The definition of job satisfaction
that is mostly used in research is given by Edwin A. Locke (1976) who defined job satisfaction as "a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences". Locke's definition implies that when employees evaluate their jobs, as when they assess anything else important to them in life, they involve both, their thinking and feelings.
Thinking and feelings are thus both closely linked and generally are responsible of creating a certain distinctive employee attitude toward job satisfaction. Every individual thinking and feelings are largely influenced by the person's individual background, life experiences and personal perceptions. Subsequently, one can simply conclude that the job satisfaction of an employee is directly related to the employee's own perception of how satisfying the job is to him or her independently of many other organizational conditions or circumstances. Locke's theory suggests that job satisfaction is determined by a discrepancy between what the employee wants in a job and what he/she has in a job. How much one values a given aspect of his work, say for example the degree of autonomy in his/her job, moderates how satisfied or dissatisfied one becomes when expectations are or aren't met.
Frederick Herzberg's Two-Factor theory (1950's) (also known as Motivator-Hygiene Theory) attempts to explain job satisfaction in the workplace using a slightly different model. According to Herzberg, there exist two dimensions to job satisfaction: ‘the motivation dimension' and ‘the hygiene dimension'. The Hygiene dimension, according to Herzberg, includes factors such as company policies, supervision, salary, interpersonal relations and working conditions. The Motivation dimension, on the other hand, includes factors such as employee's achievement, recognition, the job itself, responsibilities and advancement. According to Herzberg, Motivation factors are more truthfully associated with employee job satisfaction and can lead to fulfilling the employee's needs for meaning and personal growth and therefore will create a more "satisfied" workforce with greater performance, creativity, loyalty and commitment. One practice found effective in many job circumstances and conditions is the ‘TPU' model we preach and practice at our own organization, Meirc Training & Consulting; TPU stands for ‘Treat Me Well", "Pay Me Well", and "Use Me Well". Treat me well; means treat me as an individual and as an employee. Know me as a person not as a number or a title. Understand my personal values before you try to motivate me. Pay me well; means pay me objectively, not subjectively, pay me according to a scaled system - not your or someone else's opinion, and pay me on time. Use me well; means allow me to work on things I enjoy. Allow me to make mistakes! ... and keep me busy with work not legwork. The Harvard Professional Group (1998) sees job satisfaction as the essential factor that "leads to recognition, income, promotion, and the achievement of other goals that lead to a general feeling of fulfillment". To the employee, job satisfaction creates a sense of gratification on both the emotional and personal dimensions which often produces a positive work attitude. A satisfied employee is more likely to be loyal to his or her manager, the team, and to the organization as a whole. For the organization, satisfied employees are more likely to create a more optimistic and dynamic work environment which more often leads to a work culture marked by efficiency, effectiveness, and enhanced productivity. During one of his interviews after his retirement in 2001 from being CEO of GE for twenty years, Jack Welch commented that the most challenging part of his career as a manager was to grow others. He said that one of his most satisfying part of his job was the challenge of developing his employees so they can achieve their own personal potential, not only that of the organization. John Tu, CEO of Kingston Technology, the company that was rated among the best 100 companies to work for in America for five years in a row since 2002, also in one of his TV interviews, strongly commented that the only way to keep employees morale high is to treat them with respect, fairness, and give them a space to grow. In conclusion, job satisfaction is strongly correlated with the individual's preferences, values, and subjectivity, and also with organizational culture, environmental circumstances, and management and leadership conditions. Therefore to get the best out of our people, to motivate them, and to retain them requires organizational wide programs, initiatives, and practices that support and reinforce the important day to day behavior of the managers as they themselves work on keeping their employees motivated. How do you see job satisfaction from your own perspective or experience? How can we best motivate our employees here in this part of the world i.e. the GCC and the Arab region? Your opinion matters, please share your comments with us. References Muna, F. (2001). Seven Metaphors on Management: Tools for Managers in the Arab World. Gower. Robbins, S. P., & Judge, T. A. (2009). Organizational Behavior (13th Ed.). Pearson Prentice Hall. Saari, L. M., & Timothy, J. A. (2004). Human Resources Management. Wiley Periodicals, Vol. 43, No. 4, Pp. 395-407.