Organizational Behavior: Job Satisfaction

Introduction

Different methodologies are deployed to conduct any study on job fulfillment. The data collection approaches such as conferences, opinion poll, and observations. This study about job satisfaction is important not only for the employees but also for the organizations’ performance and success. In the quest to retain the most talented people, organizations are overly interested in the most pragmatic strategies for employee retention. Job satisfaction is one of such strategies that have attracted immense interest in organizational management theory. One of the approaches for studying job satisfaction is by studying causes and implications of job dissatisfaction. Several factors contribute to job dissatisfaction. For example, personal dissatisfaction occurs due to issues of compensation, job security, diversity conflicts, work autonomy, and relationships with supervisors (Jones, 2009).

The issue of job satisfaction within organizations has traditionally been approached from the theoretical paradigm that job satisfaction and performance are related. Apart from having low productivity, dissatisfied employees are likely to consider leaving their jobs to search for alternative employment that can satisfy their needs better. Very few studies have investigated the possibility of a gap when it comes to the level of satisfaction between male and female employees. The research will focus on Google Company’s employees, specifically in California, to find out whether the effect of salary on job satisfaction is higher for male employees than in female employees. It will also find out whether age influences the level of employee satisfaction. In terms of age, the research will investigate whether the effect of salary on job satisfaction is lower for employees older than 40 years compared to employees who are between 25-40 years old

Literature Review

Job contentment is one of the variables in the workplace that attracts high attention in terms of scholarly researches. Job contentment relates to several issues, including job design, leadership, and other organizational factors (Seston & Hann, 2009). Furnham, Eracleous, and Chamorro-Premuzic (2009) define job satisfaction as “the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job as achieving or facilitating the achievement of one’s job values” (p.765). This definition and other definitions of job satisfaction focus on workers’ feelings and attitudes towards a job or particular facets of the job. Various theories explain job satisfaction. One of such theories that have received immense scholarly attention is the theory of motivation. As Lu, Barriball, Zhang, and While (2012) reveal, job satisfaction translates into high organizational performance and low turnover.

Low motivation constitutes one of the fundamental sources of labor turnover in an organization (Cascio, 2012). Lowly motivated people are less satisfied and likely to consider leaving an organization in search of alternative jobs. Motivation refers to the driving force, which determines the desired human behavior. It can be explained in the context of various theories such as Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Herzberg’s two-factor theory, and Taylor’s scientific management theory (Cascio, 2012). The appropriateness of each of the theories rests on its advantages and disadvantages with respect to specific managerial situation that requires motivation to induce work satisfaction.

The main advantage of Maslow’s theory of motivation is that increased wage results in augmented productivity, and hence organizational performance (Bowey, 2005). For example, the longer the employees stay in an organization, the better they perfect the art of executing their duties more effectively and with speed (McDonnell, Lamare, Gunnigle, & Lavelle, 2010). Consequently, an organization does not suffer from higher costs since additional wages and salaries are countered through increased output levels. However, the theory has the disadvantage that at some point, people begin to seek esteem needs. Therefore, monetary reward ceases to be a source of motivation. Hence, work dissatisfaction may emerge. Thus, amplified productivity that is accounted for by increased wages and salaries may be lost to the extent of plugging an organization into high operational costs.

Taylor’s scientific theory suggests that esteem and self-actualization employee needs are not necessary determinant of their motivation. Rather, people are motivated by money only (Dessler, 2004). The theory may be advantageous for people who belong to lower levels in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. However, Taylor’s scientific theory faces the disadvantage of discounting people. Crook (2011) asserts that salaries and wages are not always sources of motivation. This observation is particularly the case for people who seek recognition and sense of organizational ownership (Crook, 2011). While Taylor’s theory encounters drawbacks in terms of enhancing motivation for these groups of people, Maslow’s theory becomes effective in enhancing their motivation, which is important in ensuring work satisfaction.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory holds that people have two main groups of needs. The first group comprises the hygiene need such as competitive salaries and good working conditions. The second group comprises motivators such as the creation of career development opportunities, recognition, achievement, and the feeling of responsibility. Tidd and Bessant (2009) add that a major advantage of this theory is that it demonstrates a direct correlation between the motivators and job satisfaction among high-ranking employees. Huselid (2007) found that satisfaction with salaries and wages influences employee performance and commitment to their work.

Form the work of Huselid (2007), satisfaction correlates positively with improved workforce productivity, enhanced workforce engagement, decreased staff absenteeism, and decreased workforce turnover. Apart from sharing the disadvantages associated with inducing motivation through increased wages and salaries as witnessed in the case of Taylor’s scientific and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theories, the main disadvantage of Herzberg’s two-factor theory is that providing motivators also entails task accountability, which many employees may not want to adopt.

In the context of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people are most likely to perform better in tasks if a job satisfies their fundamental human needs followed by social needs, and much later, self-actualization. This finding suggests that a link between job satisfaction and job performance only occurs when aspects such as individual worker’s thoughts concerning the purpose of work are manifested in the traits of the job facet that he or she engages in every day within an organization. Various factors increase satisfaction and hence commitment of employees to their jobs. They include remuneration levels, degree of delegation of responsibility, and organizational culture among other factors. These factors underline the significance of incorporating employees into the decision-making process in an organization when pay ceases to be a motivational and hence a job satisfaction factor.

