1.(MeSH)Personal satisfaction relative to the work situation.
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Applied Psychology, Psychology, Applied - Factors, Psychological, Psychological Factors, Psychological Side Effects, Psychologists, Psychology, Psychosocial Factors, Side Effects, Psychological[Hyper.]
Job Satisfaction (n.) [MeSH]
Job satisfaction describes how happy an individual is with his or her job. The happier people are within their job, the more satisfied they are said to be. Logic would dictate that the most satisfied (“happy”) workers should be the best performers and vice versa. This is called the "happy worker" hypothesis. However, this hypothesis is not well supported, as job satisfaction is not the same as motivation or aptitude, although they may be clearly linked. A primary influence on job satisfaction is the application of Job design,which aims to enhance job satisfaction and performance using methods such as job rotation, job enlargement, job enrichment and job re-engineering. Other influences on satisfaction include management styles and culture, employee involvement, empowerment, and autonomous work position. Job satisfaction is a very important attribute and is frequently measured by organizations. The most common technique for measurement is the use of rating scales where employees report their thoughts and reactions to their jobs. Questions can relate to rates of pay, work responsibilities, variety of tasks, promotional opportunities, the work itself, and co-workers. Some examinations present yes-or-no questions while others ask to rate satisfaction using a 1-to-5 scale, where 1 represents "not at all satisfied" and 5 represents "extremely satisfied."
Job satisfaction can simply be defined as the feelings people have about their jobs. It has been specifically defined as a pleasurable (or unpleasurable) emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job, an affective reaction to one’s job, and an attitude towards one’s job. These definitions suggest that job satisfaction takes into account feelings, beliefs, and behaviors.
One of the biggest preludes to the study of job satisfaction was the Hawthorne studies. These studies (1924–1933), primarily credited to Elton Mayo of the Harvard Business School, sought to find the effects of various conditions (most notably illumination) on workers’ productivity. These studies ultimately showed that novel changes in work conditions temporarily increase productivity (called the Hawthorne Effect). It was later found that this increase resulted, not from the new conditions, but from the knowledge of being observed. This finding provided strong evidence that people work for purposes other than pay, which paved the way for researchers to investigate other factors in job satisfaction.
Scientific management (aka Taylorism) also had a significant impact on the study of job satisfaction. Frederick Winslow Taylor’s 1911 book, Principles of Scientific Management, argued that there was a single best way to perform any given work task. This book contributed to a change in industrial production philosophies, causing a shift from skilled labor and piecework towards the more modern of assembly lines and hourly wages. The initial use of scientific management by industries greatly increased productivity because workers were forced to work at a faster pace. However, workers became exhausted and dissatisfied, thus leaving researchers with new questions to answer regarding job satisfaction. It should also be noted that the work of W.L. Bryan, Walter Dill Scott, and Hugo Munsterberg set the tone for Taylor’s work.
Some argue that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, a motivation theory, laid the foundation for job satisfaction theory. This theory explains that people seek to satisfy five specific needs in life – physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization. This model served as a good basis from which early researchers could develop job satisfaction theories.
Job satisfaction can also be seen within the broader context of the range of issues which affect an individual's experience of work, or their quality of working life. Job satisfaction can be understood in terms of its relationships with other key factors, such as general well-being, stress at work, control at work, home-work interface, and working conditions.
Edwin A. Locke’s Range of Affect Theory (1976) is arguably the most famous job satisfaction model. The main premise of this theory is that satisfaction is determined by a discrepancy between what one wants in a job and what one has in a job. Further, the theory states that how much one values a given facet of work (e.g. the degree of autonomy in a position) moderates how satisfied/dissatisfied one becomes when expectations are/aren’t met. When a person values a particular facet of a job, his satisfaction is more greatly impacted both positively (when expectations are met) and negatively (when expectations are not met), compared to one who doesn’t value that facet. To illustrate, if Employee A values autonomy in the workplace and Employee B is indifferent about autonomy, then Employee A would be more satisfied in a position that offers a high degree of autonomy and less satisfied in a position with little or no autonomy compared to Employee B. This theory also states that too much of a particular facet will produce stronger feelings of dissatisfaction the more a worker values that facet.
