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Enhancing long‐term worker productivity and performance

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Purpose – The purpose of this research is to explore key work domains that impact worker job satisfaction and organizational commitment, which in turn impact long‐term worker productivity and performance. Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilizes factor analysis, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analysis, and basic descriptive statistics (Pearson Correlations, standard deviations, means) to explore the relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment and 17 unique work domains. Findings – Survey data confirm 17 statistically valid and reliable work domains that are relevant to understanding worker job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Additionally, OLS regression results produce highly explanatory models of worker motivation and job satisfaction. Research limitations/implications – The main limitation of the research is the lack of generalizability of the findings – that it represents data from just one organization, not a sampling of organizations. While the statistical results are highly significant and demonstrate a high level of validity and reliability in the measures, research findings can only tentatively be applied to other organizations. Practical implications – In an increasingly competitive global market, more and more organizations have to ask the difficult question, “How can we get more out of our employees?” However, although there are diverse “quick‐fix” methods of achieving rather short‐term gains in worker productivity and performance, long‐term and enduring improvement requires a strengthening and spreading of core organizational values and beliefs that help to create a high engagement and achievement organizational culture. Originality/value – The main contribution of this paper is the development of 17 unique and highly statistically reliable and valid work domains relevant to organizational commitment and job satisfaction. Additionally, the new “passion” domain is found to be particularly predictive of worker job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
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Enhancing long-term worker
productivity and performance
The connection of key work domains to job
satisfaction and organizational commitment
Jonathan H. Westover
Utah Valley University, Lehi, Utah, USA
Andrew R. Westover
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA, and
L. Alan Westover
Human Capital Innovations, LLC, Hamilton, Missouri, USA
Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this research is to explore key work domains that impact worker job
satisfaction and organizational commitment, which in turn impact long-term worker productivity and
performance.
Design/methodology/approach – The paper utilizes factor analysis, ordinary least squares (OLS)
regression analysis, and basic descriptive statistics (Pearson Correlations, standard deviations, means)
to explore the relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment and 17 unique
work domains.
Findings – Survey data confirm 17 statistically valid and reliable work domains that are relevant to
understanding worker job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Additionally, OLS regression
results produce highly explanatory models of worker motivation and job satisfaction.
Research limitations/implications The main limitation of the research is the lack of
generalizability of the findings that it represents data from just one organization, not a sampling of
organizations. While the statistical results are highly significant and demonstrate a high level of validity
and reliability in the measures, research findings can only tentatively be applied to other organizations.
Practical implications In an increasingly competitive global market, more and more
organizations have to ask the difficult question, “How can we get more out of our employees?”
However, although there are diverse “quick-fix” methods of achieving rather short-term gains in
worker productivity and performance, long-term and enduring improvement requires a strengthening
and spreading of core organizational values and beliefs that help to create a high engagement and
achievement organizational culture.
Originality/value The main contribution of this paper is the development of 17 unique and highly
statistically reliable and valid work domains relevant to organizational commitment and job
satisfaction. Additionally, the new “passion” domain is found to be particularly predictive of worker
job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Keywords Performance management, Job satisfaction, Work organization
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
In recent years, XYZ Company (a mid-sized social work organization specializing in
mental health services in the western USA) has been faced with financial crisis, which
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
www.emeraldinsight.com/1741-0401.htm
IJPPM
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Received May 2009
Revised September 2009
Accepted September 2009
International Journal of Productivity
and Performance Management
Vol. 59 No. 4, 2010
pp. 372-387
qEmerald Group Publishing Limited
1741-0401
DOI 10.1108/17410401011038919
necessitated a number of key changes in the company, including changes in top
leadership. Under the new leadership, the initial goal of XYZ Company top
management was to make the company a financially viable entity through budget cuts,
reductions in force, policy changes, and increased productivity standards. Once the
above goal was largely completed, the management team concluded that the next step
was to address company culture, which began by focusing on strengthening and
spreading its core values and beliefs. XYZ executives then turned to making XYZ
Company an employer of choice.
