Current Research and Practice
Chapter 3: Job Satisfaction
OVERVIEW The study of job satisfaction has been prolific in industrial and organizational psychology and can be traced back to the Hawthorne studies (Roethlisberger and Dickson, 1939). Job satisfaction is by far the most frequently studied variable in organizational research; a brief search on PsychInfo using the keyword job satisfaction returned 15 065 results. The enduring interest in job satisfaction is due to job satisfaction being the primary variable in the debate concerning the happy/productive worker thesis (Wright, 2006). This question has dominated the landscape of industrial and organizational psychology with researchers presenting findings that have not always been consistent (Cropanzano and Wright, 2001; Ironson et al., 1989; Judge et al., 2001; Petty et al., 1984). Chapter 1 discussed the relationships between employee well-being (including job satisfaction) and job performance in detail. The investigation of the relationships between job satisfaction and other organizational variables (such as turnover, employee absence, employee health and, more recently, work–family conflict) has proved to be of continuing interest to scholars and of practical interest to policy makers and practitioners. We begin this chapter by discussing the key points in the debate defining the job satisfaction construct and then review approaches taken by researchers in measuring it. Four theories that explain job satisfaction in relation to other variables will then be discussed. We also review the relationships between job satisfaction and key organizational and individual level variables, examine gender differences in job satisfaction and finally discuss the key methodological issues within job satisfaction research. DEFINITIONS...
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