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The Relationship between Satisfaction with Workplace Training and Overall Job Satisfaction

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Abstract

Opportunities for training and development are paramount in decisions regarding employee career choices. Despite the importance, many research studies on job satisfaction do not address satisfaction with workplace training as an element of overall job satisfaction, and many job satisfaction survey instruments do not include a “satisfaction with workplace training” component. This study examined the relationship between satisfaction with employer-provided workplace training and overall job satisfaction of customer contact representatives. A significant relationship was found between job training satisfaction and overall job satisfaction. Components of job training, including time spent in training, training methodologies, and content, were determined to be significant in their relationship to job training satisfaction, and trainees were significantly more satisfied with the training they received when the methodology employed was their preferred one. On the basis of these findings, conclusions were drawn and recommendations for researchers and practitioners in the field of HRD were made.
The Relationship Between
Satisfaction with Workplace
Training and Overall Job
Satisfaction
Steven W. Schmidt
Opportunities for training and development are paramount in decisions
regarding employee career choices. Despite the importance, many research
studies on job satisfaction do not address satisfaction with workplace
training as an element of overall job satisfaction, and many job satisfaction
survey instruments do not include a “satisfaction with workplace training”
component. This study examined the relationship between satisfaction
with employer-provided workplace training and overall job satisfaction of
customer contact representatives. A significant relationship was found bet-
ween job training satisfaction and overall job satisfaction. Components of
job training, including time spent in training, training methodologies, and
content, were determined to be significant in their relationship to job train-
ing satisfaction, and trainees were significantly more satisfied with the training
they received when the methodology employed was their preferred one. On the
basis of these findings, conclusions were drawn and recommendations for
researchers and practitioners in the field of HRD were made.
It is important that those in the profession of human resource development look
at how their work affects the multiple stakeholders for whom they provide
services. Those who have defined HRD concur; many definitions include a
results or outcome component. As an example, the Academy of Human Resource
Development (AHRD) defines the HRD profession as a multidisciplinary field
that focuses on training, career development, and organizational development
with the goal of improving processes and enhancing the learning and perfor-
mance of individuals, organizations, communities, and society (AHRD Standards
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY, vol. 18, no. 4, Winter 2007 © Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com) • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq.1216 481
482 Schmidt
on Ethics and Integrity, 1999). Watkins (1991) defines HRD as “the field of study
and practice responsible for the fostering of a long-term, work-related learning
capacity at the individual, group, and organizational level of organizations. [The]
human resource developer works to enhance individuals’ capacity to learn, to
help groups overcome barriers to learning, and to help organizations create a
culture which promotes continuous learning” (p. 253).
To accomplish this task, HRD practitioners must look at how training and
development programs affect those employees who participate in them. They
must be aware of how employees feel about the training and development
programs offered to them, and they must understand the components that
make up job training satisfaction from the employee standpoint. Though not a
sole perspective, it is important that HRD practitioners look at training and
development programs this way, because this is the framework from which
employees evaluate the organization’s training and development offerings.
Satisfaction with training and development is a major factor in decisions
regarding people’s careers (Violino, 2001). It is a factor that prospective
employees evaluate in the job-hunting process. It is cited in surveys as to why
workers accept or decline jobs with certain employers and why employees
leave one employer for another (“What Drives,” 2001). A sample of workplace
surveys shows the importance of workplace training from a variety of
perspectives. Ranstad’s 2001 North America Employment Review survey
of twenty-six hundred American and Canadian employees found that 80 per-
cent of respondents said receiving training that increases their skills and
abilities was a key component of what they looked for in jobs (“What Drives,”
2001). Results of a 2000 survey of 271 network professionals conducted by
Lucentcare showed that the most important factor in job satisfaction was the
opportunity to learn new skills (Blum & Kaplan, 2000). A 2001 Network
Computing survey of fourteen hundred information technology (IT)
professionals found that IT employees felt educational and training
opportunities were critical in their job (Violino, 2001). A survey of one
thousand employees of Xerox’s European Business Service Centre found train-
ing and education were key priorities for staff (“Continuous Training,” 2001).
Likewise, a 2000 Computerworld survey of 575 IT professionals found
that dissatisfied employees attributed their job dissatisfaction in part to inabil-
ity to get the training they wanted (Melymuka, 2000). A study of nurses in
the United Kingdom found that dissatisfaction with promotion and training
opportunities had a stronger impact on job satisfaction than workload or pay
(Shields & Ward, 2001).
