The Facts About Job Satisfaction
This article was written by Carrie Bloomfield.
Job satisfaction is an attitude that employees have about their work and is based on numerous factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the individual. Job satisfaction is important from the perspective of maintaining and retaining the appropriate employees within the organization; it is about fitting the right person to the right job in the right culture and keeping them satisfied. 1,2 Today's business environment is characterized by weak economies, rapidly changing technology, organizational re-engineering, shortened length of tenure, and outsourcing of peripheral business activities. The pharmaceutical industry is reflective of this environment. Under these circumstances, managers should concentrate on removing sources of dissatisfaction from the workplace in order to keep employees busy, productive, and satisfied. At the same time, employees need to take responsibility for their own satisfaction in their job. 2
A theory of job satisfaction
Herzberg developed one of the earliest theories relating to job satisfaction in the 1950s. His "two-factor" theory emphasizes that there are factors in the workplace that create satisfaction (motivators) and those which lead to dissatisfaction if they are not present (hygiene factors). There are four motivators in the theory: achievement, recognition, responsibility, and advancement; and five hygiene factors: monetary rewards, competent supervision, policy and administration, working conditions, and security. The implication of the theory is that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not opposite ends of the same scale and that job satisfaction may merely be an absence of job dissatisfaction.2 Herzberg argues that it is necessary to have hygiene factors at an acceptable level simply to reach a neutral feeling about the job. The theory has not been without its critics from the perspective of both the methodology of the studies and the underlying assumption that all individuals behave in a similar way in the workplace. However, the theory is simple and has a common sense appeal3,4, and it supports the argument that today's manager should concentrate on removing the dissatisfiers from the workplace and concentrate on employing and developing the right people on the job.
Personality: A key to satisfaction
That employees are predisposed to greater or lesser job satisfaction has been studied by Staw and his coworkers.2,5 Staw argues that individuals with a positive outlook on life, or who are optimistic, will have higher job satisfaction irrespective of the job or workplace they are in. It is an individual's personality that causes consistent behaviour in given situations and which lends itself to either a positive or negative outlook on life. Personality is a relatively stable set of characteristics that give rise to the patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving within a person's environment.6 One element of personality that relates to job satisfaction is optimism. Daniel Goleman7 discusses optimism and its relationship to an individual's outlook in life. He argues that optimism is an attitude that allows individuals to cope in the face of adversity, which prevents them from becoming apathetic and depressed. Further, underlying optimism is the concept of self-efficacy, which relates to an individual's belief that they can successfully complete tasks and meet objectives. A high level of self-efficacy translates to a strong belief in one's own ability.5 Thus, personality must have a strong influence on job satisfaction. It follows, then, that managers must be aware of the personalities of their employees and how they fit into the job, the work environment, and indeed the organizational culture. They must ensure that the work environment is conducive to bringing out the best in their employees' personalities by removing dissatisfiers from the workplace.
What managers need to do?
References: 1. Ross, Emily. 2001. "Love the Job." Business Review Weekly, 23 : 56-59.
2. Crow, Stephen M. & Hartman, Sandra J. 1995. "Can 't Get No Satisfaction." Leadership & Organization Development Journal. 16 : 34-38.
3. Mitchell, Terence R., Dowling, Peter J., Kabanoff, Boris V. & Larson, James R. 1988. People in Organizations: An Introduction to Organizational Behavior in Australia. Sydney: McGraw-Hill.
4. Knowles, Michael C. Organization Behavior: Changing Concepts and Applications. Sydney: Harper & Row.
5. Ivancevich, J., Olekalns, M. & Matteson, M. 1997. Organizational Behavior and Management. Sydney: McGraw-Hill.
6. Huczinsky, Andrzej & Buchanan, David. 1991. Organizational Behavior, an Introductory Text. London: Prentice Hall.
7. Goleman, Daniel. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. 1995. London: Bloomsbury.
8. Onsman, Harry. 1999. "The Secret of a Happy Office." Business Review Weekly. 21 .
9. Way, Nicholas. 2000. "The Kings of Culture." Business Review Weekly. 22 : 100-104.
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