Link Between Job Satisfaction and Job Performance Essay
Link Between Job Satisfaction and Job Performance
Job satisfaction and job performance
Job satisfaction and job performance have always been very integral, albeit contentious issues pertaining to overall organisational success. According to Vandeveer & Menefee (2006) job satisfaction is a person’s attitude that includes factors such as promotions, pay, opportunity, and the work environment. According to Campbell et al (1993) Performance is what the organisation hires one to do and do well. Dehkordi et al (2011) posit that job satisfaction is an important factor in occupational success, which increases the performance/productivity of an employee in an organisation. Historically speaking job satisfaction and job performance have been deemed to have some sort of a relationship which has resulted in efforts by owners or management of an organisation to get the maximum out of the employees and swear by the maxim “a happy employee is a productive employee”.
The classic study relating attitudes and performance in an industrial setting was conducted by Kornhauser and Sharp in 1930 (Brayfield and Crockett, 1955). This study can be considered the forbearer of all subsequent studies dealing with job satisfaction and performance. Since then these two elements and the relationship between them has been the subject of numerous studies, like the ones done by Brayfield and Crockett (1955); Locke (1970), Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) and more recently by Judge et al (2001) with varying results. A point of concern in the job satisfaction-job performance studies has been the direction of the causality arrow (Robbins et al, 1998).
Direction of the causality arrow implies that it is not clear whether performance induces job satisfaction or vice-versa or even perhaps that both job satisfaction and job performance are either completely independent of each other and if not are influenced by some other variables. This research explores the existing knowledge of the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance by performing a meta-analysis of the existing subject matter knowledge and would contribute to the existing knowledge by providing an analysis of prior studies that have explored the relationship between the two elements.
Furthermore an attempt will be made to determine the direction of the causality arrow, if causality as such exists, and will be explored in addition to subjective discussion of the facets and factors of job satisfaction and performance. This research intends to develop insights pertaining to this hypothesised relationship by analysing prior studies and if possible garnering related data.
This research thesis focuses on the alleged relationship between job satisfaction and job performance and to determine the interplay between the two main elements. For the purpose of this research job performance and productivity have been assumed to mean the same thing and hence, have been used interchangeably in the text. The reason for carrying out this research thesis lies in determining the extent of the impact job satisfaction and job performance have on each other, as both of these elements are vital from an organisational success point of view. Another important aspect that will be determined is whether job satisfaction and job performance are influenced by some other factors. Job satisfaction is an important dimension of employee wellbeing in its own right and is also a desired indicator of organisational success (Culbertson, 2009).
A report by Price waterhouse coopers in the year 2002 stated that 47 per cent of surveyed executives from multinational companies cited employee satisfaction and decreased turnover as the major contributors to long term shareholder return (Corporate executive board, 2003).Many studies have demonstrated an unusually large impact of job satisfaction on the motivation of workers, while the level of motivation has an impact on productivity/performance, and hence also on performance of the business organisation (Aziri, 2011). In addition, according to Sonnentag and Frisse (2001) “Individual performance is something organisations want to enhance and optimize”
The main focus behind this research is to find out about the existence of a causal relationship between job satisfaction and job performance and whether job satisfaction leads to enhanced performance or is it job performance that induces job satisfaction. Literature on the job satisfaction-performance conjunction can be broadly divided into three categories. Brayfield and Crockett (1955); Ahmed et al (2010) found that there is only a minimal relationship between job performance and job satisfaction.
Studies such as those done by Mamiseishvilli and Rosser (2011) have pointed out the significant, albeit negative relationship between job satisfaction and performance. On the other hand there have been a number of studies like Betaineh (2011) that have pointed at the absence of a relationship between job satisfaction and performance. Due to the above dissonance and lack of clarity regarding the causal relationship, and at the same time the importance of both job satisfaction and performance from an organisational perspective, this study is being conducted to provide an insight on the nature, intensity and direction of the alleged relationship.
Chapter 1 – The research field
1.1 Literature Review
The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is one of the most often researched areas in organisational psychology (Judge, Thoresen, Bono, & Patton, 2001). Landy (1989) cited in Cook (2008) has referred to this relationship as the “Holy Grail” of Industrial psychology in his article. Job satisfaction is an important dimension of employee well-being in its own right but is also a desired indicator of organizational success (Culbertson, 2009, cited in de Menezes, 2012). Dehkordi et al (2011) posit that job satisfaction is an important factor in occupational success, which increases the productivity of an employee in an organisation. Argyle (1992) conducted a study into the correlation between job satisfaction and performance and found that although there is some correlation between these two variables, the causality factors could not be ascertained.
Spector (1997) argues that although the meta-analyses done by previous researchers like, Iaffaldano and Muchinsky, points to some sort of correlation between job satisfaction and job performance; they do little to explain the observed correlations. They suffer from rating biases and restriction of range, both of which reduce correlations with other variables (Spector, 1997). Walters (2010) has explored the relationship between job satisfaction and performance and indicates at the complexity involved in making a relationship between job satisfaction and employee performance. Judge et al. (2001) posit that since 1955, there have been other studies by Locke (1970), Schwab & Cummings (1970), and Vroom (1964) that have shown that there is at least some relationship between those variables.
Malik and Usman (2011) have examined the effect of role overload on employee retention and employee productivity in the presence of their satisfaction with the job. Judge et al (2001) have proposed a seven way model to explain the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. In this model the first three ways show the two elements exchanging a cause and effect relationship, with case three showing them to be reciprocally related. In the same study in cases 4 and 5 they have argued that the relationship is either spurious or is moderated by other variables. In cases 6 they have described that there is no relationship at all between the two elements and in case 7 they have surmised an alternative conceptualization of job satisfaction and job performance.
