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The International Journal of
Educational Organization
and Leadership
________________________________________________________________________
Equitable Workload and the Perceptions of
Academic Staff in Universities
VENKATA SAI SRINIVASA RAO MURAMALLA AND KHALID ABDULLAH ALOTAIBI
THELEARNER.COM
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VOLUME 26 ISSUE 2
Bill Cope, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA
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EDITORS
Venkata Sai Srinivasa Rao Muramalla, 1 Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Khalid Abdullah Alotaibi, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia
Abstract: Workload is the overall assignments to be completed by individuals in a given time. In academia, the number of
instructional hours, credit hours, contact hours, class sizes, non-instructional schedules, student-teacher ratio, scholarly
activities, and administrative and community services will determine the workload of faculty members in a semester. Any
discrimination, favoritism, partiality, or managerial biases in the distribution of the workloads would lead to
misconceptions among the academic staff that will affect the work culture of educational institutions. In this context, this
paper examines the perceptions of 256 academic staff chosen by stratified random sampling from ten universities in
Saudi Arabia by using a questionnaire on the general practices of universities for the allocation of the equitable
workload in three variables such as teaching, research, and academic administration. Study results revealed that the
academic staff positively responded to all the practices in the three variables. This paper answered the questions of what
are the significant differences and significant correlations in the perceptions of academic staff concerning equitable
workload distribution in the three variables. Firstly, it was found that the academic staff as groups by gender, nationality,
type of university, and tenure has a significant perceptional difference in the three variables. In Saudi Arabia, foreigners
work on contract basis, therefore, this study revealed that foreign staff members place more emphasis on teaching instead
of research and administration. This result was found in college faculty members in science, arts, and other college
faculty members. The study further found a relationship among three types of faculty departments/disciplines as far as
teaching and administrative work is concerned, but there is no relation between research and administrative work. In
conclusion, the authors have recommended, some practical suggestions for equitable workload among academic staff.
Keywords: Academia, Academic Workload, Academics, Equitable Workload, Workload Distribution
Introduction
W
orkload comprises of overall assignments to be completed by the individuals in a
given time (Apaydin 2012). In academia, the workload of academic staff depends on
the number of courses offered, total credit and contact hours, instructional and noninstructional hours, student-teacher ratios, scholarly activities, and administrative and community
services (Parks et al. 1998; Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges 2014).
However, allocation of equitable workload among the academic staff in universities is a
challenging task (Cohen, Hickey, and Upchurch 2009). This is because the workload of faculty
members changes over time due to factors such as diversities in the students’ enrollments,
commercialization of specialized programs, more research orientated performance appraisals,
more dependency on part-time instructors, and additional expectations on faculty members to
obtain external research grants (Robbins 2013; Papadopoulos 2017).
It is apparent that the workload of academics covers all the responsibilities that include the
preparation for class teaching as well as student assessments, publication of research works,
execution of research projects, and involvement in the administrative services (Ocvirk and Širca
2012). Therefore, to complete the assigned workload, the academic staff have to perform their
roles in teaching, research, and administration (Colbeck 2002). However, any favoritism,
discrimination, partialities, or managerial biases in the allocation of the workloads will lead to
dissatisfaction among academic staff that would affect the work culture of institutions
(Hesseldenz 1976; Mustapha and Yu Ghee 2013). Moreover, exercising power and politics by
1
Corresponding Author: Venkata Sai Srinivasa Rao Muramalla, PO Box 13, College of Business Administration, Prince
Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Hotat Bani Tamim, Al Kharj, Riyadh Province, 11149, Saudi Arabia. email:
[email protected]
The International Journal of Educational Organization and Leadership
Volume 26, Issue 2, 2019, https://thelearner.com
© Common Ground Research Networks, Venkata Sai Srinivasa Rao Muramalla,
Khalid Abdullah Alotaibi, All Rights Reserved.
Permissions: cgscholar.com/cg_support
ISSN: 2329-1656 (Print), ISSN: 2329-1591 (Online)
https://doi.org/10.18848/2329-1656/CGP/v26i02/1-19 (Article)
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Equitable Workload and the Perceptions of
Academic Staff in Universities
faculty supervisors during the allocation of workloads will disturb the performance of academic
staff (McCarthy, Song, and Jayasuriya 2017; Kenny 2018).
Therefore, fairness, consistency, and transparency in equitable workload distribution
practices will improve the performance of academic staff (Bitzer 2007; Kenny and Fluck 2014).
However, understanding the perceptions of academic staff on such practices is crucial for
bringing consensus. In this context, this study examined the perceptions of academic staff in
Saudi Arabia concerning the general practices of universities for the allocation of equitable
workloads in teaching, research, and academic administration.
Literature Review
Researchers discussed the implications of workload allocations among the academic staff at
higher education institutions and some of their research findings are briefly discussed as follows.