The following research question was adopted by top management: “What factors
lead to increased job satisfaction and organizational commitment amongst XYZ
Company employees, which in turn can help to increase long-term worker productivity
and performance?” Though the research identifies many key correlates with job
satisfaction, one variable that is often ignored is passion. Due to personal experience in
the field (suggesting that social workers are more inwardly motivated to be in the field
than outwardly by things like wealth and fame), it is hypothesized that passion will
play a large role in the determination of job satisfaction and organizational
commitment.
In what follows, we outline and summarize the existing literature related to worker
motivation and job satisfaction, starting first with an overview of five categories of
models of worker motivation. Next, we provide an overview of the academic research
that links job satisfaction to many other organizational outcomes, including
performance and organizational commitment. We then provide a detailed
explanation of the research methods and statistical procedures used to collect and
analyze the data. Finally, we present the key findings, followed by a discussion of
results and recommendations.
Review of literature
The principles of job satisfaction and motivation are closely linked to each other,
and to an effective and productive workplace (see Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007;
Koys, 2001; Chen and Francesco, 2003, Tziner et al., 2008; Mowday et al., 1982;
Mathieu and Zajac, 1990; Bono et al., 2001; Greguras et al., 2004). The following
vignette illustrates the critical nature of these principles to successful business
practice:
You can’t have a great life unless you have a buffer of like-minded people all around you.
If you want to be nice, you can’t surround yourself with crabby people and expect it to work.
You might stay nice for a while, just because – but it isn’t sustainable over years. If you want
a happy company, you can do it only by hiring naturally happy people. You’ll never build a
happy company by “making people happy” you can’t really “make” people any way that
they aren’t already. Laura and I want to be in love with life, and our business has been a good
thing for us in that journey (Wakeman, 2001).
This is just one method, of many, used to approach job satisfaction and motivation.
Despite various methods used, as long as business has been, business owners and
managers have sought answers to the same questions: “Who is the right person for the
job?” and “What can we do to improve morale and productivity in our workplace?”
This section will discuss some of the key research findings in this area in recent
decades.
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Key explanatory models of worker motivation
Though every business owner and manager has his/her own unique method of
motivating workers, the general methods can be grouped into five distinct model
categories: need fulfillment, discrepancies, value attainment, equity, and
dispositional/genetic components models (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
According to need fulfillment models, satisfaction is determined by the extent to
which a job, with its specified characteristics and duties, allows an individual worker
to meet his/her personal needs (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007). Common needs that
workers seek to meet relate to their families. Employers who provide services and
accommodations to workers and their families that help to fulfill these needs can
substantial steps toward improving employee satisfaction and decreasing turnover
(Karr, 1999).
Discrepancy models suggest that satisfaction is a result of met, or sometimes unmet,
expectations (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007). Met expectations are the difference between
what a worker expects from a job, and what he/she actually receives (such as pay,
benefits, advancement opportunities, etc). Satisfaction is high when expectations are
met or exceeded, and low when they are not. Employers using this model will
frequently use attitude or opinion surveys to gauge the expectations of their workers
and how they are or are not being met (2007).
Value attainment models are based on the belief that satisfaction comes from the
perception that one’s job fulfills an individual’s work values (Kinicki and Kreitner,
2007). For example, a 2005 study found that 53 percent of respondents valued time off
more than a raise of $5,000 (Chatzky, 2005). This suggests that employers can improve
their employees’ job satisfaction by encouraging workers to take their vacations, and to
disconnect from work life when they are away from the office (i.e. not take their work
home with them). Though values may differ amongst various locations, companies,
departments, and individuals, understanding, encouraging, and reinforcing these
values can greatly improve employee satisfaction and motivation.
The field of social work has long been known as a field that puts more emphasis
upon intrinsic rewards, such as the good feelings or sense of pride gained through
working outside of oneself to help other actualize their potential, than upon extrinsic
rewards or money, position, and power.
Equity models assert that satisfaction is based on the perception of how fairly an
individual is treated at work. This is largely based on how one’s own work
outcomes, relative to his/her inputs and efforts, compare to the input/output of
others in the work place (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007). Naturally, if one sees that
another worker is receiving equal or more rewards for doing less work, this will
reflect negatively on his/her level of satisfaction. Therefore, an employer’s duty,
according to this model, is to seek to understand his/her workers’ perceptions of
fairness and to seek to interact with said employees in a way that helps them to feel
treated equitably.
