Supervision is another moderately important source of job satisfaction. For now however, it can be said that there seem to be dimensions of supervisory style that affect job satisfaction. One is employee-centeredness, which is measured by the degree to which a supervisor takes a personal interest and cares about the employee. It commonly is manifested in ways such as checking to see how well the employee is doing, providing advice and assistance to the individual and communicating with the associate on a personal as well as an official level. American employees generally complain that their supervisors don’t do very good on these dimensions. There is considerable empirical evidence that one of the major reasons employees give for quitting a company is that their supervisor does not care about them.
The other dimension is participation or influence, as illustrated by managers who allow their people to participate in decisions that affect their own jobs. In most cases, this approach leads to higher job satisfaction. For example, a meta-analysis concluded that participation does have a positive effect on job satisfaction. A participative climate created by the supervisor seems to have a more substantial effect on workers’ satisfaction than does participation in a specific decision.
The nature of the work group or team will have an effect on job satisfaction. Friendly, cooperative co-workers or team members are a modest source of job satisfaction to individual employees. The work group, especially a tight team serves as a source of support, comfort, advice and assistance to the individual members. Research indicates that groups requiring considerable interdependence among the members to get the job done will have higher satisfaction. A good work group or effective team makes the job more enjoyable. However, this factor is not essential to job satisfaction. On the other hand, if the reverse conditions exist the people are difficult to get along with, this factor may have a negative effect on job satisfaction. Also, cross cultural research finds that if members are resistant to teams in general and self-managed teams in particular, they will be less satisfied than if they welcome being part of teams.
Working conditions have a modest effect on job satisfaction. If the working conditions are good (clean, attractive surroundings, for instance), the personnel will find it easier to carry out their jobs. If the working conditions are poor (hot, noisy surroundings, for example), personnel, will find it more difficult to get things done. In other words, the effect of working conditions on job satisfaction is similar to that of the work group. If things are good there may or may not be a job satisfaction problem; if things are poor there very likely will be.
Most people do not give working conditions a great deal of thought unless they are extremely bad. Additionally, when there are complaints about working conditions, these sometimes are really nothing more than manifestations of other problems. For example, a manager may complain that his office has not been properly cleaned by the night crew, but his anger is actually a result of a meeting he had with the boss earlier in the day in which he was given a poor performance evaluation. However, in recent years, because of the increased diversity of the workforce, working conditions have taken on new importance. There is also evidence of a positive relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction, and that the direction of causality is that people who are satisfied with their lives tend to find more satisfaction in their work.
To society as a whole as wells as from an individual employee’s stand point, job satisfaction in and of itself is a desirable outcome However, from a pragmatic managerial and organizational effectiveness perspective, it is important to know how, if at all, satisfaction relates to desired outcome variables. For instance, if job satisfaction is high, will the employees perform better and the organization be more effective? If job satisfaction is low, will there be performance problems and ineffectiveness? This question has been asked by both researchers and practitioners through the years. There are no simple answers, and the results range from weak to strong. In examining the outcomes of job satisfaction, it is important to break down the analysis into a series of specific outcomes. The following sections examine the most important of these.
Do satisfied employees perform better than their less-satisfied counterparts? This satisfaction performance controversy has raged over the years. Although most people assume a positive relationship the research to date has been mixed.
About 20 years ago, the studies assessed by a meta-analysis indicated a weak relationship between satisfaction and performance. However, conceptual, methodological, empirical, and practical analyses have questioned and argued against these weak results.
This latest analysis thus shows a much stronger relationship between employee job satisfaction and performance, but still not greater than the Big Five personality trait of conscientiousness nor as great as the meta-analytic findings of other psychological constructs such as the relationship between self-efficacy and performance.