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Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction A central but underestimated concept in the psychology of work Norbert.

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Presentation on theme: "Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction A central but underestimated concept in the psychology of work Norbert."— Presentation transcript:

1 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction A central but underestimated concept in the psychology of work Norbert K. Semmer Universität Bern Giessen, January 8. 2002

2 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction: A concept not highly estimated Satisfaction: „... The most superficial and ambiguous of all feelings....“ Frese (1990) Frese, M. (1990). Arbeit- und Emotion – Ein Essay. In F. Frei & I. Udris (Hrsg.), Das Bild der Arbeit (S. 285-301). Bern: Huber

3 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction: A concept not highly estimated Job Satisfaction as expression of „unhappiness without any aspirations“ Neuberger, 1980

4 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Topics 1.Arguments against the concept of job satisfaction 2.Arguments against the objections 3.Job Satisfaction as result of an overall evaluation 4.Conceptionel and empirical differentiations 5.Conclusion

5 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Objections 1.High rates of satisfaction are not credible 2. Associations with performance are weak 3. Depends more on personality than on working conditions

6 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Objection 1: Unrealistically high rates of satisfaction Typically, at least 75% are „satisfied“ (= 4 or 5 on a five-point Likert scale)

7 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Example: Job satisfaction of sales women  20% 74% 6% Stalder, B. (1989). Verkäuferinnen: Arbeitssituation und Gesundheit. (Saleswomen: Work situation and health). Upublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Switzerland.

8 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern High rates of satisfaction: Explanations offered People deceive the researchers (e.g., because of fear of a lack of anonymity ) People deceive themselves (reduction of cognitive dissonance) It‘s all a meaningless ritual – answers are given in accordance with social conventions („How are you? – fine, thanks...“) People have reduced their aspirations (Resignation)

9 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern High rates are not credible: Data Questions like: „Would you choose the same occupation again? “ or „Would you recommend this profession to your son or daughter?“ Yield noticably lower values (about 45% yes)

10 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Objection 2: Negligible association with performance Meta-Analyse by Iaffaldano & Muchinsky (1985): Corrected mean correlation: r =.17 Iaffaldano, M.T., & Muchinsky, P.M. (1985). Job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 97, 251-273.

11 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Objection 3 Characteristic of the person? Staw, Bell & Clausen (1986): Affective Dispo- sition in adolescenced and job satisfaction 50 years later: r =.34. Staw & Ross (1985): Stability between 1966 and 1971 between r =.37 and.48. Arvey et al. (1989): 30% of the variance is genetically determined (twin studies). Staw, B. M., Bell, N. E., & Clausen, J. A. (1986). The dispositional approach to job attitudes: A lifetime longitudinal test. Administrative Science Quarterly, 31, 56-77. Staw, B. M., & Ross, J. (1985). Stability in the midst of change: A dispositional approach to job attitudes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 70, 469-480. Arvey, R. D., Bouchard, T. J., Segal, N. L., & Abraham, L. M. (1989). Job satisfaction: environmental and genetic components. Journal of Applied Psychology, 74, 187- 192.

12 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Arguments regarding objection 1: High rates not credible? Research on general well-being yields comparably high rates (Staudinger, 2000).  Argument of anonymity not convincing Older people often report better working conditions (Spector, 1997).  not only resignation! Why should on deceive oneself and others regarding questions on satisfaction but not regarding questions about recommendations?? Staudinger, U.M. (2000). Viele Gründe sprechen dagegen, und trotzdem geht es vielen Menschen gut: Das Paradox des subjektiven Wohlbefindens. Psychologische Rundschau, 51 185-197. Spector, P.E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, cause, and consequences. London: Sage.

13 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Arguments concerning objection 2: Association with performance negligible? Iaffaldano & Muchinsky (1985): Corrected correlation over all studies: r =.17 But: Studies using well established instruments concerning overall satisfaction (e.g, DI / MSQ): r =.29 Petty et al. (1984):.31 Judge et al. (2001):.30 Iaffaldano, M.T., & Muchinsky, P.M. (1985). Job satisfaction and job performance: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 97, 251-273. Petty, M.M., McGee, G.W., & Cavender, J.W. (1984). A meta-analysis of the relationships between individual job satisfaction and individual performance. Academy of Management Review, 9, 712-721. Judge, T.A., Thoresen, C.J., Bono, J.E., & Patton, G.K. (2001). The job satisfaction-job performance relationship: A qualitative and quantitative review. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 376-407

14 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Arguments concerning objection 3: Reflecting only disposition? Elfering, Semmer & Kälin, 2000: Stability of job satisfaction over one year:.32 For „Stayers“:.41 For „Leavers“:.29 Controlling for personality characteristics: Hardly any change in stability (stayers:.43; leavers:.23) Stabilities for personality characteristics noticibly higher: r =.60 (Agreeableness) to.79 (Extraversion) Dormann & Zapf (2000): Partialing out working conditions reduces stability of job satisfaction to zero. Elfering, A., Semmer, N. & Kälin, W (2000). Stability and change in job satisfaction at the transition from vocational training into „real work“. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 59, 256-271. Dormann, C. & Zapf, D. (2001). Job satisfaction: A meta-analysis of stabilities. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22, 483-504.

15 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Conceptual issues: Definitions Job satisfaction as a „pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one‘s job or job experiences“ (Locke, 1976) versus Job satisfaction as Attitude (involving the weighting of pro‘s and con‘s) e.g. Spector (1997) Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M. D. Dunnette (Ed.), Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology (pp. 1297-1350). Chicago, IL: Rand McNally (p. 1300). Spector, P.E. (1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, cause, and consequences. London: Sage.

