2 Management trust people to take work-related decisions without getting permission first 2.898 1.057
AUTO3 People at the top tightly control the work of those below them* 2.649 1.051
AUTO4 Management keep too tight a reign on the way things are done around here* 2.739 1.057
PP1 People are expected to do too much in a day 3.45 1.012
PP3 Management require people to work extremely hard 3.534 0.988
PP4 People here are under pressure to meet targets 3.444 1.06
PP5 The pace of work here is pretty relaxed* 3.407 1.089
IC2 How often do other people yell at you at work? 1.643 0.784
IC3 How often are people rude to you at work? 1.935 0.863
IC4 How often do other people do nasty things to you at work? 1.86 0.91
PA1 I feel enthusiastic at work in general 3.543 0.968
PA3 I feel determined at work in general 3.807 0.912
PA6 I feel alert at work in general 3.758 0.851
PA9 I feel proud at work in general 3.717 0.986
NA1 I feel scared at work in general 1.519 0.882
NA4 I feel distressed at work in general 1.991 1.102
NA7 I feel ashamed at work in general 1.339 0.764
NA8 I feel guilty at work in general 1.311 0.716
NA9 I feel irritable at work in general 1.665 1.006
PER6 When I want to reach a goal, I am usually able to succeed 3.988 0.7
PER7 I complete work in a timely and effective manner 4.065 0.682
PER8 I complete a large quantity of work 3.972 0.684
PER9 I perform high-quality work 4.028 0.711
SAT3 I feel good about working at this institution 3.783 0.854
SAT8 All my talents and skills are used at work 3.54 0.955
SAT9 I get along with my supervisors 3.898 0.708
SAT10 I feel good about my job 3.851 0.801
  1. Items marked with an asterisk (*) were reversed before the scale is calculated

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Ghasemy, M., Sirat, M., Rosa-Díaz, I.M. et al. Causes and consequences of academics’ emotions in private higher education institutions: implications for policy and practice through the lens of affective events theory. Educ Res Policy Prac (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10671-020-09288-0

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Keywords

  • Affective events theory
  • Malaysian private higher education
  • Satisfaction-performance link
  • Affective states
  • FIMIX-PLS