Agrawala and Mohr (1975) argue that workload distribution is always a controversial and
troubling question to university managers because the faculty members have strengths and
interests that they want to utilize during the implementation of flexible formulas for equitable
workload allocations. How are university managers, then, to decide how much time should be
allotted for each activity? Authors like Chipman-Johnson (2008) supports flexible approaches in
workload allocations that would help universities to promote the interests and strengths of faculty
members.
Houston, Meyer, and Paewai (2006) recognize that the allocation of academic workload in
universities is a difficult job because faculty member roles are not only in the primary domains of
teaching and research, but also in the administration and academic services (Bernasconi 2003).
These role ambiguities in academics are due to their far-reaching accountability and increasing
responsiveness to the changing educational needs in the society and the intensification of
evaluations by the universities on their research performance (Tien and Blackburn 1996). Kyvik
(2012) identifies that academic staff work more extended hours in universities by spending more
time than required as per the norms of the university.
Shaw (2005) mentions that faculty members mostly prefer the role of a researcher in the
universities instead of their roles in teaching and academic services. This kind of attitude would
upset the fair allocation of normal workloads to faculty members. Selfa et al. (1997) conclude
that universities have a discrepancy in the allocation of academic workload between full-time and
part-time staff. They reveal that, while comparing the teaching load of professors and teaching
assistants, it is found that professors spend more time on research whereas teaching assistants
spend more time on teaching work. This is a significant cause for an imbalance of academic
workloads in the universities. They found that the ranked professors are interested in teaching for
upper graduate level classes and hence more workload remained to distribute among the teaching
assistants.
Chantrapornhchai (2012) specifies that the allocation of workload among the academic staff
depends on the policies of faculties and departments at universities. Teater and Mendoza (2018)
identifies that the allocation of academic workload in universities should balance the expected
academic workload across various faculty positions and the time spent by academic staff in
various academic departments. However, this affects their output in terms of result and research
publications, as well as academic rank of the faculty member.
Hull (2006) indicates that bureaucracy in academic institutions is also one of the factors for
allocation of the academic workload. He mentions that universities have difficulties in
identifying choices for reasonable workload distribution among academic staff because of
reasons such as increasing academic workloads every year, assignment of new tasks to existing
faculty members, rising quality standards, and the demands to perform in specialized tasks.
O’Meara et al. (2017) find that women faculty members are spending more time in teaching as
well as in student advising sessions and campus services whereas male staff are spending more
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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
time in research. They found that female staff members are receiving more teaching work
assignments in universities than male staff members.
Dobele et al. (2010) discovered that universities that are headed by females have equity in
workloads between male and female teaching staff members. The author has found this result
because of transparency in the workload distribution systems of universities. This research
suggests that the heads of universities have to work in collaboration with the academic staff for
the implementation of systems with more flexibility to allocate equitable workload among male
and female academic staff members. However, it claims that the transparent workload
distribution schemes of universities would benefit academic teams in countering the problems of
favoritism and discrimination.
Barrett and Barrett (2007) discovered that academic staff prefer transparency in the
allocation of academic workloads either on the basis of their knowledge or by information on
work allocation schemes of universities that are published in the university handbooks. Wilborn
et al. (2013) confirm that the heads of educational institutions have a role in the reasonable
distribution of workload among faculty members due to challenges such as mismatches of
subject specializations of faculty members during the allocation of teaching workloads, faculty
members from different work cultures and experiences, and rigid guidelines regarding acceptance
of allocated workloads. This research revealed that the managerial skills are required for the
principals of educational institutions to overcome the challenges of balanced workload
distribution among academic staff and to manage the intricacy in their jobs (Nnadozie 2015).
Gopaul et al. (2016) realized that faculty members in universities perceive more autonomy in
research related work assignments, and they concentrate less on procedures followed by heads of
institutions in the allotment of teaching and other academic workloads. However, Kandiuk and
Sonne de Torrens (2018) recognized that adding scholarly research to the normal workload of
academic staff is a challenging practice in universities. Thus, to settle these issues in the
allocation of justifiable workloads, Burgess (1996) recommends that universities follow
procedural principles such as equity, feasibility, comprehensiveness, and transparency to avoid
high workloads in universities. However, universities have their procedures to distribute
equitable workloads among the academic staff by using several algorithms to manage the
expected workload among various faculty members (Soliman and Soliman 1997; Graham 2015).
Watanabe (2011) suggests that the formula-based workload schedules in universities
improve the satisfaction of faculty members. It is evident that the academic staff perceived the
fairness in workload distribution schemes because of the systematic approaches of universities in
the preparation of teaching schedules. Dennison (2012) reveals that the planning of workload
distribution schemes would vary from one institution to another because the workload
distribution is mainly intended to stabilize the academic activities of institutions based on the
planned instructional hours, research works, creative endeavors, scholarships, and community
services.
