For many employees, job satisfaction or “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience” (Locke, E.A, 1976) remains a distant dream, or an elusive goal pursued enthusiastically and relentlessly at the beginning of one’s career, but gradually abandonned when faced with the harsh realities of the work environment.
When an employee joins an organisation, the latter “seeks to make an agent of the individual for the achievement of organisational objectives” while the individual for his part, “seeks to make an agency of the organisation for the achievement of his personal objectives” (Flippo, E.B 1976). Therefore, in recruiting any staff, management should bear this in mind and attempt to devise appropriate ways and means of reconciling these two sets of goals, i.e bring about a fusion process by means of effective job orientation, staff development programmes, annual employee job satisfaction survey, fostering a proper organisational climate and organisational culture in which the individual staff member will feel at ease and more importantly, be motivated to give his best performance at work.
Regrettably, in this tough business environment characterised by global competition, downsizing and re-engineering, very often people are sacrificed at the alter of profitability despite the fact that human resource is the single most important asset in the organisation. It is still perceived as a cost to be reduced, rather than an investment to be made to work for the benefit of the organisation. Even a cursory look at the annual reports of reputable institutions reveals that the wage bill represents a significant percentage of their recurrent expenditures. However, it is becoming more and more obvious that the only true, lasting competitive advantage comes through human resources and how they are managed because at the end of the day, it is employees who will translate policies into action and implement desired change. Therefore, some questions which naturally come to mind include: How far is management concerned about employee job satisfaction ? Do they give concrete evidence of their commitment to enhance job satisfaction ?, Are they bothered about productivity only and overlook the means to achieve this ? Probably, these questions will remain unanswered in many organisations.
Dimensions of Job Satisfaction
Job satisfaction is a less visible emotional response to a job situation. It is determined by how well outcomes or rewards meet or exceed individual employee expectations. It represents several related attitudes and has at least five distinct dimensions, namely:
1. The work itself –the nature of the tasks to be accomplished daily is a main source of satisfaction, i.e whether they are boring, interesting, challenging provide opportunities for learning and offers status and some degree of autonomy. Job design plays a crucial role in this context.
2. Pay – salaries and wages are an important factor in job satisfaction as they help meet basic and upper level needs of staff. The latter often have a tendency to see pay as a reflection of how management views their contribution to the organization and to compare their remuneration and the degree to which this is viewed as equitable vis-à-vis that of their co-workers.
3. Promotion prospects – how far chances of climbing the professional ladder in the organization exist and under what conditions also has a direct impact on the level of job satisfaction. Whenever opportunities for advancement seem bleak, extra effort at work will not yield any personal benefit.
4. Nature and type of supervision – an employee-centered supervisory style displaying personal interest in the subordinate’s performance and welfare, providing regular feedback and trying to solve his problems at work, encouraging participation in decision-making and problem-solving are likely to lead to higher job satisfaction.
5. Colleagues – being surrounded by friendly and supportive team members help contribute to improve the work environment and make the job more enjoyable. On the contrary, if colleagues are difficult to get along with, it might have a negative impact on job satisfaction. (Luthans, F, 1998).
In Mauritius, any reform in the Civil Service is bound to fail if it overlooks vital issues such as employee job satisfaction. The Human Resource Development Council (HRDC) seems to be best placed to take the lead in researching factors which promote and those which inhibit job satisfaction and come forward with an action plan for implementation in both public and private organisations, in addition to its endeavour in favour of the introduction of the 24/7 concept.
1. Flippo, E.B (1976). Personnel Management. 4th ed. Auckland: McGraw-Hill.
2. Locke, E.A (1976). The Nature and cause of job satisfaction. In Handbook of Industrial and Organisational Psychology. edited by M.D.Dunnett. Chicago: Rand McNally.
3. Luthans,F (1998). Organizational Behavior. 8th ed. Boston,MA: McGraw-Hill.