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Job satisfaction is increasingly becoming important in the workplace. Employers now recognise that the "happier" their employees are, the better will be their attitudes towards the work, the higher their motivation and the better will be their performance.
Job satisfaction in any field of work depends a lot on how conducive the work environment is. The work itself, the pay and the scope for promotion are only some of the factors which have an impact on job satisfaction.
"Educators' job satisfaction is important as it has a direct impact on students' achievement and their future career" (Pitkoff, 1993). An educator who is unsatisfied with his/her job tends to be unmotivated and more likely to escape from his/her responsibilities. In these circumstances, we tend to see an increase in absenteeism among teachers. Such educators usually show little concern in school matters and this obviously has a negative impact on the performance of our children.
Various studies have been carried out in the past to assess the impact of motivation and job satisfaction on employee productivity and performance (Vroom, 1964). Some of these studies have found a positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance which leads to the conclusion that satisfied employees tend to perform much better than less satisfied ones.
2.1 Definition of job satisfaction
Job satisfaction is one of the most investigated topics in the fields of organizational behaviour. The most-used research definition of job satisfaction is by Locke (1976), who defined it as ". . . a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences" (p. 1304). It is now recognized that job satisfaction is a global concept that also comprises various facets (Judge et al., 2001) including pay, promotions, co-workers, supervision, the work itself, recognition, working conditions, and company and management.
Job satisfaction has also been defined as "the extent to which a staff member has favourable or positive feelings about work or the work environment" (De Nobile, 2003). It refers to the positive attitudes or emotional dispositions people may gain from work or through aspects of work (Furnham, 1997; Locke, 1976). Ivancevich et al. (1997) defined job satisfaction as the feeling and perception of a worker regarding his/her work and how he or she feels himself well in an organization.
Davis and Newstrom (2003) and Dessler (2001) describe job satisfaction as a set of favorable or unfavorable feelings for the employees to perceive their work and that determine the possibility of a major disposition to achieve higher performance. Therefore, job satisfaction refers to an individual's general attitude toward his or her job (Robbins, 1998).
Jensen (2000) defines job satisfaction as: "a sense of personal growth most often measured by the extent of new challenges and learning situations experienced" (p. 1).
On the other hand, job dissatisfaction refers to "unhappy or negative feelings about work or the work environment" (Furnham, 1997). There exist many factors which may result in job dissatisfaction. Some of them are poor working conditions, overwork, low levels of pay, no scope of promotion or career advancement and lack of recognition. But what is worst are the consequences of job dissatisfaction which obviously affect both the employees and the organization. It may result in loss of motivation, lack of interest, frustration, poor productivity, absenteeism and even high turnover rates.
To sum up, we can say that job satisfaction describes how content an individual with his or her job and also implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one's efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one's work.
2.2 Factors affecting job satisfaction
Job satisfaction depends on several different factors such as satisfaction with pay, promotion opportunities, fringe benefits, job security, relationship with co-workers and supervisors and communication within the organisation. (Nguyen, Taylor, & Bradley, 2003). Job satisfaction may lead to cost reduction by reducing absences, task errors, conflicts at work and turnover. As work is an important aspect of people's lives and most people spend a large part of their working lives at work, understanding the factors involved in job satisfaction is crucial to improving employees' performance and productivity.
Age is one of the factors affecting job satisfaction. Various studies carried out in this field have shown that job satisfaction tends to increase with age. That is older employees tend to report higher satisfaction and younger employees report the lowest job satisfaction rates (Warr, 1992). However, the study carried out by Oshagbemi (2003) in United Kingdom (UK), found that the relationship between job satisfaction and age was insignificant for employees of the UK universities.
Several researchers have examined the relationship between job satisfaction and gender (Mason, 1995). However, most studies have shown contractions in the relationship between job satisfaction and gender of the employees. On one hand, some studies have found women to be more satisfied than men (Ward and Sloane, 1998), whereas other studies have found men to be more satisfied than women (Forgionne and Peters, 1982).
