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Chapter 1 What is organizational behavior? Organizational behavior (OB) is a field of study devoted to understanding, explaining, and ultimately improving the attitudes and behaviors of individuals and groups in organizations. OB can be contrasted with two other courses commonly offered in management departments: human resource management and strategic management. Human resource management takes the theories and principles studied in OB and explores the “nutsand bolts” applications of hose principles in organizations. An OB study might explore the relationship between learning and job performance, whereas a human resource management study might examine the best ways to structure training programs to promote employee learning. Strategic management focuses on the product choices and industry characteristics that affect an organization’s profitability. The theories and concepts found in OB are actually drawn from a wide variety of disciplines like psychology or models from economics that are used to understand motivation, learning and decisionmaking. What are the two primary outcomes in studies of OB? The rightmost portion of the model contains the two primary outcomes of interest to OB researchers: job performance and organizational commitment. Most employees have two primary goals for their working lives: to perform their jobs well and to remain a member of an organization they respect. Likewise, most managers have two primary goals for their employees: to maximize their job performance and to ensure that they stay with the firm. Similarly, there are a number of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions that cause an employee to remain committed to an employer. What factors affect the two primary OB outcomes? There are a number of individual mechanisms that directly affect job performance and organizational commitment. These include job satisfaction, which captures what employees feel when thinking about their jobs. Another individual mechanism is stress, which reflects employees’ psychological responses to job demands that exceed their capacities. The model also includes motivation, which captures the energetic forces that drive employees’ work effort. Trust, justice and ethics reflect the degree to which employees feel that their company doe business with fairness, honestly, and integrity. The final mechanism is learning and decision making, which deals with how employees gain job knowledge to make accurate judgments on the job. It is important to understand what factors improve those individual mechanisms. Two such factors reflect the characteristics of individual employees. Personality and cultural values reflect the various traits and tendencies that describe how people act. The model also examines ability, which describes the cognitive abilities, emotional skills, and physical abilities that employees bring to a job. Employees typically work in one or more work teams led by some formal leader. These group mechanisms shape satisfaction, stress, motivation, trust and learning. We have different types of group mechanisms: team characteristics and diversity, describing how teams are formed, staffed, and composed; team processes and communication, describing how teams behave including their coordination, conflict and cohesion; covering leader power and negotiation we describe how individuals attain authority over others and become leaders; leader styles and behavior, it captures the specific actions that leaders take to influence others at work. Finally, our integrative model acknowledges that the teams are grouped into larger organizations. For example, every company has an organizational structure that dictates how the units within the firm link to other units. Every company also has an organizational culture that captures “the way things are” in the organization, shared knowledge about the values and beliefs that shape employee attitudes and behaviors. People sometimes wonder whether a firm’s ability to manage OB has any bearing on its bottomline profitability. OB can help keep a product good over the long term. In OB, we need a conceptual argument that captures why OB might affect the bottomline profitability of an organization. One such argument is based on the resourcebased view. This perspective describes what exactly makes resources valuable, what makes them capable of creating longterm profits for the firm. The resourcebased view suggests that the value of resources depends on several factors. For example, a resource is more valuable when it is rare. If people are rare, then the effective management of OB should prove to be a valuable resource. The resourcebased view also suggests that a resource is more valuable when it is inimitable, meaning that it cannot be imitated. It is also important to name the word history. People create a collective pool of experience, wisdom and knowledge that benefits the organization. History cannot be bought. The concept of numerous small decisions captures the idea that people make many small decisions day in and day out. Big decisions can be copied; they are visible to competitors and observable by industry experts. However, the “behind the scenes” decisions are more invisible and make the difference between the great companies and others that are average. People also create socially complex resources, like culture, teamwork, trust, and reputation. These resources are termed “socially complex” because it’s not always clear how they came to develop, though it is clear which organizations do possess them. Why might firms that are good at OB tend to be more profitable? Good people are both rare and inimitable and therefore create a resource that is valuable for creating competitive advantage. Conceptual arguments are helpful, of course, but it would be even better if there were hard data to back them up. It turns out that there is a great deal of research evidence supporting the importance of OB. Several research studies have been conducted