Definitions and Review of Literature
These studies illustrate the importance of satisfaction with workplace training
in an employee’s overall job experience. To better understand the concepts of
job satisfaction and job training, however, it is important to define them.
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Landy (1985) defined job training as “a set of planned activities on the part
of an organization to increase the job knowledge and skills or to modify the
attitudes and social behavior of its members in ways consistent with the goals
of the organization and the requirements of the job” (p. 306). Training is
systematic development of the knowledge, skills, and expertise required by a
person to effectively perform a given task or job (Patrick, 2000).
Job satisfaction is defined as “how people feel about their jobs and differ-
ent aspects of their jobs. It is the extent to which people like or dislike their
jobs” (Spector, 1997, p. 2). Job satisfaction is typically measured in degrees
and can be examined from multiple viewpoints using multiple constructs or
categories. For instance, one can be satisfied with certain elements of a job, feel
neutral about some, and be dissatisfied with others. Elements of a job can also
have differing degrees of importance, which can cause those elements to be
weighted differently in assessing overall job satisfaction (Spector, 1997).
Thierry and Koopmann-Iawma (1984) have several perspectives on job satis-
faction. They posit that job satisfaction may be the result of a behavioral cycle
reflecting the individual’s way of aiming at attractive outcomes. Job satisfaction
may refer to the individual’s understanding of the degree of attractiveness of
both positive and negative outcomes to be achieved or avoided in the future.
Job satisfaction and dissatisfaction may have certain effects; for example,
dissatisfaction may be associated with absenteeism, poor health, turnover, and
complaints.
Definitions of job satisfaction (Spector, 1997) and job training (Landy,
1985; Patrick, 2000) can be synthesized to create the term job training satis-
faction, defined as how people feel about aspects of the job training they
receive. Job training satisfaction is the extent to which people like or dislike
the set of planned activities organized to develop the knowledge, skills, and
attitudes required to effectively perform a given task or job. Several points are
critical in this definition. Made up of multiple constructs (similar to job satis-
faction), job training satisfaction examines employees’ feelings about the job
training they receive as a whole. It is not simply evaluation of a single course
or training program. Second, job training satisfaction is a measure of the for-
mal or planned (rather than informal or incidental) training activities offered
by the organization.
How important are employee feelings about their organization’s training
and development efforts? As evidenced by the surveys regarding workplace
learning opportunities that I have noted, those feelings are important enough
for employees to carry them into the workplace, important enough even to
consider in career decisions. Researchers have come to similar conclusions.
Bartlett (2001) found a positive relationship between workplace training
and organizational commitment and recommended that human resource
development professionals “adapt new research methods to demonstrate to
organizational decision makers that training and development contributes
to desired workplace attitudes . . . which may in turn influence behaviors such
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as absenteeism and turnover” (p. 349). Mentoring programs, a form of training
in which longer-term workers introduce newer workers to the organization
and teach specific tasks, have been recommended to improve job satisfaction
in older workers (Traut, Larson, & Fiemer, 2000). Similarly, train-the-trainer
programs have been shown to have a positive effect on job satisfaction
(Hatcher, 1999). In their study of new employee training, Tannenbaum and
colleagues (1991) noted that “training can induce positive or negative impres-
sions and attitudes [that] trainees carry with them into the workplace”
(p. 767). Those attitudes were so important, Bartlett (2001) argued, that they
could even be considered as outcomes of training. Rowden and Conine (2003)
found that “a large part of the worker’s sense of job satisfaction can be
attributed to workplace learning opportunities” (p. 463). Lowry, Simon, and
Kimberley (2002) concluded that employees who received training scored
significantly higher on job satisfaction surveys than those who had not. Con-
versely, Egan, Yang, and Bartlett (2004) found that turnover intention (an
employee’s willingness to leave an organization) was negatively influenced by
organizational learning culture and job satisfaction.
In summary, an organization’s training efforts have wide-reaching effects
on employees and on the organization. Attitudes about training and
development are not limited to the training situation. Rather, they are
important pieces in the employee’s feelings about the job and the organization.
Despite this research, many job satisfaction research studies do not address
job training satisfaction as an element of overall job satisfaction, and many job
satisfaction survey instruments do not include a “satisfaction with workplace
training” component. For example, Pollock, Whitbred, and Contractor’s study
of public works employees (2000) measured job satisfaction as defined by an
individual’s job characteristics and social environment on the job. Shapiro,
Burkey, Dorman, and Welker’s study of attorneys (1996) measured job satis-
faction using a six-factor scale, consisting of self-actualization, achievement/
support, futility/avoidance, job-related affect, working conditions, and profes-
sional self-esteem constructs. Schwepker’s study of salespeople (2001) used a
job satisfaction scale that included these constructs: the job, promotion
and advancement, pay, supervisor, company policy and support, customers, and
coworkers. Koustelios and Bagiatis (1997) studied job satisfaction in general
laborers using a six-factor scale of satisfaction with working conditions, imme-
diate supervisor, pay, the job itself, the organization, and opportunity for
advancement.
