Definitions of job satisfaction

Literature Review

Within the literature, one of the first definitions of job satisfaction were described by (Hoppock, 1935), when he defined the construct as being any number of psychological, physiological, and environmental circumstances which leads a person to express satisfaction with their job. It was suggested by Locke (1969) that job satisfaction was a positive or pleasurable reaction resulting from the appraisal of one’s job, job achievement, or job experiences. Meanwhile, 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 Lane (1982) 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.

Employees’ satisfaction with their work and a constructive and positive outlook of the organization, combined with relatively broad and sophisticated human resources management practices are highly imperative predictors of the potential productivity of companies (Lofquist and Davis (1991). Likewise, these factors appear much more important in predicting consequent productivity than viable and ready for action strategy, managerial emphasis on quality, technological sophistication, or emphasis on research and development. ‘People are our most important asset’ is not just a management’s tired expression. It is a pressing polemic which managers pay no heed to the costs of their shareholders and stakeholders. Involving not just the existing workforce in managerial levels and functions is important, but now it’s extremely vital to make sure that the new inductees are well informed and well treated to make them feel satisfied with their jobs.

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. 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 O’Driscoll and Randall (1999). Extrinsic factors are external job related variables that would include salary, supervision, and working conditions. These extrinsic factors have also been found to have a significant influence on job satisfaction levels according to Martin and Schinke (1998). 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.

Job Satisfaction Theories:

“Range of Affect Theory” by Edwin A. Locke (1976), is possibly the most known and famous job satisfaction model. The main principle of this presumption is that satisfaction is dogged by a discrepancy involving what one wants in his job and what one has in his job. Further more, the theory suggests that the amount of value one gives to a certain facet of his work, for instance the level of autonomy and discretion in a position, justifies how satisfied or dissatisfied one tends to get when expectations are or are not met.

When a person gives value to a particular part of his job, his satisfaction is greatly impacted in both ways: positive and negative, in comparison to a person who doesn’t value that facet that much.

Dispositional Theory, another renowned and well-publicized job satisfaction theory, suggests that people have inborn dispositions that encompasses in them tendencies toward a particular level of satisfaction, despite one’s job (Heller, 2002). The idea that people who are happy in life are happy in their job is the basic underlying principle of this theory. This technique became a distinguished and worth noting rationalization of job satisfaction in light of proof that job satisfaction stays stable over time and from careers and jobs.

Core Self-evaluations Model, proposed by Timothy A. Judge (1998), narrowed and shrunk the scope of the Dispositional Theory. Judge protested that there were four Core Self-Evaluations that decides one’s disposition towards job satisfaction: self-esteem, general self-efficacy, locus of control, and neuroticism. This model suggests that greater levels of self-esteem and general self-efficacy (the trust and belief in one’s own skills and competence) lead to a higher level of work satisfaction. Having an internal locus of control, meaning to believe in one having control over herhis own life, instead of outside forces having a control, leads to greater job satisfaction.

As per an article by Brookes, 1995 and another by Liljander and Strandvik, 1997, “expectancy-disconfirmation theory” has said to be the dominant model for assessing satisfaction. According to this model, the cognitive confirmation (or disconfirmation) of expectations of service as compared with perceptions of the actual service performance determines satisfaction (Danaher and Haddrell, 1996). However, according to Yu and Dean (2001), just focusing the cognitive component of satisfaction and relatively neglecting the emotional component can lead to an inadequate and improper understanding of the concept of satisfaction. To address the subject further, Cronin (2003) have labeled emotion as a core attribute in satisfaction and suggested that models of satisfaction should include a separate emotional component.

