University of Limerick
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An exploration of job satisfaction of guidance counsellors in different educational sectors

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posted on 2019-01-15, 11:56 authored by Elizabeth Sheridan
The aim of this exploratory research study is to examine the topic of job satisfaction amongst guidance counsellors working in different educational sectors within the Irish education system. A further aim is to identify the key factors that result in both job satisfaction and dissatisfaction within the profession. While there has been extensive research carried out on the concept of job satisfaction in general terms, and indeed job satisfaction among teachers, this research study has identified a dearth in empirical research on the topic of job satisfaction of guidance counsellors. The concept of job satisfaction is a complex one. In general, job satisfaction is a concept that has been researched quite substantially throughout the previous decades (Dawis & Lofquist, 1984; Holmes, 2005; Hoppock, 1935; Locke, 1976; Schaffer, 1953; Weiss, 2002). Similarly, in the educational discipline, there has been significant research carried out on the topic (Darmody & Smith; Day, 1999; Morgan et al, 2016; Sharft, 2010; Kyriacou et al, 2003). However, there appears to be a lack of empirical research in relation to job satisfaction specific to the profession of guidance counsellors at both a national and international level. The interpretive paradigm was used in this study, in the form of semi-structured interviews with six guidance counsellors working in different sectors of education. A thematic approach was used to analyse the interview data (Guest et al, 2012). The researcher adopted Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six phase thematic method. In the primary findings, three central themes emerged: the human relationship element of guidance counselling and its effect on job satisfaction, factors which contribute to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction amongst guidance counsellors, and the pivotal role of self-care in the attainment of job satisfaction. Regarding the issue of job satisfaction, the findings reveal that working with the students or clients is the main contributor to satisfaction amongst the participants of the study. The findings also indicate that there appear to be numerous factors which lead to dissatisfaction such as extensive workload, lack of time, inequality of resources within different settings (i.e. DEIS vs voluntary schools), lack of external supports, inadequate response times to crisis cases and lack of autonomy in the role. The study concludes with a number of recommendations for future policy, practice and research.



  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Hearne, Lucy





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