There is a dearth of research on job training satisfaction in general.
Nordhaug (1989), studying reward functions that are inherent in training,
found that “the extent to which training actually contributes to generating indi-
vidual rewards has, however, been virtually absent on the research agenda”
(p. 374). Although considerable research has been conducted on organizational
commitment, satisfaction, coaching, and employee development as individual
or organizational outcomes, “very little research has been done on the
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relationship between organizational commitment, employee development,
satisfaction with employee development and coaching” (Tansky & Cohen,
2001, p. 287). Rowden and Conine (2003) also recommended additional
research “. . . to further understand this apparently powerful link between
workplace learning and job satisfaction. If this powerful link continues to sur-
face in other sectors and larger companies, managers concerned with the level
of job satisfaction among their employees may want to encourage more
learning opportunities in the workplace” (p. 465).
Employees in the workplace are more mobile now than ever before,
regularly changing employers, jobs, and even careers. The global economy
of today makes ongoing learning throughout an employee’s career important.
Employees must continue to learn and grow on the job simply as a requisite
for continued employability. These types of changes all point to the impor-
tance of ongoing job training. Yet, as is the case with many elements of job
satisfaction, job training satisfaction is not an all-or-nothing concept.
Employees may be satisfied with some aspects of training programs and
dissatisfied with others. It is important to not only examine job training sat-
isfaction in a broad sense but also delve deeper into the components of
training that may make up job training satisfaction. Doing so results in a
clearer conceptual view of job training satisfaction and allows better
understanding of the topic.
As training becomes more a part of an employee’s life, the relationship of
training to job satisfaction becomes more prominent. As the workplace
continues to evolve, employee satisfaction with on-the-job education perme-
ates all aspects of overall job satisfaction.
This study examined the relationship between job training satisfaction and
overall job satisfaction. It also investigated the concept of job training satis-
faction, examining job training variables for possible relationships with job
training satisfaction.
Method
The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between job training
satisfaction and overall job satisfaction. It also examined several training-related
variables for possible relationships with job training satisfaction. Specifically,
it addressed these research questions:
1. What is the relationship between satisfaction with workplace training
and overall job satisfaction?
2. What is the relationship among time spent in training, type of training,
training methodology, and satisfaction with workplace training?
3. What are the effects on job training satisfaction when an employee’s
preferred method of training is the methodology most often used in
training that employee?
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Sample
To answer the research questions, a sample of 552 customer and technical service
employees in nine major organizations in the United States and Canada were
given a job training and satisfaction survey. Included in this study were manu-
facturing, service, and technological organizations. Organizations chosen for this
study employed customer service and technical service representatives who pro-
vided service and support to either end (retail) customers or wholesale customers.
Participating organizations were identified through their involvement in
a benchmarking consortium in which the researcher’s organization was a
member. Benchmarking is a process in which organizations improve their own
practices by identifying and using knowledge and best practices of other
organizations. An important aspect of the benchmarking process is the oblig-
ation organizations have to supply information to requesting organizations in
the consortium (Schmidt, 2004).
Instrumentation
The Job Training and Job Satisfaction Survey is a 55-item instrument devel-
oped to assess employee attitudes about aspects of the job and aspects of job
training (Schmidt, 2004).
The job satisfaction aspects of this survey originate in part from Paul
Spector’s Job Satisfaction Survey ( JSS; 1997). Spector’s nine subscales measure
satisfaction with pay, promotion, supervision, fringe benefits, contingent
rewards (performance-based rewards), operating procedures (required rules
and procedures), coworkers, nature of work, and communication. There are
four questions for each subscale.
The job training facets of this survey measure employee satisfaction with
on-the-job training. The three subscales measure organizational support
for training, employee feelings about training, and employee satisfaction with
training. Specific questions in each of these subscales were developed by
the researcher on the basis of learning organization assessments found in “The
Learning Edge” (Wick & Leon, 1993). There are four questions for each
subscale. The Job Training and Job Satisfaction Survey ( JTJSS) contains five
questions regarding training methodology, training content, and time spent
in training. Also included are seven demographic questions, which address job
tenure, age, gender, ethnicity, employment type (customer service representative
or technical service representative), employee status (permanent or temporary or
contract employee), and formal education level achieved.
