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A REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ON THE CONCEPT: JOB SATISFACTION THEORIES

Posted by Connie R. Aponte on November 1, 2013 in Job |

We now look at different theories of job satisfaction, to determine how they can be utilized to improve and increase job satisfaction. Content theories of job satisfaction The content theory of job satisfaction rests on indentifying the needs and motives that drive people. The theory emphasizes the inner needs that drive people to act in a particular way in the work environment. These theories therefore suggest that management can determine and predict the needs of employees by observing their behavior Maslow’s hierarchy of needs According to Maslow’s theory (1970), people’s needs range from a basic to a high level.

These needs are present within every human being in a hierarchy, namely physiological, safety and security, social, status and self-actualization needs. Failureto satisfy one need may have an impact on the next level of need. Low order needs takes priority before the higher order needs are activated, so that needs are satisfied in sequence. According to this theory, people who are struggling to survive are less concerned about needs on the higher levels than people who have time and energy to be aware of higher level needs. Hertzberg’s two-factor theory In the late 1950s Frederick Herzberg developed a theory that there are two dimensions to job satisfaction, “motivation” and “hygiene”. The work characteristics associated with dissatisfaction (hygiene factors) vary from those pertaining to satisfaction (motivators) in that motivators lead to satisfaction, although their absence may not lead to dissatisfaction. The motivators include achievement, recognition and intrinsic interest in the work itself. The continuing relevance of Herzberg is that there must be some direct link between performance and reward, whether extrinsic as in recognition or intrinsic as in naturally enjoyable work, to motivate employees to perform and improve their job satisfaction. The current study will be based upon this theory “Hygiene” factors. Hygiene factors are features of the job such as policies and practices, remuneration, benefits and working conditions, corresponding to Maslow’s lower order of needs. Improving these factors may decrease job dissatisfaction and thus increasing of motivators. Inadequate hygiene factors may lead to dissatisfaction, but at the same time adequate hygiene factors do not necessarily lead to job satisfaction. Hygiene factors need to be tacked first, and the motivators can follow. Organizations cannot afford to ignore hygiene factors as employees will be generally unhappy and thus likely to seek other opportunities, while mediocre employees might stay on, and compromise the organization’s success. According to Herzberg, motivators include job content such as responsibility, self esteem, growth and autonomy. These satisfy high order needs and can result in job satisfaction. Granting employees more responsibility and creativity in their jobs is an example of a motivator which may encourage them to exert more effort and perform better.

Process Theories of Job Satisfaction

Behaviour is a fundamental indication of an individual’s perception and expectations about a situation and possible outcome of behaviour. Process theories define how and by which goals individuals are motivated. They are based on the assumption that people make conscious decisions regarding their behaviour. The most common process theories are the equity theory, the expectancy theory and the job characteristics model.

Expectancy Theory

This theory was developed by Vroom(1964) who asserts that job satisfaction is based on people’s beliefs about the probability that their effort will lead to performance (expectancy) multiplied by the probability that performance leads to rewards (instrumentality) and the value of perceived rewards (valence).This theory is based on the belief that the amount of effort exerted on a job depends on the expected return and may result in increased pleasure or decreased displeasure, and that people may perform their job and be satisfied if they believe that their efforts will be rewarded. The fundamental principle of expectancy theory is the understanding of individuals’ goals and the linkages between effort and performance, performance and rewards, and rewards and individual goal satisfaction. This theory recognizes that there is no universal principle that explains people’s motivation and is regarded as a contingency model. Understanding what needs a person seeks to satisfy does not ensure that the individual perceives high performance as necessarily leading to the satisfaction of these needs.

Job Characteristics Model

Bergh and Theron (2000) describe this model as an interactive model that develops employees and the work environment to achieve maximum fit in the work environment. The model asserts that the job should be designed to possess characteristics to enable conditions for high motivation, satisfaction and performance. There are five core characteristics of the job that influence workers’ behaviour and attitude, namely, skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. The relationship between core job characteristics and work outcomes is moderated by employees’ growth-need strength, knowledge, skill, and context satisfaction, therefore the relationship between core job characteristics and work outcomes may differ.

Equity Theory

This theory emphasizes the comparison of existing conditions against some standard by using the relationship between two variables (inputs and outcomes). Inputs are what an individual contributes to an exchange, while outcomes represent what an individual obtains from an exchange. Equity theory suggests that individuals assign weights to various inputs and outcomes according to their own perception of relative importance. According to Daft and Noel (2001), equity theory is a process of job satisfaction that focuses on individuals’ perceptions of how fairly they are treated compared to others. This implies that, if people perceive their treatment as less favorable than that of others with whom they compare themselves, they are likely to be less motivated to perform better. This theory therefore posits that people compare the ratio of their outputs to inputs with the ratio of outputs to inputs of others.

CONCLUSIONS

Most of the studies have concluded resolving the issue of Employees dissatisfaction constructively as the consequences may be exit of talent, chronic absenteeism, reduced effort, increased error rate and frustration. The importance of studying this issue have been reflected in several studies which shows varied benefits as an indication to the management on levels of job satisfaction, training needs, and welfare initiatives to be taken by them. Various studies have suggested the job dimensions that represent the most important characteristics of a job about which people have affective responses. Although many studies have been made on Job Satisfaction with change in time the variables to it will vary and it provides further scope for more comprehensive studies.

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