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There was a time whilst emotions in the workplace were considered significant in association to employees’ interests and job satisfaction only (Weiss and Cropanzano, 1996). In latest years, companies have realized that emotions of employees are always persistent in the workplace. The emotions are not merely a deep-rooted part of work life but have an essential part to play in an individual’s job performance. An employee’s sentiments and emotions, and on the whole his personality and character have a significant effect on his job performance, decision making capabilities, team spirit, leadership and yields. It is assumed that employees bring their feelings and attributes related to fury, fear, love or respect with them when they arrive to work. An employee’s emotions are vital and essential to what occurs in an organization. Emotions matter a lot because they drive and control one’s performance (Fisher D., 2000).

Emotions at work place, normally, are divided into two categories: 1) positive (good) and 2) negative (bad) emotions (Fisher D., 2000). Positive sentiments or emotions are those feelings of a person that are favorable to the achievement of organizational goals, mean while negative emotions are supposed to be disparaging for the organization. To classify them even more, emotions can be sorted out as distinct, dispositional and as moods. Distinct or discrete emotions replicate temporary emotions like anger, fear, joy and disgust which take place from the occurrence of a particular occasion; while dispositional describes an employees overall approach and perception towards life like cheerful, negative, etc. Moods, on the other hand, sustain for a longer period of time as compared to discrete emotions.

Emotions manipulate the assignment on which an employee is working, the pains and hard work he puts and how he manipulates other employees around him (Pugliesi, 1999). To put it in other words, what employees experience/feel and how they communicate their emotions affects their performance. Studies have publicized that positive mood directs to better and competent decision making (Babin and Griffin, 1998). Nevertheless, this doesn’t indicate that decisions taken in a negative mood are unsettling and disruptive. Studies, moreover, have found that negative or bad sentiments can direct towards more effective making of decisions. Negative emotions, at times, may lead to more rigorous, detailed, and logical processing of the facts. Hence, it is important for managers (supervisors) to keep in mind the requirements, needs, and feelings of their subordinates when involving them in any managerial function. As even the slightest error, could disrupt the job satisfaction of the employees (Babin and Griffin, 1998).

Many managerial practices have the potential to manage employee behavior and responses in ways that improve service quality and their performance. Several suggestions have appeared in the literature. Hartline and Ferrell (1996) have emphasized the importance of training employees, arguing that those companies that train their employees sufficiently will have employees who are more motivated, more knowledgeable, more skilled, and thereby more confident in performing their job. Training the employees is also a way of conveying to them the message that they are important for the organization and the higher authorities are interested in investing in them. Organizational development is always powered by human knowledge, capabilities and skills. That is why contemporary and modern organizations pay more and more consideration to the development of their employees. Therefore, employee education and training are becoming a most favorable answer to the intricate and multifaceted business challenges and dimensions, and the management of human resources is taking a vital role in modern management. Throughout the progression of employee training and development, the management of human resources furnishes constant knowledge innovation, creates circumstances for mutual knowledge, and experience exchange upbeat and proactive behavior, in this way contributing to viable advantage and satisfaction of all members in business procedures.

Most studies have defined, conceptualized, and measured managerial practices from the perspective of management (Forrester, 2000). However, Babakus et al. (2003) have noted that management’s desires and good intentions do not mean much unless employees perceived them as such. It is reasonable and sensible, then, to take an employee’s perspective, as it is both important and valuable. To accommodate the shortcomings of previous studies, the present study defines managerial practices from an employee’s perspective. Based on Bagozzi’s (1992) attitude theory, managerial practices are defined as employees’ cognitive appraisal of the practices of their managers. The focus of this study is limited to four aspects of a manager’s practice or function, i.e. planning, organizing, controlling, and motivating. This study assumes that these four practices are fundamental aspects of managerial practices. It is worth mentioning that Pfeffer’s (1994) list of best managerial practice emphasizes motivating employees with the help of rewards and recognition as highly important aspects or facets of managerial practice. In the light of this study, it is assumed and well justified that employees’ cognitive appraisal of managerial functions have an effect on positive or negative emotions.

