Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job. Weiss (2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect (emotion), beliefs and behaviours. This definition suggests that we form attitudes towards our jobs by taking into account our feelings, our beliefs, and our behaviors.
Definition of Job Satisfaction
To begin a discussion on job satisfaction, one might logically begin with a definition. According to Webster’s Dictionary (1986), job satisfaction refers to how well a job provides fulfillment of a need or want, or how well it serves as a source or means of enjoyment. Job satisfaction is defined more specifically in the literature, and several theorists have generated their own workable definitions. Of those researchers, Robert Hoppock is perhaps the most widely cited, although others have emerged with definitions reflecting more current theoretical underpinnings of job satisfaction. Some of the versions use the terms job attitudes, work satisfaction, and job morale interchangeably, which may explain the lack of a standardized job satisfaction definition.
Within the literature, Hoppock offered one of the earliest definitions of job satisfaction when he described the construct as being any number of psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances which leads a person to express satisfaction with their job (Hoppock, 1935). Smith et. al.(1969) defined job satisfaction as the feeling an individual has 11
about his or her job. Locke (1969) suggested that job satisfaction was a positive or pleasurable reaction resulting from the appraisal of one’s job, job achievement, or job experiences. Vroom (1982) defined job satisfaction as workers’ emotional orientation toward their current job roles. Similarly, Schultz (1982) stated that job satisfaction is essentially the psychological disposition of people toward their work. Siegal and Lance (1987) stated simply that job satisfaction is an emotional response defining the degree to which people like their job. Finally, Lofquist and Davis (1991), defined job satisfaction as “an individual’s positive affective reaction of the target environment...as a result of the individual’s appraisal of the extent to which his or her needs are fulfilled by the environment” (p.27).
The definition of job satisfaction has visibly evolved through the decades, but most versions share the belief that job satisfaction is a work-related positive affective reaction. There seems to be less consistency when talking about the causes of job satisfaction. Wexley and Yukl (1984) stated that job satisfaction is influenced by many factors, including personal traits and characteristics of the job. To better understand these employee and job characteristics and their relationship to job satisfaction, various theories have emerged and provided the vital framework for future job satisfaction studies. Early traditional theories suggested that a single bipolar continuum, with satisfaction on one end and dissatisfaction on the other, could be used to conceptualize job satisfaction. Later revisions of the theory included a two-continuum model that placed job satisfaction on the first scale, and job dissatisfaction on the second (Brown, 1998). These later theories focused more on the presence or absence of certain intrinsic and extrinsic job factors that could determine one’s satisfaction level. Intrinsic factors are based on personal perceptions and internal feelings, and include factors such as recognition, advancement, and responsibility. These factors have been strongly linked to job satisfaction according to 12