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Job Satisfaction (PDF)


									Job Satisfaction: What is it? Why is it Important? How
Can you Get it? by Kevin Scheid

 The issue of job satisfaction, what     possess entir ely d ifferen t         The idea that people who are
 it is and why it is important, brings   behaviors relating to job             happy in life are happy in their job
 with it a great deal of research        performance. Additionally,            is called the dispositional theory
 and opinion accompanied by a            differing factors relating to job     and there is significant research
 vast store of written material.         satisfaction hold varying degrees     to support this idea. Heller(2002)
 However, the topic job                  of importance to individuals.         connects three behavioral
 satisfaction lacks clarity and is       Thus, a proven model showing          theories to aid in the
 sometimes controversial.          The   the relationship between job          understanding of the dispostional
 term “job satisfaction” is              satisfaction and performance has      theory. These three theories
 understood to mean everything           been elusive despite the vast         include research on positive
 from “making all aspects of a job       quantity of qualitative data          affectivity and negative affectivity,
 easy for employees” to “making                                                the big five personality attributes
 the job meaningful, significant                                               and core self evaluations.
 and challenging.” Research on            The idea that peo-
 the importance of job satisfaction       ple who are happy                    Positive affectivety is a
 can be equally confusing with                                                 personality characteristic
 some research clearly indicating         in life are happy in                 described as high energy,
 no correlation between job               their job is called                  enthusiastic and pleasurable
 satisfaction and job effectiveness                                            engagement while negative
                                          the dispositional
 while other research indicates                                                affectivety is a personality type
 there is a definite connection           theory and there is                  characterized as distressed,
 between the two. The likely              significant re-                      unpleasurable engagement and
 reason for this confusion, beyond                                             nervousness (Heller, 2002).
 a lack of understanding on the           search to support                    Research has shown that people
 topic, is that all factors associated    this idea.                           with positive affectivity are
 with job satisfaction are not                                                 happier in their work and happier
 understood, agreed upon,                                                      in life than those with negative
 measured or correlated.                 supporting the relationship. These    affectivity.
 Moreover, all the factors               issues are very complex and
 contributing to employee                have simply not been fully            The big five personality attributes
 motivation and effectiveness are        deciphered by researchers.            introduced by Goldberg (1990)
 not captured in any one of the                                                have a near consensus
 single ambiguous concepts of job        Dispositional Theory                  agreement from behavioral
 satisfaction. Thus, much of the         Some of the theories relating to      experts as the comprehensive
 qualitative research has not been       job satisfaction may further          personality taxonomy. According
 verified by qualitative data.           illustrate the complexity of the      to Heller (2002) these five traits
 Research conducted by                   issue and help the understanding      i n c l ud e : “ e x t r a ve r s ion ( or
 Schleicher, Watt and Greguras           of how management may                 surgency), neuroticism (or
 (2004) indicates that individuals       positively affect job performance     emotional              instability),
 with identical responses to             through job satisfaction. The first   a g r e e a b l e n e s s ,
 questions on job satisfaction often     theory is the dispositional theory.   conscientiousness, and openness

