Job Satisfaction and Motivation

Topics: Motivation, Job satisfaction, Employment Pages: 9 (2820 words) Published: December 24, 2006
Employee job satisfaction and retention has always been an issue to debate with regards to achieving a high level of productivity within an organization. Job satisfaction is best defined as a set of feelings and emotions employees associate with their work. It is an attitude which is inversely related to behaviors such as absenteeism and staff turnover.

In theory, an organization with employees that display behaviors of high absenteeism and turnover as a result of low levels of job satisfaction would usually suffer from higher recruitment and retraining cost that will impair profitability. Sadly, most organizations till today have failed to make job satisfaction a top management priority; this phenomenon is attributed to the failure to identify the significant benefits an organization would enjoy just by manipulating an attitude. Satisfied employees tend to be more productive and committed to work and their employers. Organizations that can create work environments that attract, motivate and retain hard-working individuals will be better positioned to succeed in a competitive business industry. For the purpose of this paper, I would like to highlight a key motivational theory that organizations could apply to achieve high sustainable level of job satisfaction among its employees.

Motivation refers to forces within an individual that account for the level, direction, and persistence of effort expended at work (Schermerhorn, Hunt, and Osborn, 1997). In the late 1950s, one of the pioneers of motivation theories, (Frederick Herzberg, 1968) created the Herzberg Theory which places emphasis on two facets of job motivation: hygiene and motivational factors. Hygiene issues as one of the facets can only minimize dissatisfaction and not motivate employees if managed correctly and vice versa. In a practical context, hygiene factors are issues related to the work environment such as remuneration, company policies, interpersonal relations between colleagues and work surroundings. Motivational factors, on the other hand, are represented by an individual's need for self-esteem and personal growth. At work, they are usually issues related to recognition, meaningful work, responsibility and career progression. Figure 1 shown on page 2 represents the Herzberg's Theory in the form of a spectrum which basically depicts the need for hygiene factors to be managed before motivators can be addressed to promote job satisfaction and ultimately enhance productivity (Herzberg, 1993). FIGURE 1 – HERZBERG'S THEORY (Herzberg, 1993)

Having discussed Herzberg's Theory in general, let us discuss how management can put this theory into practice so as to achieve a higher level of job satisfaction among employees.

Hygiene factors as described by (Griffin. and Moorhead., 2007),although are not the actual source of satisfaction, they are foundations to building a work environment where motivation and job satisfaction are even possible. Let us look at how management can address the various hygiene factors effectively.

Companies Policies and Guidelines
Policies and guidelines are necessary in every organization so as to maintain a certain degree of conformity and standard. However, they can be a source of dissatisfaction for employees if they are ambiguous, overly rigid or not everyone is required to comply with it (Preferential Treatment). Management should seek to decrease dissatisfaction by ensuring policies are fair, justifiable and applicable to all. Practically, written standard operating procedures manuals (SOP) should be disseminated to all staff to facilitate easy communication and compliance of policies. An example would be staff handbooks that are handed out to new hires during their orientation and a company's intranet site where policies and guidelines are updated regularly and emails send out to staff to notify...

References: 1. Blanchard, Kenneth H. and Hersey, Paul. (1993): Management of Organizational, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall
2. Griffin, Ricky W. and Moorhead, Gregory. (2007): Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations, Eighth Edition, New York: Houghton Mifflin
3. Hackman, J.R. and Oldham, G.R. (1975): Development of the job diagnostic survey, Journal of Applied Psychology
4. Herzberg, F. (1968): ‘One More Time How Do You Motivate Your Employees ', Harvard Business Review
5. Herzberg, F., Mausner, B. and Snyderman, B. (1993): The Motivation to Work, Somerset, NJ: Transaction Publishers
6. Robbins, Stephen P. (2004): Organizational Behavior, 11th Edition, Pearson Education
7. Schermerhorn, John R. Jr., Hunt, James G. and Osborn, Richard N. (1997) Organizational Behavior: John Wiley & Sons Inc
8. Wilson, Susan B. (1994): Changing People 's Behavior, New York: AMACOM
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