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Perceived Organizational Support Job Trust And Job Satisfaction Management Essay

Job Satisfaction is a measure of how content an individual is with his job. Quite a few models have been developed in order to explain causes and effects of job satisfaction, for example, affect theory, dispositional theory, two factor theory and the job characteristics model. For years researchers have been trying to establish relationship among various parameters affecting the job satisfaction, job commitment, job dedication and job performance of the employees in the organizations. This is particularly important for organizations in order to improve working conditions, figure out the motivating factors and thus increase employee productivity by creating a healthy work environment. Job Satisfaction is an indicator of employee perceptions and feelings about their jobs. It can also predict work behaviours like organisational citizenship, absenteeism and turnover. Another important and relevant research finding is the relationship between life satisfaction and job satisfaction which is found to be reciprocal. It means that a person who is satisfied with his job may be quite satisfied with his life and vice versa. Job satisfaction is believed to positively affect the productivity of the employee which is vital to business units that are aiming to increase outputs.

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Perceived organizational support is usually thought to be a dynamic relationship between the employer and his employees. According to Rhoades and Eisenberger(2002) the stakeholders share a reciprocal relationship where higher POS is related with sincere efforts put in by the employee to achieve organizational goals. Research findings suggest that professional employees were more likely to perceive higher organizational support when they strongly identified with their workplace and a positive correlation was observed between job performance and POS (Heckman et al., 2009). Our research aims at analyzing the relationship between perceived organizational support and job satisfaction. Trust acts as a mediator in our model. Perceived organizational support is the degree to which employees believe that their organization values their contributions and cares about their well being. Trust is to believe the person who you trust to do what you expect and job satisfaction describes how content an individual is with his or her job. This research attempts to study and establish relationships between the constructs for the public and private sector employees in India. There are various standard scales available to measure each of these parameters. In this study we have mostly used the shortened version of the scales.

Research background and Hypothesis

Perceived Organizational Support:

The concept of organizational support has generated enough interest in order to study its impact on performance of the employees. The perception an employee develops about his/her organization valuing his contributions and caring about his interests and well being is termed as Perceived Organizational Support (POS)(Eisenberger and Rhoades,2002). A meta-analysis has indicated that three major categories of expectations that an employee has from his work organization are associated with POS. They are evenhandedness of procedures, support of the immediate superior and performance related rewards and favorable job conditions. Taking into account the employers' expectations from their employees, they value dedication and loyalty. Emotion centric view of organizational commitment underlines that the sense of unity felt by the employee and the values that he shares with the organization determine the performance and absenteeism levels, probability of quitting his job (Mathieu & Zajac, 1990;Meyer & Allen, 1997; Mowday, Porter, & Steers, 1982). Social Exchange theorists state that employment is a give and take relationship of dedication and loyalty for tangible rewards and social benefits (e.g., Bateman & Organ, 1983; Brief & Motowidlo, 1986). The antecedents of POS and its outcomes are explained by the organisational support theory which (Eisenberger, Huntington, Hutchison, & Sowa, 1986). This theory assumes that to determine organisation's readiness to reward employee efforts and meet their socio emotional needs, employee forms general beliefs about the concern shown and expected in future by his organisation towards him. POS is also considered an assurance of the assistance that will be available to the employee in times of distress (cf. George, Reed, Ballard, Colin, & Fielding, 1993). Actions taken by the agents of the organisation are representative of its intent and are not personal motives. The personification of the organisation is supported by its moral and legal responsibilities, culture, norms and policies. Employees form perceptions based on the above indicators about the support they get from their work organisation (Levinson, 1965). This theory also states that POS should develop some kind of an obligation in the employee to perform for the organisation and help reach its objectives. The role discernment of employees is assumed to depend on the activities that the organisation sees as necessary for successful job performance (Porter & Lawler, 1968). Performance is expected to increase with higher efforts put in by the employee and the perception that such fruitful efforts will be rewarded (Campbell, Dunnette, Lawler, & Weick, 1970; Katz, 1964).


Trust is one of the most important fundamentals on which an employer-employee relationship is based. This relationship goes a long way in instilling confidence and destructing fear by creating a work environment free of worry and suspicion (Zeffane, 2003). Trust has also been suggested to be a psychological state according to which it is measured on the basis of perceived vulnerability or risk due to the uncertainty involved (Kramer, 1999).

