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Effect of Organisational Support on Job Satisfaction

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Organisations
Wordcount: 5454 words Published: 4th Jan 2018

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The purpose of this research is to test the effect of Perceived Organisational Support on Job satisfaction and to determine the effect of mediation of Trust on Job Satisfaction in the two different sectors of employment- Public and Private. Here Sector of Employment acts as a moderator and Job Trust as the mediator.


A questionnaire was prepared and administered to 182 employees working in the public and the private sector in different industries like Banking, Mining, Power Generation and Information Technology.


The research has established positive relationships between the three constructs of perceived organizational support, job satisfaction and job trust for the overall model and public sector employees, whereas these relations are not significant in case of private sector employees. The mediation effect of Trust is significant at 10% for the overall model sans separately in the private and public sector.

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Research limitations/implications:

The respondents have varied profiles in terms of age/ years of experience, seniority level and the industries that they work in. These results may not be generalizable to all employees in other organisations in different industries and geographic areas. Also, a large percentage of responses have been collected through the internet which is not an entirely accurate and reliable form of data collection.

Practical implications:

The research findings are expected to help the existing organizations in the public and private sector to figure out reasons for decreasing job satisfaction of the employees and devise ways to improve the perception of organizational support.


This paper studies the difference in the relationships exhibited between Perceived organisational support, job trust and job satisfaction in the private and public sector in the Indian context. This is one of the first attempts towards studying the employment sectors on a comparative basis.


Perceived Organisational Support, Job Trust, Job Satisfaction, Public Sector, Private Sector


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,absenteeismandturnover.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.

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).

Job Trust

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 et.al, 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.

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).

Many senior women managers have complained of the management’s failure to recognise their talent and lack of support and advancement opportunities within the organisation. Women form only a tiny fraction of males in senior positions (Wellington et al., 2003). Such perceptions often lead to quitting the job, which is a significant indicator of reduced job satisfaction at negative perception of organisation justice (Jawahar et al., 2008). Both POS and JS are observed to be having significant relationship with organisation commitment, which shows the presence of a correlation between these variables. Organisational identification is seen to have a strong positive effect on outcome variables like job satisfaction (Abrams et al., 2001). Organisational support however indicates how well organisation takes care of the OID for their employees. POS theory suggests that if organisation takes good care of employees, they will develop a stronger attachment to the organisation (Rhoades et al., 2001), hence being more satisfied and committed (Rhoades et al., 2002).

Based on the above discussion, hypothesis H1 is proposed:

H1. Perceived Organizational Support (POS) has a significant positive influence on Job Satisfaction (JS)

The relationship between Job Trust and Job Satisfaction:

Theoretically it seems quite obvious that job trust leads to job satisfaction in employees. Measuring the job trust implies probing into how the individual views the organization and also the bond he has with the organization (Perry et al., 2007). Many researchers have reported a positive relationship between job satisfaction and job trust. According to a research analysis aimed at studying the antecedents and outcomes of trust (Derks et.al 2002) found job satisfaction and job commitment as the major consequences. The level of 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). Thus, by building a high trust relationship with the subordinates, managers can increase organizational effectiveness through improved levels of job satisfaction. But once this trust is broken, it leads to a never ending cycle of mistrust and consequently an organizational environment, where employees are distressed, insecure and unsatisfied (Zaffane et. al, 2003). And since job satisfaction and job commitment are strongly related to trust, job commitment being the antecedent of job satisfaction (Mowday et.al 1974), such a situation is really alarming for organizations.

The job trust is mostly perceived as the trust between the employees and their managers or the superiors. It has been further proven that if the employees show trust in their superiors then the superiors have greater influence on them (Goris et al. 2003). The reason being the superiors are responsible for many duties which shape the career of their subordinates like performance evaluations, guidance in terms of job responsibilities and training. Thus if the trust on the basis of such parameters in a manager increases then as a result job satisfaction also increases (Dirks et al. 2001). Also, this increased level of trust encourages cooperation, reduction in conflicts and thus improved job satisfaction.