on the topic, each employing a somewhat different approach. One study assessed high performance work practices, OB policies that are widely agreed to be beneficial to firm performance. The study proved that better OB practices were associated with better firm performance. Examples of valuing OB issues included describing employees as a source of competitive advantage in strategy and mission statements, emphasizing training and continuing education, having a human resources management executive, and emphasizing fulltime rather than temporary or contract employees. Researches have also proved that good people constitute a valuable resource for companies. As we saw, good OB does seem to matter in terms of company profitability and still there are some companies do a bad job when it comes to managing their people. Why is this? One reason is that there is no “magic bullet” OB practice. Instead, the effective management of OB requires a belief that several different practices are important, along with a longterm commitment to improving those practices. This premise can be summarized with what might be called the Rule of OneEighth: Onehalf of the organizations won’t believe the connection between how they manage their people and the profits they earn. Onehalf of those who do see the connection will do what many organizations have done, try to make a single change to solve their problems, not realizing that the effective management of people requires a more comprehensive and systematic approach. Of the firms that make comprehensive changes, probably only about onehalf will persist with their practices long enough to actually derive economic benefits. Since onehalf times onehalf times onehalf equals oneeight, at best 12 percent of organizations will actually do what is required to build profits by putting people first. High job performance depends not just on employee motivation but also on fostering high levels of satisfaction, effectively managing stress, creating a trust climate, and committing to employee learning. It’s often difficult to “fix” companies that struggle with OB issues. Now, we’ve talked about what OB is and why it is important so the next question is: how do we “know” what we know about this topic? We must first explore how people “know” about anything. There are several ways of knowing things: Method of experience: people hold firmly to some belief because it is consistent with their own experience and observations. Method of intuition: people hold firmly to some belief because it seems obvious or selfevident. Method of authority: people hold firmly to some belief because some respected official, agency, or source has said it is so. Method of science: people accept some belief because scientific studies have tended to replicate that result using a series of methods. What is the role of theory in the scientific method? From a scientist’s point of view, it doesn’t really matter what a person’s experience, intuition, or authority suggests; the prediction must be tested with data. Scientists don’t simply assume that their beliefs are accurate; they acknowledge that beliefs must be tested scientifically. Scientific studies are based on the scientific. The scientific method begins with a theory, defined as a collection of assertions that specify how and why variables are related, as well as the conditions in which they should be related. A scientist could build a theory explaining why social recognition might influence the performance and commitment of work units. From what sources would that theory be built? One source of theory building is introspection. However, theories may also be built from interviews with employees or from observations where scientists take notes, keep diaries, and pore over company documents to find all the elements of a theory story. Alternatively, theories may be built from research reviews, which examine findings of previous studies to look for general patterns or themes. Although many theories are interesting, many also wind up being completely wrong. Therefore, theories must be tested to verify that their predictions are accurate. The scientific method requires that theories be used to inspire hypotheses. These are written predictions that specify relationships between variables. For example, a hypothesis could be: “social recognition behaviors on the part of managers will be positively related to the job performance and organizational commitment of their units.” This states the expected relationship between social recognition and unit performance. How are correlations interpreted? To tell whether your hypothesis was supported, you could analyze the data by examining the correlation between the two variables that we are comparing. A correlation, abbreviated r, describes the statistical relationship between two variables. Correlations can be positive or negative and range from 0 (no statistical relationship) to1 (perfect statistical relationship). Understanding the correlation is important because OB questions are not “yes or no” in nature. That is, the question is not “Does social recognition lead to higher job performance?” but rather “How often does social recognition lead to higher job performance?” The correlation provides a number that expresses an answer to the “how often” question. So if the correlation between social recognition and job performance is 0.28, what does this number exactly mean? To understand this number we need to know that a correlation is 0.50 is considered “strong” in OB search, given the sheer number of things that can affect how employees feel and act. A 0.30 correlation is considered “moderate”. Finally, a 0.10 correlation is considered “weak” in organizational behavior research. Sometimes we may hear: “correlation does not imply causation”. It turns out that making causal inferences, establishing that one variable really does cause another, requires establishing three things. First, that two variables are correlated. Second, that the presumed cause precedes the presumed effect