Dispositional and/or genetic components models, as illustrated in the opening
vignette, suggest that individual employee differences are just as important for
determining job satisfaction and success as workplace related factors (Kinicki and
Kreitner, 2007). In other words, it is important to have the right people (with the desired
personality attributes) for the right jobs. As shown in the vignette, crabby people make
a crabby workplace, whereas happy people make a happy workplace. Genetic factors
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are also tied to satisfaction (Arvey et al., 1989). Dormann and Zapf (2001) estimate that
30 percent of an individual’s work satisfaction is correlated with dispositional and
genetic components.
Major correlates of job satisfaction
Each of the preceding models provides a particular explanation of what may make
employees happy and motivated workers. Though each model is unique, they all share
a number of specific correlates of individual satisfaction (see Table I). Among these
correlates are job involvement, organizational citizenship behavior, absenteeism,
withdrawal cognitions, turnover, perceived stress, and job performance.
Increasingly, the relative success of organizations has been tied to the two
motivational constructs of work satisfaction and organizational commitment (Koys,
2001; Chen and Francesco, 2003, Tziner et al., 2008). Organizational commitment has
been defined as the psychological attachment of individuals to their employing
organization (Mowday et al., 1982). Employees who perceive their needs as unmet grow
in general dissatisfaction and become increasingly attracted to competing places of
employment (Tziner, 2006), and often result in voluntary termination and
organizational turnover (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990). These studies find that
employees enjoying high levels of organizational commitment are more satisfied and
motivated in their work place than those who actively consider other employment.
Job involvement describes how personally involved a worker is in fulfilling his/her
work role. Job involvement is a function of personality and organizational climate and
is associated with higher levels of organizational effectiveness (Elankumaran, 2004).
Therefore, in order to improve job involvement, employers should foster a satisfying
work environment for a range of personality types (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
According to Brown (1996) job involvement is moderately related to job satisfaction.
Organizational citizenship behaviors (OCBs) consist of employee behaviors that go
above and beyond the regular call of duty: constructive statements about the
department, expression of personal interest in the work of others, suggestions for
improvement, training new people, respect for the spirit as well as the letter of
housekeeping rules, care for organizational property, and “punctuality and attendance
well beyond standard or enforceable levels” (Organ, 1990). Like job involvement,
research suggests a moderately positive relationship between OCBs and job satisfaction
Variable related with job satisfaction Direction of relationship
Life satisfaction Positive
Job performance Positive
Worker motivation Positive
Job involvement Positive
Organizational commitment Positive
Organizational citizenship behavior Positive
Employee tardiness Negative
Employee absenteeism Negative
Withdrawal cognitions Negative
Employee turnover Negative
Worker health Positive
Perceived stress Negative
Table I.
Important outcomes of
job satisfaction
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(Erez et al., 2002). Though, like job involvement, OCBs are largely tied to work
environment, unlike job involvement, OCBs are determined more by leadership than
individual personalities (Duffy et al., 2004; Bachrach et al., 2000). Therefore, it is crucial
for employers to foster a friendly work environment, and for leadership to implement
employee-related decisions in a fair and equitable way (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
In order for job involvement and OCBs to take place, employees must first show up
to work. Absenteeism is a large problem faced by employers and a great expense to
companies $789 per employee per year, according to a 2002 survey (Demby, 2004). A
large part of the problem is employees calling in sick when they are anything but sick.
The top three reasons behind calling in sick, according to one study, are doing personal
errands, catching up on sleep, and relaxing (Gurchiek, 2005). One recommendation to
relieve this expense has been to increase job satisfaction. Research in this area has
shown only a weak negative relationship (as satisfaction goes up, absenteeism goes
down) between job satisfaction and absenteeism (Hackett, 1989).
