Job Performance and Satisfaction

By: Kadence Buchanan

Attempting to understand the nature of job satisfaction and its effects on work performance is not easy. For at least 50 years industrial/organizational psychologists have been wrestling with the question of the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. Researchers have put a considerable amount of effort into attempts to demonstrate that the two are positively related in a particular fashion: a happy worker is a good worker. Although this sounds like a very appealing idea, the results of empirical literature are too mixed to support the hypothesis that job satisfaction leads to better performance or even that there is a reliable positive correlation between these two variables. On the other hand some researchers argue that the results are equally inconclusive with respect to the hypothesis that there is no such relationship. As a result of this ambiguity, this relationship continues to stimulate research and re-examination of previous attempts. This paper strives to describe the relation of job satisfaction and performance, keeping in mind the value this relation has for organizations.

Job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted concept, which can mean different things to different people. Job satisfaction is usually linked with motivation, but the nature of this relationship is not clear. Satisfaction is not the same as motivation. "Job satisfaction is more an attitude, an internal state. It could, for example, be associated with a personal feeling of achievement, either quantitative or qualitative." In recent years attention to job satisfaction has become more closely associated with broader approaches to improved job design and work organization, and the quality of working life movement.

The relationship between job satisfaction and performance is an issue of continuing debate and controversy. One view, associated with the early human relation's approach, is that satisfaction leads to performance. An alternative view is that performance leads to satisfaction. However, a variety of studies suggest that research has found only a limited relationship between satisfaction and work output and offer scant comfort to those seeking to confirm that a satisfied worker is also a productive one. Labor turnover and absenteeism are commonly associated with dissatisfaction, but although there may be some correlation, there are many other possible factors. No universal generalizations about worker dissatisfaction exist, to offer easy management solutions to problems of turnover and absenteeism. The study suggests that it is primarily in the realm of job design, where opportunity resides for a constructive improvement of the worker's satisfaction level.

Individual performance is generally determined by three factors. Motivation, the desire to do the job, ability, the capability to do the job, and the work environment, the tools, materials, and information needed to do the job. If an employee lacks ability, the manager can provide training or replace the worker. If there is an environmental problem, the manager can also usually make adjustments to promote higher performance. But if motivation is the problem, the manager's task is more challenging. Individual behavior is a complex phenomenon, and the manager may not be able to figure out why the employee is not motivated and how to change the behavior. Thus, also motivation plays a vital role since it might influence negatively performance and because of its intangible nature.

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Kadence Buchanan writes articles on many topics including Society, Science, and Arts

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