Organizations all over the world have one thing in common: they all desire high turn overs. The turnover of an organization is a convergence point for several factors. It is mostly dependent on the employee input. With that in mind, it becomes paramount to maximize on the input from the employees. The input from the employees is further pegged on their attitudes and the satisfaction that they derive from their jobs. Human resource practitioners have therefore sought to understand how to influence the employee attitudes and the various factors that influence job satisfaction. Research has shown that with job satisfaction tends to increase with time even if the person decides to change jobs .Personality traits also come into play when it comes to job satisfaction. Research has also shown that personality traits such as extraversion and conscientiousness are likely to influence job satisfaction. A person’s country of origin and their culture is also likely to shape their perception about the job and how they execute it. It is postulated that job satisfaction is likely to have an impact on the person’s life. The job is a segment of the person’s life, a reason for them to seek a means to compensate for the gaps in their professional life or it can spill over into other aspects of their life. Job satisfaction has been linked to withdrawal from the organization by employees. Dissatisfied employees are likely to withdraw from the organization by being absent and reducing their input towards the organization. The impact of magnitude of job satisfaction cannot be ignored hence it is important for human resources practitioners to have means of measuring job satisfaction. Employee surveys can be carried out in order to gain an understanding of the level of job satisfaction. These surveys can be used in order to work on the organization’s structure.
The most renowned definition of job satisfaction according to is a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one job or one’s jobs experiences. Based on this definition it is important to recognize that both the feelings and the thinking of the employee are considered in evaluation of job satisfaction. The nature of human psychology according to experts is that human beings think about what they feel and what they feel causes them to think.
Studies that have been done pertaining to job satisfaction show that there are three major knowledge gaps among the human resource practitioners. These gaps are: the roots of employee satisfaction, the impact of negative or positive employee satisfaction and the methods of influencing employee attitudes.
2.0 The causes of employee satisfaction
There is a general understanding among the human resources practitioners on the impact of the work situation on employee satisfaction. Based on this understanding human resource practitioners can come up with suitable programs at the work place and management practices that can influence the employee satisfaction.
Research on job satisfaction provides the human resource practitioners with knowledge on the factors that are responsible for causing employee satisfaction. For instance, dispositional and cultural influences have been well studied in the past few years in order to aid the human resource practitioners as they come up with suitable work programs. One study shows that the temperament of an individual as a child has a role to play in job satisfaction for as long as 40 years later. This study is further supported by statistics that show that twins who have been reared apart hence have different temperaments are likely to have job satisfaction that is statistically similar. Job satisfaction scores also tend to stabilize over time even if the individual changes jobs.
In addition to that research has also shaped the widely known perception among human resources practitioners that the culture of a person influences their outlook towards work. This offers the human resources practitioners’ insight into how to treat the employees in different cultural contexts. In the United States, for instance it was found that the power distance and uncertainty avoidance were low while the individuality was high. However in Mexico it was found that they were high on being a collective batch and high on the power distance but low on uncertainty avoidance.
3.0 The impact of positive or negative job influences
This is another aspect where the human resource practitioners lack the appropriate knowledge. Whether a satisfied employee is a productive employee or not remains debatable. It is therefore up to the human resource practitioners to strike the right balance between employee satisfaction and being cost effective.
Through research there is knowledge that clearly demonstrates the link between job performance and job satisfaction. This is vital for human resource practitioners who require that the people working within the organization are not just professionals but that they also deliver to the highest standards. One school of thought that has been advanced in research is that when performance is defined inclusive of parameters such as organizational citizen behavior, it emerges that its relationship to job satisfaction improves. A study that was recently conducted found that when the correlations for the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance are correctly done, the value rises from 0.17 to 0.30 .
Research has been vital in closing the knowledge gap that exists with reference to positive or negative impact. The understanding of the link between job satisfaction and life satisfaction has helped the human resources practitioners restructure their organization to increase effectiveness. This is based on studies that have shown the impact of job satisfaction on an individual’s satisfaction with their life. this link is as a result of three possible scenarios: spill over where the effect of the job spills over to a person’s life, compensation where a person makes up for what his job does not offer or by segmentation where the person has a particular segment for work and his life hence one aspect has little or nothing to do with the other. A survey done in the United States of America showed that 68% were the spill over group, 20% were the segment group while the remaining 12% were the compensation group.
4.0 Methods of measuring and influencing employee attitudes
This is the third important area where there is a knowledge gap between the human resource practitioners. It is vital for the human resource practitioners to find a way to shape the employee attitudes for their own good in addition to gauging the attitudes if the employees. It is possible to measure the levels of employee attitudes by having focus groups, interviewing employees and carrying out employee survey .
There are issues that are a result gauging employee attitudes that have been researched and have been found to offer important knowledge for practitioners. A measure of job satisfaction can be faceted such as the Job Descriptive Index —whereby they gauge different aspects of the job while others are global which gauge one overall feeling toward the job.
Employee survey when used effectively can be catalysts for changing the attitudes of the employees resulting in organizational change. This is on the basis of two vital assumptions, both backed up by research. The first assumption is that employee attitude has an effect on behavior and second, that employee attitudes are core levers of performance of an organization.
5.0 Persistent gaps and the direction of future research
In my opinion there are still knowledge gaps when it comes to understanding the role of the emotional state of the employee with regard to job satisfaction. Another area where I think there is a gap is the effect of leadership on job satisfaction. It is often clear that the external and internal variants are likely to shape a person’s perception of their job. In addition to that the link between attitudes of the employee should also be understood in a better way.
One of directions that employee attitude research is likely to steer in will be to gain a better understanding of the interplay between the person, circumstances and the different internal and external factors that influence employee attitudes. In addition, ongoing research can offer a greater understanding of the effects of employee attitudes and job satisfaction on organizational measures, like the satisfaction of customers and financial measures. Research in the field of management ought to focus on the role that leadership plays in determining job satisfaction.
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