A pilot study (n 118) was conducted using the Job Training and Job
Satisfaction Scale, and a confirmatory factor analysis was conducted. Inappropri-
ate questions were deleted according to information collected in the pilot, and
when combined with questions regarding job training the factor structure of Spec-
tor’s original Job Satisfaction survey differed slightly from that of the original.
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A six-factor solution was obtained rather than the eight constructed by Spector.
The original subscales of satisfaction with pay, promotion, and contingent rewards
were combined to form a single subscale that was called Satisfaction with Oppor-
tunities and Rewards. Another subscale, Satisfaction with Communication, was
removed entirely. The remainder of Spector’s original subscales engendered a
relatively clean factor structure with limited overlap between the scales.
In summary, the revised six subscales that make up overall job satisfaction
on the JTJSS include an employee’s level of satisfaction with (1) opportunities
and rewards, including satisfaction with pay, pay raises, promotion opportu-
nities and rewards—not necessarily monetary—given for good performance
(there are twelve items on the instrument relating to this construct);
(2) supervision, examining an employee’s feelings about his or her immediate
supervisor (this construct is measured using four items); and (3) four
additional items, namely, fringe benefits, coworkers, the nature of the work
performed by the employee, and operating conditions (including rules and
procedures). Neither the job training questions nor the constructs were
modified as a result of the pilot study.
Tables 1 and 2 contain information on questionnaire items and factor
loading for the job training and job satisfaction components of this survey.
Reliability and Validity
To establish validity, a number of steps were taken. Experts in human resource
development and in measurement were used to ensure content validity. They
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Table 1. Job Training Questionnaire Items and Factor Loadings
Factor
Scale and Item 1 2 3
Satisfaction with training
Training meets needs .92
Amount of training is satisfactory .89
Ability to use training content on job .86
Training applicability to job .85
Employee feelings about training
Seeks out learning opportunities .81
Views job training as continuous endeavor .77
Proactive in seeking ways to improve .59
Learning goals established for present and future positions .48
Organizational support for training
Learning is planned and purposeful .45
Department provides training opportunities .43
Interest in personal and professional development .77
Training is encouraged and rewarded .75
Note: Item-to-factor loadings below .30 were suppressed.
488 Schmidt
reviewed both constructs and individual questions and offered input to the
researcher on each. To assess construct validity, a confirmatory factor analysis
based on a pilot study (n 118) was conducted. Reliability coefficients for the
nine factors in the JTJSS range from .61 to .90.
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Table 2. Job Satisfaction Questionnaire Items and Factor Loadings
Factor
Scale and Item 1 23456
Opportunities and rewards
Chances for salary increase .82
Chances for promotion .75
Feeling that efforts are rewarded .73
Appreciated by the organization based on salary .71
Those who do well are promoted .71
Paid fairly .66
Frequency of raises .61
Good job receives recognition .61
Quantity of rewards .60
Chances for promotion .60
Ability to get ahead .56
Work is appreciated .51
Nature of the work
Enjoy work tasks .83
Job is enjoyable .78
Sense of pride in job .73
Meaningful nature of job .71
Supervision
Supervisor competence .87
Supervisor fairness .83
Supervisor interest in subordinates .80
Like supervisor .70
Benefits
Benefits we should have .76
Satisfied with benefits received .71
Benefits comparable to other organizations .69
Benefits equitable .68
Operating conditions
Amount of work .86
Amount of paperwork .81
Work rules and procedures .67
Ease of effort .42
Coworkers
Enjoy coworkers .71
Enjoy people at work .69
Amount of bickering and fighting .69
Note: Item-to-factor loadings below .30 were suppressed.
Data from the pilot study were used to establish instrument reliability. On
the basis of pilot study data, internal consistency of the two scales (job training
and job satisfaction) was assessed. Cronbach’s alpha was found to be .83 for
the job training scale and .89 for the job satisfaction scale.
Data Collection Procedures
Prior to any data collection, the study was approved by the Institutional Review
Board at the researcher’s university. Nine organizations in the United States and
Canada agreed to participate. Employees with Internet access at work were sent
the survey link via e-mail. Those without Internet access were sent hard-copy
versions of the survey. In total, 301 of the 552 employees invited to participate
completed the survey, for an overall response rate of 55 percent. Response rate
for the online survey was 43 percent; for the hard-copy survey, 67 percent.