in time. Third, that no alternative explanation exists for the correlation. The important point is that little can be learned from a single study. The best way to test a theory is to conduct many studies, each of which is a different as possible from the ones that preceded it. After completing all of those studies, you could look back on the results and create some sort of average correlation across all of the studies. This process is what a technique called metaanalysis does. It takes all of the correlations found particular relationship and calculates a weighted average. The metaanalysis offers more compelling support for the potential benefits of social recognition than the methods of experience, intuition, or authority could have provided. Indeed, metaanalyses can form the foundation for evidencebased management, a perspective tat argues that scientific findings should form the foundation for management education. Proponents of evidencebased management argue that human resources should be transformed into sort of R&D department for managing people. Chapter 2 Job performance Understanding one’s own performance is a critical concern for any employee, and understanding the performance of employees in one’s unit is a critical concern for any manager. Sometimes people are tempted to believe it’s more appropriate to define performance in terms of results rather than behaviors. This is because results seem more “objective” and are more connected to the central concern of managers, the bottom line. However, using results to indicate job performance creates potential problems. Employees contribute to their organization in ways that go beyond bottomline results, and so evaluating an employee’s performance based on results alone might give you an inaccurate picture of which employees are worth more to the organization. Some companies use knowledge of the performance behaviors to create comprehensive training and development programs so that employees can be effective at various jobs they may have throughout their careers with the company. What is job performance? So what types of employee behaviors constitute job performance? To understand this question, consider that job performance is formally defined as the value of the set of employee behaviors that contribute, either positively or negatively, to organizational goal accomplishment. This definition of job performance includes behaviors that are within the control of employees, but it places a boundary on which behaviors are relevant to job performance. Now that we know what job performance is, the next question would be: what behaviors are the ones that make you be a “good performer”? These behaviors could fit into three broad categories: task performance, citizenship behavior and counterproductive behavior. What is task performance? Task performance includes employee behaviors that are directly involved in the transformation of organizational resources into goods or services that the organization produces. Put differently, task performance is the set of explicit obligations that an employee must fulfill to receive compensation and continued employment. One way of categorizing task performance is to consider the extent to which the context of the job is routine, changing or requires a novel or unique solution. Routine task performance involves wellknown responses to demands that occur in a normal, routine, or otherwise predictable way. In these cases, employees tend to behave in more or less habitual or programmed ways that vary little from one instance to another. In contrast, adaptive task performance, involves employee responses to task demands that are novel, unusual, or unpredictable. Adaptive behaviors are becoming increasingly important as globalization, technological advances, and knowledgebased work increase the pace of change in the workplace. In fact, adaptive task performance has become crucial in today’s global economy where companies have been faced with the challenge of becoming more productive with fewer employees on staff. Finally, creative task performance is the degree to which individuals develop ideas or physical outcomes that are both novel and useful. Although you might be tempted to believe that creative task performance is only relevant to jobs such as artist and inventor, its emphasis has been increasing across a wide variety of jobs. Indeed, more than half the total wages and salary in the U.S. are paid to employees who need to be creative as part of their jobs. This increase in the value of creative performance can be explained by the rapid technological change and intense competition that mark today’s business landscape. Creative ideas do not always get implemented, thus it is important to recognize creative performance behaviors, as well as the creative outcomes that results from those behaviors. How do organizations identify the behaviors that underlie task performance? Many organizations identify task performance behaviors by conducting a job analysis. Although there are many different ways to conduct a job analysis, most boil down to three steps. First, a list of the activities involved in a job is generated. This list generally results data from several sources like observations, surveys or interviews of employees. Second, each activity on this list is rated by “subject matters experts”, according to things like the importance and frequency of the activity. Subject matter experts generally have experience performing a job or managing the job. Third, the activities that are rated highly in terms of their importance and frequency are retained and used to define task performance. If organizations find it impractical to use job analysis to identify the set of behaviors needed to define task performance, they can turn to a database the government has created to help with that important activity. The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) is an online database that includes, the characteristics of most jobs in terms of tasks, behaviors, and the required