It is possible to see a number of theories developed to understand its nature in literature.
Maslow (1954) suggested that human needs form a five-level hierarchy ranging from physiological needs, safety, belongingness and love, esteem to self-actualization. Based on Maslow’s theory, job satisfaction has been approached by some researchers from the perspective of need fulfillment (Kuhlen, 1963; Worf, 1970; Conrad et al., 1985). Herzberg et al. (1959) formulated the two-factor theory of job satisfaction and postulated that satisfaction and dissatisfaction were two separate and sometimes even unrelated phenomena.
Intrinsic factors named ‘motivators’ (that is, factors intrinsic to the nature and experience of doing work) were found to be job ‘satisfiers’ and included achievement, recognition, work itself and responsibility. Extrinsic factors which they named ‘hygiene’ factors were found to be job ‘dissatisfiers’ and included company policy, administration, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations and working conditions. Herzberg and Mausner’s Motivation-Hygiene theory has dominated the study of the nature of job satisfaction, and formed a basis for the development of job satisfaction assessment. Vroom (1964), need/value fulfilment theory, states that job satisfaction is negatively related to the discrepancy between individual needs and the extent to which the job supplies these needs. On the other hand, Porter and Lawler (1968) collect the influences on job satisfaction in two groups of internal and external satisfactory factors. According to them, internal satisfactory factors are related the work itself (such as feeling of independence, feeling of achievement, feeling of victory, self-esteem, feeling of control and other similar feeling obtained from work), whereas external satisfactory factors are not directly related to work itself (such as good relationships with colleagues, high salary, good welfare and utilities). So, the influences on job satisfaction can be also divided into work-related and employee-related factors (Glisson and Durick, 1988)
JOB SATISFACTION VARIABLES
Researchers have attempted to identify the various components of job satisfaction, measure the relative importance of each component of job satisfaction and examine what effects these components have on workers’ productivity. It can be considered as a global feeling about the job or as a related constellation of attitudes about various aspects or facets of the job.
Steven and John after collecting data through job satisfaction survey (JSS) concluded that the overall level of job satisfaction of software developers was 4.05 which can be interpreted as slightly satisfied. Supervision, benefits, coworkers, nature of work had a high mean value of 4.827 (SD 1.214), 4.323 (SD 1.123), 4.641 (SD 0.958), 4.769 (SD 0.993) respectively which can be interpreted that software developers were moderately satisfied with supervision, benefits, coworkers and nature of work. They were slightly agree with pay (mean=3.629, SD= 1.301), contingent rewards (mean=3.850, SD= 1.259), working condition (mean=3.718, SD= 0.978), and communication (mean=3.722, SD= 1.128) while they were slightly dissatisfied with promotion (mean=2.951, SD= 1.263). Similarly Sharaf et. al (2008) measured the level of job satisfaction among primary care physicians. They used JSS for collecting data. Overall physicians were slightly satisfied (Mean = 3.46, SD 0.67). They also found that physicians were moderately satisfied with supervision (Mean = 4.62, SD 1.20), coworkers (Mean = 4.58, SD .86) and nature of work (Mean = 4.69, SD 1.06) while slightly satisfied with communication (Mean = 3.80, SD 1.09). Physicians were slightly dissatisfied with pay (Mean = 2.76, SD 1.26), promotion (Mean = 2.56, SD 1.12), fringe benefits (Mean = 2.65, SD 1.09), contingent rewards (Mean = 2.61, SD 1.15), and operating condition (Mean = 2.85, SD .71). The author emphasizes that likely causes of job satisfaction include status, supervision, co-worker relationships, job content, remuneration and extrinsic rewards, promotion and physical conditions of the work environment, as well as organizational structure.
On the other hand, Arvey and Dewhirst (1976), took 271 scientists as a study sample, and found that the degree of job-satisfaction of the workers with high achievement motivation exceeded that of workers with low achievement motivation. Also autonomy is an important concern for employees’ job satisfaction. For example, Abdel-Halim (1983) investigated 229 supervisory and non-supervisory employees in a large retail-drug company and concluded that individuals who have high need-for-independence performed better and were more satisfied with high participation for non-repetititive tasks (Kam, 1998). Additionally, administrative styles, professional status and pay are known as important factors influencing job satisfaction. For example, Carr and Kazanowsky (1994) successfully showed that inadequate salary was much related to employees’ dissatisfaction. And recent studies showed that a participative (democratic) management style was mostly preferred by today’s managers to increase their employees’ job satisfaction (Dogan and Ybicioglu, 2004; Knoop, 1991).
Consequently, numerous researches have been going on job satisfaction for many years. And it is common thought that job satisfaction influences organizational behavior, namely it positively affects employee working performance and organizational commitment, and negatively influences employee turnover (Agarwal and Ferrat, 2001; Poulin, 1994; Chen, 2008). Moreover, the relationships between job satisfaction and many variables such as motivation, stress, salary, promotion, role conflict, distributive and procedural justice, role ambiguity, autonomy, workload, leadership style, educational level, emotional intelligence are still being analyzed in different fields as an attractive and important subject of management literature (Ross and Reskin, 1992; Agho et al., 1993; Stordeur et al., 2001; Chu et al., 2003; Kafetsios and Zampetakis, 2008). For example, Sengin (2003), and Hinshaw and Atwood (1984) identify variables that influence employee job satisfaction as: (1) demographic variables: education, experience, and position in the hierarchy; (2) Job characteristics: autonomy, tasks repetitiveness, and salaries; and (3) organizational environment factors: degree of professionalization, type of unit. And Mrayyan (2005) says that the variables of encouragement, feedback, a widening pay scale and clear job description, career development opportunity, supportive leadership style, easy communication with colleagues and social interaction positively affect job satisfaction, whereas role stress has a negative influence on it. Similarly, the research made by Chu and his friends (2003) demonstrates that satisfaction is positively related to involvement, positive affectivity, autonomy, distributive justice, procedural justice, promotional chances, supervisor support, co-worker support, but it is negatively related to negative affectivity, role ambiguity, work-load, resource inadequacy and routinization. For example, it has a positive association with life satisfaction (Judge, Boudreau & Bretz, 19 1994 cited in Buitendach & De Witte, 2005), organisational commitment (Fletcher & Williams, 1996 cited in Buitendach & De Witte, 2005) and job performance (Babin & Boles, 1996 cited in Buitendach & De Witte, 2005). Cherrington (1994) postulates that employees experiencing high satisfaction levels contribute to organisational commitment, job involvement, improved physical and mental health, and improved quality of life both on and off the job. Job dissatisfaction on the other hand, culminates in higher absenteeism, turnover, labour problems, labour grievances, attempts to organise labour unions and a negative organisational climate. Spector’s (1997) research corroborates that of Cherrington’s (1994) in which it was found that employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs show their disapproval by constantly being late or staying absent from work.
Robbins et al. (2003) add that an individual with high job satisfaction will display a positive attitude towards their job, and the individual who is dissatisfied will have a negative attitude about the job.