Judge et al.’s meta-analysis revealed a substantial relationship between job satisfaction and job performance (Ziegler et al, 2012). Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) did an extensive analysis on the relationship between job performance and job satisfaction and established that there is only a slight relationship between job satisfaction and performance. Ahmed et al (2010) have also concluded that there is a weak relationship between job satisfaction and performance. Johns and saks (2005) have also argued that while links between satisfaction and performance are not always strong, satisfaction with the work itself has been linked to better performance.
However, Betaineh (2011) has postulated that literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity has been inconclusive and inconsistent. Mamiseishvilli and Rosser (2011) carried out research which indicated that increased undergraduate teaching and service performance was significantly and negatively related to faculty job satisfaction. Pushpakumari (2008) is of the view that there is significant impact of job satisfaction on performance of employees.
Kelana (2010) also contends that Job satisfaction is one important aspect a company should look after for because it has a significant correlation with job performance. Bockerman and Ilmakunnas (2012) examined the role of employee job satisfaction in Finnish manufacturing plants over the period 1996-2001 to determine the extent to which it affects establishment-level productivity. Their research suggested that an increase in the organisation’s levels of job satisfaction has a positive effect on productivity.
1.2 Theoretical Background
The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has intrigued organisational researchers for 50 years (Iaffaldano & Muchinsky, 1985).Schwab & Cummings (1970) carried out a theoretical proposition concerning the relationship between Job satisfaction and job performance. Their research focussed on three major viewpoints (1) Job satisfaction leads to better performance. (2) The view that the satisfaction-performance relationship is moderated by a number of variables related to occupation, organisation, individual and community, a position which gained acceptance in the fifties. (3) The view that performance leads to satisfaction.
Although various variables have been proposed as moderators of the satisfaction–performance relationship (e.g., job complexity), Judge et al.(2001) have suggested that the satisfaction–performance literature may profit from investigations regarding the conditions under which the two are more or less related (Ziegler et al, 2012) Skibba (2002) cites Roethlisberger & Dickson (1939) as the conductors of the Hawthorne studies and credits them with carrying out the pioneering research linking job performance with satisfaction and other attitudes as well as making researchers aware of the effects of employee attitudes on job performance. Job satisfaction is one of the most researched elements in literature due to its importance in organisational behaviour (Ahmed et al, 2010).
The importance of this variable is reflected in it being a constituent of various leadership and motivation theories like the two factor theory and the job characteristics model (Ahmed et al, 2010). Argyle (1992) has stated that there is only a limited relationship between the two elements. Betaineh (2011) is of the view that there is inconclusive and inconsistent evidence of the existence of the stated causal relationship. Luthans (1995) postulates that while research evidence indicates that job satisfaction may not lead to enhanced individual performance, it does lead to organisational level improvement and also points out the debate concerning whether it is satisfaction that leads to performance or is it performance that provides satisfaction. This causal relationship will be explored based on an approach of interpretivism as it seeks to explain the relationship between its constituent elements.
As this study focuses on the Meta analysis of relationship between job satisfaction and job performance, it would be drawing conclusions from the existing literature. There are at least seven different ways in which the satisfaction performance relationship has been specified (Judge et al, 2001). Prior studies establishing insignificant or weak causal relationship will be analysed along with others that show moderate or significant causal relationship between job satisfaction and performance. This will be complemented by discussion and analysis of past studies depicting or explaining the rationale of the causality arrow. Apart from looking at causal relationship, attempt will also be made to determine if, perhaps the relationship is not causal at all, but is in fact casual.
The end result will focus on a credible depiction of the facts based on the analysis of studies covered in the review of literature. In conducting this meta-analysis search will be conducted for articles, books and other information sources that provide any insight into the correlation between the above stated variables. This will be achieved through a process of extrapolating relevant information and analytical comparison of published works to determine whether or not Job satisfaction has a positive/negative causal relationship with job performance or vice versa. The study will also include the various methods of determining the levels of job satisfaction and job performance of individual employees.
The reason for the inclusion and explanation of the various measurement methods for job satisfaction and job performance is to highlight the various factors/aspects that are considered to determine an employee’s satisfaction or performance levels as well as to highlight the factors/aspects that are not considered. It is quite possible that the factors that are left out might be the ones that provide the missing link to solidify the relationship.
It could also be that in order to arrive at a clearer picture regarding the strength or weakness of relationship and indeed to arrive at some sort of consistency regarding the various past studies, it may be prudent to expand the factors/aspects that have so far been considered so as to provide a unified theory regarding the job satisfaction-job performance relationship. In addition an analysis of the methods for measuring the two elements of satisfaction and performance will also provide an answer to questions regarding whether these methods provide a neutral, honest and accurate picture of the two elements (satisfaction and performance) for an employee or are these methods susceptible to bias and are more akin to tools for validation of one position over others.
The research and analysis thereof will be carried out using the existing body of knowledge derived primarily out of peer reviewed articles, books, published papers and other sources of information.
