Organizational and Environmental Predictors of Job Satisfaction in Community-Based HIV/AIDS Services Organizations

By Gimbel, Ronald W.; Lehrman, Sue et al. | Social Work Research, March 2002 | Go to article overview

Organizational and Environmental Predictors of Job Satisfaction in Community-Based HIV/AIDS Services Organizations


Gimbel, Ronald W., Lehrman, Sue, Strosberg, Martin A., Ziac, Veronica, Freedman, Jay, Savicki, Karen, Tackley, Lisa, Social Work Research


In this study, the authors analyzed job satisfaction in community-based HIV/AIDS organizations, using variables measuring organizational characteristics and environmental influences. Hypothesized predictors of job satisfaction were computed in each of four employee groupings: supervisors, case managers and case management technicians, follow-up workers, and administrative support. The authors found that organizational characteristics do predict job satisfaction among employees with varying intensity based on position within the organization. Environmental influences had modest or no predictive power. Practical implications for managerial practice are made.

Key words: AIDS care; case management; community-based organizations; job satisfaction; organizational commitment

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HIV/AIDS community-based organizations serve as the conduit for the delivery of social and health services for many clients from special needs populations. Employees of community-based organizations are challenged daily by obstacles such as razor-thin operating budgets, burgeoning caseloads, structural barriers to service access, and emotional turmoil surrounding clients' deaths. In this setting, employee stress levels are high and monetary compensation modest. Consequently, employee job satisfaction is of concern to practitioners responsible for organizational management.

For decades, scholars have studied predictors of job satisfaction in a variety of organizations and occupational settings. However, there is a paucity of research on job satisfaction and related concepts as applied to community-based organizations. This article expands existing knowledge by analyzing organizational and environmental predictors of job satisfaction within a population of HIV/AIDS community-based organizations. Respondents were stratified by a four-tiered employee classification system that included management, case managers and case management technicians, community follow-up workers, and administrative staff.

LITERATURE REVIEW

Job satisfaction, as a construct, has been subject to much debate and interpretation. Much of the debate has centered on operationalization of the job satisfaction variable and its association with other organizational influences. What is agreed on, however, is that job satisfaction is a complex and interrelated concept.

Spector (1997) defined job satisfaction as "simply how people feel about their jobs and different aspects of their jobs" (p. 2). He suggested that job satisfaction is important for three reasons:

"First, the humanitarian perspective is that people deserve to be treated fairly and with respect. Job satisfaction is to some extent a reflection of good treatment ... second, the utilitarian perspective is that job satisfaction can lead to behavior by employees that affects organizational functioning.... Furthermore, job satisfaction can be a reflection of organizational functioning" (p. 2).

Using job satisfaction as a predictor of job performance has produced mixed results in the literature. Iaffaldano and Muchinsky (1985) published a meta-analysis that found the predictive power of job satisfaction on job performance to be rather modest. However, researchers such as Barber (1986), Tziner and Vardi (1984), and Marriott, Sexton, and Staley (1994) established a direct relationship between job satisfaction and performance in human services work.

Job satisfaction is cited most often in the literature as a predictor of employee turnover (Agho, Mueller, & Price, 1993; Bluedorn, 1982; Gleason-Wynn & Mindel, 1999; Martin & Schinke, 1998; Poulin, 1995), and employee burnout (Lee & Ashforth, 1993; Martin & Schinke, 1998). Both outcomes negatively affect the operation of community-based organizations and consume precious resources.

In studying the influence of supervision on job satisfaction, Yost (1998) suggested that communication between employee and supervisor is important and explains some variance in job satisfaction. …

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