Data Analysis
Survey data were entered into a database and analyzed using the statistical pack-
age SPSS. A simple regression analysis was used to examine question 1, and
multiple regression was used to examine question 2. This method of data analy-
sis is appropriate because of the variables examined. Pedhazur (1997) defines
simple regression analysis as “. . . a method of analyzing the variability of a
dependent variable by resorting to information available on an independent
variable” (p. 3). Simple regression examines the changes in a dependent vari-
able that are due to changes in an independent variable. Multiple regression
examines changes in a dependent variable when more than one independent
variable is involved. Assumptions made in this study were consistent with those
of regression analysis in general. Namely, regression analysis assumes that the
variables have normal distributions, are linear in nature, are reliable (using
Chronbach alphas of .05 in this study), and are homoscedastic.
Chi-square analysis was used to examine question three. This method is
appropriate in that it can be used to examine the significance of differences
among proportions of items that fall into a number of categories (Ary, Jacobs, &
Razavieh, 2002). Chi-square assumes that observations are independent, cate-
gories are mutually exclusive, and observations are measured as frequencies.
Those assumptions were made regarding the data used in this study.
Results
Results of the data analysis on this study of job training and job satisfaction are
presented in the next section.
Research Question One. The first research question examined the
relationship between satisfaction with workplace training and overall job
satisfaction. A regression equation examining satisfaction with workplace
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490 Schmidt
training (independent variable) and overall job satisfaction (dependent
variable) was developed (see Table 3 for details). The relationship between the
two variables was found to be significant, t(1, 299) 363.53, p.001. Pear-
son’s correlation coefficient for the job training satisfaction (M 4.51, SD
.81, N 301) and overall job satisfaction (M 4.13, SD .78, N 301)
variables in this study indicated a high level of relationship between the
two variables, r(299) .74. The R-square value for this equation was .55, indi-
cating that job training satisfaction accounts for 55 percent of the variance in
overall job satisfaction.
Research Question Two. The second research question examined the
relationship among time spent in training, type of training (or content), train-
ing methodology, and satisfaction with workplace training. Methodologies
examined in this study included instructor-led classroom training, one-on-one
training, online or computer-based training, job shadowing, and self-study or
video-based training. Training content was subdivided into job-specific
training, general business training, and personal development training.
To answer question two, a multiple regression equation was developed and
was determined to be significant F (7, 177) 3.764; p.001. Because two
of the three variables noted in this equation were categorical (training
methodology most often received and type of training most often received)
rather than continuous (number of days spent in training), the methodology
and training type variables were dummy coded. Methodologies noted in
the equation were compared to instructor-led training, and training types
were compared to job-specific training. The equation also used standardized
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Table 3. Summary of Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting
Job Satisfaction (n 301)
Variable B SE B b
Job training satisfaction .699 .040 .732
Note: R-square .55, P.05
Table 4. Summary of Regression Analysis for Variables Predicting
Job Training Satisfaction (n 185)
Variable B SE B b
Training days 9.667 .004 .181
Method variable 1 (one-on-one training) 9.451 .216 .032
Method variable 2 (online or computer-based training) .162 .220 .054
Method variable 3 (job shadowing) .174 .245 .052
Method variable 4 (self-study) .467 .150 .233
Training type variable 1 (general business skill training) .187 .158 .087
Training type variable 2 (personal development training) .11 .187 .046
Note: R-square .13, P.05. Method variables in the equation compared to instructor-led training
and training type variables were compared to job-specific training.
coefficients. See Table 4 for details. The R-square value for this equation was
.130, indicating that collectively, the independent variables explain 13 percent
of the variance in job training satisfaction.
Table 5 is a summary of the relationship among job training satisfaction
and training time, content, and methodology.
Research Question Three. Question three examined whether a match
between an employee’s preferred method of training and the method of train-
ing in which the employee most often participates made a difference in satis-
faction with workplace training.
Survey respondents were asked to indicate the methodology used most
often in the training they received. They were also asked to indicate the
methodology they believed was most effective in helping them learn. Answers
for these two questions were compared and coded as a match or nonmatch. If
an employee most often received training using the methodology he or she
believed was most effective for himself or herself, it was considered a match
(M 4.71, SD .78, N 44). A nonmatch was a situation in which an
employee most often received training using a methodology other than the one
he or she believed was most effective in helping him or her learn (M 4.4,
SD .75, N 91). A t-test was conducted (N 135), and it was found that
there were significant differences between satisfaction with job training when
a respondent’s preferred methodology was the one most often used in provid-
ing that respondent with job training, t(133) 2.229, p.027.
