Job Satisfaction Measurement and Dimensions

Abstract

Job satisfaction is a crucial phenomenon that allows maintaining high performance levels and contributing to the further development of a company’s competitiveness, as well as spurring its overall progress. However, measuring job satisfaction levels is a rather challenging task, mostly because of the vast number of factors shaping it. When designing a measurement tool for evaluating job satisfaction levels, one must take both external and internal factors into account. Furthermore, particular attention should be paid to the assessment of mindfulness levels.

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Introduction

Background

Creating an environment in which employees will feel encouraged to excel in their performance and deliver the best results possible is a crucial step toward introducing a coherent and effective management system. However, this stage of improving organizational performance requires a proper understanding of the factors that contribute to an increase in staff motivation levels. For this purpose, the tools and dimensions for assessing the staff’s job satisfaction must be determined.

Design

In light of the fact that the study aims to explore the nature of job satisfaction and the factors that affect it, there is no need to quantify the research outcomes. Thus, the use of a qualitative research design seems justified. In particular, a phenomenological approach should be seen as the foundation for analysis and the key method for exploring the nature of job satisfaction, the elements that comprise the criteria for its evaluation, and the dimensions that need to be studied to determine the levels of job satisfaction among staff members.

Job satisfaction should be viewed as the key dependent variable that will be analyzed in the course of the study. The factors that contribute to a change in job satisfaction in the workplace, such as the workload levels, the degree of stress experienced when managing obstacles on the way to accomplishing tasks, etc., will be regarded as the essential independent variables. By analyzing the effects that the latter have on the former, one will be able to design a paradigm for maintaining job satisfaction levels at the high level that is required. Herein lies the significance of using a phenomenological approach.

Literature Review

The significance of studying job attitudes has been known for quite a while (Levy, 2012). As a result, a better understanding of the organizational behaviors that employees develop, as well as the factors that affect their satisfaction levels, should be regarded as essential. When viewing the issue from the perspective of the Theory of Planned Behavior, one finds that the active promotion of corporate values and the subsequent redesign of the staff’s value system will ultimately lead to an enhancement of their motivation rates.

Furthermore, a shift in the value system is likely to affect the employees’ decision-making process. Consequently, the attitude of staff members toward the corporate goals and their related responsibilities will be altered toward a more positive one, which in turn will affect levels of job satisfaction.

When an employee starts feeling that their efforts are recognized and appreciated as a significant contribution to the further development of an organization, the employee in question is likely to strive to excel in their performance levels, according to Levy (2012). Therefore, the dimension of job attitudes as one of the foundational principles that define job satisfaction levels in general must be incorporated into the measurement system.

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In addition, introspection into intrinsic factors that motivate the staff will show that the importance of issues such as the nature of the work, salary, the support of managers and coworkers, etc., must be taken into account (Munir & Rahman, 2016). Studies show that there are several primary determinants of employees’ motivation levels; these typically include, but are not limited to, the following factors: the nature of the work, the salary, the support of managers and coworkers, and opportunities for promotion.

It could be argued, however, that the list provided above requires certain adjustments. For instance, opportunities for promotion, while an admittedly important factor in staff satisfaction and motivation levels, does not fully reflect the demands of contemporary employees. A closer look at the needs of modern staff members will reveal that the target population seeks not only promotion, but also opportunities for consistent growth, including opportunities for both career development and acquisition of new skills and knowledge (Černe, Dimovski, Marič, Penger, & Škerlavaj, 2014). In fact, a range of companies operating in the global economy have recognized the importance of providing their staff members with a chance to engage in the process of unceasing, lifelong learning (Munira & Rahman, 2016).

According to a recent study, the concept of lifelong learning seems more inspiring and promising to staff members than the idea of promotion since, in contrast to promotion, lifelong learning hinges on the intent and enthusiasm of an employee and is viewed as a crucial opportunity in developing the professional skills and competencies that will allow one to advance in the contemporary business environment. Moreover, the research under analysis also points to the significance of using the support of employees and managers as one of the key markers of employee job satisfaction levels.

