The mission of the Optentia Research Focus Area is to develop and organise knowledge for the optimal expression of individual, social and institutional potential, with specific interest in the African context. The research programme utilises the inputs from various disciplines in the social sciences, including Psychology, Industrial/Organisational Psychology, Human Resource Management, Educational Psychology, Sociology, Educational Sciences, Employment Relations, and Social Work.

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Recent news

Job insecurity project in higher education institutions keeps momentum

In September 2018, Prof. Haijiang Wang, Dr Eva Selenko, Prof. Despoina Xanthopoulou, Jasmina Tomas, Dr Lara C. Roll, Prof. Jurgita Lazauskaite-Zabielske and Dr Ieva Urbanaviciute had the chance to get together at the EAH...Read article

Caring connections enable resilience

“My teacher loves me.” “My social worker is like my mother, she cares.” “My neighbour cares for me; he doesn’t want me to go hungry.”

These quotes illustrate that caring connect...Read article

Having grit goes a long way

It is the year 2000. The share price of a multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company peaks at $90. Their recruitment strategy reads: Hire the best, fire the rest. At the time it seemed to work, only it didn’t. That company was...Read article

NWU academic appeals for re-approach to SA education policies and practices

Prof Mirna Nel is deeply concerned about the state of South African education. She made this troubling declaration during her recent inaugural lecture as full professor at the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in ...Read article

Newsletter, July 2018

Recent publications

September 2018

Pathways to flourishing: Internal strategies of pharmacy students.

International Journal of Pharmacy Practice

September 2018

School principal support, and teachers’ work engagement and intention to leave: The role of psychological need satisfaction

In M. Coetzee, I.L. Potgieter, & N. Ferreira (Eds.), Psychology of retention: Theory, research and practice

Upcoming events



Visit to Optentia: Prof. Norah Keating
Contact person: Prof. Jaco Hoffman



Capabilities, systems and the precariat
Time: 09:00-13:00 - Facilitator - Prof. A. Baart (Optentia Programm...