2.2.3 Working environment
It is essential to provide employees with a work environment which is conducive to their overall development. They need an environment which is healthy and safe and which caters for both personal comfort and facilitates doing a good job. As mentioned earlier, people spend a high percentage of their lifetime at work. So we can say that employees expect more than money for the work they do. Hence, it can be said that having a friendly and supportive environment can lead to increased job satisfaction. Syptak, Marshland and Ulmer (1999) advise organisations to do everything they can to keep the company's equipment and facilities up to date. In their article, they also recommend organisations to "avoid overcrowding and allow each employee his or her own personal space, whether it is a desk, a locker or even just a drawer" (p. 1).
2.2.4 Fair policies and practices
"Individuals who perceive that promotion decisions are made in a fair and just manner are likely to experience satisfaction from their jobs" (Witt and Nye, 1992). Very often employees are demotivated and dissatisfied with their jobs because unfair policies and practices prevail at their place of work. It is therefore of utmost importance for organization to have a fair and equal system in terms of practices and policies so that there is no discrimination and frustration. It is a fact that organization which follows the right procedures to promote employees creates a culture of trust, loyalty and beliefs in the whole organization. When an employee gets fair promotion, which is generally based on his true assessment, he gets a type of recognition, and hence, increases his job satisfaction. In other words, we can say that promotion provides opportunities for personal growth, more responsibilities, and increased social status.
2.2.5 Caring organization
Taylor (2000) suggested that job satisfaction is directly related to a company's investment in its employees' well- being. Arthur (2001) pointed out that employees want to believe their company really cares about them. Care can be shown in various ways, but generally it takes into consideration career development, adult treatment, being taken seriously and being appreciated for a job well done. (p. 221). When people feel that the organization for which they are working cares for them and takes actions in order to improve their work and lives, they are happy and this creates higher satisfaction. These employees furthermore become loyal and committed.
Advantages of job satisfaction to the organisation
The Frederick Herzberg's theory and job satisfaction
To better understand what keeps job satisfaction high, it is important to recall Frederick Herzberg's theory. The latter put forward that satisfaction on the job depends on two elements: hygiene issues and motivators.
Hygiene issues (dissatisfiers) Motivators (satisfiers)
Organisational policies Work itself
Kind of supervision Achievement
Interpersonal relations Responsibility
Working conditions Growth opportunities
According to the Herzberg's theory, "Hygiene issues cannot motivate employees but they can help to minimize dissatisfaction, if handled properly" (p. 1). These issues are directly related to the employee's working environment. On the other hand, motivators create satisfaction by fulfilling individual's needs for meaning and personal growth (Syptak, Marshland and Ulmer, 1999). The above theory can be very helpful in guiding organizations on how to maintain employee satisfaction.
Job satisfaction and productivity
Studies have shown that, only a few organizations believe that job satisfaction is a crucial element in their overall strategy and very little is being done to promote it. This can be due to the fact that many organisations fail to understand the link between job satisfaction and productivity. Should we not care about job satisfaction? Is it true to say that happy workers are productive ones? In fact, in the right conditions and settings, job satisfaction can to a great degree lead to higher productivity. If employees feel that their jobs are fun and interesting, they will be more willing to give extra effort at work for the benefit of the whole organization. Instead if employees have the feeling that their occupations are meaningless and boring, they will have a negative attitude which will definitely lead to a decline in productivity.
Job satisfaction helps to create a better working environment
When employees are enjoying a higher degree of job satisfaction they tend to be more helpful and friendly with their colleagues at work. This helps to promote teamwork where sharing of information and knowledge is enhanced. Moreover studies have shown that job satisfaction among employees may lead to a better and safer working environment with lesser negative conflicts which otherwise would impede the smooth running of the organization.
Job satisfaction and absenteeism and turnover
High rate of turnover has always been a great problem to many organizations. It obviously results in loss of potentials and talents and causes huge losses in terms of additional costs. According to Sattler and Mullen, generally, the more productive people are, the more satisfied they tend to be and when employees feel satisfied they are less likely to leave the organization. (2007). From this, we can say that in order to retain talented people in the organisations, managers need to devise strategies in order to bring about job satisfaction. Once employees are happy and satisfied at work, the rate of absenteeism and turnover will be lower.
