«To make the best use of people as a valuable resource of the organisation attention must be given to the relationships between staff, and the nature ...»
Job Satisfaction and Work
To make the best use of people as a valuable resource of the organisation attention must be given
to the relationships between staff, and the nature and content of their job. The work organisation
and the design of jobs can have a significant effect on staff and their levels of performance.
Attention needs to be given to the quality of working life. The manager needs to understand how
best to make work more satisfying for staff and to overcome obstacles to effective performance.
The learning objectives of this chapter are to:
explain the meaning and nature of job satisfaction;
G detail dimensions of job satisfaction;
G examine the nature of stress at work;
G detail main approaches to improving job design and work organisation;
G explore broader organisational approaches to improved job design;
G assess main influences on job satisfaction;
G evaluate the relationship between job satisfaction and improved work performance.
G Chapter 18 examines the nature of job satisfaction and links with motivation and improved work performance. The relationship between the organisation and its members is governed by what motivates them to work and the satisfaction they derive from it. This chapter looks at the dimen- sions of job satisfaction, job design and work organisation, including the influence of technology and stress at work. The chapter also examines broader approaches to improved job design includ- ing the quality of working life, and empowerment.
Motivation, job satisfaction and work performance The nature of the work organisation and the design of jobs can have a significant effect on the job satisfaction of staff and on the level of organisational performance. However, attempting to under- stand the nature of job satisfaction and its effects on work performance is not easy.
Although the motivation to work well is usually related to job satisfaction, the nature of this relationship is not clear. The level of job satisfaction may well affect the strength of motivation but this is not always the case. The content theories of motivation (especially Herzberg’s two-factor theory) assume a direct relationship between motivation, job satisfaction and work performance.
However, expectancy models (for example, that of Porter and Lawler) suggest a more complex view of motivation, and that job satisfaction does not necessarily lead to improved work performance.
Dimensions of job satisfaction It is important to remember that job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted concept and diffi- cult to measure objectively. There is also some doubt as to whether there is a single overall factor of job satisfaction or whether it comprises a number of separate dimensions. The level of job sat- isfaction is affected by a wide range of individual, social, cultural, organisational and environmental factors. It seems that there is no one, general, comprehensive theory which explains job satisfaction. Major influences on job satisfaction are set out in Figure 18.1.
Stress at work One of the major adverse influences on job satisfaction, work performance and productivity is the increasing incidence of stress at work. Stress is a source of tension and frustration. It is a complex and dynamic concept, and can arise through a number of interrelated influences on behaviour including work, home and organisational issues. For example, the restructuring of organisations and lower staffing levels have placed greater pressures on the remaining staff resulting in a growing number of related health problems and work stress. However, the causes of stress are complex. Stress is also a very personal experience as is the response of each individual.
It would probably be helpful to draw attention to the increasing debate on the work/life balance.
Work organisation and job design Earlier approaches to job design concentrated on the restructuring of individual jobs. Although some attention may still be given to individual job redesign, approaches to improving job design now take on a broader perspective. The focus of attention has spread from manipulating the tasks of individual jobs to a wider organisational context, improving the effectiveness of the organisation and the successful management of change.
It is important to note that the different methods of job design are not necessarily separate approaches and also that there are important contextual factors which affect job design.
Increased interest in job design has been associated with the development of a broader social concern for the quality of working life, desirable task and job characteristics, management style and culture, and the management of change.
Employee involvement and empowerment Recognition of the efficient use of human resources for business success together with advances in social democracy have highlighted the importance of employee involvement and empowerment.
Increasing business competitiveness requires organisations to develop and harness the talents and commitment of their employees, and allow people a greater say in decisions that affect them at work.
Empowerment is generally explained in terms of allowing employees greater freedom, autonomy and self-control over their work, and responsibility for decision-making. It is important to consider, however, that the concept of empowerment does give rise to a number of questions and doubts.
There is an opportunity to provide a link back to Chapter 16 and whether empowerment differs in any meaningful way from earlier forms of employee involvement and the extent to which it differs from delegation. Course members could also be encouraged to discuss critically whether participation really does work.
Work organisation and job satisfaction Important developments in job redesign and work organisation, and efforts to improve job satisfaction include self-managed work groups, flexible working arrangements, and quality circles.
Attention should also be given to the importance of contextual factors in job design. However, despite many theories and studies, there are still doubts as to how best to manage an organisation so that staff have both high productivity and job satisfaction.
Debate ‘The extent to which any organisation has happy, helpful and efficient members of staff is a direct result of the manner in which they are treated by top management.’ Some starting points 244
For G The importance of how staff are treated by top management for the behaviour, motivation, satisfaction and performance of staff has long been recognised by major writers and practitioners.
G Top management have the ultimate responsibility for the quality of working life, views about people at work, and fostering a climate of goodwill and harmonious working relationships.
Against Except perhaps in the smaller organisations, top management are generally more concerned G with community and external decisions than with the satisfaction or performance of staff. This is more the concern of other managers and supervisors.
G In addition to treatment by top management there are many a wide range of complex variables that determine the job satisfaction and performance of staff including individual, social, environmental and cultural factors.