Prior to quitting a job, most employees go through a process of thinking about
whether or not they should do it; the concepts of withdrawal cognitions and
organizational commitment seek to encapsulate this process by representing the
worker’s thoughts and feelings regarding self-termination (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
Research suggests a strong negative correlation between job satisfaction and
withdrawal cognitions (Hom and Kinicki, 2001). Therefore, employers can decrease
withdrawal cognitions (and therefore turnover) by focusing on enhancing job
satisfaction.
Turnover, including both separation and replacement expenses, is very costly to
businesses. According to some estimates, the cost of turnover for an hourly employee is
approximately 30 percent of the worker’s annual salary, and the turnover costs for
professional employees can range up to 150 percent the annual salary (Lermusiaux,
2005). Turnover sacrifices expertise and organizational stability, and can lead to
decreases in morale and perceived job security. Employers are generally advised to
improve employee satisfaction in an effort to decrease turnover, inasmuch as job
satisfaction and turnover are negatively related (Griffeth et al., 2000). Some research
suggests that this can be done by improving working relationships with leadership,
increasing incentives, and valuing employee needs ( James, 2005).
Perceived stress and burnout are negatively related to job satisfaction (Blegen,
1993). Stress is also positively correlated with absenteeism, turnover, coronary heart
disease, and viral infections (Griffeth and Hom, 1995). Therefore, wise employers
attempt to decrease stress by improving job satisfaction and visa versa.
The relationship between job performance and job satisfaction is highly debated. It
is often difficult to tell if job performance causes job satisfaction or if job satisfaction
causes job performance (Bono et al., 2001). Research suggests a moderate positive
relationship and that the two variables seem to interact with each other indirectly
through individual differences and work-environment characteristics (Greguras et al.,
2004). This research arena has been greatly limited by insufficient and incomplete
measures of individual performance (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
Relevance of job satisfaction to this research project
Happy and satisfied workers are motivated workers and employers find it useful to
identify which employment domains are most closely associated with the overall
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motivation and job satisfaction of their employees (Kinicki and Kreitner, 2007).
Understanding the discrete contributors to global job satisfaction empowers employers
to make workplace adjustments that will raise the motivation levels and ultimately the
performance of their workers. The explanatory models, previously described help
account for job satisfaction of employees and the work related concerns with which
work satisfaction is correlated. These models should not be viewed as mutually
exclusive, but rather as ingredients in the figurative job satisfaction pie.
This research project seeks to identify the motivational factors within XYZ
Company as a whole, as well as within specific demographic groups within the
company. Variables representative of all but one of the identified explanatory models
(dispositional/genetic models) are included in the 17 scales comprising the survey used
(see Appendix for more detailed description of the 17 work domains). While it was
recommended to XYZ Company management that dispositional factors also be
measured using an additional survey, XYZ Company elected not to include this survey
in the study due to the increased time that would be required to gather this data. Future
research would benefit by also including dispositional factors in explanatory models of
job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Methods and procedures
Sample
The population of interest is all employees of a social work organization in the western
United States. With a relatively modest total employee count of only 327, it was
deemed unnecessary to sample the population, but rather all employees in the
organization were invited to participate. The entire population received instructions
via email (from company executives) and direct supervisor contact. Periodic reminder
emails were sent by management throughout the data collection period. Employees
were assured that their responses would be anonymous and their candor protected. In
all, 215 (66 percent) of the 327 employees completed the survey. Because individual
respondents voluntarily completing the survey were not identified, follow-up with
non-respondents to ascertain their reasons for non-participation was not possible.
Model specifications
Two individual models were used to measure the two dependent variables of job
satisfaction and organizational commitment (see Figures 1 and 2). Each model
originated with a number of controls (including age, gender, education, tenure, job
category, and department). Likewise, each of the 17 work domains (as seen in
Appendix) were initially included in each model as they relate to job satisfaction and
organizational commitment respectively (only statistically significant and predictive
work domains were included in the final models of job satisfaction and organizational
commitment. Additionally, it is important to note that all 17 scales (as illustrated in
Figure 1.
Model 1 job satisfaction
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Table II) are both highly valid and highly reliable measures. In this case, however, they
did not all explain a significant part of the variance in the two dependent variables.
As was noted above, after initial analysis, non-significant variables were removed.