Respondents were then asked about their preferred methodology, or the
one they believed was most effective in helping them learn. The Chi-square
test for equal proportions was used to examine whether or not there was a
method of training preferred by employees in the type of position studied. This
analysis showed employees believed the instructor-led training and one-on-
one training helped them learn most effectively, and that this preference was
significant 2(4, N 280) 95.40, p.00. Instructor-led classroom training
was followed in order of preference by one-on-one training, job shadowing,
self-study or video-based training, and online or computer-based training.
Table 6 is a summary of preferred training methodologies.
Respondents were then asked to rank on a scale of 1 to 5 the methodologies
most frequently employed in the training they received (1 methodology most
often used; 5 methodology least often used). Respondents could use each
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Table 5. Summary of the Relationship Between Job Training
Satisfaction and Training Time, Content, and Methodology (n 185)
Dependent Variable Independent Variable(s) R-Square Value
Time spent in training
Job training satisfaction Training methodology used .13*
Course content
Note: * significant relationship between variables (p.001)
492 Schmidt
number 1 through 5 only once. It was found that there were significant dif-
ferences in methodologies received, 2 (4, N 225) 219.33, p.00, and
that instructor-led training was by far the methodology most often used. Self-
study was a distant second, followed by one-on-one training, online or
computer-based training, and job shadowing. Table 7 is a summary of train-
ing methodologies most often received.
Summary and Conclusions
The purpose of this research was to examine whether or not there was a
relationship between satisfaction with job training and overall job satisfaction.
The study also examined three factors that may affect satisfaction with job
training: methodology, type of training, and amount of time spent in training.
The study found a high correlation between job training satisfaction and
overall job satisfaction among employees in customer contact positions. The
results of this study concur with prior studies conducted on professional occu-
pations (Ellinger, Ellinger, & Keller, 2003; Tansky & Cohen, 2001), suggest-
ing that the relationship between job training satisfaction and overall job
satisfaction is similar for employees in a variety of occupational categories.
Given the significant relationship between job training satisfaction and
overall job satisfaction, a logical second step was to disseminate study results
further and delve into the components of job training that may constitute
job training satisfaction. Three variables examined in this study relating to the
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Table 6. Chi-Square Analysis of Methodology Most Preferred
by Respondents (n 280)
Methodology Observed N
Instructor-led classroom 89 (56)
One-on-one 88 (56)
Online or computer-based 14 (56)
Job shadowing 69 (56)
Self-study or video-based 20 (56)
Total 280
Table 7. Chi-Square Analysis of Methodology Most Received
by Respondents (n 280)
Methodology Observed N
Instructor-led 131 (56)
One-on-one 18 (56)
Online or computer-based 17 (56)
Job shadowing 14 (56)
Self-study or video-based 45 (56)
Total 280
job training experience were time spent in training, training methodology, and
content. All three together were significant in their relationship with job
training satisfaction.
When in training, it was important that the methodology used be one that
employees believe effective in helping them learn. The methodology used in
training had an effect on employee satisfaction with that training. Employees
who received training using the training methodology they felt was most effec-
tive in helping them to learn (and, thereby, the method they most preferred)
were significantly more satisfied with that training than employees who pre-
ferred a methodology other than the one that was used most often in their
training.
There were differences between the training methodologies preferred by
employees and those used in their training. Instructor-led training was the
methodology most often received by respondents in training, as well as
the methodology most preferred. However, the second and third choices in the
most-preferred category, one-on-one training and job shadowing, were farther
down the list of methodologies received most often. Self-study, including
video-based training, and online or computer-based training were at the bot-
tom of the most-preferred methodologies list, even though self-study or video-
based training was the methodology respondents received the most after
instructor-led training. In further categorizing the training methodologies
already noted, one could argue that training methodologies most preferred by
employees (instructor-led training, one-on-one training, and job shadowing)
are fairly similar in that they involve a high degree of interaction between an
instructor or coach and a student or students. It was found that the method-
ologies involving an instructor or coach were preferred significantly more than
the more solitary methodologies (computer-based training, or self-study
including video-based training). The presence of an instructor with whom to
interact, question, and solve problems is important in training. Interaction with
an instructor, coach, or experienced employee may also be important from an
employee socialization standpoint (Nordhaug, 1989).
