Job satisfaction of women teachers in Saudi private schools: Examining perceptions, challenges and teachers turnover
Permanent link to Research Commons versionhttps://hdl.handle.net/10289/15927
This research is the first study thus far to investigate factors influencing the job satisfaction/dissatisfaction of women teachers in Saudi private schools, and the factors that prompt them to consider leaving or remaining in their jobs. As part of Saudi ‘Vision 2030’, the government is striving to improve the quality of its educational system. Teacher satisfaction is an integral part of these efforts as satisfied teachers are more committed, stay longer, and are better instructors. Using a qualitative approach, this study was underpinned by Herzberg’s two-factor theory and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in exploring women teachers’ experiences in Saudi private schools. The results from interviewing 16 women teachers illustrated the limited applicability of Herzberg’s two-factor model and Maslow's hierarchy of needs to explicate the job satisfaction/dissatisfaction of the study participants. The applicability of Herzberg's theory was only insofar as the findings indicated that extrinsic and intrinsic factors influenced teachers’ level of job satisfaction. However, contrary to Herzberg's linking extrinsic factors specifically to dissatisfaction and intrinsic factors to satisfaction, the findings showed that factors affecting women teachers’ job satisfaction were a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic factors, with the extrinsic factors playing a more dominant role. Similarly, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was not entirely applicable due to contextual issues which made the women’s experiences vary from Maslow's position that people seek higher-level needs after attaining lower-level needs. Furthermore, the study highlighted that teacher job satisfaction is very complex and goes beyond the work environment-based rational explanations. The findings showed that factors that prompted the women teachers to consider leaving or remaining in their jobs had less to do with satisfaction or dissatisfaction but more to do with social norms and the job market, which made staying at home a non-viable option. Remaining on the job, therefore, was a strategy to gain experience that would facilitate access to better public-school jobs or might result from the religious rationalisation of the teaching role. This investigation indicated that strategies to improve the job satisfaction of women teachers should focus beyond intrinsic factors such as opportunities for growth and participation in decisions affecting their work. Instead, strategies should include extrinsic factors such as pay and job security. In addition, the study indicated a need for more interventions by the Ministry of Education in private schools sector, such as: improving the governance of private schools, especially in terms of monitoring mechanisms; the need for private schools to revisit their conditions of service in view of the participating women’s experiences; and the need to decentralise decision-making in private schools to give teachers more responsibility and autonomy over their work. Also, employment policies in private schools should be clear and aligned with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour’s requirements to improve general working conditions.
The University of Waikato
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