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This paper was a group project looking at the subject of job satisfaction. It examines how it
is attained and how it impacts companies.

Job Satisfaction

BUS 315

Point Park University

Jordan Hoffman, Chris Lauer and Christine Shope



Job satisfaction simply refers to the level of contentment that one feels in regards to their

work. It may be influenced by several factors including: the ability to complete work-related

tasks, communication within the organization, and the perception of how employees are treated.

Job satisfaction may be categorized in two ways: affective job satisfaction and cognitive job

satisfaction. Affective job satisfaction refers to the way an individual feels about their job overall

(Ackerman, 2015). Cognitive job satisfaction pertains to the level of satisfaction felt toward

specific aspects of their job such as pay, shift times, or compensation. Most organizations

understand that job satisfaction is directly related to performance (Ackerman, 2015).

History of Job Satisfaction

The formal study of job satisfaction did not start until 1930, but the study of workers

attitude started earlier. In 1912, George Elton Mayo, who was an Australian Scientist, started a

series of studies known as the Hawthorn studies, which examined employee production and

efficiency. The Hawthorn studies laid the groundwork for future studies. The studies were

conducted from 1927 1932 at the Western Electric Hawthorn works in a suburb of Chicago.

The factory was comprised of mainly woman who worked assembling cable telephone

equipment (Kapisak, 2013). Mayo studied operational, managerial, and environmental

conditions in the factory. The goal of the first research project was to quantify the relationship

between worker attitude and production.


The most notable experiment entailed the study with six female employees that were

conducted in the relay assembly room. The experiment commenced by issuing controlled

changes which were examined over four to twelve-week duration. Under regular conditions,

with a forty-eight-hour work week, which included Saturdays and no breaks, the women

produced 2, 400 relays weekly. They were later placed on eight-week piece work, and output

increased. Next two five-minute rest breaks in the morning and afternoon were introduced.

Output continued to increase. The rest periods were then increased to ten minutes each and

output significantly increased. Later a series of six five minute breaks were introduced. The

woman complained that the flow of their work was disrupted and output started to decline a bit.

The two ten-minute rest periods were reinstated, but this time the company provided a hot meal

(at no cost to the employee) during the first break. Output started to increase again. The

experiment shifted a focus to the employee end time. Rather than clock out at 5:00 pm, the

employees clocked out at 4:30 pm, and output increased. When the women left a half hour

earlier, at 4pm, output remained the same. Lastly, all of the improvements were removed. The

woman returned to the same working conditions in place prior to the study. That is, they worked

a forty-eight-hour work week with no rest periods, no piece work, and no free meal. The

conditions lasted for twelve weeks. At the end of the period, output was the highest ever

recorded. The women were averaging 3,000 relays weekly (Kapisak, 2013)

Conclusions Drawn from Hawthorn Experiments

The results of the Hawthorn studies, in particular the relay room concentration, yielded

rather illogical results. Elton Mayo concluded that the notion that people went to work

primarily for a paycheck and a living was a misperception. He stated that work was more of a

group activity, where other peoples behaviors affected productivity (Kapisak, 2013).

Furthermore, morale and productivity were affected more by the recognition they received;

opposed to the working conditions. That is, the increase in productivity associated with the

Relay Room Study, was attributed to the interest of the observers rather than the altered working

conditions (Kapisak, 2013). Workers felt valued.

Improving Job Satisfaction: What the Best Companies do best

Stephen M. Covey, author of The Speed of Trust, asserts that a team with a high level of

trust will produce faster results at a lower cost. Solidifying this statement, several companies

appearing on Fortune Magazines 100 Best Companies to Work for List are characterized by a

high degree of trust and transparency (Schwantes, 2016). Great Places to Work, a research

company, reported that 92 percent of the people surveyed at these companies think management

is trustworthy and transparent in business practices (Schwantes, 2016). There are several things

that the 100 Best Companies to Work for do differently including: keeping open lines of

communication, sharing their future vision with employees, listening and responding to what

they hear so they can better serve their employees, and offering plenty of training and

development opportunities (Schwantes, 2016).

Leaders Demonstrate Respect

Cheryl Bachelder, former CEO of Popeyes Louisiana, stated that her success can

be attributed to recreating the work environment. She implemented rigorous measures to ensure

that people were treated with dignity and respect and challenged to perform at their highest level.