1.5 Aims and objectives
The aim of this research is to:
(a)Conduct a Meta-analysis of existing research pertaining to causal relationship between job satisfaction and performance. (b)Investigate the nature of the purported relationship between job satisfaction and job performance
Chapter 2 – The issues
2.1 Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is one of the most studied variables in industrial psychology due to its importance in organisational behaviour (Ahmed, 2010). Job satisfaction itself consists of overall job satisfaction and facet satisfaction (Dunham, 1984). It is seen as one factor that is important for business effectiveness (Spector, 1997). Job satisfaction is a topic of wide interest to both people who work in organizations and people who study them and in fact, it is the most frequently studied variable in organizational behaviour research (Spector, 1997). Job satisfaction has become a primary dependent variable due to the value preference held by many organisational behaviour researchers (Robbins et al, 2008).Different theories about job satisfaction can be found in literature like Affect Theory, Dispositional Theory, Two factor theory also called (Motivator-Hygiene Theory) and Job Characteristics Model (Ahmed, 2010).
Job satisfaction can be described as feeling good about one’s job. Locke (1976) has defined job satisfaction as a pleasurable or positive emotional state and which is a function of the perceived relationship between what one wants from a job and what one perceives it is offering. According to Robbins et al (2008) Job satisfaction is a positive feeling about one’s job resulting from an evaluation of its characteristics. Job satisfaction is a good indicator of employee feelings. There are important implications of employee feelings, which can lead to both positive and negative behaviours (Spector, 1997). Furthermore, job satisfaction can be a reflection of organizational functioning (Spector, 1997).
Differences among organizational units in job satisfaction can be diagnostic of potential trouble spots (Spector, 1997).Each reason is sufficient to justify concern with job satisfaction (Spector, 1997).Job satisfaction can be considered as one of the main factors when it comes to the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisations (Aziri, 2011).Conventional wisdom holds that a satisfied or happy employee is a productive employee. This belief has been a basic tenet held by managers for many years, although much evidence questions that assumed causal relationship (Robbins et al, 2008).
Spector (1997) posits that there are many behaviours and employee outcomes that have been hypothesized to be the result of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction, which includes not only work variables such as job performance and turnover but also non work variables such as health and life satisfaction. Although, many of these hypothesized effects of job satisfaction have been shown to correlate with it, it has yet to be concretely established that the relations are in fact causal.
2.2 Causes and aspects of job satisfaction
The causes of job satisfaction could be explained as any factor of job that causes an employee to have a positive (or negative feeling in regards to dissatisfaction from job) feeling about his job. There are two major aspects of job satisfaction called facet satisfaction and overall satisfaction (Johns & Saks, 2005). According to Dunham (1984) job satisfaction consists of a variety of satisfaction facets involving workers feelings toward separate dimensions of the work and work environment. Examples of such facets include but are not limited to compensation, advancement, work environment, age of employee, supervisor, workload, role, colleagues, autonomy and the wok itself. In addition to facet satisfaction, an overall or summary indicator of a person’s attitude towards his job that cuts across various facets or are an average of the attitudes towards the various facets of job can be termed as overall job satisfaction (Johns & Saks, 2005).
Disposition factors, moods and emotions also influence job satisfaction (Johns & Saks, 2005). One also needs to remember though that the causes of job satisfaction can also be the causes for job dissatisfaction (Aziri, 2011).Interesting jobs that provide training, variety, independence and control satisfy most employees (Robbins et al, 2008). In other words, most people prefer work that is challenging and stimulating over work that is predictable and routine (Robbins et al, 2008). At the same time job satisfaction levels tend to be different for different groups of people. According to different studies by Greenberg & baron (2000) and Scheid (2011) specific patterns of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction have been observed in certain groups with the following key findings: * White collar professionals (ex- managerial and professional people) tend to be more satisfied than blue collar personnel (ex- physical labourers, factory workers etc.).
* Older people are generally more satisfied with their jobs than younger people. Although scheid (2011) concedes that it is not clear why older people are more satisfied and that job satisfaction relating to age may be an area that warrants further research in future. Interestingly, however satisfaction does not increase at an even pace. Greenberg & baron (2000) have argued that people become more satisfied with their jobs during their thirties (as they become more successful), level off during their forties (as they become disenchanted), and become more satisfied again during their late fifties(as they resign themselves to their lot in life)
* People who are more experienced on their jobs are more highly satisfied than those who are less experienced. Greenberg & baron (2000) opine that this should not be surprising, because people who are highly dissatisfied with their jobs may be expected to find new ones when they can. Moreover, the longer someone stays on a job, the more strongly that employee rationalizes his or her tenure by perceiving the job in a positive light. * Women and members of minority groups tend to be more dissatisfied with their jobs than men and members of majority groups. According to Greenberg & baron (2000) this appears to result from the tendency for victims of discrimination to be channelled into lower-level jobs and positions with limited opportunities for advancement.
* Full time employees come across as less satisfied with regards to various job facets with a significantly lower score for goal consensus by full time employees. This shows the importance of including the most important and committed people in developing organisational goals and creating consensus (Scheid, 2011) Although, the above analysis by these two studies sheds some light into the nature and aspects of job satisfaction, it also perhaps, might contain some information which has not been substantiated and/or explained in an appropriate manner and might carry some interpretations and in light of the absence of any supporting data should be reviewed and used carefully. 2.3 Impact of job satisfaction or dissatisfaction
Conventionally speaking employee satisfaction is a very important factor of consideration for a business as is evinced by the phrase “a happy employee is a productive employee”. There are consequences when employees like their jobs, and when they dislike their jobs (Robbins et al, 2008). Job dissatisfaction is by definition unpleasant, and most individuals are conditioned, probably even biologically-driven, to respond to unpleasant conditions by searching for mechanisms to reduce the dissatisfaction (Rosse & Saturay, 2004). Studies have proven that Job satisfaction can lead to a host of desirable and positive outcomes for the organisation like greater organisational commitment exhibited by the employee towards the organisation as well as increased employee involvement.
