What is job satisfaction? We usually hear phrases like “I hate my job” and “my job makes me miserable”. Why people hate their jobs? How can they be happy and satisfied with their jobs? What are the factors which contribute to job satisfaction? Let’s analyze what job satisfaction is and what factors affect it?

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is a work attitude. Let’s understand first what an attitude is.

Attitude

Attitude has three components

Cognitive

Cognitive part of attitude comprises of thoughts, beliefs, opinions and knowledge about something.

Affective

Affective part of attitude is related to feelings and emotions associated with something.

Conative or behavior

Behavior is the inclination to take action about someone or something in a certain way.

Job satisfaction: cognitive and affective

Job satisfaction comprises of both cognitive and affective aspects of job which includes, beliefs or thoughts about the job and feelings or emotions associated with job. Let’s analyze both cognitive and affective components of job satisfaction separately.

Job satisfaction: Cognitive

From a cognitive point of view, job satisfaction is logical and rational appraisal of working conditions, development opportunities and work output. Job satisfaction is determined by the degree to which working conditions, development opportunities and nature of job satisfy individuals’ needs. In cognitive appraisal, individuals compare different job aspects with their own set standards which determines their satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the job.

Job satisfaction: Affective

From an affective point of view, job satisfaction is concerned with the feelings and emotions individuals associate with their jobs. It is the degree to which job evokes individuals’ positive feelings and emotions. This component of job satisfaction is related to feelings of pleasure and happiness associated with the job.

What factors affect job satisfaction?

There are many factors which contribute to the formation of attitude of job satisfaction. These can be divided into individual factors job-related factors and organizational factors. Let’s analyze them separately.

Individual factors

Individual factors include personality traits which affect one’s job satisfaction. Personality traits which affect job satisfaction positively are:

Positive affect

Positive affectivity is a personality trait associated with the experience of positive emotions. Individuals high on positive affectivity are cheerful, enthusiastic, energetic, confident and alert.

Extraversion

Extraversion is a personality trait characterized by sociability, optimism, assertiveness and talkativeness.

Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is a personality trait characterized by planning, organizing, self-control, determination and purposefulness.

Self-esteem

Self-esteem is an appraisal of individual’s self-worth. It is the value individuals’ attach to themselves.

Self-efficacy

Self-efficacy is an estimation of individuals own ability to perform well in different circumstances.

Internal locus of control

Internal locus of control is a tendency of individuals to attribute their life circumstances to themselves rather than external environment, with the belief that they control their life events and circumstances instead of some external factors beyond control.

Job-related factors

Job related factors include job characteristics which include:

Skill variety

Skill variety is the opportunity provided by the job to develop and acquire new skills. When a job requires variety of skills, abilities and talents then it seems more meaningful.

Task identity  

Task identity pertains to the ability to complete a task with a visible outcome. This relates to completeness of a task in itself rather than a piece of some bigger outcome.

Task significance

Task significance is the perception of the importance of task to the people within and outside the organization. It is the degree to which an individual feel that task in hand is significant enough to affect other people’s lives.

Autonomy

Autonomy is the degree to which an individual enjoys freedom, discretion and independence in carrying out different facets of job.

Feedback

Feedback is the degree to which individual is notified about the outcome of the task performed. The information and knowledge about the outcome of job done as well as the effectiveness of task carried out comprises feedback.

Organizational factors

Organizational factors pertains to the working environment which includes:

Leadership and supervision

Leadership and supervision pertains to the support individuals get from their leaders and supervisors in carrying out their job functions. This include both technical and social support.

Co-worker ties

Co-worker ties relates to the quality of working relationship individuals enjoy with their coworkers. It refers to the mutual respect and social harmony among the employees.

Job security

Job security is an assurance to the individual that his/her job is secure. This is most important in the times of economic uncertainty.

Promotion

Promotion pertains to the opportunities for future growth and further advancement.

Compensation

Compensation refers to the amount of pay and rewards individual is getting from that job. This also includes fairness and justice in terms of compensation with respect to coworkers.

Person-organization fit

Person-organization fit is a match between individuals’ values, needs and abilities with organization’s values, demands and rewards. The better match results in increased satisfaction and performance and decreased stress and turnover.

Job satisfaction and organizational outcomes

Job satisfaction results in positive outcomes such as:

Performance

Job satisfaction is positively associated with job performance. This suggests that employees who are more satisfied with their jobs are more productive and organizations with more satisfied employees are more effective.

Absenteeism

There is a negative relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism. Satisfied employees are more likely to be present at work even when little sick as compare to dissatisfied employees.

Turnover

Satisfied employees are more likely to stay with the organization while dissatisfied employees are more likely to look up for new job opportunities. The relationship of job satisfaction with turnover is also affected by other factors like alternative job prospects and employees’ human capital (education, skill level etc.).

Organizational citizenship behavior (OCB)

Individuals who are more satisfied with their jobs are more inclined to exhibit organizational citizenship behavior. Satisfied employees are more likely to display altruistic behavior at work and would go a step further to help their coworkers by going beyond their normal job expectations.

Counter productive work behaviors (CWB)

Dissatisfied employees are more likely to dispel their dissatisfaction in the form of undesirable work behaviors such as work avoidance, aggression, substance abuse and stealing at work.

How to increase job satisfaction of employees?

Job satisfaction of employees can be enhanced by paying attention to job design, individual personality and working environment.

Job Design (autonomy, task variety, task identity, task significance, feedback)

Personality (Positive affect, self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control)

Working environment (Compensation, Promotions, Support, coworker ties)

Benefits of job satisfaction

The employees with high job satisfaction level are:

  • More productive
  • More supportive
  • Less absent
  • Less deviant
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