knowledge, skills and abilities. Though O*NET may be a good place to start, the task information from the database should be supplemented with information regarding behaviors that support the organization’s values and strategy. Before concluding our task performance section, it’s important to note that task performance behaviors are not simply performed or not performed. Although poor performers often fail to complete required behaviors, it’s just as true that the best performers often exceed all expectations for those behaviors. What is citizenship behavior? The second category of job performance is called citizenship behavior, which is defined as voluntary employee activities that may or may not be rewarded but that contribute to the organization by improving the overall quality o the setting in which work takes place. Although there are many different types of behaviors that might seem to fit the definition of citizenship behavior, research suggests two main categories that differ according to who benefits from the activity, either coworkers or the organizations. The first category is called interpersonal citizenship behavior. Such behaviors benefit coworkers and colleagues and involve assisting, supporting and developing other organizational members in a way that goes beyond normal job expectations. For example, helping involves assisting coworkers who have heavy workloads. Courtesy refers to keeping coworkers informed about matters that are relevant to them. Good citizens keep others in the loop because they never know what information might be useful to someone else. Sportsmanship involves maintaining a good attitude with coworkers, even when they’ve done something annoying or when the unit is going through times. Although interpersonal citizenship behavior is important in many different job contexts, it may be even more important when employees work in small groups or teams. A team with members who tend to be helpful, respectful, and courteous is also likely to have a positive team atmosphere in which members trust one another. This type of situation is essential to foster the willingness of team members to work toward a common goal. The second category is organizational citizenship behavior. These behaviors benefit the larger organization by supporting and defending the company, working to improve its operations, and being especially loyal to it. For example, voice involves speaking up and offering constructive suggestions for change. Civic virtue refers to participating in the company’s operations at a deeperthannormal level by attending voluntary meetings and functions, reading and keeping up with organizational announcements, and keeping abreast of business news that affects the company. Boosterism means representing the organization in a positive way when out in public, away from the office, and away from work. Three important points should be emphasized about citizenship behaviors. First, citizenship behaviors are relevant in virtually any job, regardless of the particular nature of its tasks, and research suggests that these behaviors can boost organizational effectiveness. Second, because citizenship behaviors are relatively discretionary and influenced by the specific situation the employee is working in, they can vary significantly over time. Thus, an employee who engages in citizenship behavior during one point in time might not engage in citizenship behavior at other points in time. Third, from an employee’s perspective, it may be tempting to discount the importance of citizenship behaviors to just focus on your own job tasks and leave aside any “extra” stuff. However, discounting citizenship behaviors is a bad idea because supervisors don’t always view such actions as optional. The tendency of supervisors to consider citizenship behaviors in evaluating overall job performance has a lot of relevance since supervisors’ evaluations of employee job performance play significant roles in determining employee pay and promotions. What is counterproductive behavior? This third broad category of job performance is counterproductive behavior, defined as employee behaviors that intentionally hinder organizational goal accomplishment. These are things that employees mean to do, not things they accidentally do. Although there are many different kinds of counterproductive behaviors, research suggests that they can be grouped into more specific categories. Property deviance refers to behaviors that harm the organization’s assets and possessions. For example, sabotage represents the purposeful destruction of physical equipment, organizational processes, or company products. Theft represents another form of property deviance and can be just as expensive as sabotage. Research has shown that up to threequarters of all employees have engaged in counterproductive behaviors such as theft, and the cost of these behaviors is staggering. Production deviance is also directed against the organization but focuses specifically on reducing the efficiency of work output. Wasting resources is the most common form of production deviance, when employees use too many materials or too much time to do little work. Substance abuse represents another form of production deviance. In contrast to property and production deviance, political deviance refers to behaviors that intentionally disadvantage other individuals rather than the larger organization. Gossiping, casual conversations about other people in which facts are not confirmed as true, is one form of political deviance. Such behaviors undermine the morale of both friendship groups and work groups. Incivility represents communication that’s rude, impolite, discourteous, and the workplace is no exception. Taken one by one, these political forms of counterproductive behavior may not seem particularly serious to most organizations. However, in the aggregate, act of political deviance can create an organizational climate characterized by distrust and unhealthy competitiveness. Moreover, there’s some evidence that