Job satisfaction is determined by a comparison of one’s prior expectations about the job and the actual experience of the job1. It has been found that job satisfaction relates to beliefs and emotions that individuals have about their work and their job. Job Satisfaction has been described as an attitude with an affective and cognitive component. When establishing the level of job satisfaction, we should focus on how employees feel about their work and personal relationships in the workplace and on how leaders influence employees’ satisfaction. Without a doubt, satisfied employees are the ultimate goal of every leader. On the other hand, the goal of every employee is to find the kind of work that matches their abilities and interests as closely as possible, enables them to succeed, and provides them with opportunities for promotion. Satisfied employees tend to be more productive and committed to their employers, and a direct correlation has been shown between staff satisfaction and patient satisfaction in healthcare organizations.
Stamps and Piedmonte (1986) conceptualized job satisfaction as consisting of six components: pay, autonomy, task requirements, organizational policies, interactions, and professional status1. Job satisfaction has been associated with relationships with coworkers, workload, professional growth opportunities, autonomy, role clarity, and work hazards2. Factors that have been found to affect nurses’ job satisfaction include job stress3, a management style of nursing leadership4, empowerment, nursing work 07 environments including autonomy and control5, and the nursing practice model8. In addition, several studies have suggested that demographic factors such as age, system tenure, position tenure, level of education, and experience influence job satisfaction9 10.
Satisfaction with professional growth and workload is an important predictor of nurse turnover11. A recent study that examined the relationships between turnover intentions, professional commitment, and job satisfaction of hospital nurses in Taiwan12 found a significant association between job satisfaction and intention to leave the organization and profession.
Luthans defines job satisfaction as a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience13. Job satisfaction results from an employee’s perception of how well his or her job provides those things that are viewed as important. According to Ivancevich and Matteson, job satisfaction results from the perception people have of their jobs and the degree to which there is a fit between the individual and the job14. Job satisfaction is, therefore, a work-related attitude. Attitudes comprise thoughts, feelings, and intentions to act. An employee, who experiences a high level of job satisfaction, holds a positive attitude. Job satisfaction is also described as an emotional response toward various facets of one’s job, such as equitable pay and working conditions15.
The implication is that a person can be satisfied with one aspect of his or her job, like pay, and dissatisfied with another aspect, such as supervision. Consequently, job satisfaction studies focus on the various parts that are believed to be important to most people.
From the above, it can be concluded that job satisfaction:
- Is an emotional or affective state.
- Results from an evaluation (which is a cognitive activity) of job factors considered as important to the individual.
- Is influenced by the extent to which there is a fit between the person and the job; in other words, a fit between personal and job characteristics.
- Is influenced by various aspects of the job.
- Impacts on employee intentions and behaviours.
Theories of Job Satisfaction
The four theories that conceptualize job satisfaction are presented below. They are:
- Herzberg’s Two-factor theory.
- Locke’s Value theory.
- McClelland’s Learned Needs theory.
- Adams Equity theory.
Herzberg’s Two-Factor theory
Frederick Herzberg surveyed more than 200 accountants and engineers and analysed their responses to determine what made them especially satisfied or dissatisfied about their jobs16. Herzberg’s theory proposes that every employee has two sets of needs or requirements, namely motivator needs and hygiene needs. Motivator needs are associated with the actual work itself and how challenging it is, while hygiene needs are related to the physical and psychological context in which the work is performed. Motivators relate to the job itself while hygiene factors relate to the job context.
Herzberg proposed a theoretical relationship between motivator needs, hygiene needs, and job satisfaction. When motivator needs are met, employees will be satisfied; when these needs are not met, employees will not be satisfied (but also not be dissatisfied). -When hygiene needs are met, employees will not be dissatisfied; when these needs are not met, employees will be dissatisfied17. Dissatisfied employees do less than what is required of them. This theory has important implications for managing Organizations. In conclusion, the two-factor theory implies that efforts should be made to create conditions that help avoid dissatisfaction and that motivators should be built into the jobs of employees.
Locke’s Value Theory
According to Greenberg and Baron Locke’s value theory explains that job satisfaction exists to the extent that the job outcomes (such as rewards) an individual receives match those outcomes that are desired18. Invariably, the more people receive outcomes they value, the more satisfied they will be. The less they receive the outcomes they value, the less satisfied they will be. In Locke’s value theory, the key to satisfaction is the discrepancy between those aspects of the job one has, and those one wants; the greater the discrepancy, the less people are satisfied. The emotions and desires are the way he/she experiences these values. In addition to values, intentions or goals play an important role as cognitive determinants of behaviours.