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 (or culture).” Research has shown                                                    If we combine this theory with the
 a strong correlation between          Hygiene Theory                                 disposition theory we can more
 these five factors and job            Fredrick Hertzberg developed the               clearly see a model for job
 satisfaction.                         hygiene theory on job satisfaction             satisfaction in which some
                                       and employee motivation which                  satisfaction or dissatisfaction is
 The third facet of dispositional      can tie the principles of the                  inherent in the nature of each
 theory, core self evaluation          disposition theory together with               individual worker, some
 theory, developed by Judge,           the influence management has on                satisfaction comes from the
 Locke, and Durham (1997) is           job satisfaction, performance and              content of the work and some
 gaining acceptance as a model         motivation. According to Herzberg              dissatisfaction comes from the
 for determining job satisfaction      (1974) there are two factors                   way they are treated. Managers
 and job performance. Core self                                                       have some influence on the level
 evaluation theory has four facets                                                    of satisfaction by fostering
 including: self-esteem,                The first step in im-                         achievement, recognizing
 generalized self-efficacy, locus of    proving job satisfac-                         achievement, making the work
 control, and emotional stability                                                     interesting, giving employees
 (low neuroticism). This theory         tion might be to hire                         responsibility and providing for
 again links personality attributes     people who are satis-                         opportunities for growth and
 and practices with motivation, job                                                   advancement. More importantly,
                                        fied with their life.
 satisfaction and job performance.                                                    managers          can       create
 All three dispositional theories                                                     dissatisfaction with inequitable
 recognize the connection              relating to satisfaction and                   pay, poor company personal
 between job satisfaction,             motivation in the workplace;                   policies, working conditions or job
 motivation and performance but        satisfiers and dissatisfiers.                  security. The importance of each
 focus on the attributes of the                                                       of these job dissatisfiers relates to
 person entirely. Thus, the            Satisfiers relate to the content of            the frequency it occurs and the
 dispositional theory suggests that    the work such as “achievement,                 intensity of the shortfall. In other
 some people will be satisfied,        recognition for achievement,                   words a policy that treats
 motivated and high performing at      interesting work, increased                    employees poorly every day is a
 work regardless of how poorly         responsibility, growth, and                    bigger dissatisfier than a policy
 managed while other people will       advancement. Herzberg (1974,                   which treats them poorly only
 not be happy no matter how great      p18).” Dissatisfiers are related to            once per month. Moreover, the
 an organization. However, the         how employees are treated and                  severity of the dissatisfier affects
 data indicates that despite the       include such items as “company                 the importance of that dissatisfier.
 correlation, personality can only     p o l i c y a n d a d m i n i s t r a ti o n   Therefore, if pay is at such a level
 explain less than half of the level   practices, supervision,                        that people cannot meet their
 of job satisfaction. This tells us    interpersonal relationships,                   basic needs, then pay would
 that there are likely some            working conditions, salary, status,            overshadow all other dissatisfiers
 elements within organizational        and security. Herzberg (1974,                  and eclipse job satisfiers.
 control which can affect employee     p18).”
 job satisfaction.                                                                    How do you improve on job

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 satisfaction? Now that you may         Christian Workplace survey               19   I have fun at work.
 have a feel for the complexity of      provides some excellent insights.        20   The mission and goals of
 the issue you may better               Taking a look at the survey                   my organization make
 understand how improving job           instrument, we see there are                  me feel my job is impor-
 satisfaction in your organization      several questions in the survey
                                                                                 21   There is clear consensus
 can be an illusive goal. The first     which are lagging indicators of job           on my organization's
 step in improving job satisfaction     satisfaction. These lagging                   goals.
 might be to hire people who are        indicators include:                      22   I have the decision-
 satisfied with their life. This step                                                 making authority I need
                                          1   I would rate my organiza-               to do my job effectively.
 should be fairly easy if you are             tion as an exceptional             23   I receive the training
 hiring Christians who are putting            place to work.                          needed to do my current
 Christ at the center of their lives.     2   All in all, I am satisfied              job effectively.
                                              with my job.                       24   I am very satisfied with
 One school superintendent who
                                          3   In general, I like working              the opportunities I have
 led a school certified as a Best             for this organization.                  to use my skills in my job.
 Christian Workplace told his staff
 that he wanted people who              Table 1. Job satisfaction              Table 2. Work satisfaction
 wanted to work at the school,          questions                              questions
 liked the kids and were happy          So they measure job satisfaction       Admittedly, these questions
 with the work. If they were not        but not necessarily what creates       represent only a portion of the
 happy then they owed it to             higher levels of job satisfaction.     work related question possibilities
 themselves to move on and find a       Essentially all the questions in the   a n d do n o t i nc l ude t h e
 job where they were happy. This        rest of the survey have some           dissatisfiers. However, limiting the
 might not have been the singular       correlation to job satisfaction, but   scope to these six questions will
 policy making this school a great      to help us focus in a few areas        allow a concise view of Christian
 place to work, but the job             concentrating on the work              organizations’ motivators which
 satisfaction theories certainly        satisfaction dimension in the          relate directly to the
 support the idea that this policy      survey is in order. The questions      characteristics of the work.
 would have a significant impact        related to work satisfaction           Expanding the study to a more
 on the overall positive culture of     include:                               comprehensive examination of
 the workplace.
                                                                               job satisfaction could possibly be
                                                                               the subject of a future book but is
 Of course there is more
                                                                               beyond the scope of this paper.
 management must do to make a
 great workplace. Management
                                                                               Chart 1 shows average scores of
 must minimize dissatisfiers and
                                                                               the six questions in table 2 from
 maximize satisfiers. Although
                                                                               over 16,000 surveys of
 there is not a single instrument
                                                                               employees in Christian
 developed to measure and guide
                                                                               organizations. We can see overall
 management in creating a
                                                                               there is little difference between
 satisfied workforce, the Best
                                                                               men and women on these work