While this characteristic can be difficult to measure, it does have a tangible effect on the overall development of positive attitudes among employees. Peer support and the support of managers can be viewed as extensions of the corporate communication strategy since both types of support imply that employees should feel valued and appreciated in the organization. This message, in turn, must be conveyed to the staff members by managers so that the staff can perceive that they are supported by the company.

Last but definitely not least, the nature of the work that employees perform contributes to shaping their motivation rates to a considerable extent since it places them at a particular spot in the corporate hierarchy. Thus all elements listed above need to be incorporated as essential dimensions into an assessment of job motivation levels among staff members. The methods used by the author to explore the subject matter involve factor analysis.

Therefore, there is a direct dependency of the research outcomes on the sample used in the study; consequently, the results may fail to represent every population successfully. Nevertheless, the adoption of factor analysis as a research tool also contributes substantially to the stability of the estimates and the validity of the measurement instrument (Bhave & Glomb, 2016). Therefore, the information provided by the authors seems quite relevant. Job motivation is the key dependent variable in the specified study, whereas corporate factors that affect it are the primary independent factors.

The concept of work-life balance should also be regarded as a crucial marker of job satisfaction. A recent study shows that this aspect of an employee’s life also serves as a strong indicator of employee satisfaction. One should note, though, that the specified tool is typically used to define the degree of employee dissatisfaction since it points to the probability of stress to which staff may be exposed due to an increase in workload (Peng et al., 2014). Nevertheless, the presence of a healthy work-life balance or the absence thereof must be regarded as one of the primary factors that allow definition of the levels of employee job satisfaction in the context of a specific organization.

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According to Haar et al. (2014), this dimension will allow researchers to better understand the nature of job satisfaction. It should be borne in mind, though, that this approach toward representing the concept of job satisfaction will in turn require an analysis of the cultural specifics of the target population (Haar et al., 2014). The study by Haar et al. (201) leads to the conclusion that the correlation between work and life is perceived uniquely by the representatives of different cultures, and thus must be viewed through the prism of specific cultural characteristics and philosophies so that the level of job satisfaction can be identified specifically for each staff member.

The application of factor analysis should be considered a reasonable approach toward exploring the phenomenon of job satisfaction, mainly because it implies that the principles of unidimensionality should be used. In other words, the adoption of factor analysis by Haar et al. (2014) allows studying the subject matter from different perspectives and thereby developing a profound understanding of it. Nonetheless, there are some limitations to the method that Haar et al. (2014) employ.

For instance, it implies that an intricate mathematical analysis of the key factors should be carried out, thus making the outcomes of research very specific and not widely applicable to similar scenarios. In other words, the research results need to be generalized, while the actual measurement process will have to be reconsidered on a case-by-case basis (West et al., 2014). In addition, the application of the factor analysis technique suggests that existing information should be combined so that only one aspect of a certain issue is to be measured.

Nonetheless, the adoption of this research tool allows for constructing the validity of a study, which means that the reliability of the research carried out by Haar et al. (2014) can be regarded as high. In other words, work-life balance must be viewed as an essential dimension of a tool that measures job satisfaction levels among staff members in the context of a particular workplace environment (West et al., 2014). The level of work-life balance is the dependent variable of the research, whereas the external and internal factors affecting it are the dependent ones.

Mindfulness is another dimension that one needs to consider when measuring job satisfaction levels among staff members. Hülsheger, Alberts, Feinholdt, and Lang (2013) point to the fact that the promotion of nonjudgmental attentiveness as the state of mind that must be achieved to make important decisions in the context of an organization is a crucial component of employee efficacy and quality of performance. The adoption of the principles of mindfulness as a foundation for carrying out key tasks allows for further improvement of a staff’s workplace performance.

It should also be noted that two interpretations of mindfulness can be distinguished according to Hülsheger et al. (3013). These include trait and state mindfulness, and they imply viewing the subject matter as either a part of one’s unique mind frame, or an acquired characteristic that can be fostered and developed in any employee. While there are currently few studies that explore the nature of mindfulness, it could be argued that this ability can be fostered in staff members once the right corporate philosophy and values are established.