The Academic Workload in Saudi Universities
According to the statistics of Ministry of Education in Saudi Arabia, thirty-five universities
(twenty-six public and nine private) with the network of 770 affiliated institutions are offering
various academic programs in twenty-six disciplines (Smith and Abouammoh 2013). The
composition of academic staff in the universities are professors (5.0%), associate professors
(8.5%), assistant professors (28.5%), lecturers (23.5%), teaching assistants (25.5%), tutors
(8.5%), and other supporting teaching staff (0.5%). In addition to teaching, some of them are also
engaged with the academic administration work of universities. The majority of faculty members
are recruited in the colleges of business and management (20%), followed by humanities (13%),
Islamic studies (11%), teacher education (8%), and the remaining are working in departments
such as educational sciences, life sciences, informatics, health, engineering, and social and
behavioral sciences. As the majority of academic staff (78%) is in the ranks of assistant
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MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
professors, lecturers, and teaching assistants, it is evident that the bulk of the teaching workload
would be allocated among these faculty members working in various colleges. Most of the staff
members are appointed for undergraduate courses (76%), followed by diploma courses (15%),
higher diplomas (7%), masters (1.9%), and research degree courses (0.1%). Universities also
recruited adjunct faculty members to manage the overall workload.
The maximum teaching workload of faculty members in the universities is between ten
teaching units to eighteen teaching units per week during a semester, which would vary between
faculties and between public and private universities. The maximum teaching workload, as
prescribed by the Higher Education Council of Saudi Arabia, is as follows: ten teaching units per
week for professors, twelve teaching units for associate professors, fourteen teaching units for
assistant professors, and sixteen-to-eighteen teaching units per week for other teaching assistants
and support-teaching staff such as instructors (HEC 1998). The scheduled teaching workload
includes lectures and class seminars whereas the non-scheduled teaching workload includes class
work preparation, time for practical work in laboratories, labor for student assessments, research
for the development of course materials, student counseling sessions, and the duties of
examination supervision (Amey 1999). The workload of faculty members is linked to their
research work, as they spend time to author the books, publish research papers, guide students in
graduation projects, and implement granted research projects (Kenny and Fluck 2017). However,
academic staff have differences in the time and effort needed for the preparation of lecture notes
and services for community development (Botha and Swanepoel 2015).
Demographics of Academic Staff in Saudi Universities
The profile of academic staff in universities is as follows: male staff is 59 percent and female
staff is 41 percent, Saudi nationals 60 percent with 45 percent female, non-Saudi staff 40 percent
with 35 percent female. Nearly 70 percent of female staff are in the ranks of lecturer or lower
positions. Academic staff awarded doctorates in different subjects account for 43 percent, and 30
percent of them are female. Others completed masters (26%), higher diplomas (1%), bachelor
degrees (29%), diplomas (0.5%), and other degrees (1%). Among the staff members in
administrative positions, 91 percent are Saudi nationals with 41 percent female; non-Saudis are 9
percent with 47 percent female. The academic administrative staff employed in various
managerial positions of universities are deans of faculties, directors of academic programs and
chairs, members of academic councils or college/department level committees, supervisors of
departments, and course coordinators. Some of these staff members are in permanent
management positions on academic boards, quality assurance committees, journal editorial
boards, and organizing committees of conferences and seminars. The academic administration
staff are mainly responsible for the smooth functioning of academic programs as well as the
elaboration of course plans and class work schedules, and the development or renovation of the
curricula and syllabi. However, university authorities are balancing the overall workload of this
staff who serves in executive positions (Dowling-Hetherington 2014).
The Need For This Study
Universities have guidelines for the allocation of workload to faculty members (Paewai, Meyer
and Houston 2007). However, there is dissatisfaction amongst the academic staff on fair
workload distributions with the prevalence of discrimination, favoritism, partiality, and
managerial biases as experienced in some universities (Hornibrook 2012). The ramifications of
this apprehension together with the problems of unfairness and less transparency in the
employment contracts of universities leads to the rise of work-related stress and burnout among
academics, especially women who are more susceptible to these working conditions in
universities (Boyd 2014; Melin, Astvik, and Bernhard-Oettel 2014; Peter et al. 2014; Mountz
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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
2016). Acton et al. (2015) advise that university authorities have to intervene in the
implementation of balanced workload distribution schemes to reduce the stress of academic staff.
Although academic staff are the professional elite, they are the backbone of universities, as
are as teaching and research is concerned. As they have to concentrate more on teaching and
research, administrative tasks are linked to the academic workload of the faculty members (Fox
1992; Crespo, Bertrand, and Canada 2013). Moreover, because of transformations in global
education policies, universities are retaining academic staff with more research accomplishments
than quality in teaching and academic services (Comm and Mathaisel 2003; Basaruddin et al.
2016; Alotaibi and Lone 2016). As a result, a conflict of roles arise in academic professionals
(Md Yusoff et al. 2014). Subsequently, universities are prompted to manage the workloads of
academics to continue their regular teaching, research, and administrative services without any
difficulty in finding their contribution to each segment. (Blodgett, Blodgett and Kardong-Edgren
2018).