The individual responds and performs according to these intentions or goals, even if the goal is not attained. The results of the responses are consequences, feedback, or reinforcement A team of investigators used a questionnaire and measured how much of various job facets a diverse group of workers wanted and how much they felt they already had. Also measured were how satisfied the respondents were with each of the facets and how important each facet was to them. Locke’s value theory demonstrates that job satisfaction is a personal attitude, depending on what the individual values in his/her job. It also emphasizes a link between attitude and behavior.
McClelland’s Learned Needs Theory
David C McClelland suggested that we are not born with a specific set of needs but that we learn particular needs from our culture or society19. McClelland’s theory considers three higher-order needs, namely, the need for achievement, the need for affiliation, and the need for power. If one of these needs is strong, it motivates a person to behave in a way that leads to the satisfaction of that need. A person will experience job satisfaction if the nature of the job allows the person to satisfy his/her specific needs.
Adam’s Equity Theory
Adam’s equity theory states that an employee assesses his or her inputs to a job; for example, effort exerted, time spent, and training received, against what he or she gets from the job; for example, effort, pay, recognition, and then compares the ratio of these inputs to outputs with another employee’s ratio of inputs and outputs20. If the employee perceives the ratio of his or her inputs and outputs to be equal to the employee with whom he or she has made a comparison, the employee will asses this as fair, and a state of equity is said to exist. If the employee feels that the ratios of inputs to outputs are unequal, the situation is assessed as unfair, and a state of inequity is said to exist. The employee will perceive that he or she has either been under-rewarded or over-rewarded21. The choice of comparative colleague is important. It could be:
- Any other employee who holds a similar job (colleagues, friends, neighbours, and professional associates).
- The system within the Organization where the employee works, including its pay policies and the efficiency of its administration.
- The employee himself (the employee compares the ratio of his or her inputs and outputs to his or her experience in past jobs).
From the Figure, it can be seen that the circle starts when employees perceive an inequality after comparing their inputs and outputs with their desired comparison. The employee then experiences tension or discomfort and seeks to reduce it by changing his/her behaviour or attitude. Job satisfaction is a job-related attitude, and the implication is that if a person experiences negative inequity, he/she will experience lower levels of job satisfaction. Behavioural changes could include lower productivity, absenteeism, labour turnover, and a lack of organizational commitment.
Factors affecting Job Satisfaction
Various authors mention or discuss factors which have an impact on the job satisfaction levels of employees. George and Jones identify four main factors that affect the level of job satisfaction a person experiences22:
- Personality, which refers to enduring patterns of feeling, thinking, and behaving.
- Values which includes intrinsic and extrinsic work values.
- Factors in the work situation, including relationships with co-workers, supervisors and subordinates, working conditions, pay, and job security.
- Social influences arising from co-workers, groups, or culture.
Of these four factors, George and Jones identify factors within the work situation as being the greatest source of job satisfaction23. George and Jones also mention the discrepancy model of job satisfaction. According to them, this model is based on a simple idea that employees compare their job to some ‘ideal job’ to determine how satisfied they are with their jobs. This ‘ideal job’ could be what one thinks the job should be like, what one wants from a job, or what one’s former job was like24.
From this model, one can deduce that when employees’ expectations about their jobs are high and if these expectations are not met, employees will be dissatisfied. This model is, therefore, similar to Locke’s value theory, which postulates that employees have certain values, and if these values are represented in their jobs, they experience job satisfaction25 warn that no manager should conclude that personality is an unimportant factor in the workplace behaviour, simply because it is formed outside the Organization. Gibson et al define personality as being “a relatively stable set of characteristics, tendencies, and temperaments that have been significantly formed by inheritance and by social, cultural, and environmental factors”26. Due to personality differences, people bring different perceptions, expectations, and values into the workplace, and if their jobs are not aligned with these perceptions, expectations, and values, they will experience less job satisfaction.
Bergh and Theron mention that a person’s core evaluations, based on traits of self-esteem, neuroticism, locus of control, and self-efficacy, influence the level of work satisfaction experienced27. It is said that people with an internal locus of control and high levels of self-efficacy experience more job satisfaction and general life satisfaction because they feel enabled to manipulate their environments and, therefore, possibly feel more intrinsically responsible for creating their own job satisfaction. Luthans considers coworkers as an important factor for job satisfaction. Friendly, cooperative coworkers are a modest source of job satisfaction to individual employees28. The work group serves as a source of support, comfort, advice, and assistance to the individual worker. According to Herzberg’s theory, which was discussed earlier, co-workers are a hygiene factor. Conflicts with co-workers result in dissatisfaction.
However, if an employee has good relationships with co-workers, it will not necessarily result in satisfaction, but rather in a state of ‘no dissatisfaction.’ This could explain why, according to Luthans, cooperative coworkers are considered as a moderate rather than a strong source of job satisfaction29. According to Hilliard, an employee has certain expectations that should be fulfilled30. In Mueller’s view, no one argues against pay bearing an influence on job satisfaction or the right of people to protest (actively or passively) against deficiencies in working conditions or environment31. Rollinson, Broadfield, and Edwards also believe pay influences job satisfaction32. Two things are important: whether the financial reward of a job is regarded as adequate and whether it is considered as equitable in comparison to what other people receive.