Discussion
The results of this study showed a strong positive relationship between job
training satisfaction and overall job satisfaction. Findings concur with similar
studies of job training and job satisfaction, which came to similar conclusions
(Hatcher, 1999; Lowry et al., 2002; Traut et al., 2000). This may mean several
things to employees, to organizations, and to researchers. Results of surveys
noted in the introduction are a testament to the importance of job training in
the minds of employees. This study confirms that employees value training
and deem it a necessary part of the job. Examined on another level, those
employed in customer contact positions are often motivated by the ability to
please their customers. Satisfaction with job training may allow them to be
Satisfaction with Workplace Training 493
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq
494 Schmidt
better able to do exactly that, which ties into both job satisfaction and
ultimately customer satisfaction. In the end, job training benefits both the
employee and the organization, which is in keeping with the mission of HRD
professionals in “assisting individuals or organizations to improve their ability
to develop themselves” (AHRD, 1999, p. II).
Organizations that offer effective job training may find they have better
trained, more satisfied employees. Employees satisfied with job training are
also more committed to their organizations (Bartlett, 2001; Tansky & Cohen,
2001), and employees who are satisfied in their jobs are more willing to accept
organizational goals and values, more motivated ( Jalajas & Bommer, 1999),
more willing to exert effort in the workplace, and more likely to stay in an
organization (Hatcher, 1999; Laschinger et al., 2001). These connections to
the larger view of the organization are extremely important to HRD practi-
tioners, because they show the powerful relationship between training at the
employee level and overall organizational performance.
Time spent in training, training methodology, and content were found to
be significantly related to job training satisfaction. This finding is important
for HRD practitioners to consider when designing training programs, as well
as for researchers examining components of job training satisfaction. Just as
individual elements of job satisfaction can be examined, assessed, and
potentially modified, so too can individual elements of job training satisfaction.
This finding gives HRD practitioners and researchers a better understanding
of the concept of job training satisfaction.
The training methodology preferred predominantly by employees in this
study was instructor-led training. This was the methodology most often
received by these employees as well. All methodologies involving face-to-face
interaction with an instructor or coach were preferred significantly more than
the solitary-type methodologies. This may be related to the nature of the
occupation studied. People in customer or technical service positions are
often employed in those occupations because they enjoy interacting with
people. The importance of that interaction may transfer to the learning
environment.
Limitations
Several limitations of this study are identified to help guide future research.
This study was conducted on employees in one particular occupation
(customer and technical service employees working in call centers). Results
may be limited to that type of occupation. Furthermore, this study employed
the use of convenience sampling, which cannot be considered representative
of the population. However, Wallen and Fraenkel (2001) note that in
convenience sampling, “the researcher is obligated to describe the sample as
thoroughly as possible with respect to variables pertinent to the study.
Sometimes it is possible to show that the sample is very similar to the intended
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq
population in certain ways. In this case, the researcher can argue that the
sample is representative” (p. 139). Demographic questions were used to
describe the sample as clearly as possible.
Because respondents had the option of completing this survey online,
multiple responses may be an issue as well. Schonlau, Fricker, and Elliot
(2001) note that surveys conducted on the Web are “uncontrolled” in that any-
one who can find the survey can fill it out as many times as is desired. To pre-
vent multiple responses from the same individual, each participant had to
provide an individual e-mail address before accessing the survey. Each e-mail
address could be used to access the survey only one time.
Location may have posed a threat to internal validity because respondents
were asked their feelings about a variety of work-related issues while at work.
As such, they may not have answered truthfully (or responded at all), espe-
cially if they felt their responses could affect them or their job in a negative
way. Wallen and Fraenkel (2001) believe the best way to control a location
threat is to keep the location at which surveys are completed constant. This is
what was done in this study. As was already noted, the survey link was sent to
customer and technical employees’ work e-mail addresses. Paper copies of the
survey were also sent to the employees’ work site. Employees most likely com-
pleted this survey while at work.
Characteristics of the data collector may also have posed a threat to inter-
nal validity. This threat was controlled for through the process of electronically
sending the survey link to participants. Data collection done through a stan-
dardized condition (in this case, electronically) lessens the threat to validity
posed by characteristics of the data collector. Paper copies of the survey were
available for employees to pick up, complete, and return anonymously. In both
cases, respondents never saw the data collector in person. Use of employees
from nine nonconnected organizations also lessened the threat of extraneous
events affecting validity.
