Skuldbinding leikskólakennara til vinnustaðar: Starfsandi í lykilhlutverki

Translated title of the contribution: The commitment of kindergarten teachers to their workplace: Social climate plays a key role

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Iceland, kindergarten is the first level of the school system and the beginning of the
formal education of each child. Kindergarten teachers are specialized in teaching young
children. A new act on the education, competency and recruitment of teachers and
administrators of preschools, compulsory schools and upper secondary schools entered
into force at the beginning of 2020. The act provides for the issuing of a single type of
teaching license. The aim of a single teacher’s license is, among other things, to increase
the flexibility and flow of teachers between adjacent school levels so their specialization
can be used at more than one school level. In 2018–2019 the transfer of kindergarten
teachers from kindergarten to other school levels in seemed irreversible. The shortage of
kindergarten teachers in Icelandic kindergartens seems to be persistent and negative for
the quality of education. The study aimed to analyze the relationship between hygiene
factors and motivational factors among kindergarten teachers, and their commitment
to the school. The purpose of the study was to improve the state of knowledge and to
find evidence on how the competence and expertise of working kindergarten teachers
can be preserved. The research method was quantitative, available data were examined
and analyzed with descriptive statistics and multivariate regression analysis. The data
consisted of answers from 1250 kindergarten teachers across Iceland. The answers were
a part of a bi-annual internal quality evaluation of 91 kindergartens. The kindergartens
used an information system for standardized surveys called Skólapúlsinn and gave
open permission for anonymous post-analysis of the joint data for academic purposes.
The surveys took place in March of 2020 and 2021. Two hypotheses were tested: (1)
Kindergarten teachers who experience positive motivational factors (e.g., positive social
climate) are likely to show commitment to their workplace; (2) Kindergarten teachers
who experience negative hygiene factors (e.g., persistent workload) are unlikely to show
commitment to their workplace. The motivation hygiene theory (Herzberg et al., 1959)
formed the basis for dividing the questionnaire factors into two models, on the one
hand a positive motivational factor model and on the other a negative hygiene factor
model. The results of the study indicated that the motivational regression model: social
climate, human resource primacy, and positive challenges at work explained a very large
part (57%) of the variance of commitment to the workplace. Of the three motivational
factors social climate showed the strongest relation to commitment to the workplace
(β = .42), followed by human resource primacy (β = .30), and positive challenges at
the workplace (β = .20), confirming our first hypothesis. The results also indicated
that the hygiene factor regression model explained a large part (20%) of the variance of
commitment to the workplace. The only hygiene factor to show a strong and significant
relation to commitment to the workplace was the quadratic relation of workload (β =
-.47), followed by a linear relation of support to children with special needs (β = .18),
and another linear relation with interaction between work and private life (β = -.17),
confirming our latter hypothesis. The confirmation of the quadratic relation between
workload and commitment to the workplace raises the question if the effect of persistent
workload on commitment to the workplace might be underestimated in previous studies
that only assume traditional linear relations. Further research is needed on the effect
of persistent workload on commitment to the workplace. Overall, the results indicated
that motivational factors such social climate are key factors in explaining the premature
departure of kindergarten teachers from the first school level. However, the reduction of
persistent workload and other negative hygiene factors also seem to play an important
role in the development of ways of retaining teachers at the kindergarten level.
Translated title of the contributionThe commitment of kindergarten teachers to their workplace: Social climate plays a key role
Original languageIcelandic
Pages (from-to)1-18
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2023

Other keywords

  • Kindergarten work environment
  • Motivational factors
  • Hygiene factors
  • Commitment to the workplace


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