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Societal Expectations and Well-being of Academics: Views from University Lecturers in Ghana

Ofori, Dudley W.; Bell, Jo


Dudley W. Ofori


Background: The study aimed to investigate how societal expectation on educational accomplishments can affect workplace well-being of university lecturers. University education is seen by society as the highest level of educational accomplishment in a person's life and people with such accomplishments are often held in higher esteem by society. In Ghana, this expectation puts pressure on lecturers who are known to have attained higher educational accomplishments. Methods: The study used a qualitative research approach to solicit views from 18 public university lecturers in Ghana. Interpretative Phenomenology Approach (IPA) for data analysis was used to interpret the opinions of lecturers about what society expects of them, how that affects their well-being at work and shifts that are needed to address those expectations. Results: The study found that society indeed expects a lot from university lecturers (core university functions and other cultural and economic issues). Societal expectations have both positive and negative effects on the well-being of lecturers. Findings show that respect that lecturers receive from society provides leverage for positive well-being, while financial pressures placed on them tend to create emotional stresses which impact negatively on their well-being. Conclusion: To our knowledge, this study is the first of its kind to examine the experiences of well-being amongst university academics in Ghana. Results suggest that how the role of university Original Research Article Ofori and Bell; JESBS, 33(10): 74-84, 2020; Article no.JESBS.62571 75 academics is perceived by society can create pressures which affect their well-being negatively. This study highlights the importance of these findings and their impact on well-being. It shows that societal expectations are linked to sociocultural beliefs and economic factors in a developing country context. The authors recommend a mind-set shift amongst society and academics to bring expectations from both sides closer together; through education; engaging community talks on the pressures of societal expectations and demands to create awareness, and observing cultural beliefs that impact the understanding of well-being issues. These initiatives could potentially reduce the pressure of unrealistic expectations on academics and other "knowledge workers".


Ofori, D. W., & Bell, J. (2020). Societal Expectations and Well-being of Academics: Views from University Lecturers in Ghana. Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science, 33(10), 74-84.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 26, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 26, 2020
Publication Date Nov 26, 2020
Deposit Date Feb 17, 2021
Publicly Available Date Feb 17, 2021
Journal Journal of Education, Society and Behavioural Science
Print ISSN 2456-981X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 33
Issue 10
Pages 74-84
Keywords University lecturers; Workplace; Well-being; Expectations; Pressure
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Published article (256 Kb)

Copyright Statement
© 2020 Ofori and Bell; This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited,

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