After eliminating data miscalculations, Judge (2001) revealed a rise in the correlation factor between the magnitude of job satisfaction and the degree of job performance by 30. Despite the consensus by various scholars that employee productivity levels are a function of the extent of employee’s satisfaction, Jones (2009) argues that the relationship is frail. The researcher subscribes to this position on the premise that the definition of job satisfaction ignores the subject matter of life (Jones, 2009). This claim implies that other factors need to be considered to define job satisfaction more precisely and concisely. These factors include the nature of the job, personality attitudes of the workers, and the organizational work environment. Judge (2001) supports this assertion by further arguing that job satisfaction depends on whether workers like or hate what they do. On the other hand, workers may prefer their jobs, but not the environment of the organization in which they work. For the nature of job to satisfy workers, Glisson and Durick (2003) hold that human resources evaluate the role they are expected to play, the amount they earn, how they relate internally, and/or the mechanisms of control and endorsements.

Satisfaction through motivation contributes to the management of labor turnover and organizational performance. Labor turnover in many organizations is deployed as a measure of their performance (Beecroft, 2008). It measures the decisions of worker to remain committed to the work of an organization. Denvir and McMahon (2002) define labor turnover as “the movement of people into an out of employment within an organization” (p.143). Hence, people can choose to move or remain working for an organization unwillingly or even voluntarily. Labor turnover is controllable or unavoidable in some situations (Khilji & Wang, 2007). Guaranteeing employee job satisfaction encompasses an important mechanism for controlling labor turnover.

Despite the findings of direct correlation between job satisfaction and job performance and the contribution of motivation and other techniques such as pay rise in enhancing workforce motivation, scholarly criticism still exists that job satisfaction is not related to performance levels that employees exhibit. For instance, Jones (2009) argues that concluding that only job satisfaction possesses an overall capability to influence job performance is inappropriate. The scholar further argues that high performance depends on the capacity of a job to satisfy all aspects of an employee’s life, including gender and age needs. Employees are best satisfied by their job when there is good job-personal life fit. Hence, job satisfaction is a function of many factors, including salary and wages, motivation, work-life balance, fun in the workplace, management of workforce diversity, and organizational cultures among others.

Many studies have been completed in general organizations addressing the contribution of motivation to employee satisfaction, and hence increased organizational performance. The current research does not aim at validating such findings in the general organizational context. Rather, it shifts its focus on the impacts of job aspects such as salaries and wages on employee satisfaction. From the literature review section, it was established that motivational factors such as salaries has influenced employee satisfaction. Considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, people at different ages are likely to belong to different hierarchy levels. Therefore, salaries and wages are likely to produce different effects on people at different ages. Any dissatisfaction on salary has the probability of resulting in turnover. The research seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. Is the effect of salary on job satisfaction higher for male employees than in female employees?
  2. Is the effect of salary on job satisfaction lower for employees older than 40 years compared to employees who are between 25-40 years old?
  3. Are employees who are 25-40 years old and are males likely to have higher turnover due salary dissatisfaction?

The above questions lead to the following hypotheses that the research seeks to clarify

  • H1: The effect of salary on job satisfaction is higher for male employees than female employees
  • H2: The effect of salary on job satisfaction is lower for employees older than 40 years compared to employees who are between 25-40 years old

Method

The current research is designed as a primary research. Therefore, it will rely on first-hand data acquired through a survey of the targeted respondents. Direct interviews will be used as the primary method of data collection. Opposed to any other methodology of primary data collection, an interview provides an advantage since it provides an opportunity to garner data on subjects, which are emotionally laden. This case increases the chances of accuracy of the data collected in comparison with other methods of data collection. However, the methodology presents some disadvantages. It is time consuming and cost intensive, especially when large sample sizes are involved. These two challenges are dealt with by using a relatively small sample size that yields the required confidence levels within the constraints of the available financial resources to conduct the research.

Variables captured in the interviews include the influence of gender, male or female, on satisfaction induced through salaries (H1) and effect of age on salary satisfaction (H2). Emphasis is placed on the role of these factors in influencing the decisions of employees to change their jobs in the near future or turnover (H3). Turnover intention can be measured using the Likert scale that bears five points as used by Nadiri and Tanova (2009) and Seston and Ferguson (2009). However, in this research, four-point rating scale will be used. The points include, not important, lowly important, important, and very important. The measurement method is reliable because it gives the respondents a chance to mark the favorable option in a range of choices. Since anonymity is guaranteed, the respondents are free to give honest opinions. Once the questionnaire are answered, SPSS will be used to generate the independent t-test to examine the data, which will consist of the mean, standard deviation, t-value, degree of freedom, p-value, and mean difference.