Furthermore, satisfied employees tend to stay with their organisations for a longer period than employees who are not satisfied, thus reducing the employee turnover rate for that organisation along with the various costs that employee turnover entails. On the other hand employee dissatisfaction can have some decidedly negative implications. An employee who is dissatisfied with their job will find ways of reducing their exposure to the job, exhibiting a phenomenon called employee withdrawal (Greenberg & Baron, 2000). The two main forms of employee withdrawal are absenteeism and voluntary turnover (Greenberg & Baron, 2000). Absenteeism implies employees being absent from their place of work due to the negative feelings they have towards their jobs. Voluntary turnover implies that employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs tend to resign from the organisations where they are working.
This is a very undesirable and expensive consequence of job dissatisfaction as the people who resign from an organisation take all their experience, training and the money spent by the organisation to develop them. These two forms can lead to various adverse organisational situations as such the management of an organisation should be extremely proactive in determining the nature and level of job dissatisfaction and root it out or reduce it before it causes any serious damage to the organisation. Dissatisfaction with the job may come from sources other than stress or poor fit between employee and job (Gregory, 2009).
Employers that are deemed unethical by their workers may be viewed as such because they appear to care exclusively about company revenues, rather than the employees that are working for them (Gregory, 2009) . This perception of an employer may lead to job dissatisfaction, and raise the company’s turnover rate (Gregory, 2009). It can be said that any job that is not in accordance with the abilities, training, experience and aspirations of an employee will not provide much satisfaction to the employee because the employee does not feel that he has control over his work and as such cannot succeed in his job leading to demotivation and dissatisfaction.
2.4 Measuring job satisfaction
Compared to the physical sciences, it is always very difficult to measure anything related to social sciences. Attitudes such as job satisfaction are the product of associated values and beliefs and these two factors can cause differences in job satisfaction even when jobs are identical (Johns & Saks, 2005). Furthermore job satisfaction is also derived to a great extent due to the perception an employee has regarding his job as well as what they want from the job. Perhaps it stems from the fact that human behaviour does not have any unified global standards and it differs from region to region and culture to culture. It could also simply be that our understanding of human behaviour is nowhere near our understanding of the physical world and we simply do not have the parameters to measure our own behaviour the way we do for physical objects. In addition human beings are described as inherently irrational creatures.
Whatever the case may be measurement of attitudes like job satisfaction is devoid of any credible measuring tool due to the nature of people. According to Greenberg & Baron (2000) people are not generally entirely open about their attitudes and even if they are quite often our attitudes are so complex that it is difficult to express them in any coherent manner. Still some measurement tools for determining attitudes like job satisfaction have been developed, although they have serious limitations in that the person who is being questioned may simply withhold some information or facts or worse be untruthful. They also, in most cases do not take account of some other factors like organisational culture, person’s cultural background, workplace vibes, personality type, personal relationship with managers etc.
The most popular measurement tools are: * Minnesota satisfaction questionnaire – In this tool a rating scale is provided in which people indicate the extent to which they are satisfied with the various aspects of their job. * Job descriptive index – In this tool people describe whether each of several adjectives describes a particular aspect of their job ex- very good, good, fair etc. against aspects like pay, co-workers etc. Questions on the JDI deal with five distinct aspects of jobs – the work itself, pay, promotional opportunities, supervision and co-workers. * Critical incident technique – Under this tool, an employee describes incidents relating to their work that they found satisfying or dissatisfying.
As an example it can be considered that if a substantial number of employees mention the role of their co-worker/s in their learning and liking the job, then it can be surmised that co-worker/s play an important role in their job satisfaction setup. * Interview – The interview remains perhaps the most extant, reliable and effective form of determining the job satisfaction level of an employee.
The reason behind it being that human beings convey their feelings not just by the spoken word but also by their body language, tone, inflections etc. which a trained manager can utilise to get the true picture. In some cases it is also possible not to be able to describe something in writing yet articulate it in a face to face conversation. In addition with a face to face conversation and the personal touch it carries it is possible for some people to open up and be more descriptive about their feelings. However just like with the other measurement tools, interviews also have some drawbacks like misunderstanding the body language, lack of appropriate training on part of the interviewer etc.
2.5 Job Performance
A central behaviour of concern in industrial and organizational psychology is that of individuals’ performance on their jobs (Borman et al, 2003). In contrast to job satisfaction job performance has received much less attention from industrial and social psychology researchers. In the 1990s Campbell observed that although job performance plays a central role in much of industrial and organizational psychology, little had been done to develop a comprehensive theory of what is meant by job performance (Borman et al, 2003). In layman terms, job performance could be described as the level of effectiveness and efficiency and overall output as shown by an employee in completing his job. According to Dunham (1984) performance is the degree to which an organisational objective is met.
Performance can involve concrete behaviours like building a product as well as abstract behaviours like supervision, planning, decision making etc. (Dunham, 1984). According to Borman et al (2003) Job performance is often the criterion that industrial and organizational psychologists attempt to predict from knowledge of characteristics of the performer and of the conditions under which the job is performed. Furthermore, Performance/productivity levels are influenced by both human and physical capital (Dunham, 1984). 2.6 Importance of the job performance concept
The importance of job performance and by extension of employees who perform well on the job comes from the fact that it is imperative for organisations to have a high performance operation/individual so as to enable the organisation to maintain a successful business. Once it is determined that job performance is placing the organization in a non-competitive position, the organization should move swiftly to identify and address the underlying reasons for this problem (Prien et al, 2009). There is evidence, then, that the level of performance on the job frequently depends upon a group norm, and that performance level may be changed by changing the group norm in a direction desired by management (Brayfield & Crockett, 1955). According to Sonnentag & Frese (2001)
Organizations need highly performing individuals in order to meet their goals, to deliver the products and services they specialized in, and finally to achieve competitive advantage. In addition, job performance is important for the individual employee as well as it provides a reason for their existence within the organisation as well as provides them with an opportunity to receive recognition from their superiors and their peers on account of their good performance. Accomplishing tasks and performing at a high level can be a source of satisfaction, with feelings of mastery and pride. Moreover, performance, if it is recognized by others within the organization is often rewarded by financial and other benefits and quite often is a major—although not the only—prerequisite for future career development and success in the Labor market (Sonnentag & Frese, 2001).
