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Contextual factors and the experience of unemployment: A review of qualitative studies

Melinda du Toit, Hans de Witte, Sebastiaan Rothmann, Anja van den Broeck
South African Journal of Economic and Management Sciences | Vol 21, No 1 | a2083 | DOI: | © 2018 Melinda Du Toit, Hans De Witte, Sebastiaan Rothmann, Anja Van Den Broeck | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 August 2017 | Published: 18 June 2018

About the author(s)

Melinda du Toit, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa
Hans de Witte, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa; Work, Organisational and Personnel Psychology Unit, Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
Sebastiaan Rothmann, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa
Anja van den Broeck, Optentia Research Focus Area, North-West University, South Africa; Department of Marketing and Organisation Studies, Faculty of Economics and Business, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium


This study aimed to review qualitative studies on the contextual factors affecting the experience of unemployed individuals. From the analysis of the findings of 13 qualitative studies, the conclusion was reached that the contextual factors, namely the broader society, the surrounding community, and the individual as actor or agent, had a direct impact on the unemployment experience of individuals. It was recommended that unemployed individuals be organised into community subgroups, constructed to participate in projects aimed at empowering the community to improve cohesion, equality among members, and a collaborative attitude. Social scientists ought to make an effort to advocate a marked improvement in society’s tolerance for, and understanding of, the realities faced by the unemployed person. One such reality was that a well-paying job that would take an individual out of financial hardship could be well out of reach of some individuals, which would mean a life of surviving without any regular income.


unemployment; context; community; society; qualitative review


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Crossref Citations

1. Lived Experiences of Unemployed Graduate Youth in Botswana
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