An overview of job satisfaction
Job satisfaction refers to the way employees feel concerning their jobs and the different aspects which makes up their jobs. Job satisfaction may also be used to mean the extent to which workers like or dislike the tasks they perform (jobs). Job satisfaction can be assessed since it is usually an attitudinal variable. A worker is said to be satisfied if he or she gains fulfillment from his or her job. Fulfillment is both psychological and physical. The attitude of a worker concerning his or her job is also another vital determinant of job satisfaction. A worker with a positive attitude tends to be more satisfied than a worker who has a negative attitude. Job satisfaction is vital for any organization since it determines whether an organization is productive or not. Dissatisfied workers are less productive and thus ensuring satisfaction in job areas is an important role of the management (Spector, 1997).
Determinants of job satisfaction: A global perspective
There are different determinants of a workers satisfaction in the job area. The job satisfaction factors can be categorized into three broad elements which include the management style in place in an organization, the working environment and the physical and psychological needs of a worker. Other factors like the attitude of a worker towards a job have also been identifies as possible causes of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Spector, 1997).
Management practices exercised in an organization are a major determinant of the level of satisfaction of the employees. An organization which employs bureaucratic management style tends to have less satisfied workforce. Employees like to feel that they are part and parcel of the organization. Bureaucracy on the other hand views employees as being outside the organization. This lowers the morale and satisfaction of the workers. Also, workers detest authority which is imposed on them. Integrative management styles whereby employees participate in the goal formulation process tend to yield high satisfaction and are a motivating factor. Good leadership practices and career growth opportunities in an organization also yield higher satisfaction in the workers. Other management practices which improve job satisfaction of workers are recognition for tasks successfully completed; reward systems and other non monetary rewards like insurance cover (CRAMER, 1998).
Physical and psychological needs of a worker also determine the level of his or her satisfaction. Meeting the physical and psychological needs helps them to be comfortable about their tasks. Where the health of a worker is highly held by the management, workers tend to be more satisfied and vice versa. Employees who take little interest of their workers health status but instead value task performance more, they lower the job satisfaction of a worker. Psychological needs of a worker include need for affiliation, job security and recognition needs. Organizations which recognize and meet these needs are more likely to be successful.
The working environment is also a major determinant of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction. An environment which is conducive and encourages innovation and creativity yields more satisfaction than an environment which is restrictive and highly regulated and controlled. The equipment and tools used while performing tasks also highly determine the satisfaction of a worker. Providing a worker with all the requirements of performing a task and also the training helps in improving their skills and quality of work which in turn lead to high satisfaction. Achievement makes a worker to be more satisfied and confident of his abilities (Spector, 1997).
In the recent past however, other factors are emerging which affects either positively or negatively to a workers job satisfaction levels. Attitude of the worker is one factor which is being focused on by psychiatrists to determine their role in lowering or increasing satisfaction. Attitude could be triggered by the physical and or psychological satisfaction a worker derives from a job. Jobs which are viewed as having lower quality in terms of personal and career growth are held with negative attitude and are less satisfying (Bryner, 2007).
A recent survey carried out in the United States by the general social survey identified another cause of job satisfaction which was based on the quality of life. This study revealed that people who were involved in improving or enhancing other people’s lives were more satisfied than those working in areas which had no impact on people’s lives. Clergy work was ranked as the most satisfying job and had a percentage of 87% followed by firefighting job with 80% satisfaction. Salespersons, cashiers and packagers were the most dissatisfied which their satisfaction percentage being below 30%. Jobs which involve dealing with and adding value to people’s lives yield higher satisfaction compared to other jobs. This is a new perspective in the job satisfaction debate and the results of the survey prove that (Bryner, 2007).
Indicators of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction
While rating the level of job satisfaction, different indicators are used by the management and are then used in ensuring any factors which hinder or lower satisfaction are eliminated. One of the indicators used is the concern which a worker has for the long and short term objectives of an organization. Workers who are satisfied by their jobs tend to be more concerned about the long term survival of an organization than those who are dissatisfied (Hosie, Sevastos & Cooper, 2006).
Another indicator of job satisfaction is the commitment and loyalty exhibited by a worker towards an organization. Highly satisfied workers are more committed to the organization and are more loyal. On the other hand, dissatisfied workers are always looking for opportunities to quit their jobs. They are less loyal and committed to the overall productivity of the organization or the departments they work in.
How a worker represents the organization to the outside world is also an indicator of his level satisfaction he or she derives from his job area. Workers who are highly defensive of their work places are more satisfied in their jobs than workers who criticize their work places. Workers who are satisfied by their jobs also tend to portray a good image about the organization unlike workers who are dissatisfied (Spector, 1997).
Other indicators used to rate job satisfaction of a worker includes the relationship a worker engages in while in the work place, whether a worker puts any extra effort to ensure tasks are completed, willingness of a worker to help and cover for workers who are absent, helping out when work load is heavy upon request and even when not requested and persistency in task performance among others. All these indicators can be used to rate the level of satisfaction a workers derives from his or her job (Hosie, Sevastos & Cooper, 2006).
Despite the different perspectives taken by different organizations in the world concerning job satisfaction and the variation in the definition of job satisfaction, job satisfaction is based on the above outlined factors. Workers level of satisfaction differs since they are stirred by different and diverse needs. Each worker seeks to fulfill a need from his job and meeting this need would lead to satisfaction.
Understanding the concept of job satisfaction is very vital since it helps in implementing appropriate measure to curb or reduce dissatisfaction. Human resource is the most important resource which enables an organization to attain its objectives and goals and thus should be carefully handled. Labor turnover is a major consequence of job dissatisfaction and this has negative impact to the image of an organization and productivity. With globalization on the rise, this research on the causes and indicators of job satisfaction is vital in devising and implementing strategies aimed at curbing the vices while enhancing the virtues in an organization.
CRAMER, D. (1998): Job satisfaction and organizational continuance commitment: a two-wave panel study. Journal of Organizational Behavior, Volume 17
Bryner, J. (2007): Survey Reveals Most Satisfying Jobs. Retrieved on 6th March 2009 from,
Hosie, P., Sevastos, P. & Cooper, C. L. (2006): Happy-performing Managers: The Impact of Affective Wellbeing and Intrinsic Job Satisfaction in the Workplace. ISBN 1845421485, Published by Edward Elgar Publishing
Spector, P. E. (1997): Job Satisfaction: Application, Assessment, Cause, and Consequences. ISBN 0761989234, Published by SAGE