Does academic work make Australian academics happy?

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Abstract

Happiness research is a rapidly-growing area in social psychology and has emphasised the link between happiness and workplace productivity and creativity for knowledge workers. Recent articles in this journal have raised concerns about the level of happiness and engagement of Australian academics with their work, however there is little research on the activities Australian academics conduct during a typical day and how these activities affect happiness or productivity. We asked teaching and research academics at a regional Australian university to keep time diaries of their days detailing the tasks they engaged in as well as how they felt overall about their day in terms of both emotional satisfaction and workplace effectiveness. Supporting the notion of intrinsic motivation for academic work, we found a strong relationship between happiness and self-reported effectiveness. We found that research activities made academics happier with their days and that time fragmentation was a major driver of unhappiness. However we also uncovered a tension between the activities which make academics happy and those activities which made academics feel productive.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Universities' Review
Volume57
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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happiness
workplace
productivity
intrinsic motivation
social psychology
fragmentation
creativity
driver
worker
university
Teaching
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title = "Does academic work make Australian academics happy?",
abstract = "Happiness research is a rapidly-growing area in social psychology and has emphasised the link between happiness and workplace productivity and creativity for knowledge workers. Recent articles in this journal have raised concerns about the level of happiness and engagement of Australian academics with their work, however there is little research on the activities Australian academics conduct during a typical day and how these activities affect happiness or productivity. We asked teaching and research academics at a regional Australian university to keep time diaries of their days detailing the tasks they engaged in as well as how they felt overall about their day in terms of both emotional satisfaction and workplace effectiveness. Supporting the notion of intrinsic motivation for academic work, we found a strong relationship between happiness and self-reported effectiveness. We found that research activities made academics happier with their days and that time fragmentation was a major driver of unhappiness. However we also uncovered a tension between the activities which make academics happy and those activities which made academics feel productive.",
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Does academic work make Australian academics happy? / Duncan, Roderick; Tilbrook, Kerry; Krivokapic-Skoko, Branka.

In: Australian Universities' Review, Vol. 57, No. 1, 2015, p. 5-12.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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