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 satisfiers and the strongest areas   “Opportunities to use skills” is   aware of and on which they
 for Christian organizations          also strong, but the connection    should build. The two areas most
 appears to be connection with the    with the mission is definitely a   lacking is goal consensus and
 mission and the work is fun.         strength managers should be        having adequate training. Goal

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 consensus appears to be the only   organizations might want to           making authority” is marginally
 question lacking in consensus      spend more time in ensuring           strong, there is room for
 between men and women. As          there is consensus on the goal        improvement in this area.
 goal consensus is overall a        especially for male staff. Although
 communication process, Christian   “I have the proper decision
                                                                          Looking    deeper    into   the

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 demographics of these six              may be significant. However, we        productivity: how employees are
 questions, we can see in Chart 2       do not know why older people are       treated and the content of their
 that tenure in an organization         more satisfied. It could be            work. A good employee survey
 generally follows a standard           because they are wiser and have        should help management focus in
 pattern of newer people being the      learned to appreciate work, or it      on areas which are creating
 most positive next to the longest      could be that they are more            dissatisfaction or which are not
 tenured people and the people in       senior, get paid more, are more        providing adequate motivation.
 the middle being less satisfied        secure or simply do not have as
 until 4-6 years have passed. After     many expectations from their           References:
 4-6 years people generally             work. Satisfaction related to age      Goldberg, L. R. (1990). An
 become more satisfied. From            may be an area warranting future       alternative ‘description of
 Chart 2 we can see the challenge       research.                              personality’: the Big-Five factor
 for management is to maintain                                                 structure. Journal of Personality
 the positive attitude of a new hire.   The final demographic relating to      and Social Psychology, 59, 1216–
 We can also see that goal              employment status shows some           1229.
 consensus continues to decrease        surprising results. Full time          Herzberg, F. (1974). Motivation-
 as time goes on and increases          employees are the least satisfied      Hygiene Profiles. Organizational
 only slightly for people over 15       in every area. Possibly the most       Dynamics 3(2) 18-29
 years in the organization.             surprising is the significantly        Heller, D. J. (2002). The
 Understanding that this last group     lower score for goal consensus of      confounding role of personality
 likely includes a higher               full time employees. This again        and trait affectivity in the
 percentage of top management,          shows the importance of including      relationship between job and life
 we can see that goal consensus         your most important and                satisfaction. Journal of
 becomes increasingly dispersed         committed people in developing         Organizational Behavior, 815-
 as tenure increases. Possibly          organizational goals and creating      835.
 weighting the inputs on                consensus.                             Judge, T. A., Locke, E. A., &
 organizational goals relative to                                              Durham, C. C. (1997). The
                                        Although job satisfaction,
 tenure may be a technique to                                                  dispositional causes of job
                                        employee motivation and
 balance out this perception.                                                  satisfaction: a core evaluations
                                        productivity are complex and
                                                                               approach. Research in
                                        confusing issues, management
 Chart 3 shows the questions in                                                Organizational Behavior, 19, 151
                                        should not back away from facing
 table 2 relative to employee age.                                             –188.
                                        them. Understanding that some
 An interesting pattern arises from
                                        parts of job satisfaction and
 this chart where satisfaction
                                        motivation is simply an attribute of
 increases as people get older.
                                        the employee over which you
 With the exception of a minor blip
                                        have no influence should temper
 with the youngest group it
                                        your approach to improving job
 appears this increase is almost
                                        satisfaction. Managers should
 linear. The observation that older
                                        focus on two areas to improve job
 people are the happiest people
                                        satisfaction, motivation and
 working in Christian organizations

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