Another well-known job satisfaction theory is the Dispositional Theory. It is a very general theory that suggests that people have innate dispositions that cause them to have tendencies toward a certain level of satisfaction, regardless of one’s job. This approach became a notable explanation of job satisfaction in light of evidence that job satisfaction tends to be stable over time and across careers and jobs. Research also indicates that identical twins have similar levels of job satisfaction.
A significant model that narrowed the scope of the Dispositional Theory was the Core Self-evaluations Model, proposed by Timothy A. Judge, Edwin A. Locke, and Cathy C. Durham in 1997. Judge et al. argued that there are four Core Self-evaluations that determine one’s disposition towards job satisfaction: self-esteem, general self-efficacy, locus of control, and neuroticism. This model states that higher levels of self-esteem (the value one places on his/her self) and general self-efficacy (the belief in one’s own competence) lead to higher work satisfaction. Having an internal locus of control (believing one has control over her\his own life, as opposed to outside forces having control) leads to higher job satisfaction. Finally, lower levels of neuroticism lead to higher job satisfaction.
According to opponent process theory, emotional events, such as criticisms or rewards, elicits two sets of processes. Primary processes give way to emotions that are steady with the event in question. Events that seem negative in manner will give rise to the feelings of stress or anxiety. Events that are positive give rise to the feeling of content or relaxation. The other process is the opponent process, which induces feelings that contradict the feelings in the primary processes. Events that are negative give rise to feelings of relaxation while events that are positive give rise to feelings of anxiety. A variety of explanations have been suggested to explain the uniformity of mood or satisfaction. This theory shows that if you try to enhance the mood of individual it will more likely fail in doing so. The opponent process theory was formulated to explain these patterns of observations.
Equity Theory shows how a person views fairness in regard to social relationships. During a social exchange, a person identifies the amount of input gained from a relationship compared to the output, as well as how much effort another persons puts forth. Equity Theory suggests that if an individual thinks there is an inequality between two social groups or individuals, the person is likely to be distressed because the ratio between the input and the output are not equal.
For example, consider two employees who work the same job and receive the same benefits. If one individual gets a pay raise for doing the same or less work than the other, then the less benefited individual will become distressed in his workplace. If, on the other hand, one individual gets a pay raise and new responsibilities, then the feeling of inequality is reduced..
The concept of self-discrepancy theory explains the ultimate source of anxiety and dejection. An individual, who has not fulfilled his responsibility feels the sense of anxiety and regret for not performing well, they will also feel dejection due to not being able to achieve their hopes and aspirations. According to this theory, all individuals will learn what their obligations and responsibilities for a particular function, over a time period, and if they fail to fulfill those obligations then they are punished. Over time, these duties and obligations consolidate to form an abstracted set of principles, designated as a self-guide. Agitation and anxiety are the main responses when an individual fails to achieve the obligation or responsibility. This theory also explains that if achievement of the obligations is obtained then the reward can be praise, approval, or love. These achievements and aspirations also form an abstracted set of principles, referred to as the ideal self guide. When the individual fails to obtain these rewards, they begin to have feelings of dejection, disappointment, or even depression.
Frederick Herzberg’s Two-factor theory (also known as Motivator Hygiene Theory) attempts to explain satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. This theory states that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are driven by different factors – motivation and hygiene factors, respectively. An employee’s motivation to work is continually related to job satisfaction of a subordinate. Motivation can be seen as an inner force that drives individuals to attain personal and organizational goals (Hoskinson, Porter, & Wrench, p. 133). Motivating factors are those aspects of the job that make people want to perform, and provide people with satisfaction, for example achievement in work, recognition, promotion opportunities. These motivating factors are considered to be intrinsic to the job, or the work carried out. Hygiene factors include aspects of the working environment such as pay, company policies, supervisory practices, and other working conditions.
