An Assessment of factors that influence the attraction and retention of senior academic staff at the Zimbabwe Open University

Daniel Ndudzo


The Zimbabwe Open University lost quite a number of senior academic staff during the period 2002-2009. Most of the
academic staff found employment in the SADC region which offered better salaries and improved conditions of service.
Under these circumstances, the Zimbabwe Open University encountered several challenges in the execution of its mandate
of empowering people through Open and Distance Learning.
To date the University is still grappling with the challenge of the shortage of senior academic staff. This study therefore
sought to identify the key strategies that could be used to increase the number of senior academic staff with PhD and
Professor qualifications at the Zimbabwe Open University.
The study employed the quantitative survey research design. The questionnaire instrument was used to collect data from
ZOU employees. Questionnaires were administered to a sample of 50 senior academic staff. Human Resources records
of senior academics who left the University were also analysed to ascertain their reasons for leaving ZOU.
The research findings highlighted several factors which attract or de-motivate senior academic staff at ZOU. These
include shortage of work related resources, inadequate research support, unfulfilled contractual benefits and low recognition
of the contribution of senior academic staff in areas of decision making.
The study concluded that senior academic staff are not motivated solely by financial rewards, but that they also seek
satisfaction of higher level needs. These include recognition and self esteem.
The study recommends that the University should improve in the provision of basic office space, furniture and research
support services. The University should also foster an organizational culture that recognises the contribution of senior
academic staff on vital academic and administration related decisions.


Attraction; Retention; Staff; Academic

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