Problem Statement
As a general practice in universities, chairs of departments handle the allocation of workload to
their faculty members (Cho et al. 2000). The overall academic workload of faculty members in
universities is observed to be as such: 90 percent is in teaching, 53 percent is in administrative
services, and 47 percent is in research activities (Seaberg 1998). However, these proportionate
workloads may vary by public and private universities in Saudi Arabia, and they also vary by
university policies and the stream of the student enrollment in academic programs.
If there is any mismanagement in the distribution of academic workload, the academic staff
feel more stress in teaching than in research and administrative works. This occupational stress
affects the overall performance of academic staff (McLaughlin et al. 1981; Parveen 2013; Adrian
et al. 2014). However, the general perseverance levels of occupational stress among the
academics fluctuate between tenure-track professors and adjunct faculty members (Lawrence and
Galle 2011). Academics who try to prove their credentials in research and publications do usually
have more extended work hours in universities, and this causes them to fail in relishing weekends
with their family members and to face nuances of work-life balance (Cannizzo and Osbaldiston
2016). Sometimes, workload allocations at higher levels lead to trajectories of exhaustion among
teaching staff (Bentzen, Lemyre and Kenttä 2016).
Psychological rewards, remunerations or financial benefits, and workload schemes of
institutions have their impact on job satisfaction of academic staff (Jalal and Zaheer 2017). This
research study was motivated by the desire to examine the perceptions of academic staff in Saudi
Arabia concerning the general practices of universities for the allocation of equitable workloads
in teaching, research, and administrative services.
Study Questions
Following questions are answered in this study.
Question 1: What are the significant differences in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration?
Question 2: What are the significant correlations in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration?
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MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
Following hypotheses adopted for this study:
H1: There is a significant difference in the perceptions of academic staff concerning
equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration.
H2: There is a significant correlation in the perceptions of academic staff concerning
equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration.
Methodology
This study discusses how the academic staff in Saudi Arabia perceive the general practices of
universities for the distribution of equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic
administration. It is different from past studies, which focused on managerial bias in the
implementation of workload policies and occupational stress because of variable workloads as an
outcome of inefficient systems of universities in fair workload allocation (Malcolm and Zukas
2009). This research mainly discusses the perceptions of academic staff as the unit for analysis
based on the general practices of universities for equitable workload distribution rather than
prejudices or apprehensions related to workload allocation policies and their implications on
equitable workload distribution in the universities. It does mean that this study did not cover the
technical issues in the allocation of academic workloads, such as the skill of academic staff, their
knowledge, their talents and motivations, financial benefits, and their expertise in teaching,
research, and administration.
A sample of 256 academic staff members participated in this study chosen by stratified
random sampling from the ten universities in Saudi Arabia. The academic staff consisted of
professors, associate professors, assistant professors, lecturers, teaching assistants, tutors, and
other supporting teaching staff. Some of them are serving in academic administration positions of
deanships and some are below that rank in the universities. Respondents were 65 percent male,
35 percent female, 20 percent Saudi nationals, 80 percent non-Saudis, 69 percent in public
universities, 31 percent in private universities, 78 percent full-time staff, 22 percent part-time
staff, 60 percent working in science colleges, and 20 percent each in arts and other colleges. Of
the participants, 73 percent has less than ten years of tenure, 27 percent had tenure of ten or more
years. Participants were not asked to mention their age as well as their university name because
this study aimed to preserve the anonymity of academic staff who participated in this study in
order to get their exact responses in an honest way.
By reviewing the literature, a comprehensive questionnaire was prepared on the general
practices of universities for the distribution of balanced workloads to academic staff concerning
three variables—teaching, research, and academic administration. In each variable (teaching,
research, and academic administration), ten items were listed in the questionnaire as the summary
of practices in ten selected universities for the equitable workload distribution. These study items
are shown in Appendix 1. All the items are outlined in such a way that the participants would
recall their own experiences of how their universities are allocating workloads to the academic
staff in teaching, research, and academic administration. Responses were taken on a five-point
Likert scale from strongly agree (5) to strongly disagree (1). After the pilot study of fifty
academics in various educational institutions, the final questionnaire was distributed to 400
faculty members in the ten selected universities by using the convenience random sampling
method and 256 fully completed questionnaires were received. The response rate was 64 percent.
Cronbach’s alpha values for the items in three variables are between 0.76 and 0.84, and for all
items, the alpha value is 0.79. Study results deliberated the perceptions of academic staff by
using descriptive analysis and the Pearson correlation coefficient.
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Study Hypotheses
MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
The descriptive statistics in Table 1 reveal that significant differences ensued in the perceptions
of academic staff concerning equitable workload distribution practices in the three variables of
teaching, research, and academic administration. These significant differences are mainly
correlated to gender, nationality, university, and tenure, but not by the nature of job contract and
college. That is, in teaching, significant perceptional differences are augmented among academic
staff by gender, nationality, university, contract, and tenure, but not by the college. In research as
well as in academic administration, significant differences are established by gender, nationality,
university, and tenure, but not by contract, and college.
Table 1: Descriptive Statistics of the Study (N = 256)
Sample
Type
n
Gender
Male
Female
Saudi
Non-Saudi
Public
Private
Full Time
Part Time
Science
Arts
Others
<10 Yrs.