While Hertzberg's model has stimulated much research, researchers have been unable to reliably empirically prove the model, with Hackman & Oldham suggesting that Hertzberg's original formulation of the model may have been a methodological artifact. Furthermore, the theory does not consider individual differences, conversely predicting all employees will react in an identical manner to changes in motivating/hygiene factors. Finally, the model has been criticised in that it does not specify how motivating/hygiene factors are to be measured.
Hackman & Oldham proposed the Job Characteristics Model, which is widely used as a framework to study how particular job characteristics impact on job outcomes, including job satisfaction. The model states that there are five core job characteristics (skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback) which impact three critical psychological states (experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility for outcomes, and knowledge of the actual results), in turn influencing work outcomes (job satisfaction, absenteeism, work motivation, etc.). The five core job characteristics can be combined to form a motivating potential score (MPS) for a job, which can be used as an index of how likely a job is to affect an employee's attitudes and behaviors. A meta-analysis of studies that assess the framework of the model provides some support for the validity of the JCM.
One of the most important aspects of an individual’s work in a modern organization concerns the management of communication demands that he or she encounters on the job. Demands can be characterized as a communication load, which refers to “the rate and complexity of communication inputs an individual must process in a particular time frame.” Individuals in an organization can experience communication over-load and communication under- load which can affect their level of job satisfaction. Communication overload can occur when “an individual receives too many messages in a short period of time which can result in unprocessed information or when an individual faces more complex messages that are more difficult to process.” Due to this process, “given an individual’s style of work and motivation to complete a task, when more inputs exist than outputs, the individual perceives a condition of overload which can be positively or negatively related to job satisfaction. In comparison, communication under load can occur when messages or inputs are sent below the individual’s ability to process them.” According to the ideas of communication over-load and under-load, if an individual does not receive enough input on the job or is unsuccessful in processing these inputs, the individual is more likely to become dissatisfied, aggravated, and unhappy with their work which leads to a low level of job satisfaction.
Superior-subordinate communication is an important influence on job satisfaction in the workplace. The way in which subordinates perceive a supervisor's behavior can positively or negatively influence job satisfaction. Communication behavior such as facial expression, eye contact, vocal expression, and body movement is crucial to the superior-subordinate relationship (Teven, p. 156). Nonverbal messages play a central role in interpersonal interactions with respect to impression formation, deception, attraction, social influence, and emotional. Nonverbal immediacy from the supervisor helps to increase interpersonal involvement with their subordinates impacting job satisfaction. The manner in which supervisors communicate with their subordinates non-verbally may be more important than the verbal content (Teven, p. 156). Individuals who dislike and think negatively about their supervisor are less willing to communicate or have motivation to work whereas individuals who like and think positively of their supervisor are more likely to communicate and are satisfied with their job and work environment. A supervisor who uses nonverbal immediacy, friendliness, and open communication lines is more likely to receive positive feedback and high job satisfaction from a subordinate. Conversely, a supervisor who is antisocial, unfriendly, and unwilling to communicate will naturally receive negative feedback and create low job satisfaction in their subordinates in the workplace.
Mood and emotions form the affective element of job satisfaction. Moods tend to be longer lasting but often weaker states of uncertain origin, while emotions are often more intense, short-lived and have a clear object or cause.
Frequency of experiencing net positive emotion will be a better predictor of overall job satisfaction than will intensity of positive emotion when it is experienced.
Emotion work (or emotion management) refers to various types of efforts to manage emotional states and displays. Emotion management includes all of the conscious and unconscious efforts to increase, maintain, or decrease one or more components of an emotion. Although early studies of the consequences of emotional work emphasized its harmful effects on workers, studies of workers in a variety of occupations suggest that the consequences of emotional work are not uniformly negative.
It was found that suppression of unpleasant emotions decreases job satisfaction and the amplification of pleasant emotions increases job satisfaction.