In Model 1 (the measure of job satisfaction) all controls but gender were found
insignificant. Similarly, the only significant independent variables were organizational
commitment and passion. All other work domains were thus removed from the model.
Significant controls for Model 2 (the measure of organizational commitment) included
education and age, whereas significant independent variables included job satisfaction,
passion, talent not used by employer, value congruence, and fair pay.
Measurement
The Jobsat survey consisted of 80 items, each assigned to one of 18 distinct scales
measuring satisfaction levels in 17 substantive work domains (these survey items and
Figure 2.
Model 2 organizational
commitment
Scale name
Alpha reliability item
number
Mean factor
loading
Number of scale
item
jobsatisfaction 0.9323 0.9113 3
organizationalcommitment 0.769 0.9013 3
supervisorcompetence 0.963 13
supervisor_competence 0.9225 0.8999 4
performance_appraisal_quality 0.8848 0.9019 3
recognition_appreciation 0.8813 0.8631 4
contributetalentgoals 0.9426 7
opportunity_to_contribute 0.9086 0.8312 4
talentusebyemployer 0.837 0.8041 4
long_term_goals 0.8833 0.9463 2
intrusionpersonaltime 0.4484 0.8028 2
employeeneedsmet 0.933 0.8583 7
careerdevelopment 0.9498 0.7441 2
passion 0.9029 0.915 5
Friendship 0.833 0.9257 2
job_security 0.6977 0.8763 2
anxietywithsupervisor 0.8325 0.8399 4
autonomy 0.8803 0.8562 6
valuecongruence 0.7821 0.7904 4
fairpay 0.9329 0.968 2
fairbenefits 0.5906 0.8423 2
Table II.
Jobsat scale items, item
factor loadings, and scale
reliability coefficients
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work domains were derived from four of the five motivation/job satisfaction models
described in the literature review). Definitions of these domains are found in the
Appendix. The number of items included in each sub-scale ranged from two to seven. In
addition to the global work satisfaction scale, the 17 remaining scales included anxiety
with supervisor, autonomy, career development, employee needs met, fair benefits, fair
pay, friendship, intrusion into personal time, job security, long-term goals, opportunity to
contribute, passion, performance appraisal quality, recognition/appreciation, supervisor
competence, talent use by employer, and value congruence (nominal definitions for
which are located in the Appendix). Participants were provided seven Likert style
response categories ranging from 23” to þ3” with the following instructions for
assessing each of the 80 survey statements:
Please indicate how your current work experience compares, favorably or unfavorably, to
your “expectations” by marking the appropriate number, where 23 is “much worse than I
expect” and þ3 is “much better than I expect.”
The Global Work Satisfaction Scale consists of four items and enjoys high content
validity and scale reliability (mean item factor loading of 0.9113 and an alpha
reliability coefficient of 0.9323). Of the 17 sub-scales measuring more specific work
domains, 14 produced alpha reliability coefficients larger than 0.78, with scale factor
loadings ranging from 0.7441 to 0.9680. Only “intrusion into personal time”
(alpha ¼0.4484) and “fair benefits” (alpha ¼0.5906) failed to achieve a high standard
of reliability. High scale reliability ensures that multiple applications of the
measurement tool to the same subject would yield nearly identical results each time
administered. A chart of specific reliability and validity measures is provided in
Table II.
The relationship between work satisfaction in the 17 work domains and employee
motivation was also examined by correlating satisfaction with organizational
commitment. The organizational commitment scale consisted of two survey items with
a mean factor loading of 0.9013 and an alpha reliability of 0.7690.
Statistical analysis
After data collection and cleaning of the data, regression analysis was run on both
models. Though all work domains were highly correlated with job satisfaction and
organizational commitment, not all were statistically significant according to the
regression analysis. As previously mentioned, insignificant variables were removed.
Findings/results
Table III includes correlations of work motivation/satisfaction in the 17 work domains
with global work satisfaction and with organizational commitment for XYZ Company
employees. Table III reveals a strong positive relationship between global job
satisfaction and organizational commitment, both as global measures and specific
measures. The obtained correlation of 0.6445 supports the assertion of previous
research that satisfied employees are more committed to continued employment than
dissatisfied employees.
