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Job Satisfaction and Employee Performance

Introduction

The interconnectedness between job satisfaction and performance is an old lived debate and as such for a person to be able to appreciate how the two are related depends by and large on his understanding of the two business terminologies as well as the angle he approaches the subject. However the most significant requirement to evaluate the rapport between the two does not primarily lie with a person’s angle of approach but more precisely with his understanding of what is meant by job satisfaction. Predominantly this is important as job satisfaction cannot be understood through, loose construction, or defined by a single sentence involving parts of grammar

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted construct that if not espoused well can mean different things to different people. Whereas some people link job satisfaction with motivation nevertheless the two are distinct from each other. Job satisfaction generally connects an individuals attitude (internal state) (Mount, & Johnson, 2006) associated with the working environment and work experiences. In fact Job satisfaction cannot be anything more than person’s feeling of achievement.

Theoretically it is suggested that job satisfaction is crucially significant in order to realize a high level of motivation and performance. To some extend this may be true but not always. David B Putman in his article, Job satisfaction and Performance viewed from a two dimensional model deviates from this conventional theory. The view that by increasing job satisfaction increases job performance is not true as far as Putman is concerned. In deviating from this convectional theory he points that engineering staff within the government do not conform to the theory.

As noted elsewhere job performance being a person’s feeling of achievement depends on a number of factors. Therefore it is important to understand individual factors that influence job satisfaction so to be able to evaluate it and how it relates to work satisfaction. Such factors include individual factors such as individual’s personality, his or her education level or qualification, his intelligence, capability, age and marital status among others (Scleicher, 2004).

Job satisfaction is affected by social factors such as how an individual relates with co-workers, group work and norms as well as how that individual inclines during interaction. Cultural factors also influence job satisfaction. These include a person’s attitude, his beliefs as well as his value. For instance an employee in a pork industry who professes Islamic faith cannot exhibit job satisfaction since his faith forbids members from keeping or handling pigs.

The organization itself has an influence on job satisfaction thus an individual’s satisfaction with a certain job will depend on the nature of the job (organization), its size, structures the organizations policies and procedures, employee association’s, type of work performed, technology supervision procedures, styles of leadership employed. management styles as well as working conditions of the organization. Lastly environmental factors also operate to determine the degree of satisfaction. Environmental factors include issues such as economic. Social, technical, and governmental interventions. From what we have seen, it becomes apparent that job satisfaction.

Satisfaction is affected by a number of factors; however as earlier said job satisfaction in far as organization/employee association is concerned depends on the perspective that is employed. Thus, while one can describe job satisfaction of this relationship by examining an organizations requirement against what an employee is seeking, another can describe it through examining what the employee is seeking against what he actually receives.

Going by the above analysis it becomes easier to appreciate that job satisfaction is the net effect accruing from what an organization requires, what an employee seeks and what she actually receives. Therefore an employee will experience job satisfaction if what he/she is seeking in an organization is satisfied, while on the other hand he or she satisfies the firms or organization requirements. Then if that is the case, then what can we say is required by a firm from an employee and or what might an employee be seeking at the same time.

Any firm or organization requires some level of skills and expertise from its employees they should also be induced to pursue the firm’s interests accepting its ethos and values. Accepting employee’s issues relating to technical and other constraints, geared towards task differentiation are critical to a firm. Similarly an employee expects the firm to use and develop his /her skill and knowledge. An employee will seek to enhance his interests private to self, for instance to gain achievement, recognition, responsibility, status (Mount, & Johnson, 2006). An employee will always seek to have personal equitable effort reward bargain as well as controls such as supervisory. In so doing he will be at ease with an employer whose values do not contravene his personal values. Finally an employee seeks a set of task that meets his requirement for task differentiation.

As a consequence if an employee duly satisfies what a firm requires of him while on the other hand not achieving what he is seeking then the end result is decreased job satisfaction. This situation can arise if the employee experiences frustration at work or feels alienated from work

Putman associates frustration with a person’s ability level. By way of illustration he asserts that even though a person may be struggling to perform a job, he may appear as a poor performer whereas he may have exhausted a great deal to perform the job. This person’s frustration then reciprocates to poor job satisfaction as he notes.

In essence work frustration can be due to nature of work environment as well as workplace facilities. An employee can also feel as being alienated from work role in circumstances that portray him as being powerless. Such situations would include, an employee lacking control over management policies, work processes, as well as conditions of employment. An employee can also feel meaningless if the firm or organization does not recognize his/her contribution or is unable to identify with total production process (Scleicher, 2004).