The understanding of how emotion regulation relates to job satisfaction concerns two models:
It has been well documented that genetics influence a variety of individual differences. Some research suggests genetics also play a role in the intrinsic, direct experiences of job satisfaction like challenge or achievement (as opposed to extrinsic, environmental factors like working conditions). One experiment used sets of monozygotic twins, reared apart, to test for the existence of genetic influence on job satisfaction. While the results indicate the majority of the variance in job satisfaction was due to environmental factors (70%), genetic influence is still a minor factor. Genetic heritability was also suggested for several of the job characteristics measured in the experiment, such as complexity level, motor skill requirements, and physical demands.
Some research suggests an association between personality and job satisfaction. Specifically, this research describes the role of negative affectivity and positive affectivity. Negative affectivity is related strongly to the personality trait of neuroticism. Individuals high in negative affectivity are more prone to experience less job satisfaction. Positive affectivity is related strongly to the personality trait of extraversion. Those high in positive affectivity are more prone to be satisfied in most dimensions of their life, including their job. Differences in affectivity likely impact how individuals will perceive objective job circumstances like pay and working conditions, thus affecting their satisfaction in that job.
There are many methods for measuring job satisfaction. By far, the most common method for collecting data regarding job satisfaction is the Likert scale (named after Rensis Likert). Other less common methods of for gauging job satisfaction include: Yes/No questions, True/False questions, point systems, checklists, and forced choice answers. This data are sometimes collected using an Enterprise Feedback Management (EFM) system.
The Job Descriptive Index (JDI), is a specific questionnaire of job satisfaction that has been widely used. It measures one’s satisfaction in five facets: pay, promotions and promotion opportunities, coworkers, supervision, and the work itself. The scale is simple, participants answer either yes, no, or can’t decide (indicated by ‘?’) in response to whether given statements accurately describe one’s job.
A related scale is the Job in general index, which asks employees how satisfying their job is in a broad overall sense. In certain situations, it can be more useful than the JDI because rather than focusing on individual facets, it asks about work satisfaction in general.
Other job satisfaction questionnaires include: the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), the Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS), and the Faces Scale. The MSQ measures job satisfaction in 20 facets and has a long form with 100 questions (five items from each facet) and a short form with 20 questions (one item from each facet). The JSS is a 36 item questionnaire that measures nine facets of job satisfaction. Finally, the Faces Scale of job satisfaction, one of the first scales used widely, measured overall job satisfaction with just one item which participants respond to by choosing a face..
Job Satisfaction can be indicative of work behaviors such as organizational citizenship, and withdrawal behaviors such as absenteeism, and turnover. Further, job satisfaction can partially mediate the relationship of personality variables and deviant work behaviors.
One common research finding is that job satisfaction is correlated with life satisfaction. This correlation is reciprocal, meaning people who are satisfied with life tend to be satisfied with their job and people who are satisfied with their job tend to be satisfied with life. However, some research has found that job satisfaction is not significantly related to life satisfaction when other variables such as nonwork satisfaction and core self-evaluations are taken into account.
An important finding for organizations to note is that job satisfaction has a rather tenuous correlation to productivity on the job. This is a vital piece of information to researchers and businesses, as the idea that satisfaction and job performance are directly related to one another is often cited in the media and in some non-academic management literature. A recent meta-analysis found surprisingly low correlations between job satisfaction and performance. Further, the meta-analysis found that the relationship between satisfaction and performance can be moderated by job complexity, such that for high-complexity jobs the correlation between satisfaction and performance is higher than for jobs of low to moderate complexity. Additionally, one longitudinal study indicated that among work attitudes, job satisfaction is a strong predictor of absenteeism, suggesting that increasing job satisfaction and organizational commitment are potentially good strategies for reducing absenteeism and turnover intentions. Recent research has also shown that intention to quit alone can have negative effects on performance, organizational deviance, and organizational citizenship behaviours. In short, the relationship of satisfaction to productivity is not as straightforward as often assumed and can be influenced by a number of different work-related constructs, and the notion that "a happy worker is a productive worker" should not be the foundation of organizational decision-making. For example, employee personality may even be more important than job satisfaction in regards to performance.
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