Implications for Human Resource Development
The results of this study have several implications for future research and prac-
tice in the field of human resource development. Satisfaction with job training
should be considered as an aspect of overall job satisfaction, and HRD practi-
tioners should consider job training satisfaction from the standpoint of the
employee in developing and implementing training programs. HRD practi-
tioners, through the training and development opportunities they offer, are
influential in the overall job satisfaction of an organization’s employees. They
are also influential in shaping workplace attitudes and employee commitment,
which are important to the entire organization. These connections to the larger
organizational picture are important for practitioners to remember. HRD prac-
titioners interested in improving these variables in their own organizations
should, in part, focus on job training as a way to do so.
Satisfaction with Workplace Training 495
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq
496 Schmidt
In addition to examining job training satisfaction in a broad sense, it is
important to delve further into the individual elements of job training satis-
faction that contribute to overall satisfaction. Addressing specific aspects of a
training program in order to improve trainee satisfaction concurs with the rec-
ommendations of other researchers as well (Lin et al., 2003). This study
showed that employees assign differing values to aspects of job training. Rather
than addressing job training satisfaction as an all-or-nothing concept, HRD
practitioners interested in improving job training satisfaction may want to
focus on individual aspects of job training, such as time spent in training,
methodology, and content. When looking to improve job training satisfaction,
it may be possible, and more efficient, to address specific training components
rather than an entire training program.
The methodology used in training employees is important. Employees are
more likely to be satisfied with training that is presented in the manner they
believe is most effective in helping them learn. Employees in this study pre-
ferred training methodologies that involved face-to-face interaction with a
trainer, mentor, or coach. This finding concurs with prior research by Rowden
and Conine (2003), who note the importance of a training environment that
allows talking, sharing information, and collaboration between or among
trainees and the trainer, mentor, or coach.
Because of the far-reaching influence that HRD practitioners have in orga-
nizations, they should conduct a thorough investigation before making a deci-
sion regarding workplace training initiatives. They should consider the needs
and priorities of all potential stakeholders, including the employees to be trained.
Careful study of all aspects of a potential training and development program is
important in determining what works best for the target audience and for the
organization.
From a research perspective, satisfaction with job training should be con-
sidered an element of job satisfaction and be included as a construct in job sat-
isfaction surveys. Researchers studying job training satisfaction should consider
time, content, and methodology as constructs of job training satisfaction. Also
to be considered is the significant difference in job training satisfaction when
methodologies preferred by trainees are those employed in training.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001) reports that the number of peo-
ple involved in temporary employment arrangements is growing sharply.
Future studies may focus on other occupations or professions, or on alterna-
tive employment situations such as outsourcing, temporary, or contract situa-
tions. Future research could also focus on the meaning of job training
satisfaction as it pertains to employees, employers, and customers. For exam-
ple, Steffen, Nystrom, and O’Connor (1996) found strong positive relation-
ships between employees’ level of organizational commitment and customers’
perception of service quality. Researchers have concluded that job training
satisfaction is related to organizational commitment as well (Bartlett, 2001).
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq
A promising area for research examines how employees’ attitudes about their
own work can affect those customers with whom they interact.
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University in Greenville, North Carolina.
HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT QUARTERLY • DOI: 10.1002/hrdq
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A predictive, nonexperimental design was used to test Kanter's work empowerment theory in a random sample of 412 Canadian staff nurses. Empowered individuals reported higher affective commitment and work satisfaction. Moreover, empowered employees experienced greater organizational trust, which in turn influenced these job attitudes. Since research has shown that affective commitment is related to productivity, our results suggest that fostering environments that enhance perceptions of empowerment will have positive effects on employees and ultimately, enhance organizational effectiveness.
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Job satisfaction remains an important issue for public managers, as they try to motivate workers in today's political environment. Many of the motivational efforts are centered around newer employees, while longer-term workers are automatically assumed to be committed to their jobs. In this study of a medium-size city fire department, employees were surveyed on five aspects of job satisfaction: satisfaction with the supervisor, satisfaction with agency relationships, satisfaction with job training, satisfaction with job content, and overall job satisfaction. The effects of job tenure on satisfaction were uniform across the five aspects. The newest employees were significantly more satisfied with their jobs than were longer-term employees, even when controlling for the organizational rank. For a successful workplace, employers must continue to invest in their longer-term employees even as they develop newer employees. In the 1990s, public sector employers are struggled to maintain a competent and committed workforce. Nowhere was this more true than at the local level in services such as fire fighting where stress is a constant element of working, cooperative relationships are vital, and training demands are continual. Employers not only must hire and train new workers, but also encourage a continued high level of dedication and willingness to learn among their more long-term employees. This study looks at employee job satisfaction among the employees of a fire department in a medium-size city. It then discusses the ongoing challenges of motivating public workers at all levels of experience.