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Each function of a manager would be taken up individually to enlighten how and in what manner it effects an employee’s job satisfaction. This analysis would solely be based on the perspective of employees, how they take their supervisors and how their supervisors’ actions and practices affect their levels of job satisfaction.

Effect of Planning on Employees:

For managers, planning is the procedure of formulating strategies for accomplishment and success, designing goals and objectives for their organization and the development of courses of action depended on their strategy (Mondy, 1992). It’s highly important that when managers exercise this function, they involve their subordinates along with them, delegate them authority and tasks to do it on their own.

Forrester (2000) has emphasized empowerment as a key feature of managerial practices that lead to organizations’ effectiveness. By delegating the employees the freedom and ability to make decisions and commitments, a manager can anticipate a positive effect on employee’s productivity. Tschohl (1998) has offered the same explanation for the success of firms, and more recently, Liu (2006) has suggested that effective managerial practice for organizations should not only be constrained to delegating authority but should also include involving employees in defining and developing of vision statements. He suggests that one result of this kind of involvement leads to employees being satisfied and more willing to summon the effort required to provide a higher standard of work and service. Other suggestions for managerial practices can be found in the literature by Alexandrov et al., 2007; Babakus et al., 2003; Chebat et al., 2003; Rogg et al., 2001; Tornow and Wiley, 2002.

Effect of Organizing on Employees:

Organizing too is a managerial function that takes into consideration the development an organizational structure and allocation of human resources to guarantee the successful accomplishment of goals and objectives (Mondy, 1992). The makeup and constitute of an organization is a framework within which attempts are coordinated. The structure is more often than not depicted by an organization chart, which offers a graphic demonstration of the hierarchy of power and command within a particular organization (Megginson, 1992).

Once plans have been prepared, the organizing function mostly answers the query of, how work will be divided and carried out (Mondy, 1992). This means that the manager defines a variety of job duties and groups them into separate areas, units, sections or teams. The manager must state the duties, allocate them, and, then also give his subordinates the power and authority they need to accomplish their tasks.

Organizing, in addition, involves the design of separate jobs inside the organization. Decisions ought to be made regarding the responsibilities and duties of individual jobs, with the behavior in which the duties are supposed to be passed out (Megginson, 1992).

Effect of Controlling on Employees:

Controlling is all about making sure that performance does not deviate and move away from standards and requirements (Mondy, 1992). Controlling comprises of three steps, which are (1) establishing performance standards for all the employees to follow, (2) comparing actual performance against the set standards, and (3) taking corrective action whenever needed and when necessary. Performance standards most of the times are stated and declared in monetary terms such as costs, revenues, or profits but may possibly be stated in other terms as well, for instance in number of units produced, number of defective and useless products, or levels of quality or customer service. Similarly, the measurement of performance can also be done in other several ways; it can depend on the performance standards, financial statements, annual or quarterly sales reports, production results and stats, customer satisfaction or complaints, and formal performance appraisals and evaluations.

Managers at all levels of their career employ themselves in the managerial practice or function of controlling to a certain extent, and the manner in which they apply that control says a lot about the kind of manager they are. Findings by Holden (1958), Simmons (1959), and Seiler and Bartlett (1982) suggested that there is always an association between a manager’s locus of control with his preference and liking for a particular supervisory style. This notion was also supported by Goodstadt and Hjelle (1973). Holden (1958) and Simmons (1959) also found a link between the personality changes in a manger and his level of control on his subordinates, while Seiler and Bartlett (1982) revealed that authoritarian managers have a liking for budgetary systems that are more inflexible and rigid and exhibits comparatively lower levels of participation.

The managerial function of controlling must not be mixed up or confused with control in behavioral or scheming terms. This function does not suggest that managers ought to attempt and try to control or to manipulate the people, values, attributes, or emotions of their subordinates, be it new or old. As an alternative, this function of management concerns and takes into account the manager’s role in taking essential actions to make sure that all the activities related to work of new subordinates are consistent and in accordance with and contributing toward the attainment of organizational and departmental objectives (Megginson, 1992).