Achievement and responsibility
According to Herzberg theory, achievement and responsibility are two important motivational factors which can be used to create job satisfaction at work. Noe (2005) suggests that learning can be facilitated by providing employees with specific challenging goals and objectives" (p.111). In this context, managers need to set clear and achievable goals to their employees. This will help to provide employees with a sense of achievement on completion of tasks and may bring about more satisfaction. Furthermore organisations need to empower and encourage their employees to take more responsibility. Such strategies do help to bring more satisfaction in employees and make them more loyal, committed and will have ownership interests in their jobs.
Employee satisfaction can lead to customer satisfaction
Numerous studies have been carried out to look at the link between customer and employee satisfaction. Many of them have shown a relationship between employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction and profitability. For example, a study carried out at Sears Roebuck & Co. showed that "a five-point improvement in employee attitudes led to a 1.3 rise in customer satisfaction which, in turn, generated a 0.5 increase in revenues. "
Brooks (2000) reviewed the relationship between financial success and customer and employee variables (e.g., customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, etc.) and found that, depending on market segment and industry, between 40 and 80 percent of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty was accounted for by the relationship between employee attitudes and customer-related variables. Similarly, Vilares and Cohelo (2000) found that perceived employee satisfaction, perceived employee loyalty, and perceived employee commitment had a sizable impact on perceived product quality and on perceived service quality.
In other words, when our staff is happy, our customers will be too. At the heart of these endeavors is a strong belief that today's employee satisfaction, loyalty and commitment influence tomorrow's customer satisfaction, loyalty and commitment-and, ultimately, the organization's profit and growth.
Job satisfaction is a matter of great significance for employers. As shown above, organizations benefit a lot from satisfied employees in the following ways:
â€¢ Lower staff turnover
â€¢ Higher productivity
â€¢ Reduction in conflicts and complaints
â€¢ Punctuality (reduced lateness)
â€¢ Better worked morale
Therefore, we can say that job dissatisfaction affects both the organisation and the employees negatively. If job dissatisfaction prevails, the organisation is likely to be affected through poor customer service, quality production and profitability. It is a clear and obvious that employees lacking loyalty and commitment will show very little original thinking and will absent themselves very often from work. All these put together will clearly result in poor performance and low profitability for the organisation.
Job satisfaction in the primary educational sector
It is known to everyone that reward and recognition are very scarce when it comes to the primary educational sector. Numerous studies carried out by sociologists have confirmed this. Moreover, as most of the teachers' work is being carried out within the walls of closed classrooms, teachers often find themselves isolated from others without any support from peers and superiors. Due to such organisational structure, teachers do not receive appropriate feedback from others and often find it hard to work together so as to improve their work. According to Frase, 1992, many teachers leave teaching within the first three years of employment as a result of these conditions. Decision makers therefore need to find ways to retain teachers in the profession and keep them motivated and at the same time promote satisfaction.
Studies have shown fairly convincingly that teachers are motivated more by intrinsic than by extrinsic rewards. Pastor and Erlandson (1982) Carried out a survey which found that teachers identify their needs and measure their job satisfaction by factors such as participation in decision-making, use of valued skills, freedom and independence, challenge, expression of creativity, and opportunity for learning.
In a survey conducted by Brodinsky and Neill (1983), a majority of school administrators (and teachers) cited three policies that effectively improved morale and motivated their staffs: shared governance, in-service education, and systematic and supportive evaluation.
New Theories of Teacher Motivation
Frase, 1992 identified two sets of factors that affect teachers' ability to perform effectively and therefore derive job satisfaction. These two factors are
1. Work context factors
2. Work content factors.
Work Context Factors
Work context factors are those which meet the basic needs such as
â€¢ the class size
â€¢ discipline conditions
â€¢ availability of teaching materials
â€¢ the quality of the head master's supervision and his/her leadership style
According to Frase, 1992, the above context factors do not bring job satisfaction as such. However, during their absences or if not well handled, problems which might affect the teaching and learning process might crop. They may thus lead to job dissatisfaction.
Work Content Factors
According to Frase, once again, work content factors are intrinsic aspects related to the work itself. They include opportunities for
â€¢ professional development such as further on job training leading to personal growth
â€¢ Recognition of hard work
â€¢ challenging and varied tasks
â€¢ increased responsibility and empowerment
â€¢ achievement and authority.