When comparing the correlations of employee satisfaction with the 17 work
domains and global work satisfaction and with organizational commitment, the
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magnitude of the job satisfaction correlations is consistently greater than the
magnitude of the organizational commitment correlations (see Table III).
Table IV shows descriptive statistics for all of the key variables. Since all of
these variables are based on a number of survey items, or of several subscales in
some cases, the overall scale mean is not terribly informative. Therefore, in an
Work satisfaction Organizational commitment
Work satisfaction 1.0000
Organizational commitment 0.6145 1.0000
Performance appraisal quality 0.5392 0.2870
Talent use by employer 0.6361 0.3899
Recognition 0.6003 0.4051
Intrusion on personal time 0.3525 0.2857
Employee needs met 0.5967 0.4651
Career development 0.5441 0.4426
Opportunities to contribute 0.6669 0.4617
Friendship 0.3067 0.2653
Job security 0.3755 0.3927
Anxiety with supervisor 0.4210 0.3938
Autonomy 0.5132 0.4332
Value congruence 0.6249 0.5251
Supervisor competence 0.4509 0.2601
Pay 0.3650 0.4380
Benefits 0.2396 0.3160
Long-term goals 0.6383 0.5406
Passion 0.7697 0.6158
Table III.
Pearson correlations of 17
work domain satisfaction
with global work
satisfaction and
organizational
commitment for all
employees (n¼214)
Variable Obs Mean Std. dev. Range Scale items Adj. mean
globalwork ,n 215 22.44651 4.197872 9-28 4 5.6
jobsatisfa ,n 215 16.83721 3.377566 6-21 3 5.6
organizati ,t 215 15.43000 2.29357 81-91 3 5.1
performanc ,y 215 15.06512 3.784553 4-21 3 5.02
talentuseb ,r 215 19.49302 3.70536 5-28 4 4.9
recognitio ,n 215 20.19535 5.536538 4-28 4 5.04
intrusionp ,e 215 9.139535 2.579406 2-14 2 4.7
employeene ,t 215 34.08837 8.524106 13-49 7 4.9
careerdeve ,t 215 8.744186 2.621737 2-14 2 4.9
opportunit ,e 215 19.82326 4.976244 6-28 4 4.96
friendship 215 11.12093 2.280408 2-14 2 5.6
jobsecurity 215 9.427907 2.423245 2-14 2 4.7
anxietywit ,r 215 18.02000 3.345939 33-49 4 4.5
autonomy2 215 19.59535 4.197126 8-28 6 3.3
fairpay 215 9.148837 2.765979 2-14 2 4.6
fairbenefits 215 10.31628 2.541702 2-14 2 5.2
longtermgo ,s 215 9.869767 2.513843 2-14 2 4.9
supervisor ,e 215 68.06512 14.72792 24-91 13 5.2
contribute ,s 215 34.64651 7.985131 12-49 7 4.9
passion2 214 28.15421 4.274562 16-35 5 5.6
Table IV.
Descriptive statistics for
job satisfaction and all
work domains
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attempt to normalize the mean, the numbers of scale items making up each variable
were considered in formulating what is labeled as “Adj. Mean”, or the Adjusted
Mean. Since each scale item is based on a seven-point Likert scale (with a score of
four being the neutral response), this new adjusted mean is informative in several
ways. First, we see that almost all of the variables received a positive response
(anything above 4.0 would be deemed positive, and anything below 4.0 would be
deemed negative), with many mean responses being quite high. This should be a
very positive sign for the employer, and suggests that their employees are feeling
pretty good about these domains. Conversely, however, it also suggests were
employee responses were lower, and thus areas for potential improvement. Though
negative mean responses are rare, minimally positive responses may suggest
additional areas for improvement.
Regression analysis
Table V shows regression results for model 1 ( job satisfaction). It shows that both
organizational commitment and passion are significantly related to job satisfaction at
the 0.001 level. Gender is also significant at the 0.05 level. More importantly, perhaps, is
the Adjusted R-squared score of 0.6259, which suggests that these three variables
explain just under 63 percent of the total variation in job satisfaction amongst the
employees in the organization studied. This is remarkably high for just three variables.