Hence the Hypothesis

H2: There exists a positive relationship between Job Trust and Job Satisfaction

The relationship between POS and Job Trust

Many studies have been conducted on measuring the levels of job trust (Dietz and Den Hartog, 2006) and POS in organisations. Trust between two entities is stated as the readiness of one (Trustor) to be susceptible to the actions of the other (Trustee). This readiness of the trustor is basically his expectation that the one he trusts will act in his favour irrespective of exercising control and supervision (Mayer et al., 1995). Job Trust is considered of high importance in today’s organisations because it has been empirically established that when trust levels are high, organisation commitment is high (Brockner et al., 1997). As per the definition of trust used above lack of trust means a higher need of monitoring (Handy, 1995) and increased trust levels suggests lower need for supervision (Bradach and Eccles, 1989; Ouchi, 1979). POS as defined above is believed to affect Job Trust though there is not enough empirical evidence available. There is enough research available on the antecedents of POS and its outcomes but none talks about the Job Trust with specific mention.

POS is has its theoretical roots in the social exchange relationship (Allen and Brady, 1997), in which the employee is obliged to reciprocate to the organisation like he feels about it (Eisenberger et al., 2001). If employees believe that their organisation or for that matter immediate superior is truly interested in their well being then trust will develop (Doney et al., 1998). Researches indicate that increased perception of organisational support results in increased efforts jointly put in by the employees to achieve the organisation’s objectives (Eisenberger et al., 1986). Research conducted by Cook and Wall(1980) noted that there is a positive correlation between trust and involvement with the work organisation. Similarly studies reveal a positive relationship between POS, affective attachment and expectations of performance related rewards (Eisenberger et al., 1990). According to a research conducted by Florence et al., (2006), the relationship between procedural justice and trust is partially mediated by POS. Also trust has been found to mediate the relationship between procedural justice and organisational citizenship behaviour (Konovsky and Pugh, 1994), POS is also a mediator of the link between the above two (Moorman et al., 1998). Thus we can expect a possible linkage between trust and POS.

Hence the Hypothesis

H3: There exists a positive relationship between POS and Job Trust

Employment sector’s moderating role on the model

In this research we have taken into account the moderating effect of the dichotomous moderator: the employment sector of the respondent i.e. public and private sector. The definition of employment sector in the Indian context refers to the government owned and operated organisations which come under public sector and privately owned entities which are termed the private sector organisations. Employee job satisfaction has been studied extensively on various occasions but a research aiming to bring out differences in the levels of observed POS, Trust and Job Satisfaction and the relationships between them in Public and Private sector have not been studied in depth. Since the work culture of these two sectors are very different and so are the job factors. The work environment in the private sector is more competitive, open and result-oriented while in public sector it’s conservative, less open to new ideas and generally plunged by stagnation in the long run. So, we aim to analyze the variables of POS, trust and job satisfaction in these two sectors and try to find the differences in perception due to the way the system works.

0.322* 0.553*


0.184/ 0.441* 0.439*/ 0.642*

0.096/ 0.412*

In the above figure

Number 1/ Number 2: Standard beta coefficient of Public sector/ Standard Beta Coefficient of Private sector



In all 183 respondents employed in managerial capacity in public and private sector establishments in India were administered this survey asking their perceptions about the job, organisational support and satisfaction. The questionnaires were electronically mailed to the target group which constituted equal number of respondents from both sectors and a wide arena of industries like banking, information technology, power generation etc.


Unless otherwise stated all the following constructs have been measured by Likert scales with responses ranging from strongly agree to strongly disagree.

Perceived Organisational Support: Employees’ perception of organisational support has been measured using an 8 item and a 5 point scale developed by Eisenberger (2001). A sample item is, My organization strongly considers my goals and values.

Job trust: Trust that the employee has in his or her organization has been measured using a 7 item and a 5 point scale developed by Tyler (2003). A sample item is In my organization, my views are considered when decisions are made.

Job Satisfaction: The contentment that the employee derives from the nature of his job is measured by a 7 item and 7 point scale developed by Brayfield and Rothe (1951). A sample item is . I feel fairly satisfied with my present job.

Limitations and Conclusion

One of the limitations of this research proposal is the diversity in the years of experience of the respondents. Public sector employees who were administered this survey had a higher average years of experience while the private sector employees were new entrants into employments. The difference in expectations and parameters on which their perceptions are based may have affected the results of the research.

Second, the respondents in the public and the private sector work in entirely different industries. For example, the respondents from the public sector undertakings are mainly from the banking and power generation sector whereas private sector respondents belong to information technology, consultancies etc. Direct comparison of public and private sector employees working in the same industry has not been brought out clearly.

Third, the method of data collection through the internet is not entirely accurate and reliable.


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