gossip and incivility can “spiral” meaning that they gradually get worse and worse until some tipping point. Those more serious interpersonal actions may involve personal aggression, defined as hostile verbal and physical actions directed toward other employees. Harassment falls under this heading and occurs when employees are subjected to unwanted physical contact or verbal remarks from a colleague. Abuse also falls under this heading; it occurs when an employee is assaulted or endangered in such a way that physical and psychological injuries may occur. Three points should be noted about counterproductive behavior. First, there’s evidence that people who engage in one form of counterproductive behavior also engage in others. Second, like citizenship behavior, counterproductive behavior is relevant to any job. Third, it’s often surprising which employees engage in counterproductive behavior. Sometimes the best task performers are the ones who can best get away with counterproductive actions. What workplace trends are affecting job performance in today’s organizations? Historically speaking, research on organizational behavior has focused on the physical aspects of job performance. By the early 1990s, the majority of the new jobs required employees to engage in cognitive work, applying theoretical and analytical knowledge acquired through formal education and continuous learning. Today, statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor confirm that this type of work called knowledge work is becoming more prevalent than jobs involving physical activity. Knowledge work tends to be more fluid and dynamic in nature. In addition, the tools used to do knowledge work change quickly, with software, databases, and computer systems updated more frequently than ever. As those tools become more powerful, the expectations for completing knowledge work become more ambitious. Service work, or work that provides nontangible goods to customers through direct electronic, verbal, or physical interaction, accounts for 55% of the economic activity in the U.S., and about 20% of the new jobs created are service jobs, trailing only professional services in terms of growth. The increase in service jobs has a number of implications for job performance; this is why when customer service representatives do their job duties poorly, the customer notice. In addition, service work contexts place a greater premium on high levels of citizenship behavior and low of counterproductive behavior. Maintaining a positive work environment therefore becomes even more vital. In fact, some very notable organizations compete successfully by placing special emphasis on the performance of people who do service work. How can organizations use job performance information to manage employee performance? Good companies invest resources collecting information about employee performance so that it can be managed in a way that helps the organization achieve its mission. There are general ways in which job performance information is used to manage employee performance. I spotlight four of the most representative practices: management by objectives, behaviorally anchored rating scales, 360degrees feedback and forced ranking. I’ll also talk about ho social networking software is being used for performance management purposes in organizations. Management by objectives (MBO) is a management philosophy that bases an employee’s evaluations on whether the employee achieves specific performance goals. Typically, an employee meets with his/her manager to develop a set of mutually agreedupon objectives that are measurable and specific. In addition, the employee and the manager agree on the time period for achieving those objectives and the methods used to do so. MBO is best suited for managing the performance of employees who work in contexts in which objective measures of performance can be quantified. MBO emphasizes the results of job performance as much as it does the performance behaviors themselves. In contrast, behaviorally anchored rating scales (BARS) measure performance by directly assessing job performance behaviors. Typically, supervisors rate several performance dimensions using BARS and score an employee’s overall job performance by taking the average value across all the dimensions. Because the critical incidents convey the precise kinds of behaviors that are effective and ineffective, feedback from BARS can help an employee develop and improve over time. That is, employees can develop an appreciation of the types of behaviors that would make them effective. The 360degree feedback approach involves collecting performance information not just from the supervisor but from anyone else who might have firsthand knowledge about the employee’s performance behaviors. In this case the raters can remain anonymous to the employee. The hope is that this 360degree perspective will provide a more balanced and comprehensive examination of performance; employees can, therefore, focus their energies to improve. Although the information from this feedback system can be used to evaluate employees for administrative purposes such as raises or promotions, there are problems with that sort of application. First, because ratings vary across sources, there is the question of which source is most “correct”. Second, raters may give biased evaluations if they believe that the information will be used for compensation, as opposed to just skill development. As a result, 360degree feedback is best suited to improving or developing employee talent, especially if the feedback is accompanied by coaching about how to improve. One of the most notable strategies that business executive Jack Welch used to build a great workforce at General Electric involved evaluations that make clear distinctions among employees in terms of their job performance. The most effective system that he considered was the “vitality curve”, in which managers would rank their people into one of the three categories: to 20%, vital middle 70%, or the