High performers, usually speaking get promoted more quickly and have better access to career opportunities that people who do not perform as highly as them (Van scotter, Motowidlo, & Cross, 2000). On the other hand, low performance can be a particular cause of concern for the individual employee and by extension the organisation. Low performance and not achieving the goals might be experienced as dissatisfying or even as a personal failure (Sonnentag & Frese, 2001).Reasons for low levels of job performance are many and complex and include issues such as employee limitations, poor supervision, lack of appropriate training and development, inadequate recognition and reward systems, organizational structural issues, poor internal communication, and organizational culture, to name but a few of the more obvious ones (Prien et al, 2009)
2.7 Measuring job performance: How and why
It is important to note that the measurement of job performance is one of the most vexing problems in the management of human resources (Prien et al, 2009). It is a complex issue because performance can be measured in so many different ways (Prien et al, 2009). The importance of measuring job performance comes from the advantages this activity provides to a manager or an organisation. Some of these advantages are accountability, goal setting, execution, efficiency, early warning signals, prediction etc. At the same time, the issue of measuring job performance is critical, as it underlies virtually all HR decisions from recruitment, to hiring, promotion, compensation, and retention (Prien et al, 2009). According to wood et al (2006) the performance equation views performance as the result of the personal attributes of individuals, the work effort they make and the organisational support they receive.
A number of factors influence performance such as motivation, extraversion, emotional stability, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness, personality, task and core self-evaluation among others (Johns & Saks, 2005). In general there are two approaches to measuring job performance objective and subjective (Prien et al, 2009). An objective measure is based directly on quantitative performance assessments, while subjective measures involve the judgment of an external observer, presumably on the basis of first-hand data (Prien et al, 2009). The major inherent problem with using a single objective measure of performance is that it cannot take into account the complexity of factors that impact an employee’s job performance (Prien et al, 2009).
On the other hand, a principal concern with the subjective form is that it assumes that both the employee and the rater(s) have understood and share a clear set of expectations about performance standards and although most performance appraisal systems are based on this assumption, generally speaking all too often this is not the case (Prien et al, 2009). According to Sonnentag and Frese (2001) Researchers have adopted various perspectives for studying performance. On the most general level one can differentiate between three different perspectives: (1) an individual differences perspective which searches for individual characteristics (e.g., general mental ability, personality) as sources for variation in performance, (2) a situational perspective which focuses on situational aspects as facilitators and impediments for performance, and (3) a performance regulation perspective which describes the performance process.
Apart from this the most popular method of determining job performance levels has been the performance appraisal/review. A performance appraisal program (PA program) is important to employees’ professional development, to meeting the company’s or firm’s goals or objectives and, ultimately, to contributing to the company’s or firm’s bottom line (Lawrence, 2004). They provide systematic judgments to support salary increases, promotions, transfers, demotions and terminations as well as are a means of assessing and communicating job performance status to a subordinate employee and suggesting needed changes in behaviour, attitude, skills or job knowledge (New media learning, 2011).
However, Nickless (2012) argues that the results of annual performance reviews are so open to distortion and dismay that some experts are calling for the entire process to be scrapped. Nickless (2012) further argues quoting David Clutterbeck, the author or co-author of 50 books “the problem is that the factors on which performance is judged are often not those where the employees makes or can make their greatest contribution. They also don’t normally take into account other factors, such as the impact of the boss in success and failure and how much of performance is dependent on others”. Pitfalls of a PA program will be evident if the managers are not adequately trained to monitor, interview and grade their staff with grading that does not accurately reflect the employee’s work performance as well as supervisors who let personal bias creep into their employee evaluations (Lawrence, 2004).
2.8 Other factors that influence the relationship and analysis of the relationship Although the satisfaction-performance relationship is governed by a huge number of variables and indeed may even be influenced by some factors that are not known as of yet, for the sake of convenience three variables having an impact on the relationship will be discussed. * Organisational commitment – Organisational commitment could be described as the level to which an employee identifies with the organisation and is willing to put an effort for the improvement of the organisation. According to Wiesner & Millett (2001) some evidence has been found that indicates that workers with higher organisational commitment tend to be more productive. * Culture – Culture is the shared way of doing things and relates to the manner in which we meet and greet others, perform tasks and attach value and importance to certain things.
Although no specific and extant study has come to fore regarding the influence of culture (both national culture and organisational culture), and subculture, culture is one of the factors that is supposed to have an influence on the satisfaction-performance relationship which is reflected in statements like “company X has a high performance culture……”. According to Wood et al (1998) a strong subculture (or culture) is often found in high performance task forces, teams and special project groups. * Interpretivism – Thus far the majority of studies that have undertaken research into the satisfaction-performance relationship have relied on quantitative analysis to provide results. The major concern with this form of analysis is the level and extent of interpretation of data that seeps into analysis.