>= [≥?] 10
Yrs.
167
89
52
204
176
80
199
57
152
52
52
186
70
Nationality
University
Contract
College
Tenure
Teaching
Mean
30.56
25.88
32.00
28.17
30.36
25.79
29.43
27.19
29.43
28.54
27.87
30.15
25.70
SD
3.68
4.62
6.29
3.72
3.81
4.65
4.52
4.52
4.64
4.88
4.03
3.82
4.96
T
p
8.85**
0.00
5.63**
0.00
8.29**
0.00
3.30**
0.00
2.52
0.08
7.63**
0.00
Research
Mean
29.35
30.82
28.67
30.16
30.57
28.29
30.08
29.09
29.88
30.50
29.17
30.38
28.47
SD
4.89
4.61
5.42
4.65
4.55
5.11
4.79
4.99
4.99
4.59
4.61
4.50
5.44
T
p
2.34*
0.02
1.98*
0.05
3.58**
0.00
1.37
0.17
0.98
0.38
2.85**
0.00
Academic administration
Mean
SD
t
34.91
4.45
5.81**
31.07
5.99
38.73
6.46
8.75**
32.29
4.16
35.51
4.31
10.13**
29.33
4.97
33.78
5.31
1.17
32.84
5.48
34.03
5.52
32.50
5.39
1.65
33.33
4.70
35.26
4.31
9.59**
29.09
5.27
p
0.00
0.00
0.00
0.24
0.19
0.00
*p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, Mean values have a minimum of 10 and a maximum 50
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
There is a significant difference between male and female staff regarding perception of
workloads in teaching when comparing research and academic administration. The t value in
teaching is 8.85 with a ‘p’ value of 0.00, which is more than the ‘t’ and ‘p’ value of research and
academic administration. Also male staff members have positive views toward academic
administration (mean µ = 34.91, standard deviation σ = 4.45) than in teaching (µ = 30.56, σ =
3.68) and research (µ = 29.35, σ = 4.89), whereas female staff has more positive perceptions in
academic administration (µ = 31.07, σ = 5.99) than in research (µ = 30.82, σ = 4.61) and
teaching (µ = 25.88, σ = 4.62).
Among the Saudis and non-Saudis, a more significant difference in perception was found in
academic administration (t = 8.75, p = 0.00) than in teaching (t = 5.63, p = 0.00) and research (t =
1.98, p = 0.05). These two groups of the sample are proportionately toward agree scale in
academic administration (µ ≥ 32.29, max = 50). Overall, by nationalities, this result indicated
that Saudis are more positive regarding all three variables than non-Saudis are.
The staff of public and private universities differed extremely in regards to academic
administration (t = 10.13, p = 0.00) and teaching (t = 8.29, p = 0.00) compared to research (t =
3.58, p = 0.00). These two groups of the sample were more in accordance regarding academic
administration (µ ≥ 29.33, max = 50). However, public university staff are more positive
regarding all three variables than the private university staff. This finding would imply that the
work culture of public and private universities influence perceptions of faculty members
concerning equitable workloads in academic institutions.
Academic staff with tenure of less than ten years and academic staff with tenure equal or
more than ten years have a significant difference in academic administration (t = 9.59, p = 0.00)
and teaching (t = 7.63, p = 0.00) than in research (t = 2.85, p = 0.00). These two groups of the
sample are toward agree sale in academic administration (µ ≥ 29.09, max = 50). However, the
staff with tenure of equal or more than ten years are more positive regarding all three variables.
7
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Results
Among the academic staff of different colleges, there is no significant difference in the
perceptions concerning the three variables: teaching (t = 2.52, p = 0.08), research (t = 0.98, p =
0.38), and academic administration (t = 1.65, p = 0.19). Moreover, all college staff perceive
academic administration work as more equitable than other categories (µ ≥ 32.50, max = 50)
followed by research (µ ≥ 29.17, max = 50), and teaching (µ ≥ 27.87, max = 50). Between fulltime and part-time college staff, there is no significant difference in the perception concerning
equitable workload in research (t = 1.37, p = 0.17) and academic administration (t = 1.17, p =
0.24), but significant perceptional difference concerning equitable workload in teaching (t = 3.30,
p = 0.00). These two groups (male and female) perceive academic administration work as more
equitable than teaching and research (µ ≥ 32.84, max = 50). However, the full-time faculty
members are more positive regarding all three variables than the part-time staff.
The correlation matrix of the three variables in Table 2 shows that there is a significant
positive correlation between the three variables at p < 0.01. They are between teaching and
academic administration (r = 0.75), teaching and research (r = 0.51), and between research and
academic administration (r = 0.38). However, the perceptions of academic staff are more
positively inclined toward the workload in academic administration (µ = 33.57 [67.14%],
σ = 5.35) compared to research (µ = 29.86 [59.72%], σ = 4.84) and teaching (µ = 28.93 [57.86],
σ = 4.60).