bottom 10%. Today, approximately 20% of Fortune 500 companies use some variant of Welch’s forced ranking system, which is popularly known as “rank and yank” or the “dead man’s curve”. Finally, we need to talk about social networking systems. This technology has recently been applied in organizational contexts to develop and evaluate employee job performance. Although the effectiveness of social networking applications for performance evaluation and employee development purposes has not been studied scientifically, there are some advantages that make us believe that they will grow in popularity. For example, these types of systems provide performance information that is much more timely, relative to traditional practices that measure performance quarterly or yearly. Chapter 4 – Job Satisfaction What is job satisfaction? Job satisfaction is a pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. It represents how you feel about your job and what you think about your job. Employees with high job satisfaction experience positive feelings when they take part in task activities. Unfortunately, workplace surveys suggest that satisfied employees are becoming more and more rare. Reversing this requires a deeper understanding of exactly what drives job satisfaction. What are values, and how do they affect job satisfaction? At a general level, employees are satisfied when their job provides the things that they value. Values are those things that people consciously or subconsciously want to seek or attain. Many of those values deal with the things that your work can give you, such as good pay or the chance for frequent promotions. Other vales pertain to the context that surrounds your work, including whether you have a good boss or good coworkers. Still other values deal with the work itself. You can see that different people value different things and that your values may change during the course of your working life. Values play a key role in explaining job satisfaction. Valuepercept theory argues that job satisfaction depends on whether you perceive that your job supplies the things that you value. This can be expressed in the following equation: Dissatisfaction= (V – V ) x (V ) want have importance In this equation, V wantreflects how much of a value an employee wants, V haveindicates how much of that value the job supplies, and V importanceflects how important the value is for the employee. Big differences between wants and haves create a sense of dissatisfaction, especially when the value is important. The difference between V wantand V have ts multiplied by importance, so existing discrepancies get magnified for important values and minimized for trivial values. What specific facets do employees consider when evaluating their job satisfaction? Valuepercept theory also suggests that people evaluate job satisfaction according to specific “facets” of the job. After all, a job isn’t one thing but a collection of tasks, relationships, and rewards. The most common facets that employees consider in judging their job satisfaction have to do with pay, promotions, supervision, coworkers, and the work itself. The first facet, pay satisfaction, refers to employees’ feelings about their pay, including whether it’s as much as they deserve, secure, and adequate for both normal expenses and luxury items. Pay satisfaction is based on a comparison of the pay that employees want and the pay they receive. Most employees base their desired pay on a careful examination of their job duties and the pay given to comparable colleagues. As a result, even nonmillionaires can be quite satisfied with their pay. The next facet, promotion satisfaction, refers to employees’ feelings about the company’s promotion policies and their execution, including whether promotions are frequent, fair and based on ability. Some employees may not want frequent promotions because promotions bring more responsibility and increased work hours. However, many employees value promotions because they provide opportunities for more personal growth, a better wage and more prestige. Supervision satisfaction reflects employees’ feelings about their boss, including whether the boss is competent, polite and a good communicator. Most employees ask two questions about their supervisors: 1. Can they help me attain the things that I value? This depends on whether supervisors provide rewards for good performance, help employees obtain necessary resources, and protect employees from distractions. 2. Are they generally likable? Now, this depends on whether supervisors have good personalities, values and beliefs similar to the employees’ philosophies. Coworker satisfaction refers to employees’ feelings about their fellow employees, including whether coworkers are smart, responsible, helpful, fun, and interesting as opposed to lazy, gossipy, unpleasant and boring. Most of us rely on our coworkers when performing tasks. Also, we spend just as much time with coworkers as we do with members of our own family. Coworkers who are pleasant and fun can make the workweek go much faster than coworkers who are disrespectful and annoying. The last facet, satisfaction with the work itself, reflects employees’ feelings about their actual work tasks, including whether those tasks are challenging, interesting and make use of key skills rather than being dull, repetitive, and uncomfortable. Whereas the previous four facets described the outcomes that result from work and the people who surround work, this facets focuses on what employees actually do. How can employers instill a sense of satisfaction with the work itself? One way is to emphasize the most challenging and interesting parts of the job. In summary, value percept theory suggests that employees will be satisfied when they perceive that their job offers the pay, promotions, supervision, coworkers and work tasks that they value. In fact, several research studies have proved that satisfaction with the work itself is the single strongest driver, and promotion and pay