Job Satisfaction: Definitions, Components, Methods, Measuring, Theories, Application

careershodh job satisfaction

careershodh job satisfaction

Job Satisfaction Definitions:

To understand what is job satisfaction? we need to understand the concept of job and meaning of satisfaction. 

Job is a collection of tasks, works, duties, responsibilities.

Dale Yoder. “A Job is a collection of duties, tasks and responsibilities which are assigned to an individual and which is different from other assignments”

Satisfaction means good feeling when you have achieved something or when something that you wanted to happen does happen.

It is Individual’s affective reaction to a particular job that results from a comparison of actual outcomes with those that are desired, anticipated or deserved.

Locke (1976),  defined job satisfaction it as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences”.

“Job satisfaction is an attitude which manifests itself in evaluation of the job and of the employing organisation as contributing suitably to the attainment of one’s personal objectives”. Cook et al. (1981)

Lambert, Barton, and Hogan (1999) given another definition of job satisfaction as “the fulfillment or gratification of certain needs that are associated with one’s work.”

Spector (1997) defines job satisfaction as “the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs”.

So important aspects of these job satisfaction definitions are as follows :
1) Job satisfaction is an emotional response to a job situation. It can only be inferred and not seen.
2) Job satisfaction is whether the working environment meets the Job Satisfaction needs and expectations of employees. It is a result of employees’ perception of how well their job provides outcomes.
3) Job satisfaction is an evaluation of the job and of the organisation that shows up in significant work behaviours such as productivity, absenteeism, turnover, workplace deviance, organisational citizenship and so forth.

As a result, we can understand that Job satisfaction is an important job attitude. As an attitude like all others, Job satisfaction has 3 elements: affective, cognitive and behavioural.

1. Affective component of Job satisfaction-

  • It is the emotional response to the job situation.
  • For example “I feel good about my job”.

2. Cognitive component of Job satisfaction-

  • It is the appraisal on the extent to which the job fulfills important needs associated with one’s work.
  • For example “My job helps me to achieve my goals”.

3. Behavioural component of Job satisfaction-

  • It is the intention to engage in specific behaviours as manifested in productivity, absenteeism, turnover and forms of organisational citizenship.
  • For example “I want to give my best on the job”.

Types of Job satisfaction

  1. Global Job Satisfaction – It is defined as a general feeling about their job that individuals holds. It is an overall affective reaction based on all characteristics of the job and the work environment.
  2. Facet Job Satisfaction-  it is defined as the specific feelings about particular job aspects. It is a constellation of attitudes about various facets of a job.

Components of job satisfaction

Smith, Kendall and Hulin (1969) have suggested that facet job satisfaction is reflected in five components or characteristics of a job: Work, Pay, Supervision, Promotion opportunities, Coworker. 

1) The WORK itself:

The extent to which the job provides the individual with interesting tasks, opportunities for learning, and the chance to accept responsibility.

According to Judge & Church (2000), found out the most crucial component of job satisfaction that is the nature of the work itself best predicts overall job satisfaction. When employees were asked to evaluate different facets of their job such as supervision, pay, promotion opportunities, co-workers, etc

The content of the work –including job challenge, autonomy, variety, and scope, together called as “intrinsic job characteristics”– emerged as the most important job facet.

It was found that interesting and challenging work, work that is not boring and a job that provides status; were some of the most important ingredients of a satisfying job.

As per Thomas & Tymon (1997)  employees feel their work meaningful when they are responsible for their outcomes, they take more effort and attention to doing tasks well.

Similarly, Cappelli (2000) highlighted the importance of intrinsic rewards when participants rated interesting
work, open communications, and opportunities for advancement as the top three things they desire in their jobs.


2) Pay: Wages and salaries are a significant, but complex, multidimensional factor in job satisfaction. The adequacy and perceived equity of financial remuneration.

Employees often view pay as an indication of how management view their contribution to the organisation and hence influences the satisfaction they derive from their job.

However, perception of pay matter more than actual pay, it is the perceived equity and fairness of one’s pay that has been found to be related to job satisfaction.

As long as people feel their pay is fair, they can express relatively high satisfaction with it, at least within broader limits.

Cappelli (2000) highlighted the importance of intrinsic rewards when participants rated interesting work, open communications, and opportunities for advancement as the top three things they desire in their jobs.


3) Supervision:

The abilities of the supervisor to provide technical assistance and behavioural support.

The nature of supervision providing can have a major influence on job satisfaction.

Bruce and Blackburn (1992) shown that employees who have positive interactions with supervisors are generally more satisfied at work.

Positive interactions tend to contain constructive feedback, effective communication, and a focus on quality rather than quantity (Schroffel, 1999).

Positive supervisory relations are also those that treat the workers with respect, that promote staff unity but allow for individual thinking, and that fulfill employee’s functional and interpersonal needs.

Supervision is a complex however, and it is unrealistic to assume that job satisfaction can be guaranteed as long as supervisors interact positively with their employees.

Individual personality characteristics may affect the employee’s needs and management expectations.

For example, Schroffel (1999) advocates that employees who have more experience desire less supervision and employees with less experience prefer more supervision.

Also, studies have found out that organisational structure can affect the employee’s desired supervisory relationship. In unstructured jobs where role of employee is not fix , prefer structured supervision. On the other hand, in jobs where tasks are clearly defined and workers are well skilled/trained, a less structured supervisory style is favored Job Satisfaction (House & Mitchell, 1974).


4) Promotion opportunities: The chance for further advancements in the hierarchy.

5) Coworkers: The degree to which fellow workers are technically proficient and socially supportive.

Measuring job satisfaction:

Theories of job satisfaction:

Application of job satification concept and theories :

Feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with one’s job can be a predictor of productivity, organisational citizenship, withdrawal and other work behaviours.

A useful theoretical model to organize and understand the consequences of job dissatisfaction is the exit-voice-loyalty neglect (EVLN  model).

EVLN model given by Albert Hirschman‘s (1970) in his book, Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. The model identifies four ways in which employees respond to dissatisfaction:

  1. Exit – The exit response refers to leaving the organisation, transferring to another work unit or at least trying to make these exits.
  2. Voice – The voice response involves keenly trying to change, rather than escape from, dissatisfying conditions. It can be a positive response, such as mentioning ways for management to improve the situation, or it can be more challenging, such as filing formal complaints. Some employees might involve in counterproductive behaviours to get attention and force changes in the organisation.
  3. Loyalty – The loyalty response includes hopefully waiting for improvement and believing the organisation and its management to resolve the problem.
  4. Neglect – The neglect response involves passively ignoring or withdrawing effort and letting conditions to worsen. Chronic absenteeism and lateness, reduced work effort, reduced attention to quality and increased error rate are some of the neglect responses.

Relationship of job satisfaction to productivity

Relationship of job satisfactionand withdrawal behavior.

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