Assignment: Downsizing Here is a suggested answer provided by Dr W. Richardson, ICSA Chief Examiner.
‘Downsizing’ is a term which refers to a general phenomenon of modern organisational life which has been created by organisations of all sizes, and from public and private sectors, shedding jobs as the pressures to become increasingly cost-effective and competitive intensify. For example, in the UK the banks have ‘downsized’ thousands of jobs during the past five years, as have newly privatised organisations such as British Telecom and British Gas. The trend seems set to continue and intensify.
The activity of downsizing is associated with modern management activities, such as benchmarking and business process re-engineering. The question is posed here as to whether and why downsizing leads, or should lead, to higher levels of motivation in personnel in organisations. In order to answer the question effectively, certain related questions need to be answered. What is motivation? How is it enhanced? What do we mean by ‘job enlargement’, ‘job rotation’, and ‘job enrichment’?
Motivation and commitment Theorists such as Abraham Maslow and Frederick Herzberg have differentiated between different types of needs or aspirations which people bring to their work organisations. For example, Maslow provides a ‘hierarchy of needs’ which range from lower level needs such as ‘physiological needs’, the basics of life, e.g. food and clean air, to security, e.g. organisational tenure; ‘social needs’, the need to belong to a work group, for example, and to develop relationships with colleagues at work; ‘status’ whereby being in work bestows status and people look to achieve positions in the organisational hierarchy; ‘perks’ which satisfy the need to be seen to have achieved status and recognition; and ‘self-actualisation’ – the need to learn, grow and develop personally through the activities a person becomes involved in at work.
Frederick Herzberg has differentiated between ‘motivation’ and ‘movement’. The latter involves people performing at work largely because of a carrot and stick relationship – they perform (move) when the carrot or stick is applied but often reduce or halt performance when they perceive the rewards and punishments to be inadequate. The former involves personal commitment from the employees they commit to the organisation and its work and look forward to doing a good job because of personal motivation and not simply because of the organisation’s impersonal control systems. Herzberg has also differentiated between ‘hygiene factors’ and ‘motivators’. ‘Hygiene factors’ are the basic need-satisfiers which people obtain from work, and which need to be in place if people are to achieve basic levels of ‘motivational fitness’ and aren’t to switch off through being dissatisfied with their work conditions. ‘Motivators’, on the other hand, are higher order needssatisfiers such as job fulfilment from working on an interesting job and being given discretion over 245
how it is to be performed, and recognition associated with making worthwhile contributions to the organisation. According to Herzberg, these aspects of organisation need to be in place if personnel are to attain high levels of ‘motivational fitness’ and commitment.
Other theorists have described motivation as a process and have emphasised the need to build
into jobs and personnel development situations:
factors which make performance worthwhile – attractive rewards, or alternatively meaningful G punishments for failure to perform acceptably;
clear communication that the rewards will flow given successful performance, or that punishG ments will definitely be incurred for poor performance; and support to help the employee perform to the required level and to help him/her perceive that his/her G effort will actually result in the achievement of the desired performance. If any of these aspects of a particular situation are missing commitment and effective job performance will not ensue.
Job rotation, job enlargement and job enrichment in the downsized situation In the light of the above we might conclude that job rotation – which is a system of moving people, systematically, between a number of jobs and duties – is likely to be the result of downsizing. This is because fewer people have the same number of jobs to do, but is likely to be helpful motivationally only to the extent that it improves the hygiene motivators of a person by making his or her work life less boring and repetitive by providing personal growth opportunities through multi-skills development programmes; it does not lead to feelings of insecurity because of a perceived inadequacy about ability to perform the changing range of jobs. Such insecurity might result, for example, because of a lack of training support or because there are simply too many jobs to do.
Job enlargement is also a likely consequence of the downsizing policy. Again, fewer people to do the same amount of work implies that permanent duties expand to take on more of the same sort of work – the middle manager is asked to manage more subordinates, for example. Once again, the extent to which job enlargement is motivational will depend on the extent to which the employee perceives the change to be one which enhances status, or simply means ‘the same old job only more of it’.
According to Herzberg, job enrichment is the only true route to motivation and commitment. This requires that people be given more control over their work and more discretion over how it gets done.
It involves the depth of work rather than the breadth of it. So, once again, if downsizing leads to people being given more worthwhile jobs and discretionary power then it is likely to be motivational.
This will often apply: fewer people in an organisation implies that more responsibility will be passed to those who remain. Against this, however, might be the fear in a constantly downsizing organisation that, despite improved performance, an employee might still expect to lose the job eventually. Also if employees perceive the rewards being offered to be inadequate compensation for their new duties then they will perceive the situation to be inequitable, which is another cause of demotivation at work according to ‘equity’ theorists such as Adams. Clearly, in such contexts, short-term motivational gains are likely to be offset by a longer-drawn realisation that job security is threatened. Ultimately, therefore, it seems likely that in a continuously downsizing situation, which seems to prevail generally in our modern-day competitive society, performance will increasingly depend upon ‘fear of the stick’ rather than upon expectation of high-order needs satisfaction.