Role conflict in married male educators early in the 21st century

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The aim of this article is to determine to what extent married male teachers experience role conflict early in the 21st century. The need for the study arose as a result of the prevalent concerns with regard to the experience of role conflict, not only by male teachers, but also by female teachers. During an extensive literature review the observation was made that role conflict does occur within teachers (male and female). In the literature review it was also found that role conflict is experienced by all teachers on all job levels and with various years of teaching experience throughout the entire education sector. The extent of the experience of role conflict, however, differs. During the interpretation of a variety of laws, it has been observed that principles such as the implementation of democratic values in the appointment and role description of teachers, equal treatment of all (male and female teachers), correction of inequalities of the past (male and female teachers), and fair labour practices with regard to the appointment of teachers result in role conflict in married male teachers. The reality arising from the laws is that preference is given to female teachers with appointments in promotional positions. A further trend is that the woman assumes her rightful position as leader in the community and that she is seen as a respected and valuable source of income for the family. The latter two trends result in role conflict in the male teacher, as he is no longer seen as the sole respected leader (inside and outside the family) and provider for the needs of the family. The man still fulfils a variety of roles outside the home, including the following: he stands in a career with various roles posing challenges; he needs to develop his career; he needs to generate an income; and it is expected from him to fulfil various roles in the community and society. At home, the man also has to fulfil a variety of roles, including: he has to act as the head of the family; he is co-responsible for the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of the family; he is also co-responsible for the socialisation of the family; and in some cases he has to act as a single parent of his family.

The experience of intra-role conflict by the married male teacher within his family means that he has to give up personal values to perform a specific job. Consequently, he experiences conflict, because of these conflicting and opposing forces. In the man’s role as father, husband and head of the family, in some cases he experiences that he needs to neglect the latter roles or even give them up in order to fulfil the role expectations of his employer and society. Furthermore, he also experiences intra-role conflict within his profession. The reasons for the latter include the following: discrimination against his gender, where the traditional role of the man as a figure of leadership in his profession is now being opposed by the appointment of women in positions of leadership; role confusion where vague and unclear guidelines for the role of the man are laid down; as a result of the restriction on the appointment of the man in a leadership position, less job satisfaction; and finally, the current organisational climate of the school’s also perhaps having a significant influence on the experience of intra-role conflict.

Inter-role conflict occurs when the man has to carry out his duties as a professional teacher simultaneously with his family responsibilities. The following causes of inter-role conflict were identified in the literature: firstly, events at work and at home, where the man has to act as a role model within the family and at work; where the man has to be involved at work and with his family at the same time, the limited support of his family and colleagues; secondly, the views of the family and society, in which the man is not allowed to show emotion, should always be in control and not require any assistance; and finally, economic pressure, as society, his family and his work environment expect him to meet all economic needs.

An empirical study was carried out in order to determine the extent of the experience of role conflict by the married male teacher. The structured questionnaire was used as a measuring instrument in this quantitative research methodology. The study population consisted of 21 primary schools in the Klerksdorp, Orkney, Stilfontein and Hartebeesfontein (KOSH) region. One hundred and sixty-one married male teachers participated in the study.

After the data had been analysed, the following was found:

The questionnaire may be declared reliable with a Cronbach Alpha value of 0,70. Role conflict within the family occurred due to the following: being involved in family activities, a high pace of living, the experience of work pressure on the role of spouse, to meet the responsibilities of a husband, to act as caretaker of the family, and, finally, the division of responsibilities between the man and the woman. Role conflict at work occurred for the following reasons: uninvolved colleagues, autocratic behaviour of the school principal, colleagues not taking pride in their school, and colleagues not supporting one another. The following aspects that caused role conflict at work and at home, are as follows: non-involvement in family activities because of work commitments, inadequate support at work and at home, the view of colleagues and family members that the man does not need help, the time available to fulfil duties at home and at work properly, family involvement that affects activities away from home, always to be in control, and finally, that the man is of the opinion that he should be the main source of income. During the determination of the practical significance of this, the following emerged: practically no significant differences in the experience of role conflict were found because of differences in the age of the respondents, the number of learners in the school, or the distance between home and school, and. It was, however, found that there are practically significant differences in the experience of role conflict depending on the number of years of experience, the number of children in the family, and race.

From the above findings, the following recommendations were made: (1) Parents and teachers should educate children and learners to fulfil their future roles properly in both the home/family and at work. (2) People in authority should be trained in how to act with understanding towards male teachers who have more than one role to fulfil, and, more specifically, the family role as husband and father. (3) Further research should be undertaken with regard to the role and involvement of the school principal in the career planning and development of specifically the married male teacher. (4) Clear guidelines should be given to married male teachers regarding the planning of their careers in education. (5) Further study should, firstly, be conducted in order to determine what the psychological implications of the married male teacher, who needs to fulfil this dual role, entail and secondly, how these implications can be minimised.

From the above it can be seen that the married male teacher, like the married female teacher, experiences role conflict as a result of a variety of factors. According to literature, this experience of role conflict has occurred for many years and according to the findings in this study, role conflict is still being experienced well into the early 21st century by married male teachers because of similar factors that previously occurred. Surely it can be argued, that it seriously hampers the standard of education in South Africa. The latter hypothesis, however, requires further research and evidence.

Keywords: educator; father; husband; male educator; married; professional; role; role conflict

Lees die volledige artikel in Afrikaans: Rolkonflik by getroude manlike onderwysers vroeg in die 21ste eeu

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