The ability and willingness of employees to develop and apply mindfulness as a means of forming an unbiased attitude used for decision-making are also interpreted as one of the dimensions of job satisfaction. Indeed, without proper impetus from an organization, staff members are unlikely to start developing skills that require significant effort or represent a challenge to the staff’s personal philosophy, value system, or ethical standards. Furthermore, mindfulness is perceived by Hülsheger et al. (2013) as a tool for preventing and managing the issue of workplace burnout by reconsidering the attitude toward one’s responsibilities and role in a company.

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Therefore, the importance of mindfulness as a dimension of job satisfaction measurement should not be underestimated. The authors of the study supplement their findings with a substantial and detailed methodology that implies carrying out several quantitative experiments. The authors deserve credit for the application of an experimental field study as the primary research method, as it helps shed light on the development of job satisfaction in a very natural way. The models that can be created through a field study represent the actual workplace environment quite precisely and therefore help shape the understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that determine the levels of job satisfaction.

One might argue that the adoption of this research design leads to a lack of control over crucial extraneous variables. Indeed, this framework does not allow taking some of the external factors that may affect job satisfaction levels into account. Nevertheless, the study delivers quite accurate results that can be used to devise a comprehensive job satisfaction assessment system by adding another important dimension to the existing approach. The level of mindfulness is viewed as the dependent variable shaped by the independent variables of leadership strategy and corporate philosophy.

As far as the tools used for the measurement of job satisfaction are concerned, one should mention that there is no uniform scale for determining the precise degree of employee contentment. Instead, company-specific tools are used to carry out an analysis from the perspective of a particular organization, its goals, and its environment (Gabriel, Diefendorff, Chandler, Moran, & Greguras, 2014).

While this approach is understandably sensible for use in the contemporary context of multicultural dynamic relationships and correspondingly needs to be adjusted to the demands of varying populations, the introduction of a general, uniform strategy would be a welcome change, since it would help to introduce a certain degree of structure into the process. According to Gabriel et al. (2014), the dynamic relationships between staff members must define the choice of an appropriate tool for measuring job satisfaction levels. Therefore, surveys are viewed as the primary means of assessing satisfaction levels among the personnel Gabriel et al., 2014). While this framework has ample justification, it lacks the precision that would allow for identifying the essential factors that lead to a lack of engagement among staff members. Job satisfaction is the primary dependent variable, while changes in workplace relationship dynamics are the independent ones.

The importance of the external environment in which employees have to work on a daily basis should also be viewed as a crucial dimension that must be incorporated into a comprehensive job satisfaction assessment framework. According to Özpehlivan and Acar (2015), this aspect of the assessment framework is crucial, as it contributes to a better understanding of how cross-cultural communication and the need to demonstrate flexibility in managing external factors affect the way in which employees perceive their job, workplace responsibilities, the importance of using corporate values as the basis for workplace decision-making, etc.

This concept therefore sheds light on the degree of pressure to which staff members are exposed in a particular employment setting (Özpehlivan & Acar, 2015). The authors provide a multidimensional assessment tool that can serve as the basis for designing a new and improved tool for determining job satisfaction rates among staff. Özpehlivan and Acar (2015) suggest that the framework should include an evaluation of the competition levels that staff members have to meet on a regular basis when carrying out their workplace assignments. According to the authors of the study, the concept of external environment encompasses challenges that cannot be regulated by a company and that add to the development of emotional pressure with which staff members must deal when managing their tasks (Özpehlivan & Acar, 2015).

This concept implies that employees must possess outstanding rational thinking abilities in order to work in a global context. The authors’ arguments have high validity, as their methods allow for a sample of increased accuracy. Furthermore, convergent validity can be assured by ensuring that the methods used for acquiring and evaluating the necessary data are compatible (Özpehlivan & Acar, 2015). The job satisfaction rate is the dependent variable of the study, whereas the external environment, specifically competitiveness, is the independent one.

