Nowadays, job satisfaction is one of the successful key for managers in any organization. It seems that there is a relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity. In my literature review below, I will mention some related theory and my opinion about this associationa.
Some related key concept: Job satisfaction has been defined as a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job; an affective reaction to one’s job; and an attitude towards one’s job. Weiss (2002) has argued that job satisfaction is an attitude but points out that researchers should clearly distinguish the objects of cognitive evaluation which are affect emotion, beliefs and behaviors. It means that if people want to increase job satisfaction, they must take into account their feelings, their beliefs and also their behaviors. Productivity: The organization’s output of products and services divided by its inputs.b.Studies and theories.
There are some studies and theories that study about job satisfaction and the relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity such as Hawthorne studies, Taylorism, Edwin A. Locke’s Range of Affect Theory, Dispositional Theory or Two-Factor Theory. In my literature review, I just summarize the below theories: Hawthorne studies:This is one of the biggest introductions to the study of job satisfaction. This study is a series of experiments on worker productivity, begun in 1924 at the Hawthorne plant of Western Electric Company in Illinois. The major part of this work involved four experimental and three control groups and there are five different “tests’ were conducted at all. Under the guidance of two Harvard professors, Elton Mayo and Fritz Roethlisberger, the Relay Assembly Test Room (RATR) studies lasted until 1933 which found the effects of various conditions (most notably illumination) on workers’ productivity.
These studies clearly showed that new changes in work conditions temporarily increase productivity (which we called the Hawthorne Effect). Latterly, they found a new result, the increase in productivity does not only come from the new working conditions, but also from the knowledge of being observed of employees. This finding provided strong and clear evidence that people work for purposes other than money, which set another way for researchers to find out the other factors that affect job satisfaction and employee productivity. However, there are some recent re-analyses of the experiments that have revealed a reverse result. It stated that money may well have been the single most important factor (Greenwood et al. 1983).
This new revelation shows that money mattered a great deal at Hawthorne, but it was not recognized at the time of the experiments. Then it was felt that the factor that best explained increased output was “human relations”, as employees productivity increased considerably when they are under a good and positive manner by their managers. To be historically accurate, money was probably the best explanation for the increase in productivity, but at the time of Hawthorne studies, experimenters believed that human relations is the explanation for the rise in output. Despite the inaccurate of interpretation of the data, it can be concluded that the Hawthorne studies support for the human relations movement, a movement in management thinking and practice that emphasized satisfaction of employees’ basic needs as the key to increased worker productivity.
Two-factor theory (or Motivator-Hygiene Theory)This is a very popular theory of motivation which developed by Frederick Herzberg (Herzberg, 1968). Two-factor theory attempts to explain satisfaction and motivation in the workplace. Herzberg interviewed hundreds of workers about times when they were highly motivated to work and when they were dissatisfied and unmotivated in their job. From his finding, he concluded that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are driven by different factors, motivation and hygiene factors, respectively.The hygiene factors involve the presence or absence of job dissatisfiers, such as working conditions, pay, company policies and interpersonal relationships.
When hygiene factors are poor, employees will feel dissatisfied. But when they are good, dissatisfaction is removed. Hygiene factors do not make people become highly satisfied and motivated in their job. The second set of factors is motivators which influence job satisfaction. They can be high-level needs such as achievement, recognition, responsibility and opportunity for growth.
When motivators are absent, workers are neutral towards work.And when they are present, workers are highly satisfied and motivated at work. Hence, hygiene factors and motivators represent two distinct factors that influence motivation. The implication of the Frederick Herzberg’s Two factor theory for managers is strong and clear. When we provide hygiene factors to employees, dissatisfaction is eliminated but they do not motivate them to higher achievement levels and higher productivity.
Moreover, if powerful motivators such as recognition, challenge and opportunity for personal growth are provided, workers will be at high satisfaction and performance. It also means that employee productivity is high. Other studies and theoriesScientific management Scientific management (also known as Taylorism) had a significant and considerable impact on the study of job satisfaction. Frederick Winslow Taylor, the author of the book Principles of Scientific Management (established in 1911), argued that there was a single best way to perform any given work task.
This book contributed to a fundamental change in philosophies of industrial production and it make a shift from skilled labor and piecework into the more modern approach of assembly lines and hourly wages. There had been a dramatic and enormous increase in productivity in the first time of using scientific management because workers were forced to work at a faster pace and higher pressure.However, workers became exhausted and dissatisfied after a long time and workers’ performance and productivity become lower, thus leaving researchers with new questions to answer regarding job satisfaction. Therefore, there is an idea that Taylorism should be re-considered.
The other theory relates to job satisfaction are Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory, a theory of motivation. This theory laid the foundation for job satisfaction theory. This theory explains that people want to find a way to satisfy five specific needs in life of anyone – physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization needs. This theory does not show the clear relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity but it shows the way that managers should do to make employee become satisfied in their job, thus it can make a higher productivity.
3. Job satisfaction and Productivity:It can be said that there is a positive relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity. However, this is still controversial and debated. In my opinion, I can state that I support the view of there exists strong relationship between satisfaction in job and productivity of employee. In the individual level, there is an evidence to support that productivity is likely to lead to satisfaction. It means that a happy and satisfied employee may not be an employee with high productivity.
However, if we consider this issue from the larger level - organizational level, we can see that there is reverse support for the relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity. When satisfaction and productivity data are gathered together at the level of organization as a whole, rather than at the individual level, the finding shows that the organizations with more satisfied employees tend to be more effective and efficient than organizations with fewer satisfied employees. As mentioned above, Hawthorne studies do not reveal the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity through variety of experiments, but the finding still support the argument, satisfaction of employees’ basic needs as the fundamental key to increased worker productivity. In addition, Taylor’s finding about labor productivity and the way it is improved by scientifically determined management practices brings a new issue for researchers regarding job satisfaction and productivity in a long term. Let take an example about biggest web searching engine – www.google.
com.Google Company begun from scratch and now it becomes a very successful company in technology field. Contributing to this success, job satisfaction is one of the most important factors. Managers of Google always try to make a very comfortable and pleasant environment for employees to work.
Moreover, they motivate their employees by recognizing them, providing them opportunity for growth etc. It can be explained that employees in Google Company are very satisfied and comfortable about their job at company; hence their performance and productivity are higher.ConclusionThe relationship between job satisfaction and employee productivity is controversial and disputable. In my opinion, I am in favor of the argument that there exists strongly positive association between job satisfaction and employee productivity at work. Job satisfaction is one of the keys for the success of an organization in our society today.
A manager wants to survive and win in this very harsh world of business should take assiduous attention to job satisfaction and all the ways to achieve high level of job satisfaction.