Passion plays a particularly large role in this, since for every unit increase in passion,
job satisfaction increases nearly 0.5 units.
Table VI shows regression results for model 2 (organizational commitment). It
shows that job satisfaction, talent use by employer, value congruence, fair pay, and
age are each significantly related to organizational commitment at the 0.001 level.
Passion and education are both significantly related to organizational commitment
at the 0.05 level. Unit increases in job satisfaction, value congruence, fair pay,
passion, and age lead to increases in organizational commitment of 0.299, 0.132,
0.158, 0.136, and 0.299 units respectively. Talent use by employer (which is actual a
negatively worded variable where a high score would suggest that the employee
actually feels like his/her talents are not being properly utilized) and education both
have negative coefficients, suggesting that for every unit increase in talent use and
education, organizational commitment actually decreases 0.137 and 0.220 units
respectively. Despite a potentially confusing variable name, this actually suggests
(as one would expect) that when an employee feels his or her talents are being
utilized, their commitment to the organization increases, and that those with higher
levels of education are not as committed to the organization (likely because of
greater employment options available than lesser educated employees). This model,
as a whole, accounts for just over 50 percent of all variation in organizational
commitment for this population.
Discussion of results and recommendations
As previously discussed, job satisfaction and organizational commitment are closely
linked, and are both very important for general organizational success. Thus, it is in
every employer’s interest to have an understanding of what variables lead to key
increases in work satisfaction and organizational commitment. Therefore, this research
sought to identify key correlates and determinants to both.
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Source SS df MS jobsatisfa ,n Coef. Std err. tp.jtj(95% conf. interval)
Model 1,529.7852 3 509.928399
Residual 894.107327 210 4.25765394
Total 2,423.89252 213 11.3797771
organizati ,t 0.3315943 0.0780545 4.25 0.000 0.1777235 0.4854651
passion2 0.4957699 0.0419853 11.81 0.000 0.4130033 0.5785365
gender 20.6052516 0.305537 21.98 0.049 21.207564 20.002939
constant 225.39898 6.262441 24.06 0.000 237.74428 213.05367
Notes: Number of obs ¼214; F(3, 210) ¼119.77; Prob .F¼0.0000; R-squared ¼0.6311; Adj R-squared ¼0.6259; Root MSE ¼2.0634
Table V.
Model 1 regression table
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Source SS df MS organizati ,t Coef. Std err. tp.jtj(95% conf. interval)
Model 586.541824 7 83.7916891
Residual 538.228129 205 2.62550307
Total 1,124.76995 212 5.30551865
jobsatisfa ,n 0.299069 0.0473183 6.32 0.000 0.2057761 0.392362
talentuseb ,r20.137158 0.0397262 23.45 0.001 20.2154824 20.0588336
valuecongr ,e 0.1320066 0.0386064 3.42 0.001 0.0558901 0.2081231
fairpay 0.1579332 0.046782 3.38 0.001 0.0656976 0.2501688
passion 0.1363169 0.0602577 2.26 0.025 0.0175126 0.2551213
education 20.2201192 0.1109269 21.98 0.049 20.438823 20.0014154
age 0.2988747 0.0842021 3.55 0.000 0.1328615 0.4648879
constant 78.0726 1.07741 72.46 0.000 75.94838 80.19683
Notes: Number of obs ¼213; F(7, 205) ¼31.91; Prob .F¼0.0000; R-squared ¼0.5215; Adj R-squared ¼0.5051; Root MSE ¼1.6203
Table VI.
Model 2 regression table
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383
This research builds on previous scholarly work by combining multiple models of
worker motivation to identify 17 statistically reliable and valid work domains with
high correlation and predictive value in understanding job satisfaction and
organizational commitment. Key correlates identified by this research include
passion, talent use by employer, value congruence, fair pay, education, age, and gender.
Additionally, one piece often missing in other job satisfaction and organizational
commitment research is that of passion. It was hypothesized that passion would be a
key correlate and determinant with the two dependent variables. The research findings
strongly support this hypothesis and demonstrate the importance of including this
construct in future research.
