Recently, there is a widely debate on whether a happy employee is a productive employee, which indicates that people pay an increasing attention on individual’s feelings or satisfaction on their job. The key issues are that what are the causes of job satisfaction, how important is it and how to improve job satisfaction of employees, especially by managers. To understand all of these, firstly, we need to know what job satisfaction is, the definitions and opinions of this concept.
As for the definition of job satisfaction, different people have different opinions. Hoppock defined job satisfaction as ‘any combination of psychological, physiological and environmental circumstances that cause a person truthfully to say I am satisfied with my job’ (Hoppock, 1935), which means job satisfaction is affected by something internal and it is a feeling of satisfaction. Another job satisfaction definition is the one given by Spector who said ‘job satisfaction has to do with the way how people feel about their job and its various aspects’. Job satisfaction can also be defined as ‘the extent to which a worker is content with the rewards he or she gets out of his or her job, particularly in terms of intrinsic motivation’ (Statt, 2004). In my opinion, job satisfaction is a kind of feeling that an individual has, especially the sense of achievement and success on their job.
Implicit in these definitions is that job satisfaction is closely linked to individual’s behaviour in an organisation or a company. Meanwhile, it plays an important role in an organisation’s management. First, to become talented in a comfortable and job satisfied organisation, employees are more willing and pleasure to gain the motivation of learning more of their work objectives and tasks. Under this circumstances, their capability of mastering their work will grow, which makes them enjoying working in the organisation and even, in turn, stimulating employees’ potential and exceptional abilities. Additionally, they feel more satisfied with their job. This kind of situation is a virtuous circle, which can benefit both the companies and the individuals, in particular, improve individuals’ behaviour and performance in the organisation or company.
There are numerous causes of job satisfaction, such as work situation, financial incentive and person’s personality. In regard to work situation, research studies show that the nature of work itself is the most significant part of a job, compared to pay, compensation, promotion opportunities and co-workers (Judge & Church, 2000). Unfortunately, some managers have not realised this aspect and emphasis more on financial incentives. This is probably due to that when we discuss job satisfaction; the pay always comes up first. There is no doubt that pay has a relationship with job satisfaction. People who live in a poor situation could be highly satisfied if they can earn more and vice versa, these people will be dissatisfied if their pay is low. However, for people who are economically optimistic, the relationship between pay and job satisfaction is weak. They may pay much more attention on the work situation instead of focusing on how much they earn.
Some researchers, on the other hand, think that person’s disposition or personality doesn’t influence job satisfaction. For example, Staw & Ross represented that the level of a person’s job satisfaction stay unchanged even when he or she changes jobs. However, there is evidence indicates that people have different disposition resulted in different job satisfaction (House, Shane, & Herold, 1996). Research shown that individuals who are pessimistic may be less satisfied with their job, those who are optimistic usually have high...