Academic journal article International Journal of Comparative Sociology

Job Satisfaction and Work Redesign: Findings from Australia

Academic journal article International Journal of Comparative Sociology

Job Satisfaction and Work Redesign: Findings from Australia

Article excerpt

The data for the study focuses on the Queensland region of a large Australian public sector telecommunications organization. In total 1300 completed questionnaires were returned for an average response rate, across the four divisions, of fifty-six percent (56%). Two hundred and thirty-eight (238) of these were from section managers and thirty (30) were from branch managers and three (3) were from divisional managers, the remainder being from other non-managerial work-force. Seventy two percent (72%) of the employees classified as non-managers (on this basis) were male employees (for 28% females) and eighty-eight percent (88%) in the category of managers were males (for 12% females). A total of ninety (90) different branches and one hundred and ninety-seven (197) sections, operating within the four divisions of the organization, were represented in the sample. The mean section size (in terms of the number of full-time employees) is 20, with a minimum size of eight (8) and a maximum of thirty-three (33). The mean age of the respondents is 36. Seventy-seven percent (77%) of the respondents are males and 23% females. Less than five percent (4.48%) of the respondents have been in the organization for less than a year whereas over fifty percent (57.29%) have been in the organization for over twelve and a half years.

The results revealed that task variety, participation in decisions, certainty about future directions, and perceived work-group (section) performance were strongly and positively correlated with job satisfaction. Therefore, the greater the task variety, the participation in decisions, the certainty about future outcomes/directions of the organization, the perceived work-group performance--the greater the overall job satisfaction. Age and tenure were also positively correlated with satisfaction. That is, older individuals and those employees with longer tenure tend to be more satisfied with their jobs. Contrary to the many contentions on the negative effects that computerization may have on employee attitudes, the extent of computer usage was positively related with satisfaction. It is worth noting that this measure of computerization encompasses both the extent and the spread of computer usage across a range of management functions (Zeffane, 1989). There have been strong claims that computerization has detrimental effects on employee morale and satisfaction. The assertions put forth were that modern technology has tended to make work less meaningful for a large number of people and that it has reduced freedom of choice for both managers and employees. The data does not offer any support to these claims. The data suggests that greater (and wider) functional usage of computers tends to enhance rather than reduce job satisfaction.

For the total sample, the results also indicated that task variety is by far the strongest predictor of job satisfaction. That is, greater job variety tends to enhance job satisfaction. The results also indicated that greater participation in decisions was strongly conducive to job satisfaction. This finding signals the need to encourage greater delegation of authority (downwards in the hierarchy) thereby enhancing employee involvement in task-related areas in which job satisfaction may be problematic. The above characteristics seem to be the strongest predictors of job satisfaction. However, they are not the only predictors of satisfaction in this particular context. What is interesting to note is the degree of prediction held by the variable denoting the degree of certainty about the future of the organization and that of the variable referring to work-group (section) performance. The former (i.e., the degree of certainty about future directions of the organization) had a strong impact on the extent of satisfaction experienced on the job. That is employees with less certainty about such events tend to be more dissatisfied. Also, greater (perceived) performance at section level, tends to enhance positive attitudes towards work (i. …

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