satisfaction have moderately strong effects. Given how critical enjoyable work tasks are to overall job satisfaction, it’s worth spending more time describing the kinds of tasks that most people find enjoyable. Researchers began focusing on this question based in the “scientific management” perspective. Scientific management focuses on increasing the efficiency of job tasks by making them more simplified and using time and motion studies to plan task movements and sequences carefully. The hope was that such steps would increase worker productivity., improving organizational profitability. Instead, the routine jobs tended to lower job satisfaction while increasing absenteeism and turnover. Which job characteristics can create a sense of satisfaction with the work itself? Research suggests that three “critical psychological states” make work satisfying. The first psychological state is believing in the meaningfulness of work, which reflects the degree to which work tasks are viewed as something that “counts” in the employee’s system of philosophies and beliefs. The second psychological state is perceiving responsibility for outcomes, which captures the degree to which employees feel that they’re key drivers of the quality of the unit’s work. Finally, the third psychological state is knowledge of results, which reflects the extent to which employees know how well they’re doing. When you felt especially proud of a job well done. You were probably experiencing all three psychological states. But what kinds of tasks create these psychological states? Job characteristics theory, which describes the central characteristics of intrinsically satisfying jobs, attempts to answer this question. Job characteristics theory argues that five core job characteristics result in high levels of the three psychological states, making work tasks more satisfying. The first core, variety, is the degree to which the job requires a number of different activities that involve a number of different skills and talents. When variety is high, job holders rarely feel a sense of monotony or repetition. The second core, identity, is the degree to which the job requires completing a whole, identifiable, piece of work from beginning to end with a visible outcome. When a job has high identity, employees can point to something and say: “There, I did that”. Significance is the degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives of other people, particularly people in the world at large. Significance captures the belief that this job really matters; their job has a positive impact on the people around them. Autonomy is the degree to which the job provides freedom, independence, and discretion to the individual performing the work. When your job provides autonomy, you view the outcomes of it as the product of your efforts rather than the result of careful instructions from your boss. The last core job, feedback, is the degree to which carrying out the activities required by the job provides employees with clear information about how well they’re performing. This core characteristic reflects feedback obtained directly from the job instead of feedback from coworkers or supervisors. Other than those 5 characteristics, there are two other variables: knowledge and skill and growth need strength, which captures whether employees have strong needs for personal accomplishment or developing themselves beyond where they currently are. These variables are called “moderators” and they influence the strength of the relationships between variables. If employees lack the required knowledge and skill or lack a desire for growth and development, more variety and autonomy should not increase their satisfaction very much. How is job satisfaction affected by daytoday events? Many organizations have employed job characteristics theory to help improve satisfaction among their employees. The first step in this process is assessing the current level of the characteristics to arrive at a “satisfaction potential score”. The organization then attempts to redesign aspects of the job. Often this step results in job enrichment, such that duties and responsibilities associated with a job are expanded to provide more variety, identity, autonomy and so forth. However, employees needn’t necessarily wait for enrichment efforts to improve levels of the core job characteristics. May employees can engage in job crafting, where they shape, mold, and redefine their jobs in a proactive way. Each employee’s satisfaction levels fluctuate over time, rising and falling like some sort of emotional stock market the key lies in remembering that job satisfaction reflects what you think and feel about your job. So satisfied employees feel good about their job on average, but things happen during the course of the day to make them feel better at some times. There are two concepts that are responsible for these satisfaction levels ups and downs: mood and emotions. What are mood and emotions, and what specific forms do they take? Moods are states of feeling that are often mild in intensity, last for an extended period of time, and are not explicitly directed at or caused by anything. When people are in a good or bad mood, they don’t always know who or what deserves the credit or blame; they just happen to be feeling that way for a stretch of their day. Moods can be categorized in two ways: pleasantness, the degree to which an employee is in a good versus bad mood; and activation, the degree to which moods are aroused and active, as opposed to unaroused and inactive. The most intense positive mood is characterized by feeling enthusiastic, excited or elated. In contrast, the most intense negative mood is characterized by feeling hostile, nervous and annoyed. Some organizations take creative steps to foster positive moods among their employees. The most intense forms of positive mood often come directly from work activities, like brainstorming. There are two critical conditions to triggering intense positive mood: the activity has to be