For ex- a number of studies use supervisor ratings as a way of determining the performance of an employee, but these ratings by a supervisor may be influenced by a number of things like bad mood, time of the day, personal feelings about the employee in question etc. and may not reveal the true picture in addition to not being an accurate way of determining performance levels. Another issue could be the way a person describes/ascribes his situation and the way the researcher perceives it, which could be drastically different.
Thirdly, the design of the tools used for accumulation of data also need to be scrutinised as they may simply not be able to determine or accommodate all of data, thereby leading to either generalisations or complete elimination of data(which cannot be explained or justified) from the final research result. Lastly, it cannot be ruled out that the researchers in their eagerness to come up with results may not be quite thorough or neutral with the analysis of the data. Chapter 3 – Analysis of previous studies
With regards to the subject matter of this paper, three landmark studies will be analysed. These studies are the ones done by: * Brayfield and Crockett (1955) – Employee attitudes and Performance * Iaffaldano & Muchinsky (1985) – Job Satisfaction and Job Performance : A Meta-Analysis * Judge et al (2001) – The Job Satisfaction-Job Performance Relationship:A Qualitative & Quantitative Review
3.1 Brayfield and Crockett (1955) – Employee attitudes and Performance In this study the authors have quoted and analysed a number of studies done in the period from 1920 onwards till the time of their study. While the study lists, covers and evaluates a great number of prior studies and does identify to a certain extent the considered variables and determinants of those studies, it does not list the exact variables that were the focus of those studies. Whether this is an oversight on part of Brayfield and Crockett or whether the studies reviewed by them did not elaborate on the focus variables and data constituents themselves is an unanswered question and leaves a lot of ambiguity regarding what exactly were the variables researched under those studies.
For example – the authors pointed to a study conducted by Brayfield in 1944 in which he compared job satisfaction scores with job performance scores, wherein, while the variables for job performance were explained, yet there was no indication or explanation regarding what were the variables for job satisfaction and how was the job satisfaction correlation computed. Similarly while pointing to another study conducted by Brayfield and Marsh in 1953, they mention that “The corrected split-half reliability coefficient was .60; if the three subjects with the most inconsistent responses had been eliminated, the reliability coefficient would have become .77” while not mentioning what were the variables or influencing factors for the study but at the same time using that study among others to draw conclusions. Due to primarily limitations of this nature, it is difficult to comment on the efficacy and accuracy of study conducted by Brayfield & Crockett in 1955, especially with regards to the absence or lack of clarity of the aforementioned variables.
The authors in their 1955 article have made plain their scepticism of any link between job satisfaction and productivity. According to the authors the Hypothesis that production should increase monotonically with increases in satisfaction apparently rests on the assumption that the worker will demonstrate his gratitude by increased output, or that the increased satisfaction frees certain creative energies in the worker, or that the satisfied employee accepts management’s goals, which include high production. However, the authors have not clearly presented the contrasting viewpoint of what might happen if production does not increase in a manner commensurate with the increase in satisfaction level as well as the likely causes of such a situation, or even if any situation is likely to happen given a particular level of satisfaction achievement.
The authors have also pointed out at the inaccuracies and generalisations that are bound to be there in any measure of job satisfaction and job performance when individual differences in personal beliefs, values, perceptions and attitudes are not considered. They have stated that they expect the relationship between satisfaction and job performance to be one of concomitant variation, rather than cause and effect, in other words saying that job satisfaction and job performance always go together and are not necessarily bound in a cause and effect relationship. This taken together with the authors lack of clarity regarding the direction of causality arrow (satisfaction causes performance or performance causes satisfaction) could also imply that they either view satisfaction and performance elements more like two sides of the coin rather than one element following/caused by the other or they view the two elements being brought together by some other variables.
This point of view is further strengthened when they also point out their assumption that individuals are motivated to achieve certain environmental goals and that the achievement of these goals results in satisfaction, whereas, Productivity is seldom a goal in itself but is more commonly a means to goal attainment. This points to them considering that job satisfaction is not a direct effect of job performance but nevertheless is indirectly derived from it as being the effect of some other variable and is somewhat (though not entirely) similar to way no. 4 as proposed by the model presented by Judge et al (2001). 3.2 Iaffaldano & Muchinsky (1985) – Job Satisfaction and Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis Iaffaldano and Muchinsky have been credited with carrying out a highly influential and landmark study in 1985.
This study carried out a Meta – analysis of various studies before them. According to the authors this study attempted to synthesize and integrate the existing knowledge of job satisfaction-job performance literature by using the meta-analytic techniques as shown by Hunter et al (1982) and Glass et al (1981). The authors have pointed out that the characteristics selected for inclusion in coding for this study were based on variables that have been identified theoretically or empirically as appearing to influence obtained correlations and were deemed to be feasible based upon pilot testing. Their Meta – analysis of previous studies was conducted using the following research design characteristics: * Composite versus uni- dimensional criteria.
* Cross sectional measurement of performance relative to the measurement of satisfaction. * Nature of performance (Quality or quantity of performance). * Self-reports of performance versus supervisory reports. * Use of a performance measure developed specifically for experimental usage. * Use of performance measures as subjective (ratings) or objective (units of production). * Facet satisfaction versus global satisfaction.
* Traditional rating instrument or research specific rating instrument * Subject of study (White collar or blue collar employees) According to the authors although it was proposed that these nine characteristics would contribute significantly to the prediction of the size of correlation (between job satisfaction and performance) no specific hypotheses regarding the magnitude of their (characteristics) contribution and results of the mean and variance of the distribution pertaining to satisfaction-performance correlation could be made. The authors have also pointed at the probability of selection bias in several studies as a limiting factor for their meta-analysis. The authors admit that due to the debate over the magnitude of this particular relationship, there appears to have been a publication atmosphere more receptive to nonsignificant or negative findings than perhaps exist in other areas of psychological research.
