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Being happy or unhappy is part of human nature. Stress causes dissatisfaction and vice versa. Stress is not just worrying for the employee as a health issue; it affects the workplace as well in terms of monetary compensation, turnover, absenteeism and dipped productivity. Terry et al. (1993) worked out that high level of work stress equals low job satisfaction levels. Cummins (1990) found a positive connection between job stress and employment turnover.
If Fletcher & Payne's (1980) theory where a lack of satisfaction can be a source of stress, while high satisfaction can slow the effect then for many, then the "golden handcuff" would be a good enough reason to stay on the job where having salary, pension and benefits would break even with stress.
Employee discontent leads to burnout (Maslach & Leiter, 2005) which is a psychological response to job stress. Cordes et al. (1997) found three groups of burnout-related factors:
i. Job and role characteristics:
Unaware of organization's goals
Lack of control over inputs
Workload (Vinokur-Kaplan, 1991)
Employees having to do something that they do not like or are unfamiliar with, will eventually feel powerless.
ii. Organizational characteristics:
Inappropriate management style and lack of ethics.
Lack of communication
Lack of transparency in the organization
Lack of cooperation of colleagues and management
The work place can be stress infested due to uncomfortable level of/noise, lighting, ventilation, temperature and inadequate sanitary facilities
Lack of privacy.
Lack of recognition
Lack of equipment
No career ladder
iii. Personal characteristics:
Age, gender, marital status and experience.
2.3.4 Pay and Promotion
Brown & McIntosh (1998) and Leontaridi & Sloane (2001) have found opposing results concerning the relationship pay has with job satisfaction. The first group of researchers has found little evidence that low pay affects job satisfaction. The second group reports a high job satisfaction among low pay workers.
Employees like to earn at least what they are worth; money is a motivator (Frederick W. Taylor, 1916). If there was one button that employees could press among other configurations, it would be the '+ money & - effort' one that would get the most hits. His theory suggests that job satisfaction would rise if jobs were short in duration, less tiring and fairly paid.
It widely perceived that employees receiving top salaries would not be motivated to give their best as they would not be compensated for superior performance. On the contrary, job performance would increase for those in the lower salary band to try aim for a higher job or reward. Vroom (1982) states that promotion is highly regarded and concerns the personal wishes of most employees as it is associated with higher pay, status, role and better overall package. He also stated that performance of the employee will depend on the degree the employee perceives promotion as desirable
Each individual has different needs though and some may feel that satisfaction is a stronger need than wages. Recognition for work performed is some sort of flattery and appreciation for work well done can positively impact job satisfaction. Recognition as humble as a pat on the back or a praise, do not cost anything but do what money sometimes cannot do. Employees feel valued and appreciated which can boost their morale. Human beings are complex so it cannot be guaranteed that a pat on the back or an occasional praise would work every time. This also applies to situations where one may merit a bonus but gets a pat instead, in this instance, there would be a situation of discontent which would impact job satisfaction level.
Workload can be defined as volume of work, difficulty of work and work as a psychological burden (Scott and Vale, 1998).
For some workload is synonymous of stress and possibly more working hours or less pay for more work for some. It is very rare to see employees looking for more responsibilities though this may be seen as ambitious and more recurrent in the private sector than in the public sector.
If additional workload is stamina hungry, opportunists may see it as a source job satisfaction where they can learn more in their current positions and be ahead of the competition when promotion opportunities occur. Having a greater chance of promoted within their organizations can bring satisfaction and motivation.
2.3.6 Job Content
Research shows that good job contents are a determinant of satisfaction (Clark, 2005; Helliwell & Huang, 2005). Those same contents can provide commitment to the organization as the employee may feel lucky to have found a job that meets his/her requirements therefore quits behavior can be discouraged. On a par with good relations at work and employee independence, Clark (2005) suggests that an interesting job with opportunities to help people can work miracles on satisfaction perceived by the employee. To be able to attract and retain quality employees, employers should deliberately include characteristics that create satisfying conditions into jobs (Turner and Lawrence, 1965). A job characteristic must create value and seen by the employee as motivation, satisfaction, and performance (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Some characteristics regarded highly by employees, Hackman and Oldham (1980) proposed five important job characteristics that should be included in any job including skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. Satisfaction characteristics however can vary from person to person, depending upon needs and expectations, and the working environment. Other equally interesting characteristics of jobs are good pay package, pension, benefits, opportunities for career advancement, having say into decision matters, reasonable working hours, etc.
A degree of maneuverability and flexibility give people a sense of freedom to operate in a world where the rules have been made to control and measure their actions. Very often autonomy is seen as one of the most important factors that employees need to have at their work place. It is very inconvenient for many people for example not to be able to choose their lunch time, scheduling, work methods.
Employees who are new to the job market may get used to a lack of autonomy but those who have before worked with organizations having relaxed autonomy rules may find themselves restricted if they transfer to/accept a job with less autonomy, resulting in frustrations and quits behavior.
A lack of autonomy may become a stressful and painful day at work.
Control may have the same characteristics as autonomy and affects job satisfaction the same way. People having a lack of control over work matters will try cutting corners or find ways to beat the system which will certainly affect the quality of work and the worker risks being disciplined which may have a domino effect in his career advancement plans. Doing something against the rules at work is stressful as well consequently unsatisfying.
2.3.8 Job adaptation
These are factors that encourage a person to stay in their job which include both on and off the job factors (Mitchell et al, 2011) . There exist several reasons for people to do so;
Friends and colleagues at work which the employee may have known for several years can be a strong enough bond that encourages a person to want to stay in their job.
The extent of compatibility between the job and the employee can be hard to beat; where the person is able to use his/her skills and talents.
The job may be well-suited for the person's life style; flexibility in shifts, the person's culture is valued and understood. The pay is significant and/or satisfying.
The opportunity cost would be no contender if the employee left the job as the benefits, opportunities, autonomy, pay, and security may be significant.
Job tenure or length of service, represents the length of time an employee has been in employment by a particular employer. Satisfaction in relationship to job tenure is a very difficult to measure as it can be affected by various features of the job itself such as pay changes, promotion, experience, work load and maturity. Research has shown that job tenure and experience influence performance (Schmidt and Hunter,1998) which increase along each other with time (Cohen, 1991). Stress via job somehow varies in intensity with tenure (Levinson et al, 1978) and growth in performance can be said to occur as tenure counter act stress agents. Three types of learning have been identified in the organizational settings by Zollo and Winter (2002) that is knowledge articulation, knowledge codification and experience. Promotion and length of service have comparable importance as they are somehow connected through experience (Abraham and Medoff, 1985). Both genders, experience heightened levels of satisfaction level with experience (Black and DiNitto, 1994) which reinforces belonging to the job and counters quits behavior (Abraham and Medoff, 1984).
Rank defines the job status of the employee and it is also associated to differences in job roles, pay, benefits, responsibilities and ultimately satisfaction (Aronson et al, 2005). Rank is a reliable predictor of job satisfaction; research shows that higher rank employees compared to low rank ones are generally more satisfied with their jobs (Oshagbemi, 2003), that said, "levels of job satisfaction tend to increase as one moves up the hierarchy in an organization" Jones et al, 2000: p399).
In line with the rise of HRM, Prahalad and Hamel (1990) argue that the management's ability to direct employees to create competitive advantage for the organization is possible. Lack of leadership responsibilities on behalf of supervisors, negatively affect employee motivation causing employee satisfaction to drop, affecting professional relationships. Conversely, Otis & Pelletier (2005) find supportive supervisors who are in favor of employees' autonomy help increase motivation and job satisfaction.