It is recommended that XYZ Company, as well as other similar organizations,
consider these factors when making policy and hiring decisions. To accomplish this,
employers must seek to understand the values of individual workers and make efforts
to instill these values into the workplace. For future hires, it would be wise to seek
employees that match up with key organization goals or values, and who report being
highly passionate about their work. This suggests, like in the opening vignette, that it
really is important to find the right person for the right job.
Once these candidates are identified and hired, their skills must be utilized properly.
This may be easier said than done since it may be impossible to have a worker with
great mechanical skills, for example, utilize those skills as a therapist. However,
employers can still seek to identify particular skills (as appropriate for the job area)
that may be helpful to the department or organization. More than anything, these
findings are based on employee perceptions. Therefore, even organizational efforts to
identify and recognize individual skills/talents (even if there is no immediate way to
utilize them) may go a long way toward improving employee perception of their own
skill utilization.
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Appendix. Category/scale descriptions
.Fair pay (size of check and extent to which pay fairly reflects work performed).
.Talents use by employer (use of employee talents in professional role, and training in new
technologies, by which skills are enhanced).
.Opportunity to contribute (all indicators that employee is trusted and valued; opportunities
to contribute, strategize, and give input).
.Employee needs met (important arenas of personal need include competent supervision,
and expressed appreciation for work performed, as well as the practical needs of
reasonable workloads, fair & flexible work schedules, manageable paperwork, and
adequate time to complete assigned tasks).
.Long-term goals (progress in achieving long-term goals, as defined by the employee).
.Career development (fairness of opportunities for advancement, and extent to which career
path options are explored).
.Autonomy (empowerment vs micromanagement by supervisors, and the fairness of time
demands).
.Recognition/appreciation (extent to which employee feels his/her work is acknowledged
and valued).
.Passion (the extent to which an employee is excited by the belief that he/she is capable and
that his/her work is both intriguing and makes a real difference).
.Supervisor competence (including effectiveness, professional competency, honesty,
hard-working, communicator of clear expectations, and provider of helpful feedback).
.Anxiety with supervisor (the fear that any mistake will result in undue criticism and
retribution from his/her supervisor).
.Fair benefit (equitable availability and distribution of benefits e.g. health, retirement).
.Friendship (availability of and opportunity to develop friendships on the job).
.Value congruency (the extent to which the values espoused by the organization are
congruent with the individual employees’ values).
.Intrusion into personal time (the degree to which work boundaries are blurry and
management intrudes on the personal time of employees).
.Performance appraisal quality (the perception of employees as to the quality of the
performance appraisal system e.g is it fair and accurate, while leading to increased
performance?).
.Job security (how secure an employee feels in the current position and within the entire
organization).
About the authors
Jonathan H. Westover is an Assistant Professor of Business at Utah Valley University. He
received a Master of Public Administration degree with an emphasis on Human Resource
Management and Organizational Behavior from the Marriott School of Management at Brigham
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Young University. As a doctoral student in sociology at the University of Utah, his research
interests combined comparative international sociology and the sociology of work and
organizations. His ongoing research examines issues of global development, work-quality
characteristics, and the determinants of job satisfaction cross-nationally. Jonathan H. Westover
is the corresponding author and can be contacted at: jon.westover@gmail.com
Andrew R. Westover is a second-year graduate student at Brigham Young University in the
Master of Social Work program. He has worked in various capacities for multiple organizations
in the social work and mental health fields, and on graduation plans to pursue a career in
personal, marital, and family counseling.
L. Alan Westover is co-founder and partner of Human Capital Innovations. He received his BS
and MS in Family Studies from Brigham Young University and has provided personal, marital,
and family counseling over the past 35 years. He has done extensive postgraduate work at Ohio
State University and Oregon State University, teaching courses in family relations, program
development and evaluation, and research methods. He has served in administrative positions in
the realms of social services and education, and has served on a wide variety of community
boards. As a past president of the Association of Mormon Counselors and Psychotherapists, he is
currently on the Board of AMCAP Fellows.
Enhancing long-
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