At the infancy of her journey with Popeyes in 2007, profit was in the negative. Company stock

had plummeted from thirty-our dollars in 2002 to thirteen dollars (Schwantes, 2016). By 2014,

the organization did a complete turn around and reinvention of the brand. The conscience

decision to reinvent the work environment enabled workers to feel valued, and self-serving

leaders left the organization as collaboration increased (Schwantes, 2016).

Good Leaders are Responsive Leaders

Great leaders emotionally engage with team members. They show interest in individual

jobs, goals, and career aspirations. They create future training and development opportunities.

Knowing what drives employees will help you create tasks and provide incentives that are

meaningful to them as individuals (Schwantes, 2016).

Feeling Valued: Simple Motivators

Since everyone is a unique individual with different needs, it is difficult to implement a

one size fits all approach to ensuring that organizational members are engaged and feel valued.

There are several universally appealing strategies that should be implemented in organizations

when possible. These strategies include: choosing your words carefully, welcoming ideas and

innovation, giving praise, providing the proper tools, allowing flexible schedules when possible,

and celebrating personal and professional milestones (Mattson, 2016). These strategies cost little

to nothing, but may reap huge rewards in terms of employee engagement and increased

performance (Mattson, 2016).

Choose Your Words

A productive and engaged workplace needs employees who feel challenged and

appreciated. Failure to show appreciate staff results in consequences including: loss of

production, increased absence, and high employee turnover (Mattson, 2016).


Using the proper words is a simple way to demonstrate staff appreciation. Please and

thank you should be used, rather than curtly directing orders. Employee contributions should be

addressed and complimented. Getting to know about personal hobbies, interests, and personal

aspirations may build a sense of trust and commitment (Mattson, 2016).

Welcome Ideas

Ideas should be encouraged and welcomed from the bottom up (Mattson, 2016).

Conveying trust in an employees ideas is a meaningful way of showing appreciation.

Encouraging fresh perspectives, idea sharing, and innovation on a consistent basis is encouraging

and motivating (Mattson, 2016). The lowest level employee should still feel as though he or she

has a voice. If you make it a priority to implement an employees idea, and give recognition for

the idea, the team will appreciate the effort.

Give Praise

Praise should be initiated from the top down. That is, your supervisor should be aware of

your team members outstanding contributions and accomplishments. Make your team

members aware that good performance is passed onto the higher ups (Mattson, 2016). If

employees realize that their contributions and effort is being communicated to upper

management, they will be more inclined to keep striving for excellence.

Employees Need the Proper Tools

In general, employees yearn for the opportunity to learn and grow. According to the

2015 Employee Job Satisfaction and engagement report, thirty-one percent of employees felt

that paid training and tuition reimbursement were very important to job satisfaction (Mattson,

2016). Investing in an employees' education may be viewed as a win-win, as it inspires


employees to enhance their training and performance, and further instills employer confidence in

their ability and value (Mattson, 2016).


Working with a team members schedule may help them achieve a good work-life

balance, and show them they are a valued employee. There are many ways that flexible work

arrangements may be structures so they are mutually beneficial to the employee and employer. If

possible, choices in working hours, telecommuting options, and compressed work weeks may be

arranged (Mattson, 2016).

Celebrate Milestones

Create a culture of value and recognition. Birthdays, work anniversaries, and

personal and professional achievement are opportunities for organizational leaders to show the

team they are valued and appreciated. A calendar of significant events may be kept. Banners,

cupcakes, and balloons are simple and inexpensive ways to acknowledge employees and make

them feel appreciated.

Motivating Factors

People often believe the illusion that money is the only motivating factor behind career

choices. In reality, people choose to work for the company they get the most internal and

external satisfaction from. In many cases the choice is not the company that pays the most, but

the company that offers the most job satisfaction. In todays business world, the average

American reports to spending at least 47 hours a week at their jobs. The 40-hour work week is

considered the standard work week for the average adult, but studies have shown that most adults

are working well over 40 hours a week. Therefore, choosing an employer that offers you the

most overall job satisfaction is so important.

Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction

When analyzing job satisfaction, you must understand the affecting factors. Co-workers

can impact the overall attitude of the people around them and set the tone for the environment in

which people work. To create successful collaborations employees, need to collaborate with

motivated individuals, individuals willing to go the extra mile who feel they are working in a

positive environment. Management style is another critical factor in the presence of job

satisfaction. Employees prefer a leader and not a boss, someone who inspires them, not someone

who just barks out orders. Employees are craving equality; a leader will want to create a diverse

environment where employees are seen more as equals then as lower level members. The

leadership style will have a large impact on the level of job satisfaction for any employee. An

educated leader recognizes what the organization needs and can adjust their leadership style to fit

those needs. The general working environment must be one where the individual feels safe,

secure, and welcomed. The average adult spends over 8 hours a day in the office, the

environment needs to have all the tools needed for a successful work day. The workload also

needs to be one that can be managed appropriately. A motivated employee will take on

challenges and extra tasks but the general workload needs to be one that can be managed without

serious stress and anxiety. A large work load can be maintained in a sufficient environment.


Employees are looking for much more out of their organizations than just a paycheck.

They want to work in an environment that feels like a second home. Because so many hours a

week are spent in the office, the workplace cultural needs to be one that celebrates and accepts

all individuals. The culture of the work environment is critical to the satisfaction level of those in

the organization. People tend to feel more satisfied at work when the environment feels more like

a community. People crave connections with other people they also have a strong desire to feel

valued, these aspects are very important to people in the workplace. Respect and commonalities

within an organization create a united environment and positive experiences. Challenges are

easier to overcome when an employee is satisfied with their organization and the partnerships

with those around them. Employers have the ability to create a cultural working environment

that satisfies the organization by setting an example and promoting diversity and unity. When

people are considering a long-term employment commitment, they are taking in all these factors

that support high levels of job satisfaction and a positive work culture


One of the greatest benefits of job satisfaction is the increased level in commitment to the

company. Employees will give 100% and then some to organizations where they feel the most

respected. Organizations who report a higher level in employee satisfaction notice that their

employees have less absentee days. The less the absentee days the higher the productivity level

in the company. Employees remain committed to the organization when they are satisfied,

organizations will experience a lower turnover rate with satisfied employees. High turnover rates

cost organizations time and money. Lower knowledge base is also a negative effect of high

turnover rates, employees who are not dedicated to the job are unable to obtain all the needed

information to be successful


A motivated individual will offer to go the extra mile because they thoroughly enjoy the

work they are doing. You will find individuals will offer to take on extra duties if they are

satisfied and motivated with their organization. Not only does this behavior create a better

working environment, but it saves on costs and man power. Employee collaboration is more

successful and individuals report an increase in successful communication with job satisfaction.

Employees are eager to learn new and creative ideas to complete job tasks and often will look for

better ways to get the job done, without the encouragement of management. These are the types

of employees leaders want in their organizations. Its a reciprocal relationship that benefits both

parties equally and leaves all organizational duties completed.

The Effects of Low Job Satisfaction

Organizations need to understand the importance of job satisfaction; the negative effects

of low job satisfaction are detrimental to the success of the organization. Job stress due to low

job satisfaction can mentally and physically harm the organization. Low job satisfaction can not

only harm the employees but can also be harmful to the leader. Basic human nature is to react

with stress or agitation to a negative situation. When employees and leaders are unsatisfied in the

workplace, they report higher levels of stress and anxiety. The stress and anxiety will certainly

effect their output in the workplace. Stressful employees breed stressful employees. When the

workplace environment is filled with unhappy employees, it creates a tension filled environment

and dissipates the chances for success. Leaders are frustrated, employees are agitated and success

is not something that will be produced out of this combination. Leaders can recognize the need to

change by the poor overall morale and the lack in productivity. If a leader notices the constant

turnover rate and the unhappy team, they need to change the environment immediately.

Most Americans Are Unhappy at Work

In a recent study done by The Conference Board, a New York based non-profit board,

over 52% of Americans report feeling unsatisfied in the workplace (Adams, 2014). Since 1987,

this nonprofit agency has run a report on American job satisfaction. In 2010 the number had

reached an all-time low after the Great Recession. Since then it has slowly crept back up but to a

satisfying level. The thing employees felt most satisfied with were their fellow co-workers and

their interest in their work. Employees were asked about their satisfaction rates on things such as

wages, job security, promotion, retirement plans, health plan, sick leave, and vacation. The

highest level of satisfaction reported by employees was in 1987 (Adams, 2014). The only things

employees were more satisfied with over time were physical environment and equipment.