Though most people need a certain minimum level of income to live on, the relationship between pay and satisfaction is very complex. Some employees view pay as a reflection of how much their efforts are recognized, which gives money as a reward and an intrinsic quality. It also has an extrinsic quality in terms of how much cash in hand the employee has. Broadfield et al suggest that where employees are allowed to put together personalized benefits packages from a menu of different types of rewards (flexible benefits), there is a significant increase in this aspect of job satisfaction33. Thomson also makes reference to Herzberg’s view of pay as a factor in job satisfaction34.
Herzberg identified the level of pay as one of the factors which could lead to dissatisfaction at work rather than one which contributed in any major way to job satisfaction and motivation. Yet, in most organizations, financial incentives are the only reward provided by managers to induce increased performance. JPerformance-related pay systems range from simple bonuses or salary increases to more sophisticated pay systems like time rates, payment by results, measured day work, or profit sharing.
According to Newstrom and Davis, job satisfaction is one part of life satisfaction. Therefore, the nature of one’s environment off the job indirectly influences one’s feelings on the job and vice versa35.
Supervision, in Luthans’ view36, is a moderately important source of job satisfaction. Two aspects of supervision that affect job satisfaction are:
- Employee-centeredness, which is measured by the degree to which a supervisor takes a personal interest in the employee’s welfare. This can be manifested in ways such as checking to see how well the subordinate is doing, providing advice and assistance to the individual, and communicating with, the worker on a personal as well as an official level.
- Participation cr influences, whereby managers allow their subordinates to participate in decisions that affect their own jobs. In most cases, this approach leads to higher job satisfaction. A participative environment created by the supervisor has a more substantial effect on worker satisfaction than does participation in a specific decision.
Human resource management in health would have to function in a sector with some unique characteristics. The workforce is large, diverse, and comprises separate occupations often represented by powerful professional associations as well as trade unions. Some personnel has sector-specific skills, while others could readily move from the health sector to employment in other sectors. The main avowed commitment of those with sector-specific skills and qualifications (physicians, nurses, etc.) are towards their profession and patients. Job satisfaction represents the degree to which employees like or enjoy their jobs, which is an essential issue for both employees and employers. It leads to less job turnover, increased staff productivity, and greater patient satisfaction.
Hospital administrators need to focus on ways to increase job satisfaction, and thus improve the performance, and thereby raise the level of quality of patient care. Job satisfaction is an important factor in increasing the level of work performance and career aspirations. It is noted in the literature that there is a high correlation between job satisfaction, commitment, and better performance37. All activities of a hospital are carried out by the staff, and the standard of service, patient care, etc., are dependent on employee satisfaction levels. It is vital that people participate effectively, both as individuals and as team members, with respect to performance and rapid adaptation to change, and hospital physicians and other staff possess valuable knowledge about the performance of their organization and opportunities for improvement. Job satisfaction and organizational climate are the major concern for any healthcare organization because they contribute to the organizational effectiveness in hospitals.
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- Mihalic R. Op. Cit 6
- Stamps, P. L., & Piedmonte, E. B. (1986). Nurses and work satisfaction: An index for measurement. Ann Arbor, MI: Health Administration Press Perspectives.
- Alexander, J. A., Lichtenstein, R., Ho, H. J., & Tillman, E. (1998). A causal model of voluntary turnover among nursing personnel in long-term psychiatric settings. Research in Nursing &Health, 21,415-427.
- Bratt, M. M., Broome, M., Kelber, S., & Lostocco, L. (2000). Influence of stress and nursing leadership on job satisfaction of pediatric intensive care unit nurses. American Journal of Critical Care, 9(5), 307-317.
- Laschinger, H. K. S., Shamian, J., & Thomson, D. (2001). Impact of magnet hospital characteristics on nurses’ perceptions of trust, burnout, quality of care, and work satisfaction. NursingEconomics, 19(5), 209-219.
- Upenieks, V. (2000). The relationship of nursing practice models and job satisfaction outcomes. Journal of Nursing Administration, 30(6), 330-335.
- Ibid. 94
- Davidson, J., Folcarelli, P, H., Crawford, S., Duprat, L. J., & Clifford, J. C. (1997). The effects of health care reforms on job satisfaction and voluntary turnover among hospital-based nurses. Medical Care, 35,634-645.
- Ibid. 94
- Lu, K.Y., et al, Op.Cit 18
- Luthans, F. 2002. Organisational Behaviour. 9th ed. NewYork: McGraw Hffl.
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