Another significant aspect in the 1985 study conducted by Iaffaldano and Muchinsky was that although, they stated to have paired certain study characteristics with certain satisfaction types, yet no explanation was provided as to what was the basis of the pairing and what purpose did it serve. A final perplexing issue is their usage of certain measurement tools. For example they have used computational formula as provided by hunter et al (1982), despite knowing that hunter et al (1982) themselves admitted that due to the high power of their test even statistically significant findings may in effect be trivial. This implies that their usage of certain computational methods and formulae might have served to make some findings appear more significant than they truly were and at the same time dilute some other readings.
While their selection methodology and design characteristics are certainly more nuanced and developed, just like the study by Brayfield and crocket in 1955, Iaffaldano and Muchinsky have also relied in regards to their data on studies which had been using a very subjective and questionable methodology. For ex- Any method of determining the level of a particular behaviour (Job performance) which relies on one individual’s (supervisor/colleagues) impression (ratings) of another person (subordinate employee/co-worker) is bound to be questionable in nature as these impressions are susceptible not only to subjective interpretations of a person’s behaviour (performance) but are also open to bias and partialities.
The authors have also failed to look at all the variables that can have an effect on the satisfaction – performance relationship. In the analysis table while they have taken variables like pay, promotion, supervision etc., they have failed to take into consideration other relevant factors like cultural background, perception, personality type, predisposition, energy level, education etc. all of whom can have a profound bearing on the amount of satisfaction derived and performance given by an individual.
3.3 Judge et al, 2001 – The Job Satisfaction-Job Performance Relationship: A Qualitative and Quantitative Review Judge et al conducted a meta-analysis in 2001 of various past studies delving on the job satisfaction-job performance relationship. In this analysis they analysed and reviewed the previous studies such as those conducted by Brayfield and Crockett (1955), Vroom (1964), Schwab and Cummings (1970), Locke (1970) and Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) from both a quantitative as well as qualitative viewpoint. This analysis is notable for its formulation and depiction of a seven way model showing the various ways in which the satisfaction-performance relationship can exist (Figure A). The authors have argued that the correlation between satisfaction and performance has not been the focus of the vast majority of studies that have shown a correlation between the elements of job satisfaction and job performance.
The implication being that the vast majority of studies carried out with an aim of measuring the intensity of performance-satisfaction relationship have always focussed on some other elements like motivation, organisational commitment etc. and the effect they have on performance and satisfaction rather than focussing directly on the said relationship. The majority of studies focussing on this relationship have also invariably relied on a quantitative analysis for their research. In such studies, employees are asked about current satisfaction levels, and these responses are correlated with supervisory assessments of job performance, organizational performance records (e.g., sales, productivity), and the like. The authors further note that although, some studies have made use of longitudinal, panel, or cross-lagged designs (reciprocal causal effects) to investigate the satisfaction-performance relationship but such studies have been rare.
Furthermore, the authors have argued that causal inferences based on cross-sectional data is quite contentious and the legitimacy of drawing causal conclusions based on hypothesized models with cross-sectional data is directly dependent on the theoretical appropriateness of the model in question. This has been supported by Watson (1998) by his argument that quantitative research designs are concerned with the relationships between dependent and independent variables and also with the influence of independent variables upon dependent variables. The most notable contribution made by this study though, has been in its depiction of a seven way model in which the job satisfaction-job performance relationship can exhibit itself. The following are the seven ways with their descriptions: * Job satisfaction causes job performance – According to the authors this model posits a causal effect of job satisfaction on job performance and is probably the oldest specification of the relationship and is often attributed to the human relations movement.
The reasoning behind this model seems to be based on the premise that attitudes lead to behaviour and most attitude researchers assume that attitudes carry with them behavioural implications. * Job performance causes job satisfaction – The authors posit that though most attitude-behaviour research in psychology has assumed that the link is from attitudes to behaviour, this view has not gone unchallenged. The authors further cite expectancy based studies as well as studies by the proponents of the performance leads to satisfaction studies who have based their argument on the assumption that performance leads to valued outcomes or rewards that are satisfying to individuals. In addition, according to the authors compared with research stipulating a unidirectional effect of job satisfaction on job performance, more studies have posited a unidirectional effect of job performance on job satisfaction.
* Job satisfaction and job performance are reciprocally related – Under this the authors propose that Models of the reciprocal relationship between job satisfaction and job performance have no distinct theoretical foundation rather, they are hybrid models of the previous two approaches, ostensibly accepted by those who believe that both theoretical explanations are plausible, that performance can be both satisfying and, in turn, caused by satisfaction. * The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is spurious – The authors citing (Cohen & Cohen, 1983) have argued that a spurious correlation is observed when the relationship between two variables is due to the relation of these variables to a third, unmeasured variable. The authors have cited various studies where an initially significant satisfaction-performance relationship becomes non-significant or spurious when a third variable (role ambiguity, self-esteem, job involvement, organisational commitment etc.) was brought into the picture.
The authors also warn that several caveats must be kept in mind when interpreting these results for example, the purpose of most of these studies was not to investigate the spuriousness of the job satisfaction-job performance relationship and that other—more theoretically salient—variables not measured in the aforementioned studies may lend additional insight into the satisfaction-performance relationship. The authors further mention that it might be difficult to ascertain the veracity of the purported causal effects due to failure to satisfy the assumptions required to make causal inferences and that this relationship might be mediated by some other unknown variables. This analysis to a great extent ties in with the earlier analysis of this study done for the study conducted by Brayfield and Crockett.