An employee can also feel detached from workplace if he is isolated; that is he or she is not being integrated in any workgroup or to any social work of the firm. An employee’s self estrangement can also lead to a feeling of being detached from the workplace environment. This springs from the employee’s failure to recognize work as being a central aspect per se.

It is generally agreed that great satisfaction can be attained via a number of approaches being taken into consideration. Such approaches entail allowing employees a greater freedom and control of the scheduling and pacing of the work. Job satisfaction can also be realized in situations where employees are allowed greater freedom to work in self managing teams. Employees who are allowed to undertake a full task of work cycle. An employee who is offered a challenging task in line with his expertise and ability is able to experience achievement upon concluding the task. Finally job satisfaction can also be realized if employees are allowed the opportunity to have greater direct contact with clients and customers.

The above approaches to job satisfaction can be summed up under what is known as employee empowerment. That being the case, we can move to our question but from a different perspective of whether employee empowerment enhances job performance?

In his article, Stephen Wood, Employee Empowerment Is the Key to Improving Performance and Promoting Innovation in his 22 years study constituting IWP, found that empowerment was the only practice that had critical effects on performance in almost every company. According to these studies, companies that empower their employees had a 7% greater level of performance.

These findings suggest that an empowered employee more often than not perform better, or in other words have enhanced job performance. Therefore, from the above, inference can be drawn that job satisfaction increases job performance. Job satisfaction is critical in as far as empowerment is concerned since without autonomy there can be no productivity. Empowerment is noted for its ability to develop broader horizons. It also maximizes on the job learning in addition to inspiring confidence. Job satisfaction enhances well being that reciprocates into job performance increases.

As aforementioned the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance has withstood decades of debates pertaining to the subject. However, if job satisfaction can be understood to be conclusively achieved through employee empowerment, then it can be said that job satisfaction enhances job performance. Kristin Mcallister asserts that job satisfaction does not always guarantee performance.

According to Nathan Bowling who is an assistant professor specializing in industrial and organizational psychology, whereas job satisfaction and job performance are related, however they do not cause one another. As Nathan Bowling, many writers disagree with the theory that job satisfaction leads to enhanced job performance. Some go to the extent of defining what determines job performance. According to the deviants of the theory, performance is affected by motivation, the desire do the job, ability to do the job, the work environment, the tools, materials as well as the information required to do the job. What these deviants fail to understand is that job satisfaction is the net sum of many contributing factors.

We have seen that satisfaction is affected by individual, organizational environmental and social factors among others. Motivated employees have increased job satisfaction and consequently increased performance, for instance a person employed to wash nappies may fined the job boring, however increasing his wages may lead to motivation. Motivation is a factor of job satisfaction. Motivated employees more often than not do perform better. Motivation same as empowerment makes employees to feel or experience satisfaction in their accomplishments. The feeling of being important to an organization by empowering employees enables them to perform better.

Conclusion

In summary from what I have discussed, it can be seen that making people satisfied in and with there jobs generates employee performance. As I have discussed, job satisfaction depends upon some factors inclined towards the employees being autonomous. Research has proved that employees who exhibit job satisfaction are those who are empowered. Furthermore, studies have shown that empowered employees have increased performance.

Empirical studies show that a happy worker is a productive worker. Therefore, job satisfaction can be said to be a predictor of job performance. Ensuring employee satisfaction makes them to be more efficient in their task performance. Consequently, reciprocating to job performance or enhanced productivity. This view is supported by Judge, et al (2001) and Scleicher (2004).

Reference

Scleicher, D., Watt, J., & Gregwas, G (2004) Re examining the Job Satisfaction – Performance Relationship, the Complexity of attitudes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89 67-177.

Judge, T., Theorem. C., Bows, J., & Patton, G (2001) The Job Satisfaction – JobPerformance Relationship. A quantitative and qualitatine review, psychologies Bulletin.

Kristin Mcallister. Job satisfaction does not always guarantee performance, Web.

Stephen Wood, Employee Empowerment Is the Key to Improving Performance and Promoting Innovation. Web.

Mount, M., Ilies, R., & Johnson, E. (2006). Relationship of personality traits and counterproductive work behaviors: The mediating effects of job satisfaction. Personnel Psychology, 59, 591-622.