In addition, job attitudes should also be incorporated into the list of dimensions for job satisfaction measurement. Despite the fact that the very concept of a job attitude is rather poorly defined and may comprise several subdimensions, it helps determine the degree of job satisfaction significantly (Levy, 2012). The authors suggest that the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) should be considered the foundation for building a tool for determining job attitudes among the target population.

According to the authors of the article, the phenomenon of attitude can be defined by determining the intensity of positive and negative emotions that an employee experiences when performing their workplace duties and playing the role that was assigned to them according to the standards of practice established in an organization (Levy, 2012). In other words, introspection into the issue of employee motivation becomes a possibility through the adoption of this model. Job satisfaction is the dependent variable of the research, while job attitudes represent the independent variable.

Discussion

An overview of the existing evidence indicates that the measurement of job satisfaction must be twofold. In the first and most obvious analytical approach, the dimensions that are linked to the corporate environment and the opportunities that an organization provides to its staff need to be taken into account. The significance of these factors can hardly be overrated; by determining the number of options that employees have in the workplace, as well as the degree to which an organization invests in its staff members, one will not only be able to identify the current levels of job satisfaction rather accurately, but also to forecast changes in the degree to which staff members will be invested in their work in the future.

The second aspect of the issue implies considering the issue from an internal perspective, i.e., the relationships between an employee and company managers. Stated differently, the efficacy of communication in all of its forms and media needs to be considered when defining job satisfaction levels within the environment of a particular firm (Levy, 2012). This aspect of the job satisfaction measurement process implies that an elaborate framework for collecting feedback and building dialogue within the context of the company must be designed.

One must keep in mind that the dimension of communication serves as an umbrella term for a range of issues that are associated with the process of measuring job satisfaction levels. For instance, the efficacy of negotiation strategies used in a company is likely to affect the degree of job satisfaction among the staff members. Indeed, with the introduction of an appropriate negotiation tool, instances of misconceptions and misunderstandings leading to conflict are likely to be handled more efficiently. As a result, a more comfortable environment can be designed for employees.

At this point, one should mention that a stable or unchanged level of conflicts occurring in the workplace should not be viewed as the dimension that defines levels of job satisfaction. Despite the fact that a conflict is typically viewed as an intrinsically negative phenomenon, it may in fact serve as the foundation for improving the existing communication framework and thus enhancing job satisfaction levels. Indeed, by deploying a negotiation strategy based on the idea of cooperation and cultural sensitivity, staff members and managers will be able to approach emerging conflicts from an analytical perspective so that they can be deconstructed and used as the basis for the further design of a new and improved conflict management framework.

Furthermore, confrontations in a multicultural workplace environment should be considered the basis for building cultural knowledge and learning more about the specifics of cross-cultural communication in order to avoid similar problems in the future (Levy, 2012). Thus the idea of incorporating the subdimension of conflicts and techniques for their management should be taken with due caution.

The importance of work-life balance as a dimension that can be used in the design of a job satisfaction assessment tool, however, also needs further adjustments. On the one hand, it is crucial to make sure that staff members should have the amount of responsibility and the level of workload that will allow them to enjoy both their job and their personal life. On the other hand, the very concept of work-life balance implies a rather subjective judgment.

Since the correlation between the number of tasks, their difficulty, and the time spent on managing them is unique for each employee, it is necessary to introduce a framework that will allow for determining the levels of work-life balance on a case-by-case basis, which will imply managing a rather convoluted set of data. It could be argued that this dimension should encompass not the amount of work, but the time that each staff member spends on handling their responsibilities, so that a more accurate calculation of work-life balance becomes possible. Indeed, this approach would allow one to determine the threat of workplace burnout, the development of associated psychological issues, etc.

The strategy of incorporating work-life balance as a dimension into a job satisfaction measurement tool is very likely to lead to a more flexible approach toward evaluating job satisfaction levels among staff members.