Table 2: Correlation Matrix of Variables (N = 256)
Variables
Min
Max
Mean
Std.
Dev
Research
Correlation
Teaching
Research
Academic
Administration
10
10
50
50
28.93
29.86
4.60
4.84
0.51**
10
50
33.57
5.35
Academic
Administration
Correlation
0.75**
0.38**
**p<0.01
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
Table 3 shows the correlation of items in teaching (items in the three variables appended to
this paper). There is a significant positive correlation between the items T3 and T4 (r = 0.14,
p < 0.05) and T7 (r = 0.12, p < 0.05) i.e. between the items such as considering the seniority of
teachers in the allocation of workload, considering the nature of job contracts, and providing
input course materials to the allocated courses. Similarly, a significant correlation result between
T7 and T9 (r = 0.16, p < 0.05), i.e., providing input materials to the allocated courses, and
considering the medical or personal reasons in the allocation of teaching workloads. However,
more positive views were found toward T1: allocation of equitable teaching hours (µ = 3.54,
σ = 1.28), T8: adjustment of class work for those who applied for leave (µ = 3.01, σ = 1.56), and
T10: proportionate allocation of office hours to teaching hours (µ = 3.03, σ = 1.56).
8
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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
Items
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
T9
T10
Mean
3.54
2.07
2.89
2.98
2.96
2.65
2.84
3.01
2.96
3.03
Table 3: Correlation Matrix of Teaching (N = 256)
Std. Dev. T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
1.28
0.11 0.11 0.07
0.05 0.08 0.06
1.31
0.08 0.06
0.07 0.02 0.00
1.49
0.14* 0.11 0.07 0.12*
1.48
0.03 0.06 0.07
1.43
0.04 0.04
1.41
0.03
1.49
1.56
1.55
1.56
T8
0.06
0.05
0.09
0.07
0.08
0.01
0.04
T9
0.06
0.05
0.03
0.04
0.03
0.06
0.16*
0.00
T10
0.09
0.07
0.02
0.04
0.06
0.03
0.02
0.00
0.04
*p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, T1 through T10 are questionnaire items regarding teaching workload
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
Table 4 shows the correlations between the items in this research. Five combinations of
items have significant positive relationship at p < 0.05: R1 and R2 (r = 0.17), R2 and R5
(r = 0.14), R3 and R4 (r = 0.13), R6 and R7 (r = 0.12), and R7 and R8 (r = 0.15). R1 and R2 are
between who published research papers and who presented papers at conferences. R2 and R5 are
between who presented papers at conferences and who received external research grants. R3 and
R4 are between who received internal research grants and who were involved in collaborative
research. R6 and R7 are between sanction of leave to complete research and who received more
research funds. R7 and R8 are between who received more research funds and who conducted
surveys and laboratory experiments. However, the academic staff were more positive toward R4:
balance of workload to those who are involved in collaborative research (µ = 3.03, σ = 1.56), and
R7 through R10 (µ > 3.00, σ between 1.47 and 1.59).
Items
Mean
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
R9
R10
2.96
2.86
2.93
3.02
2.98
2.70
3.02
3.05
3.14
3.20
Std.
Dev.
1.54
1.57
1.59
1.57
1.56
1.52
1.59
1.54
1.58
1.47
Table 4: Correlation Matrix of Research (N = 256)
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
0.17*
0.09
0.05
0.10
0.04
0.13*
0.03
0.14*
0.10
0.03
0.08
0.04
0.04
0.03
0.02
0.05
0.06
0.07
0.08
0.08
0.12*
0.02
0.09
0.09
0.06
0.02
0.02
0.15*
R9
R10
0.03
0.07
0.01
0.02
0.03
0.03
0.06
0.04
0.08
0.04
0.08
0.08
0.03
0.08
0.03
0.02
0.05
*p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, R1 through R10 are questionnaire items regarding research workload
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
Table 5 shows the correlation between the questionnaire items regarding academic
administration. Four combinations have a significant positive relationship at p < 0.05: A2 and A6
(r = 0.12), A2 and A8 (r = 0.12), A4 and A10 (r = 0.12), and A7 and A9 (r = 0.12). A2 and A6
are between those who work in academic committees and those who are involved in community
development programs. A2 and A8 are between those who work in academic committees and
those who guide the students’ research projects. A4 and A10 are between those who participate
in student tours and those who are involved in administrative assistance work. A7 and A9 are
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MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
between those who are involved in examination supervision and those who give training and
motivation to students. Two combinations of items are highly significant at p < 0.01: A5 and
A10, A6 and A9. A5 and A10 are between those who organize students’ cultural events and
those who help in administrative assistance. A6 and A9 are between those who are involved in
community development activities and those who train and motivate students. However, all the
items of academic administration resulted in positive perceptions (µ > 3.00, σ between 1.43 and
1.58).
Items
A1
A2
A3
A4
A5
A6
A7
A8
A9
A10
Table 5: Correlation Matrix of Academic Administration (N = 256)
Std.