* The relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is moderated by other variables – The authors explain that in the vast majority of the cases the satisfaction-performance relationship has been investigated by the use of moderator variables. These variables are those attitudes, behaviours, motivations or influences that can have an effect on the relationship. The authors have made mention of rewards contingency and quote prior studies which say that job performance should affect job satisfaction only to the extent that people are compensated based on their performance. The authors also cite Podsakoff and Williams (1986) who found that the general satisfaction-job performance relationship was somewhat stronger in studies in which rewards were linked to performance.
Despite this, the authors have argued that tests of the reward contingency hypothesis have ignored the possibility that performance itself may be intrinsically satisfying to individual. * There is no relationship between job satisfaction and job performance – The authors are of the view that the vast majority of studies that include job satisfaction and job performance treat them as separate variables without any relationship between them. As an example the authors cite the study conducted by Greenberg et al (1989) who investigated the causal relationship between personal control and job satisfaction, and between personal control and job performance, but did not investigate the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.
The authors posit that researchers might ignore the relationship between satisfaction and performance due to a number of reasons, while at the same time including the two elements in their study. * Alternative conceptualizations of job satisfaction and job performance – In this particular way/model the authors argue that although the general concept that attitudes lead to performance has merit, but only when attitudes and/or performance are reconceptualised. The implication being that some of the traditional ways of viewing job satisfaction and job performance need to be set aside and recast. For ex- Instead of viewing an employee’s level and rate of performing a particular job as his performance level, we should perhaps take a more holistic view of the way he not only does his own job but also how he helps his colleagues, volunteers for additional work, keeps up the morale and motivation etc. Judge et al also carried out a quantitative analysis and have made stated comparisons with the methodology and results obtained by Iaffaldano and Muchinsky in their 1985 study.
The key determinants and moderators in their study are similar to those used by Iaffaldano and Muchinsky with some notable exceptions. These exceptions like usage of unpublished studies for their analysis and usage of cross sectional as well as longitudinal methods and classification of jobs according to their complexity level may have enabled the authors to avoid some of the bias that might have crept into the Iaffaldano and Muchinsky study as well as provided them with more expansive and informative data. Their quantitative analysis has showed an overall correlation of .30 as compared to Iaffaldano and muchinsky’s .17, making judge et al’s correlation slightly stronger than the 1985 study and can be considered as a “moderate” effect size in contrast with Iaffaldano and muchinsky’s “illusory” effect size.
On the whole their study found stronger relationship between job satisfaction and performance than any prior study and they advocate more research regarding this relation despite the chilling effect that the 1985 study by Iaffaldano and Muchinsky might have created on industry psychologists and researchers in this field. With regards to their quantitative analysis, judge et al (2001) might have been more thorough than everyone else who preceded them. Their research methods, methodology, number of variables considered and overall approach has been much more expansive and thorough than any previous study.
However, in their quantitative analysis they also have not considered all of the factors and facets that might influence the satisfaction-performance relationship. This could be ascribed either to their usage of published studies which reeling under the “chilling” impact of the 1985 study either did not use a different methodology to come up with different results or accepted the result of 1985 study and did not seek to challenge it. In their own analysis the authors have tried to put some variables which have not been covered by prior studies, however since the majority of their data comes from prior studies the overall correlation and deviations from prior correlations might not have changed as much as could have been had the data been procured in an original manner by the authors. At the same time the authors do accept the various concerns that can be there in quantitative research and admit their inability to explain certain correlations or lack thereof.
A uniform feature of all the prior studies on the job satisfaction- performance relationship has been the non-inclusion of some variables. While the importance of these variables cannot be overstated, at the same time due a variety of reasons it is quite difficult to accurately determine the magnitude of their effect on the individual. According to Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) although, variables such as situation constraints, pressure for production or degree of job fit may contribute greatly to the variance in performance- satisfaction correlations across studies, information regarding such conditions is rarely provided, thus limiting the value of coding such variables. Furthermore, the methods which are currently used to measures attitudes and behaviours are not without their limitations and doubts. It is difficult to say that either of the two main elements can directly influence the other or comment on the causality of the relationship as there seems to be a requirement of determining the influencing variable in order to arrive at any conclusion regarding the general nature of this alleged relationship.
Judge et al (2001) citing Brief and Roberson state that three of the most widely used job satisfaction measures differed dramatically in the degree to which they captured affect. Upon reviewing these three past studies it can be summarised that the nature and magnitude of the relationship depends on the variables that are being used for analysis as well as the method of determining the degree or level of the variables that influence the relationship. Human society is governed by various yardsticks and measures that are used to govern, regulate and encourage certain behaviours. These yardsticks and measures do have positive and justifiable uses in certain areas like law, social justice and sports.
However, just like no two individuals are ever the same, we cannot similarly use the same yardstick or measure to determine attitudes and behaviours like job satisfaction and performance. The reason being that we are dealing with the most intrinsic of human behaviours and attitudes which are moderated by a vast number of variables like motivation, culture, sub culture, preoccupation, education, emotional level and state, predisposition etc. and then additionally even if we somehow are able to measure these variables the findings are always subject to bias, distortions and interpretations.
It is beyond the scope of this research thesis to delve into and examine the level of influence these variables can have on job satisfaction and performance. However, one thing is certain that till the time we identify all the factors that can influence satisfaction and performance as well as develop a better understanding of the extent of effect of these variables along with a comprehensive and accurate manner of measuring them, further studies in this area encompassing all relevant variables are required.
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University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 9 November 2016
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