In addition, the idea of using employee turnover as one of the indicators of job satisfaction, while ostensibly plausible, requires further adjustments. Despite the fact that staff turnover rates are affected by job satisfaction levels to a considerable degree, there are other factors that significantly increase or decrease turnover rates. While job satisfaction levels admittedly play an important part in determining the turnover rates, they are also heavily influenced by factors such as the presence of more competitive organizations and therefore more favorable options in the target market. Thus while employee turnover rates should be regarded as an important dimension of measuring job satisfaction levels, it should not be interpreted as a definitive factor in signaling low engagement rates among the staff.

At present, several key dimensions for assessing job satisfaction levels in the workplace can be identified. These include the nature of the employees’ work, workload levels, communication between staff members and managers as well as among employees, and the overall value system of the organization, including the fairness of managers’ judgment, the attitude toward employees as valuable resources that require consistent investment, and opportunities for personal and even more importantly professional growth that a company has to offer.

Conclusion

Studying the factors affecting employees’ motivation and job satisfaction is crucial to the enhancement of their performance. At present, there is an evident lack of a coherent tool for measuring job satisfaction levels. However, further study of the factors that determine employees’ motivation will help improve the existing framework. Therefore, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors must be incorporated into the measurement approach.

It is therefore strongly recommended that an extensive framework for analyzing job satisfaction rates among the members of an organization should be created. The enhanced job satisfaction measurement tool will have to include dimensions such as financial opportunities, chances for professional and personal growth, relationships with peers and managers, and especially the dimension of work-life balance. In this way, a detailed overview of the environment in which employees work will become possible.

A redesign of the current strategy toward the assessment of staff satisfaction levels is crucial. By encouraging managers to incorporate the measurement of work-life balance into the framework, as well as to focus on providing staff members with educational opportunities and chances for career growth, one will be able to determine satisfaction rates more efficiently. For these reasons, a change in the contemporary assessment framework is due.

Referral

It is advised that further study regarding the measurement of employee satisfaction in the workplace should be carried out. Specifically, a detailed overview of a new and improved comprehensive approach toward staff satisfaction assessment should be provided. The advantages and disadvantages of the specified tool will have to be identified so that possibilities to further enhance the evaluation of satisfaction levels can become possible.

References

Bhave, D. P., & Glomb, T. M. (2016). The role of occupational emotional labor requirements on the surface acting–job satisfaction relationship. Journal of Management, 42(3), 722-741.

Černe, M., Dimovski, V., Marič, M., Penger, S., & Škerlavaj, M. (2014). Congruence of leader self-perceptions and follower perceptions of authentic leadership: Understanding what authentic leadership is and how it enhances employees’ job satisfaction. Australian Journal of Management, 39(3), 453-471.

Gabriel, A. S., Diefendorff, J. M., Chandler, M. M., Moran, C. M., & Greguras, G. J. (2014). The dynamic relationships of work affect and job satisfaction with perceptions of fit. Personnel Psychology, 67(2), 389-420.

Haar, J. M., Russo, M., Suñe, A., & Ollier-Malaterre, A. (2014). Outcomes of work–life balance on job satisfaction, life satisfaction and mental health: A study across seven cultures. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 85(3), 361-373.

Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J. E. M., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. B. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310-315.

Levy, P. (2012). Industrial organizational psychology (4th ed.). New York, NY: Worth Publishers.

Munir, R. I. S., & Rahman, R. A. (2016). Determining dimensions of job satisfaction using factor analysis. Procedia Economics and Finance, 37, 488-496.

Özpehlivan, M., & Acar, A. Z. (2015). Assessment of a multidimensional job satisfaction instrument. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 210, 283-290.

Peng, J., Li, D., Zhang, Z., Tian, Y., Miao, D., Xiao, W., & Zhang, J. (2016). How can core self-evaluations influence job burnout? The key roles of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Journal of Health Psychology, 21(1), 50-59.

West, C. P., Dyrbye, L. N., Rabatin, J. T., Call, T. G., Davidson, J. H., Multari, A.,… & Shanafelt, T. D. (2014). Intervention to promote physician well-being, job satisfaction, and professionalism: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(4), 527-533.

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