A2
A3
A4
A5
A6
A7
A8
A9
Mean
Dev.
3.48
1.45 0.04 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.07
0.01 0.13
0.09
3.57
1.43
0.02 0.02 0.05 0.12* 0.01 0.12* 0.04
3.23
1.52
0.07 0.04 0.07
0.01 0.01
0.10
3.27
1.50
0.05 0.05
0.14 0.05
0.06
3.30
1.56
0.02
0.10 0.07
0.01
3.43
1.51
0.11 0.03
0.22**
3.38
1.56
0.07
0.12*
3.04
1.54
0.06
3.34
1.58
3.54
1.53
A10
0.12
0.09
0.01
0.12*
0.18**
0.03
0.07
0.11
0.09
*p < 0.05, **p < 0.01, A1 through A10 are questionnaire items regarding academic administration workload
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
Table 6 shows the hypotheses results. H1 and H2 are accepted. Therefore, this study exposed
significant differences as well as significant correlations in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload distribution in teaching, research, and academic administration.
Table 6: Hypotheses Results.
Hypotheses
H1: There is a significant difference in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic
administration.
H2: There is a significant correlation in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic
administration.
Results
Accepted
Accepted
Source: Muramalla and Alotaibi
Findings
This study makes known that academic staff positively perceive equitable workload distribution
practices of universities in teaching, research, and academic administration. They slightly agreed
that the workload in teaching is equitable as well as in research and administrative work. As far
as male and female staff is concerned, male staff members are more favorable to the equitable
workload in teaching as well as in academic administration. Saudi Arabian faculty members
perceived workloads in teaching and academic administration as equitable, whereas non-Saudis
are more optimistic about the workload balance in research activities. Public university staff, as
well as the full-time staff in the universities, have a more favorable perception regarding the
balanced workload distribution in all three variables than their counterparts. Faculties of all
colleges are more optimistic regarding fair workload in academic administration, but they are
moderately confident about balanced workload in teaching and research. Academic staff with
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THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
Question 1: What are the significant differences in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration?
The study results illustrate that academic staff in universities significantly differs in their
perceptions concerning equitable workloads in the three variables: teaching, research, and
academic administration. As groups by sample type, in all the three variables, significant
difference was found between the male and female staff, Saudis and non-Saudis, public and
private university staff, and tenured for more than ten years and equal or more than ten years.
Though full-time and part-time staff have a significant difference in their views regarding
equitable workload of teaching, they did not significantly differ in research and academic
administration. College-wise there is no significant difference resulting from all the three
variables.
Specifically, in teaching, the academic staff’s perceptions differed immensely by gender
followed by the type of university, tenure, nationality, and type of contract. The research
indicated that male and female staff have different perceptions. After ten years of service, they
perceptions of equitability change from teaching as most equitable to research.
Overall, by gender, academic staff perceptions differ as far as teaching, research, and
administrative work is concerned. By nationality, the perception/opinion differs as far as
teaching, research, and administrative work is concerned. By the type of university, they
profoundly deviated in academic administration and teaching compared to research. This is due
to the type of job contracts foreigners have. By tenure, they diverged in regards to academic
administration and teaching compared to research. As a final point, hypothesis H1 is accepted
because of significant differences in the perceptions of academic staff concerning equitable
workload in teaching, research, and academic administration.
Question 2: What are the significant correlations in the perceptions of academic staff
concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and academic administration?
The results of this study indicate that the academic staff of universities have a significant positive
correlation in their perceptions concerning equitable workload in teaching, research, and
academic administration. Teaching, research, and academic administration are considerably
connected perceptional correlations. The remarkable relationship in their perceptions is found
between teaching and academic administration as well as between teaching and research, and
research and academic administration. It would imply that the academic staff have similar views
in teaching, research, and academic administration.
Regarding equitable workload in teaching, the perceptions of academic staff are significantly
related because of the consideration of seniority of teachers; the same workload was compared
with full-time and part-time staff. In this research, the opinions of academic staff are significantly
co-related because of balancing the workload of such faculty members who publish research
papers, present papers in conferences, receive external research grants, receive internal research
funds, are involved in collaborative research, etc. In addition to this, faculty members who are
involved in academic administration, their views of academic staff are significantly associated to
each other. In administration, consideration is given to student discussion hours, administrative
assistance work, academic committees’ work, community development work, students’ research
advising, student study tours, examination supervision work, and student motivation training
hours in overall workload. Finally, hypothesis H2 is accepted because of highly significant
perceptional correlations resulting between teaching, research, and academic administration.
11
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more than ten years of tenure perceive workloads in all three variables as equitable. However,
this study mainly answered two questions.