Online questionnaires will be availed to all Google Company’s operational centers in California. The interviews will provide the advantage of exchanging data and sharing of the work experiences with the respondents. Hence, the data collected will also be extensive. The interview will be conducted on the sampled employees. Simple sampling will be deployed as the method of the sample generation. However, before embarking on this step, it is important to determine the required sample. While determining the sample size, four aspects need to be captured. They include the population size, the confidence interval or the margin of error, confidence level, and the Standard deviation (SD). Although human resource departments have the data for the total population of employees at Google Company in California, the researcher does not currently have this information. Nevertheless, this issue should not hinder the research from being conducted since online forms will be availed in all branches in California. In most empirical researches, the population size is not known.

Sample sizes are always imperfect. Therefore, it is crucial to establish limits of error. In the current research, the confidence interval is set at 95 percent. The SD value is set at 0.5 while the confidence interval is set at +/-5 percent. The SD establishes the anticipated variance in the responses of the study. The choice of 0.5 as the SD is informed by the fact that the research is not yet conducted and that a safe and the most unforgiving value must be assumed. Different confidence levels have different Z-score values. For the chosen confidence level of 95 percent, the corresponding Z-score is 1.96. Deploying these values, the sample is determined from the formula: (Z-score) 2– SD (1-SD)/ (margin of error) 2. This formula yields 385 respondents as the required sample size to complete the research.

The research sample can be divided into deferent groups. Group 1 comprises all male Google employees in California. Group 2 comprises all female employees. Group 1(a) encompasses all male employees in the 25-40 age gap while Group 1(b) accommodates all males above 40 years. Group 2(a) incorporates all female employees in the 25-40 age group. Group 2(b) constitutes all males above 40. The collected data will be corded either as for Group 1, 1(a) and 1(b), or for Group 2, 2(a) and 2(b). In testing hypothesis 1, consideration will be made in the calculation of the percentage of women or men out of the total women or men interviewed. The difference between women and men satisfaction in the context of the variables examined through H1 will be noted.

Step 2 will involve testing the effect of age on salary satisfaction. This process will involve administrating interview questions to the entire sample, followed by dividing the responses in two ways. Firstly, responses will be divided into two categories without considering any gender effects. Descriptive statistics such as the respective percentages will then be calculated. In step 3, data will be subdivided considering the gender effects. The figures will make it possible to test hypothesis H3 after calculating the percentages of groups 1(a), 1(b), 2(a), and 2(b) based on the interview question whether perceptions of dissatisfaction with salary makes one consider quitting his or her job. By computing the percentages of responses for each question in a set of questions in each step of the study, the researcher will analyze individual subgroups of samples that are likely to consider salary a source of satisfaction, dissatisfaction, or a necessity for considering quitting their job in the future.

Discussion

Google Company is an important audience for the current research, although other organizations will benefit from the findings. Currently, the company deploys strategies such as workforce diversity management to ensure that its employees are satisfied with their jobs based on the consideration that poor diversity management contributes to increased workplace conflicts. Such conflicts lower not only employee satisfaction but also their job performance. Asserting that the research is important for Google does not imply that the company’s current strategies are not appropriate. Indeed, diversity management is critical when it comes to increasing the ability to address the various needs of more diverse Google customer base. Particularly, Google Company may gain from the varied viewpoints of its diverse workforce in the effect that such workforce may provide increased problem-solving capacities coupled with enhanced creativity levels. Such outcome is critical to the success of the organization in the future unknown dynamic business environment.

It can be argued that proper management of Google’s workforce makes the organization gain immensely to the extent that it establishes a central position in the competitive market. Such a competitive position is achievable when its employees are satisfied after being motivated to execute their job mandates. For those who consider salary a source of satisfaction, then it is possible to conclude that salaries and wages are motivational to them and important factors that make them remain committed to the organization without considering quitting. Therefore, it is necessary for the organization to consider reviewing its salaries and wages. The research is also significant for those who are not motivated by salaries and wages since the company can consider exploring HR policies that foster their likely sources of job satisfaction such as delegation.

After reading the research, other organizations, especially those that seek to gain a competitive advantage through people, may obtain an important possible way of increasing their performance through increased workforce satisfaction and a reduction of turnover. One of such mechanisms entails optimal utilization of their available human resource through the establishment of various payment and rewarding systems that enhance employee job satisfaction. Such an approach has been traditionally considered important in the organizational and HR management theory. Better-rewarded workers have been thought of being motivated and more satisfied with their work. Hence, they perform optimally.

Limitations

Every research has its unique limitations. Carrying out the current research was limited to the interviewees who were willing to cooperate in answering the questions. Some respondents ignored the process terming it as time-consuming. Besides, since the questionnaire was administered online, some Google Company branches complained of poor internet connectivity that interfered with their ability to answer the questions in time. Moreover, the researcher encountered financial limitations. Developing the online template required the services of an expert.

References

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McDonnell, A., Lamare, R., Gunnigle, P., & Lavelle, J. (2010). Developing tomorrow’s leaders—Evidence of global talent management in multinational enterprises. Journal of World Business, 45(2), 150-160.

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