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 job satisfaction. But there is no enough evidence to demonstrate how exactly disposition affect job satisfaction (Judge, T.A. & Hulin, C.L. (1993)).
According to Spector, there are three key features of job satisfaction. First is that organizations which centre on human values might treat employees fairly and with respect. In these cases the level of job satisfaction may reflect employee effectiveness. Second, the behaviour of workers depending on their level of job satisfaction will affect the functioning and activities of the organization's business. From this it can be concluded that job satisfaction will result in positive behaviour and vice versa. Third, job satisfaction may serve as indicators of organizational activities.
In today’s competitive world, employee satisfaction is very important for companies, as satisfied employees would produce more which in turn give better benefits to the company. On the contrary, job dissatisfaction may lead to negative behaviour, increase absenteeism and turnover, increase number of accidents etc. Recently, a research conducted by Harvard University indicated that the satisfaction of customers will increase by 5% if employees’ job satisfaction rises by 3%. Therefore, the improvement of employees’ job satisfaction could in turn enhance customer satisfaction, corporates’ satisfaction as well as shareholders’ satisfaction. Definitely job satisfaction is most essential. If you are satisfied with your work, it means that you are happy and joyful with your organisation, which will keep you motivated, furthermore, make you perform better and make you grow; this in turn let you become even more satisfied.
There are a few suggestions such as increasing salaries significantly, rising the opportunities of training for employees. Extensive actions have been taken by companies to boost job satisfaction by lower the cost; however, the consequences are less than satisfactory. The reasons that lead to this situation are simple. First of all, the managers have not realise that, in order to maintain and increase the satisfaction of employees, they should not only consider and do from their own perspectives, instead, treating employees as internal customers which is the same as they treat the external customers. Then, it is a continuous process to enhance workers satisfaction that managers need to make a plan, carry out it, analyse the result, lastly try to correct it and review the feedback to make it more suitable and effective. These steps are related closely to each other and should be done in order. What’s more, increasing the job satisfaction of employees is an everyday task, which managers can not only do when the profit is plummeting or when employees are more likely to miss their work.
In order to make the plan of investigation, managers should be aware of the importance of a strategy that every movement must be based on the individual. It means that the need of the employees should be considered, as well as create the atmosphere of communication with employees sincerely. Only by this way can managers find the potential problems which do require managers to avoid and deal with, as well as make workers feel that they plan a crucial role in the organisation and employers pay huge attention on them. After the plan being designed, managers could perform it by organising the daily conferences, communicating with different employees and in some cases, using a questionnaire to be more familiar with employees’ work situation, live conditions as well as their needs and thoughts. At last, employers would analyse these information collected so as to modify the situation and policies in organisation, to choose the most efficient plan to improve the key problems and to increase job satisfaction by a large extension. (Edwards, J.E., & Fisher, B.M. (2004))
Moreover, there are two fundamental theories that managers need to have, that employees are the assets of a company rather than liabilities is the first theory, the second one is that employers should see employees as the partners who they ought to work together during the development of the company (Cascio, W.F. (1986)). Only with these kinds of theories in mind, can managers treat their employees genuinely, think about employees from their points of view, which in return, can employees see the company or organisation as their big family. However, it doesn't directly make any considerable improvement of individual performance if only purely satisfied the employees; there are also need some restrictions and indications among this. Managers can make sure that they have not waste any money in guaranteeing the improvement of performance, through all the approaches have been taken.
In the materialistic society, an increasing number of people think that pay and salary are the first criteria that individuals consider when they choose a job. On the other hand, however, another group of people believe that job satisfaction is the most important factor among all of these. Different people have different values, for example, some people put happiness on the top of all their needs, some people prefer job security or stress free environment, while some people go for money. Though, salary do act as a motivating factor and the employee would definitely get more encouraged by the growth of their salary and the profit of the company, the ultimate aim of everyone is to have a positive attitude and a happy life with families and friends, which could acquire only when they are satisfied, satisfy with their job in particular.
Individual performance plays an important role in an organisation’s management and development, while individuals’ behaviours are closely related to their job satisfaction. For the causes of job satisfaction, it goes without saying that money is an ‘engine’ of everything, from my point of view; however, money could not give job satisfaction, especially peace and happiness in mind. In fact, managers could know well of employees’ job satisfaction through an investigation, and actions should be taken to increase employees’ job satisfaction, which can make work more valuable and rewarding for employees. Therefore, to understand job satisfaction and its relationship with individual behaviour radically and completely, as well as the causes and factors that can affect it, are useful for the administration and development of an organisation or company.
Brooks, I. (2009), Organisational Behaviour: Individuals, Groups and Organisation, 4th ed., Pearson Education, Australia Cascio, W.F. (1986). Managing human resources: Productivity, quality of work life, profits. New York: McGraw-Hill. Edwards, J.E., & Fisher, B.M. (2004). Evaluating employee survey programs. In J. E. Edwards, J.C. Scott, & N. S. Raju (Eds.), The human resources program-evaluation handbook (pp.365–386). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Hoppock, R. (1935). Job Satisfaction, Harper and Brothers, New York, p. 47 Iaffaldano, M.R., & Muchinsky, P.M. (1985). Job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 97, 251–273. Judge, T.A. & Hulin, C.L. (1993). Job satisfaction as a reflection of disposition: A multiple-source causal analysis. Organizational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, 56, 388–421. Lawler, E.E. III & Porter, L.W. (1967). The Effect of Performance on Job Satisfaction, Industrial Relations, pp. 20-28 Motowidlo, S. J. (1996). Orientation toward the job and organization: A theory of individual differences in job satisfaction. In K.R. Murphy (Ed.), Individual differences and behaviour in organizations (pp. 175–208). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Mullins L.J. (2010), Management and Organisational Behaviour 9th ed., Pearson Education, Australia Robbins, S., Millett, B., Boyle, M. and Judge, T (2010), Organisational Behaviour, 6th ed., Edition, Pearson Education, Australia Statt, D. (2004). The Routledge Dictionary of Business Management, 3th ed., Routledge Publishing, Detroit, p. 78 Spector, P.E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes and consequences, Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage Publications, Inc. Schermerhorn, J.R., Hunt, J., Osborn, R., Uhl-Bien, M. (2009), Organisational Behaviour, 11th ed., John Wiley & Sons, Australia Vanderberg, R.J. & Lance, Ch.E. (1992). Examining the Causal Order of Job Satisfaction and Organizational Commitment’s, Journal of Management, Vol.18, No.1, pp. 153-167