challenging and the employee must possess the unique skills needed to meet that challenge. That high challengehigh skill combination can result in flow, a state in which employees feel a total immersion in the task at hand, sometimes losing track of how much time has passed. It’s clear that specific events triggered variations in satisfaction levels. According to affective events theory, workplace events can generate affective reactions reactions that then can go on to influence work attitudes and behaviors. These events can trigger emotions, which are states of feeling that are often intense, last for only a few minutes, ad are clearly directed at someone or some circumstance. The difference between moods and emotions become clear in the way we describe them to others. We describe moods by saying, “I’m feeling…” but we describe emotions by saying, “I’m feeling…at someone”. According to affective events theory, these emotions can trigger spontaneous behaviors. Positive emotions include joy, pride, relief, hope, love, and compassion. Negative emotions include anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, sadness, envy and disgust. Of course, just because employees feel many of the emotions doesn’t mean they’re supposed to show those emotions. Some jobs demand that employees live up to the adage “never let ’em see you sweat”. Such jobs are high in what’s called emotional labor, or the need to manage emotions to complete job duties successfully. Research on emotional contagion shows that one person can “catch” the emotions of another person. From this perspective, emotional labor seems like a vital part of good customer service. So what explains why some employees are more satisfied than others? Satisfaction with the work itself is affected by the five core job characteristics. However, answering that question also requires paying attention to people’s positive and negative moods and emotions. Understanding those can help managers separate longterm problems (boring tasks) from more shortlived issues (a bad meeting). How does job satisfaction affect job performance and organizational commitment? How does it affect life satisfaction? Job satisfaction does predict job performance. One reason is that job satisfaction is moderately correlated with task performance. Satisfied employees do a better job of fulfilling the duties described in their job descriptions, and evidence suggests that positive feelings foster creativity, improve problem solving and decision making. Positive feelings also improve task persistence and attract more help and support from colleagues. Positive feelings when working on job tasks can pull attention away from distractions and channel people’s attention to task accomplishment. When such concentration occurs, an employee is more focused on work. Job satisfaction also is correlated moderately with citizenship behavior. Positive feelings increase their desire to interact with others and often result in spontaneous acts of helping and other instances of good citizenship. Job satisfaction has a negative correlation with counterproductive behavior. Satisfied employees engage in fewer intentionally destructive actions that could harm their workplace. Job satisfaction influences organizational commitment. Job satisfaction is strongly correlated with affective commitment, so satisfied employees are more likely to want to stay with the organization. Job satisfaction is strongly correlated with normative commitment and uncorrelated with continuance commitment, because satisfaction does not create a costbased need to remain with the organization. In many cases, dissatisfied employees are the ones who sit daydreaming at their desks, are frequently absent and decide to quit their jobs. Job satisfaction is strongly related to life satisfaction, the degree to which employees feel a sense of happiness with their lives. People feel better about their lives when they feel better about their jobs. The connection between job satisfaction and life also makes sense given how much of our lives are spent at work. Indeed, increases in job satisfaction have a stronger impact on life satisfaction than do increases in salary or income. It turns out that the adage “money can’t buy happiness” is partially true. What steps can organizations take to assess and manage job satisfaction? Its important for managers to understand just how satisfied their employees are. There are several methods to do this, including focus groups, interviews and attitude surveys. Of those three, attitude surveys are often the most accurate and most effective. These surveys can reveal trends in satisfaction levels. Although organizations often design their own attitude surveys, there are benefits to using existing surveys that are already in wide use. One of the most important is the Job Descriptive Index (JDI). The JDI assess all five satisfaction facets. One strength of the JDI is that the questions are written in a very simple fashion so most employees can easily understand them. Once JDI data have been collected, a number of interesting questions can be explored. First, the data indicate whether the organization is satisfied or not by comparing average scores for each facet with the JDI’s “neutral levels”. Second, it becomes possible to compare the organization’s scores with national norms. Thirds, the JDI allows for withinorganization comparisons to determine which departments have the highest satisfaction levels. The results of attitude survey efforts should then be fed back to employees so that they feel involved in the process. Attitude surveys should be a catalyst for some kind of improvement effort. Therefore, the organization should be prepared to react to the survey results with specific goals and actions. Finally, an organization that struggles with satisfaction with the work itself could attempt to redesign key job tasks or train supervisors in strategies for increasing the five core job characteristics.
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