Repository logo

Workplace harassment and its impact on staff performance: a case study of a South African Higher Education Institution.

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Higher education institutions (HEIs) face many challenges that arise both from the external environment and from their internal structures. They have to comply with the Constitution of South Africa and employment legislation. This case study of a South African higher education institution addressed the very sensitive issue of workplace harassment and its impact on staff performance. The central objective of this research was to explore the nature and extent of harassment and its impact on performance of staff at a selected HEI. The literature review drew heavily on secondary data. Empirical data was collected by means of a questionnaire. The total population of the selected HEI permanent staff (both academic and academic support) was 1 319 in 2012. All were potential participants, and a sample of 200 respondents was purposefully selected for the study that included management, academic and nonacademic staff. To ensure the sample was fairly representative of the HEI staff demographics and for an eventual that the respondents’ views broadly reflect those of the academic and non-academic staff, and management, a stratified random sampling method was used for this study. The study findings supported the conclusion that workplace harassment has impact on staff performance in a South African higher education institution. A systemic approach was outlined to address workplace harassment. The study also highlighted several factors as important determinants of workplace harassment and its impact on staff performance at the selected HEI. It is hoped that findings and recommendations of this research will assist in establishing procedures to be used in dealing with workplace harassment; organising a range of professional assistance which will help other organisations; and developing a workplace harassment policy for the HEI. All in all, by paying attention to the stated recommendations and implementing them, all stakeholders at the selected HEI will ensure that workplace harassment and its impact on staff performance will be handled accordingly. It is anticipated that this study will provide useful strategies for South African organisations on how to protect their employees from workplace harassment.


Ph. D. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2013.


Harassment--South Africa., Employees--Performance--South Africa., Bullying in the workplace--South Africa., Education, Higher--South Africa--Employees., Theses--Management studies.