Job Satisfaction and Pay Satisfaction Levels of University Faculty by Discipline Type and by Geographic Region

By Terpstra, David E.; Honoree, Andre L. | Education, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Job Satisfaction and Pay Satisfaction Levels of University Faculty by Discipline Type and by Geographic Region


Terpstra, David E., Honoree, Andre L., Education


Most organizations wisely monitor the satisfaction levels of their employees. Job satisfaction, for example, is related to employee motivation and performance (Ostroff, 1992). Job satisfaction is also significantly linked to employee absenteeism (Hackett & Guion, 1985) and turnover (Griffeth, Horn, & Gaertner, 2000). There is even some evidence that job satisfaction positively influences organizational citizenship behavior (Organ & Ryan, 1995). Clearly, job satisfaction is an important organizational variable.

Pay satisfaction is a much narrower construct than job satisfaction. However, pay satisfaction is also an important variable that is linked to some rather significant organizational outcomes. For example, some evidence suggests that dissatisfaction with pay may lead to decreased job satisfaction, decreased motivation and performance, increased absenteeism and turnover, and more pay-related grievances and lawsuits (Cable & Judge, 1994; Gerhart & Milkovich, 1990; Huber & Crandall, 1994; Huselid, 1995; Milkovich & Newman, 2002).

Job Satisfaction and Pay Satisfaction of Faculty by Discipline and by Region

A good deal of empirical research has been conducted on the job satisfaction and pay satisfaction levels of employees in a variety of business settings. Very little empirical research, however, has investigated the job satisfaction and pay satisfaction levels of academic faculty in university settings (Oshagbemi, 2000b; Tang, 1999). Furthermore, no empirical research, to date, has systematically examined possible differences in the satisfaction levels of university faculty as a function of type of academic discipline (e.g., business, education, humanities, sciences, etc.), or as a function of geographic region in the U.S.

Potential Moderators of Job Satisfaction and Pay Satisfaction

A number of individual-level variables have been examined to see if they exert possible moderating effects on employees' levels of job satisfaction and pay satisfaction. For example, research has been conducted that has investigated whether job satisfaction and pay satisfaction are influenced by sex/gender (Keaveny & Inderrieden, 2000; Mason, 1995; Oshagbemi, 2000a; Oshagbemi, 2000b), age (Kalleberg & Loscocco, 1983; Oshagbemi, 1997; Oshagbemi, 2000a), seniority (Bedeian, Ferris, & Kacmar, 1992), and rank (Oshagbemi, 2000a; Oshagbemi, 2000b). Much of the research regarding the above-mentioned individual-level variables is contradictory and inconclusive. More research conducted in academic settings may help to eventually clarify the nature of the relationship of these individual-level variables to job and pay satisfaction.

Organizational-level variables may also exert an influence upon the job satisfaction and pay satisfaction levels of academic faculty. For example, it is possible that the job and pay satisfaction levels of faculty members may be moderated by such variables as size (number of students), whether the institution is public or private, the presence or absence of unionization, and the overall salary level of the university. There is a lack of empirical data on the possible effects of these organizational-level variables on the job and pay satisfaction levels of academic faculty. Some of these variables may prove to be significant moderators of satisfaction levels. We currently know very little about how these variables relate to faculty satisfaction. They may well have an important influence upon the satisfaction levels of faculty in university settings.

Research Questions and Objectives

The primary research objective of the current study is to provide more empirical data on the job satisfaction and pay satisfaction levels of faculty in university settings. More specifically, this study will explore possible differences in job and pay satisfaction levels of academic faculty as a function of type of academic discipline (e. …

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