A great deal of interest appears to be taken in the study of Job Satisfaction among employees in Nigeria. There have been a number of studies done by Nigerian behavioral science researchers in this crucial field of study: Alkali (1980), Denga (1979), Saiyadain (1979), Oladebo (1978), and Iornem (1978), all on aspects of job satisfaction of one type of employee or another.
All these studies seem to assume on job satisfaction; and in particular the need to develop separate instruments for measurement of job satisfaction specifically relevant to the variety of occupational groups that exist.
The purpose of this paper is to impress on researchers the need for further and more relevant research on job satisfaction; and in particular the need to develop separate instruments for the measurement of job satisfaction specifically relevant to the variety of occupational group that exist.
The assumption here is that an instrument may not adequately measure the job satisfaction of an employee unless the peculiar employment circumstances of the employee are sufficiently contained in the purported instrument.
It is unrealistic to suggest that there exists one universal instrument for measuring job satisfaction that can apply to all kinds of jobs and employees. Unrealistic because work situations differ and interface within given jobs may cause satisfaction or lack of it in a job.
Moreover, it would appear a herculean task to attempt to develop a so-called universal job satisfaction construct that would adequately sum up the peculiarities of all occupational group rights across the board.
The understanding of causes of employee satisfaction has important implications for any organization. Prior knowledge of the dynamics of satisfaction can be utilized for selecting appropriate strategies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization in realizing its objectives.
Given the sheer volume of factors which might pertain to job satisfaction, it is difficult to select one universal instrument for its measurement.
Tesar (1974) has observed that there is a strong relationship between job satisfaction and self-esteem, and, of greater importance, mental health.
He found in a study that better and poorer mental health was associated with higher and lower levels of satisfaction respectively.
Locke (1972) found in his research that there was a definite relationship between job satisfaction and other behavioral manifestations. There is reason to believe for instance that satisfaction is consistently associated with absenteeism and turnover (Brayfield et al 1955; Vroom, 1964; Atchison et al 1972).
Although it is difficult to link good performance with satisfaction, everything else being equal, a satisfied worker that is exposed to a less frustrating situation should be expected to have a better performance. In the work environment, having workers that are not frustrated is certainly more desirable than having those that may create trouble for themselves and others as a result of their dissatisfaction with their jobs.
Satisfaction and Happiness
Barrett (1972 and Weitz 1952) have found in two separate studies that there is a significant correlation between attitudes towards life and attitudes towards the job. Men satisfied with one aspect of their job tend to be satisfied with other aspect. Korhauser (1965) states:
“If we focus on feelings of satisfaction with life as a whole we see that it is closely related to both family-and-home satisfaction and job satisfaction substantially.”
Favourable or unfavourable feelings have the potential to carry over to produce corresponding feelings in other sectors of life.
Therefore, dissatisfaction from the job may produce dissatisfaction with one’s life in general. If it is accepted that satisfaction and happiness are socially desirable, we cannot afford to ignore the importance of job satisfaction.
Job satisfaction is defined as the sum of the evaluations of the discernable aspects of which the job is composed. The evaluations are a function of the perceived relationship between what one wants from his job and what one perceives it as offering or entailing (Locke 1969). It can be observed that there are two clearly defined elements involved in the evaluation process: a judgement as to how much is wanted from the job; and an assessment of how much is actually being gained.
The discrepancy or lack of it between what is wanted and what is perceived as being received makes for dissatisfaction or satisfaction with the job.
So, as Smith (1969) puts it, job satisfaction is an effective response of the worker to his job. It is thus viewed as a result or consequence of the worker’s experience on the job in relation to his own values, that is, to what he wants or expects from it. To this extentsatisfaction can, therefore, be viewed as similar in meaning to pleasure.
Existing satisfaction measures such as the Job Description Index (JDI) developed by Weiss et al appear largely inadequate when one sets out to measure the job satisfaction of a specified occupational group.
Churchill et al have observed that the critical first step in scale construction is to define operationally the domain of the construct being measured and to develop a collection of scale items that is a representative sample of all items in the domain.
The central claim of this paper is that, as long as the conventional approach (universality of instruments for measuring job satisfaction) is employed, both our understanding of the nature of job satisfaction and our appreciation of the significant ways in which occupational characteristics and differences can influence job satisfaction will remain seriously impaired.
The domain of a job satisfaction construct would, therefore, largely appear inadequate unless it has all the characteristics of the job itself and the work environment which the worker finds rewarding, fulfilling and satisfying; or frustrating and unsatisfying.
In order to arrive at such a construct it is necessary to identify the major elements of the employee’s work situations which determine his satisfaction with his job.
It would thus appear unrealistic to suggest that there exists one universal instrument for measuring job satisfaction that can apply to all kinds of job and employees. Unrealistic because work situation differ and interfaces within given jobs may cause satisfaction or lack of it in a job.
The interaction of the salesman with his customers may not only affect his temperament but may go further to affect his job. This is to say that a sales job has unique characteristics.
Customers are a major facet of the job and so should be given adequate weighting in any instrument purported to measure the satisfaction of those working in such a milieu. This is what Churchill et al (1976) and Futrell (1979) have attempted to do in their instrument known as INSALES meant for measuring the job satisfaction of industrial sales persons.
The brand manager’s contact with the advertising agency or the media may also make an impact on his level of job satisfaction. The same arguments can be developed for accountants, engineers, journalists, and indeed any conceivable occupational group.
Therefore, there can be real difficulties in developing a universal instrument for measuring job satisfaction. Any instrument used for measuring the job satisfaction of an occupational grouping should adequately take into account the unique characteristics of that occupation, that is, ‘all aspects of the job that can influence his satisfaction in that job.
The import of this paper suggest that behavioral scientists in Nigeria and other lands should develop separate and specific instruments for the measurement of job satisfaction of the main occupational groups that exist.
It is contended that this approach can improve the efficiency of the methods we adopt in the search for a real understanding of the complexities of measuring job satisfaction.
The central claim of this paper is that, as long as this conventional approach (universality of instruments for measuring job satisfaction) is employed, both our understanding of the nature of job satisfaction and our appreciation of the significant ways in which occupational characteristics and differences can influence job satisfaction will remain seriously impaired.