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
Perceptions of academic staff are discussed in this paper concerning equitable workload in
teaching, research, and academic administration. Previous studies on this topic are of a different
opinion in the sense that there is not unity as far as perception is concerned. It has found that
there is discrimination either wholly or partiality in the distribution of work among faculty
members in higher education institutions cause negative implications such as favoritism,
occupational stress, low motivation, and less involvement in academic work. Even though
universities have clear guidelines for the distribution of academic workloads among faculty
members, still some misconceptions arise among academic staff and that is why this is an
important aspect of research (Langford 2010). Hence, this study examined the perceptions of the
academic staff in Saudi Arabia concerning the general practices of universities for the equitable
distribution of workload in teaching, research, and academic administration. Since this study was
held in Saudi Arabia, the agency that oversees the qualification frameworks of university degrees
in Saudi Arabia is vital in this study for understanding the nature of workloads of academic staff
in the higher education institutions.
The study results indicated that there are fewer concerns of academic staff in Saudi
universities about the equitable distribution of academic workloads because the sample of 256
staff members from ten universities positively responded to all the practices for equitable
workload distribution. Their views are significantly correlated to equitable workload distribution.
Nevertheless, their perceptions significantly differed as far as gender, nationality, university, and
tenure is concerned, but they are united in their outlook irrespective of their job contracts and the
colleges (like arts, science, and others) where they are working.
Previous researchers discussed the various methods, formulas, schemes, and practices for
equitable distribution of workloads among academic staff, but this study highlighted some
general practices of universities that would benefit the top management of education institutions
in the allocation of equitable workloads in teaching, research, and academic administration. It is
felt that when there is a need for equitable distribution of workloads among the academic staff of
different ranks, tenures, administrative positions, subject specializations, and research exposure,
this study’s results will play a pivotal role in understanding the views of academic staff for
balancing workloads in teaching, research, and academic administration. Future researchers
could consider other practices that also support the management of equitable academic workload
distribution in higher education institutions.
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Conclusion
MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
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MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND LEADERSHIP
Items in Three Variables
Item
1
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
T9
T10
2
R1
R2
R3
R4
R5
R6
R7
R8
R9
R10
3
A1
A2
A3
A4
A5
A6
A7
A8
A9
A10
A11
18
General Practices of Universities for the Equitable Distribution of Workload
Teaching
Teaching hours are equitably allotted among course instructors.
Practical, laboratory, or exercise hours are considered in the allocation of workload.
Seniority of teachers is considered during the allocation of workload.
Class work is equitably allocated for full-time and part-time staff.
Teaching assignments are allotted by teachers’ subject specializations.
Courses are allocated based on earlier courses taught in similar sessions.
Course-related materials are provided as inputs to the allotted courses.
Class work is adjusted to the teachers who apply for leave.
Medical or personal reasons are considered during the allocation of workload.
Office hours are proportionately allotted to teaching hours.
Research
Workload is balanced for those who are publishing research papers.
Workload is balanced for those who are presenting papers in conferences or seminars.
Workload is balanced for those who are granted internal research funds.
Workload is balanced for those who are involved in collaborative research.
Workload is balanced for those who are receiving research grants from external agencies.
Workload is balanced for those who are applying for leave to complete research.
Workload is balanced for those who are receiving a good weight and a large number of
research funds.
Workload is balanced for those those who participate in field surveys or laboratory
experiments.
Workload is balanced for those who need special assistance and free time to complete the
research work.
Workload is balanced for those who are motivating peer groups and promoting research.
Academic Administration
Work hours of academic committees are equitably allocated.
Work hours of academic committees are considered during the allocation of the overall
workload.
Work hours of students’ advising and counseling are equitably allocated.
Work hours of students’ advising and counseling sessions are considered in the
allocation of overall workload.
Work hours for organizing students’ study tours or excursions are considered in the
allocation of overall workload.
Work hours for conducting the students’ discussions or organizing students’ cultural
events are considered in the allocation of overall workload.
Work hours for community development activities are considered in the allocation of
overall workload.
Work hours of examination supervision duties are equitably allocated.
Work hours of guidance for students’ graduation projects are equitably allocated.
Work hours for students’ motivation training are considered in the allocation of overall
workload.
Work hours of any administrative assistance services are considered in the allocation of
overall workload.
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APPENDIX 1
MURAMALLA AND ALOTAIBI: EQUITABLE WORKLOAD AND PERCEPTIONS OF ACADEMIC STAFF
Venkata Sai Srinivasa Rao Muramalla: Assistant Professor, College of Business
Administration, Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University, Hotat Bani Tamim, Riyadh Province,
Saudi Arabia
Khalid Abdullah Alotaibi: Associate Professor, College of Education, Prince Sattam Bin
Abdulaziz University, Al Kharj, Riyadh Province, Saudi Arabia
19
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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
The journal inquires into the nature and processes of
effective educational administration and leadership.
As well as articles of a traditional scholarly type, this
journal invites presentations of practice—including
documentation of organizational and leadership
practices, and exegeses of the effects of those
practices.
The International Journal of Educational Organization
and Leadership is a peer-reviewed, scholarly journal.
ISSN: 2329-1656
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The International Journal of Educational Organization
and Leadership is one of ten thematically focused
journals in the collection of journals that support The
Learner Research Network—its journals, book series,
conference, and online community.
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