Technological advances have given people the opportunity to work more efficiently which is

why people are reporting higher satisfaction levels there. Working environments are safer and

more comfortable for employees then they were back in 1987. But these small victories do not

outweigh the dissatisfaction Americans are experiencing every day (Adams, 2014).

Most Damaging Factors

There are two main reasons people are reporting feeling so unsatisfied, job security and

health-care. The cost of health-care has risen dramatically causing many employers to raise the

cost of their employee plans. People are having a hard time affording health-care through their

employers which at one time was very affordable. Long-term work with the same employer is

also harder to come by in 2017. Employers looking to cut costs are not offering the same benefit

packages they once were. Americans are also wary of companywide layoffs. This type of fear

can leave people feeling anxious and unsatisfied. These factors are extremely damaging to the

job satisfaction rate of Americans. Men reported having a higher satisfaction level in their jobs

than women did. This report is most likely due to the still existent glass ceiling women face.


Job satisfaction is something that everyone strives for but all do not attain. Though no

occupation is absolutely perfect and stress-free, people want to do work that makes them feel

appreciated, supported, and they also want the sense that what they are doing really is making a

difference in the big picture. People will go to school to obtain a degree and spend years grinding

through entry level jobs to get promotions, take on more responsibility, and work to shine a light

on what they are capable of in hopes that one day they will have the job of their dreams.

However, many find that even after they gain a promotion and pay raise that they have

wanted for so long that it is not really the dream that they have made it out to be. Many factors

go into having a truly satisfying life, of which a job is just a part of. Some positions require so

much time that a 50 hour work week would be considered a relief. Everyone needs time to rest

and relax, so the amount of time off that people enjoy is a huge factor in job satisfaction. Add to

this the ability to telecommute, change shift times, and make other adjustments to allow more


Business has always been 24/7, but that is heightened now due to the fact that

smartphones and internet access connect us all the time, allowing us to jump into our work and

virtually be in the office from anywhere. Depending on our jobs, many of us have been contacted

after hours, on the weekend, on a day off, or even while on vacation due to a work issue. This

can create a huge conflict between personal time and work time. Employers and employees may

want to work together to create guidelines for contact during non-office hours, or possibly spread

the on-call duties throughout a group so one person isnt always the one getting hit. Finding a

good work/life balance is critical to long-term job satisfaction.

Pay and benefits are also critical to job satisfaction. Adequate health care for a person and

their family is very important, as are other benefits such as retirement savings and ongoing

educational assistance. Employees who have a solid health insurance plan, a retirement plan, the

opportunity for tuition reimbursement, or other various added perks will likely feel better about

their company and their job. In some cases the benefits may keep them at a job even if they are

being paid less than employees at a competitor, depending on their lifestyle and needs. Benefits

should always be factored in on top of ones actual annual salary to paint a clear picture of

overall compensation.

Aside from pay and benefits, employees want to work in a positive environment with

supportive co-workers. Cultures many vary, but Company policies and work rules can go a long

way in ensuring that employees enjoy a workplace free from harassment, intimidation, or other

threats to their well-being or rights. Access to a responsive and responsible Human Resources

Department and managers who report any possible issues are critical for this to work. In

addition, employees should be educated on proper conduct and where to go if they have a


While at work, employees want a comfortable environment, supportive management,

helpful co-workers, and the tools needed to do their job properly. Depending on the industry, this

can vary, but in general we are talking about whatever the tools of the trade may be. For

example, in an industrial environment, proper safety gear and procedures, tools, and a clean

break area would be appreciated. For those working in an office, working computer equipment, a

comfortable chair, and desk space. As mentioned previously, employees should feel comfortable

talking to management and their co-workers if they have any concerns, need assistance, or

simply have an idea on improvements to share.

In conclusion, we have covered many points regarding what contributes to overall job

satisfaction. However, at the end of the day, employees, as individuals, are the ones who define

it. One persons dream job may be anothers nightmare. We all have different preferences, but

overall we all want respect, to feel that our work is important, sufficient compensation for our

work, and a good balance between life at work and life outside of work.


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