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According to Nicholas J. Di (1974), subordinates hold positive attitude towards supervisors who prefer teamwork over individual work, provides freedom to the individual to pursue his own interests as well as keeping some degree of control through rules, procedures. Successful controlling necessitates the usage of plans, as planning supplies the much needed performance standards or objectives. Controlling also requires an apparent understanding of where responsibility for variations from standards lies. Even though controlling is more often than not thought of in terms of financial measures, managers should also control other dimensions like production and operations processes, procedures for delivery and availability of services, compliance with and acceptance of company policies, and several other activities within the thresholds of a particular organization.

Effect of Motivating on Employees:

Employees who receive positive reinforcement and productive criticism from managers show signs of changes. Employee satisfaction is an important aspect of business. Employees wish to work for companies who value and encourage their workforce and human resources (Organ, 1988). It has been revealed in past literature that satisfied and motivated employees increase profits and that they show increased productivity with improvements in an organization. Improvements can be made on varying levels including policy changes, managerial changes, or communication changes to name a few. The study of managerial influence on worker satisfaction is in need of expansion (Richmond, McCroskey, Davis, 1982).

Previous research has demonstrated that the practice of rewarding is important for at least two reasons. First, a reward has a motivating effect on employees to do what managers expect of them. Second, rewarding practices can stimulate employees to deliver high-quality service and performance (Richmond, McCroskey, Davis, 1982). An empirical study by Bowen and Johnston (1999) presents a worth while example of the value of managerial reward practices. Focusing on factors contributing to employees’ ability to handle difficult situations, their study demonstrated that the practice of rewarding motivated employees not only to see to their work in general but also to handle the arising problems in a proper manner. Clearly, this study illustrates the importance of managerial reward practices for enhancing employee-performance quality.

Further more, investigations and consideration on the concept of reward practices often disclose that it is vital that the employees themselves recognize the reward practices as being fair (cf. Livingstone et al., 1995). In other words, the reward practice must be fair in order to encourage motivation on the part of the employees to deliver excellent work performance. Based on this reasoning, the current study defines reward practices as “fairness in rewards allocation”, i.e. the employees’ perception that they have been fairly and reasonably rewarded given their responsibilities, job effort, and performance (Organ, 1988).

Limitations of Previous Researches:

Among the inspections and examinations of the effect of managerial practices, the majority of studies have taken only the managerial perspective. This focus and consideration on managers has left a gap in the knowledge of managerial practices from an employee’s perspective and point of view (Forrester, 2000). Though recent studies and researches do aim to capture and analyze what and how employees perceive their managers and their working environment, a lot about how employees, and especially new employees, take their supervisor’s practices is still untouched. This research aims to touch upon that unexplored territory and bring forth an employee’s perception and his feelings towards his level of job satisfaction.

Managerial Implications:

This study, as mentioned earlier, directs its research on finding out how new employees feel when they are involved in a certain managerial function by their supervisor and how each function affects their job satisfaction. Managerial practices are complex observable facts. Many factors are expected to be present that both impede and interact with each other. As Babakus et al. (2003) have noted, earlier researches on the effect of managerial practices are limited because they were characteristically and on an average studied in isolation. In contrast, this study tries to explore the effect of the simultaneous effect of managerial practices/functions (planning, controlling, organizing and motivating) on employees’ satisfaction. This would provide insights to managers as to how they should go about treating their new subordinates, and how each function – the way its carried out- would have an impact on their level of job satisfaction.

Its highly important for the managers/supervisors of today to forecast the needs of their subordinates, be it new or old, as they are the ones who would eventually effect the over all performance of an organization. When the job satisfaction of employees (subordinates) is given importance and is catered to in the right way, it not only motivates the newly hired subordinates to give their best but also helps in retaining them for a longer period of time.

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