16 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction and turnover within one year (voluntary quitting in per cent) (Computer specialists - Baillod & Semmer, 1994) Baillod, J. & Semmer, N. (1994). Fluktuation und Be- rufsverläufe bei Computer- fachleuten (Turonver and professional careers among computer specialists). Zeitschrift für Arbeits- und Organisationspsychologie, 38, 152-163. r =.37 n = 153 n = 139 n = 143n = 134

17 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job Satisfaction and Turnover (Computer Specialists) stay-stay (n=272) 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 t1t2t3 stay-leave (n=40) 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 t1t2t3 leave-leave (n=40) 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 t1t2t3 leave-stay (n=73) 2.5 3 3.5 4 4.5 t1t2t3 Semmer, N. & Schallberger, U. (1996). Selection, Socialization, and mutual adaptation: Resolving discrepancies between people and their work. "Applied Psychology": An International Review,45, 263-288.

18 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Turnover and the Development of Job Satisfaction among Computer Specialists more than a year before the change less than a year before the change less than a year after the change more than a year after the change Stadler, R. (1994). Berufliche Veränderungen bei Computerfachleuten (Career changes among computer specialists). Unpublished Master‘s Thesis, University of Bern, Switzerland.

19 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern General Job Satisfaction and Turnover Semmer, N.K:, Grob, A. Elfering, A. & Baillod, J. (2001). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors and conse- quences of turnover: A three-wave investigation Unpublished manuscript, University of Bern, Dept. of Psychology, Bern, Switzerland

20 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Predicting voluntary turnover for different motivations to quit Semmer, N.K:, Grob, A. Elfering, A. & Baillod, J. (2001). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors and consequences of turnover: A three-wave investigation Unpublished manuscript, University of Bern, Dept. of Psychology, Bern, Switzerland

21 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Changes in Job Satisfaction Semmer, N.K:, Grob, A. Elfering, A. & Baillod, J. (2001). Job satisfaction and organizational commitment as predictors and consequences of turnover: A three-wave investigation Unpublished manuscript, University of Bern, Dept. of Psychology, Bern, Switzerland

22 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Forms of Job Satisfaction (Bruggemann, 1974) COMPARISON: perceived reality - personal goals Stabilising SATISFACTION Raising of Standards Diffuse DISSATISFACTION Constructive Job Dissatisfaction Fixated Job Dissatisfaction Pseudo – Job Satisfaction Stabilized Job Satisfaction Progressive Job Satisfaction Resignative Job Satisfaction Keeping of Standards Lowering of Standards Keeping of Standards Distortion of Reality No Problem- Solving Attempts Problem- Solving Attempts After Bruggemann, A. (1974). Zur Unterscheidung verschiedener Formen von "Arbeitszufriedenheit" (Distinguishing different forms of job satisfaction). Arbeit und Leistung, 28, 281-284.

23 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Resigned attitude towards work (after Oegerli, 1984) My work is not ideal but after all, it could be worse Quitting my job would imply even more disadvantages; so I stay in spite of all It is best to swallow one‘s anger when bothered by something at work As an employee one really cannot expect a lot Oegerli, K. (1984). Arbeitszufriedenheit: Versuch einer qualitativen Bestimmung. Unveröfftl. Dissertation, Universität Bern, Philosophisch-historische Fakultät.

24 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Job satisfaction and resignation in four samples CompArchSalesSecr 3.50 (.94) 4.15 (.90) 4.18 (.65) 4.12 (1.04) General job satisfaction Resignation 1.85 (.79) 1.87 (1.02) 3.28 (.79) 2.27 (1.14) Comp = Computer scientists (Baillod, 1994) Arch = Architects (unpublished data, University of Bern, Dept. of Psychology Sales = Saleswomen (Stalder, 1989) Secr = Secretaries (Ruch, 1985) Baillod, J. (1992). Fluktuation bei Computerfachleuten (Turnover among computer specialists). Bern: Lang. Ruch, L. (1985). Strukturvergleich im Sekretariatsbereich (A comparison or working structures among secretaries). Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Bern, Department of Psychology. Stalder, B. (1989). Verkäuferinnen: Arbeitssituation und Gesundheit. (Saleswomen: Work situation and health). Upublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Switzerland.

25 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Forms of job satisfaction & Health Complaints (Saleswomen) Stalder, B. (1989). Verkäuferinnen: Arbeitssituation und Gesundheit. (Saleswomen: Work situation and health). Upublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Switzerland. Sat+/Res- significantly different from all other groups

26 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Forms of Job Satisfaction & Intention to Quit (Computer Specialists) Baillod, J. (1992). Fluktuation bei Computerfachleuten (Turnover among computer specialists). Bern: Lang. Sat+/Res- significantly different from all other groups

27 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Forms of job satisfaction and well-being: Irritation among job beginners (Young Workers from five occupations, t1) Unpublished data, Aequas-Study, University of Bern, Psychology of Work and Organizations

28 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern t2, n = 632 Forms of job satisfaction and well-being: Irritation among job beginners (Young Workers from five occupations, t2) Unpublished data, Aequas-Study, University of Bern, Psychology of Work and Organizations p <.10

29 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern General Job Satisfaction and resigned attitude towards work: Associations with third variables Job satisfaction Resignation Intention to quit (Computer specialists) -.37*.27* Health complaints (salespeople) -.31*.45* Back pain (Secretaries) -.14.23*

30 Psychology of Work and Organizations N. K. Semmer University of Bern Resigned attitude and „unwinding“: Changes in adrenalin in the evening compared to the end of work (in per cent) Res - Res + t1t2 Aequas sub-project Bern, unpublished data


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