Studies carried out by the National Center for Education Statistics in the United States (1997) have clearly shown that teachers who do not feel supported in the above fields are less motivated to do their best work in the classroom. Their data confirm that "staff recognition, parental support, teacher participation in school decision making and control in the classroom are the factors most strongly associated with teacher satisfaction".
Difficulties educators face in the classroom
As an educator, it can bring much satisfaction to see students develop new skills and competences and achieve success in terms of knowledge. However, it may be frustrating when one is dealing with unmotivated or disrespectful students. Very often, teachers must cope with unruly behaviour and violence in the schools. Teachers may experience stress in dealing with large classes, heavy workloads, or old schools that are run down and lack many modern facilities. Accountability standards also may increase stress levels, with teachers expected to produce students who are able to exhibit satisfactory performance on standardised tests in core subjects. Many teachers are also frustrated by the lack of control they have over what they are required to teach.
It takes a decent work environment to teach well. Art 8 or the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation states that, we must improve the working conditions and school environment so as to "best promote effective learning and teaching, and enable teachers to concentrate on their professional tasks." Workload has to be fair to be able to carry or tasks effectively and must not have a negative impact on the health and safety of teachers. Also, the authorities must devote equal teaching resources to all educational institutions.
The values, attitudes, expectations and behaviour more or less shared by the members of a school community are generally referred to as school climate. A positive school climate plays an important role in fostering teachers' performance, academic achievement of students and school motivation. A positive school climate nurtures an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect between each and everyone in the school. Teachers would like to work in schools where they can feel comfortable with their colleagues and the school leadership.
Therefore, creating a healthy school environment for everyone begins by supporting healthy relationships among the staff. Healthy relationships produce a climate conducive to honesty, open communication, and risk-taking (Ames & Miller, 1994). In a true learning community, cooperative learning and mutual respect are expected of faculty as well as students. Establishing a supportive school environment increases self-esteem and achievement (Cantwell, 2003).
Teachers are more satisfied when their head teachers are good and model leaders. This includes motivating employees to do a good job and striving for excellence. Effective head teachers create structures in which it is clear that teachers have a certain authority. In certain schools some head teachers empower their teachers to work on certain tasks like creating a media and audio visual room, or creating other structures for the benefit and welfare of students as well as for staff members.
Such kind of empowerment and trust in employees yield commitment, loyalty and higher performance at the place of work. Such leaders motivate subordinates to do more than originally expected. They raise the consciousness of subordinates about the importance and value of designated outcomes and ways of reaching them and, in turn, get subordinates to transcend their own immediate self-interests for the sake of the mission and vision of the organization. (Yammarino, Spangler and Bass,1993).
Educators' job is one which does not produce tangible goods whose quality could be measured quantitatively. Their jobs consist of preparing pupils of 5-11 years old academically and help them in their overall development. As a matter of fact, it is difficult to measure their performance. A few years back, with ranking system at the CPE level, inspectors and school head teachers used to assess the performance of their staff by analyzing the performance of students in the final exam. However, this is not an ideal way of measuring performance as there are other factors apart from the CPE pass rate which are linked to the teacher's performance.
After completion of a two year diploma course at the Mauritius Institute of Education (MIE), the educator is posted in a given school and is assigned the responsibility of a class. The MIE together with the Ministry of Education offer supplementary courses so as to upgrade the standards of educators and at the same time keep them abreast changes occurring in terms of methodology, contents and curriculum.
Some of these courses are:
â€¢ Certificate in Educational Management
â€¢ Diploma in Educational Management
â€¢ Advanced Certificate in Educational Management
After the completion of these courses, educators are eligible for a rise in their salary and furthermore are eligible to postulate for jobs like Deputy Head Teacher and Head Teacher.
It is a fact that the more positive the perceptions employees have concerning the usefulness and scope of advancement the training sessions will provide to them, the higher will their job satisfaction.
Promotion in the primary sector is based on seniority. It is only after about twenty five years of service that a teacher will be automatically promoted to Deputy Head Teacher. From there, the latter will have to wait for some five more years to aspire to become the head of a school. As a matter of fact, the promotional scope is rather restricted and this is a real demotivating factor to many educators in the field.