In our research work we are concerned with the trust within the organization i.e. the extent of trust the employees have in the organization they work for, basically between employees and managers or supervisors. Thus in an organizational context trust is based on the social exchange theory mainly (Whitener et al., 1998), which explains trust to be an outcome of exchange of benefits between the two parties involved. The underlying concept involved here is "reciprocity", which establishes the fact that investment in the employees in an organization in terms of recognition, empowerment, justice, support and other favours will always be returned and not go waste (Gouldner, 1960). According the research done by Prusak and Cohen (2001), it is possible for managers to develop an environment of trust in the organization by encouraging mutual trust, and support. This in turn increases the level of perceived faith in the organization by the employees. It has also been argued that this trust (McAllister, 1995) is the key to organizational trust and control. It leads to increased level of employee participation which involves decision making power in the hands of the subordinates which would inevitably lead to increase in mistakes. Thus, by delegating this power to the subordinates the organization increases the risk factor but at the same time, since this delegation needs a bond of trust (Yukl, 1994), gives a clear indication that organization believes in its employees and thus the individual perceives this organizational trust and in turn contributes effectively and positively towards the organization. It is also true that each individual perceives the level of trust differently. So, it is futile to hold common assumptions across all work relationships and thus context based analysis is required. The trust levels also vary on the basis of who is participating in the relationship i.e. at what level of the organization (Graham et al., 2006). Thus, this trust existing in an organization determines to a large extent an organization's culture and work dynamics, by influencing factors like organizational structure, job satisfaction and commitment (Zaffane et. al, 2003). Hence, we have taken this as one of the constructs (as a mediator) in our analysis of the relationship between perceived organizational support and job satisfaction.

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Job Satisfaction:

Job satisfaction was attributed to greatest possible earnings with the least amount of work done (Taylor, 1970). This controversial theory encouraged a number of other studies to prove the significance of other factors in determining job satisfaction. These factors were identified as communication apprehension, perceptions of immediate supervisors and employee esteem (Falcione, 1977). Also, job satisfaction was determined to be influenced by the returns or rewards expected by the individual and the extent to which she was able to achieve them in the job. (Jorgensen, 1973). Employee perceptions were considered more important in determining job satisfaction than physical evidences like pay (Brayfield et al., 1951). The short form version of Brayfield and Rothe's scale was developed to measure employee perceptions about their job and organization (Algho et al., 1992). A lot of research has been targeted at job satisfaction and the turnover rates in the organizations or the employee's intention to quit. (Spector et al., 1997). In this regard, job satisfaction was proved to be related to job identification. Both of them were determined to be organizational anchors and were used to predict the turnover within organizations (De Moura et al., 2009). A precedent to job satisfaction was identified as job insecurity (Reisel et al., 2010) and an antecedent was found to be role conscientiousness and performance of extra-role tasks (Nathan et al.). Job satisfaction has often been positively linked to training and development opportunities in the organization. A significant positive relationship was observed between employer provided training satisfaction and overall job satisfaction of employees. Satisfaction with training and development significantly affects career decisions and is a valued factor among employees, thus significantly impacting job satisfaction (Schmidt, 2007). Also, job satisfaction was conceptually established as a mediator between perceived organizational support and job commitment. Empirically, a positive relationship was established between perceived organizational support and job satisfaction (Chiu et al., 2010). In a recent study on job satisfaction, a total of nine factors grouped under four headings were considered as precedents of job satisfaction. The four headings included organizational change, organizational support, job characteristics and managerial role. It was empirically proved that decentralization, informal communication, support from supervisor, participative organizational culture, autonomy and empowerment of employees and the type of role in the organization significantly influenced the job satisfaction of employees (Lee et al., 2008). The role of supervisory or immediate boss support was determined to be significant. As per the study, supervisors were perceived as the representatives of the organization by employees and are responsible for acting as the interface between organization and employees. Thus, they naturally build a relationship with employees. Quality of this relationship was the significant determinant of employee perceptions and job satisfaction (Ladebo, 2008). The use of information systems in the organization has been observed to have a positive impact on employee job satisfaction. In the evolving workplaces of present, the ability to work flexibly and efficiently is observed to have a major impact on the technologically advanced employees. Thus, the installation of an efficient Information System, which provided easy access to information was observed to increase the job satisfaction scores significantly (Chen et al, 2008).

The relationship between POS and Job Satisfaction:

POS is related to, yet different form the constructs like job satisfaction. POS is determined to have a strong influence on employee reactions to their jobs on various dimensions, including job satisfaction, job involvement and job commitment (Rhoades, 2002). As per the norms of reciprocity, an employee would react positively to good treatment from the supervisor or immediate boss. As the immediate boss is the direct representative of the organisation, a fair treatment from him would be seen to be organisational support and would encourage employees to go beyond their normal call of duty to reciprocate the good treatment (Rousseau, 1989). POS is defined as the perception which employees have of how much the organization values them, their contributions or cares about them. High POS would meet psychological needs of employees, e.g. approval, esteem and social identity needs. It would also motivate the employees by raising the expectations of rewards on above average or above expected performance (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Percieved organisational support has a positive relationship with psychological well being which is defined in terms of job satisfaction and life satisfaction. This relationship is mediated by effective commitment (Meyer et al., 2002). POS is most often observed to be positively related with organizational commitment (Shore et al., 1991). However, POS is still distinct from organisational commitment because while POS measures the extent to which organisation cares about its employees as per their perceptions, organisational commitment measures the extent to which employees see themselves as being committed to the organisation and thus satisfied (Shore et al., 1993) Without POS, employees may be unhappy with the tasks associated with their jobs and may be dissatisfied. POS is affected by the various aspects of an organization's treatment of its employees (Tansky et al., 2001). Organizational support is measured in terms of customized training opportunities and options of flexible working hours. Career satisfaction acts as a mediating variable for relationship between perceived organizational support and employee's intentions to continue in the organization (Armstrong et al., 2009). Training and mentoring before special assignments has been seen to be a strong indicator of organisational support. These initiatives give a sense of security to employees and reassure them and organization will help them meet challenges. Thus, they identify more with the job and do it more efficiently (Cuplan, 2002).

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The current study aims to explore the relationship between the constructs of perceived organizational support, truat and job satisfaction. All these constructs have been explored in a number of previous studies but the intere,ationship proposed in this model with the mediating effect of trust on the relationship between POS and Job Satisfaction is unique and unstudied so far. The model developed is found to be significant in two out of the three cases explored, viz a viz a general data set, a data set for public sector employees and a data set for private sector employees. The model is found to hold and full mediation exists in two of these constructs that is in the case of general data set and in case of employees employed in the private sector.

Full mediation in this case implies that the effect of Perceived organizational support, i.e. the employee attitudes regarding how far the organization cares about their well being, is interested in their training and development, is willing to cooperate with them (Brayfield et al., 1951) and other variables the construct is measured on, help to develop the trust am employee places in the organization. The trust is indicated again by the employee's inherent belief that organization will not go against his interests, is free of worry and suspicion (Zeffane, 2003) and feels safe (Kramer, 1999). This trust again leads to the employee being satisfied or dissatisfied with his current job. The level of satisfaction is shown by the emploee's intention to remain in the organization (Spector et al., 1997), the level of enthusiasm he feels about his daily work and the extent to which he identifies with the organization.

Full mediation observed in the case of private sector employees indicates that when employees perceivehigh support, they trust the organization more and thus are more satisfied with their jobs.

Whereas, the insignificance of relationship between the POS and job satisfaction in thepublic sector indicates that employees may not feel satisfied even if they perceive support. Percieved support does lead to a measure of trust in this sector and again this trust causes job satisfaction. But the relationships observed, specially in the case pf POS leading to trust are not strong. This indicates that POS is not having a very significant impact in building trust or in keeping employees satisfied from their jobs. This might be due to a highly bureaucratic and impersonal structure of a public sector organization. Research indicates that supervisor/immediateboss support is an important measure of job satisfaction (Falcione, 1977), which is often not present for government organizations.

Limitations and Conclusion

The model developed is found to be significant in two out of the three cases explored, viz a viz a general data set, a data set for public sector employees and a data set for private sector employees. One of the main reason for this observation could be that, the respondents in the public sector are mostly from the middle and senior level management cadre. Managers in this category have already reached their career peaks and a saturation in the level of job satisfaction, thus in their case POS doesn't necessarily imply job satisfaction. While in the case of private sector, the respondents are mostly for the lower level managerial cadre having 5-6 years of work experience. They therefore perceive POS as an important factor for job satisfaction. Moreover the competitive job environment adds to this reasoning where employees expect a lot from the organization. Thus all the relationship hypotheses are found to be significant in the case of the private sector. The model is found to hold true and full mediation exists in two of these constructs that is in the case of general data set (when the moderation effect is not being considered) and in case of employees employed in the private sector. Full mediation observed in the case of private sector employees indicates that when employees perceive high support, they trust the organization more and thus are more satisfied with their jobs. Whereas, the insignificance of relationship between the POS and job satisfaction in the public sector indicates that employees may not feel satisfied even if they perceive support. Perceived support does lead to a measure of trust in this sector and again this trust causes job satisfaction. But the relationships observed, especially in the case of POS leading to trust are not strong. This indicates that POS is not having a very significant impact in building trust or in keeping employees satisfied from their jobs. The difference in values of the public and the private sectors can also be attributed to the fact that the kinds of industries represented by the respondents in the two sectors are very different from each other. In the case of public sector mainly banking, manufacturing and coal industry organizations have been considered while in the private sector consultancies, power sector, IT industry have been considered.

Scope for Future Research

The research work done here can be taken further to study the impact of job satisfaction on job dedication and job performance. Also, we have considered here the moderating influence of the employment sector alone, so this can be taken further to incorporate the moderating influence of the gender and the age-group as well.

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