A Survey of Bahamian and Jamaican Teachers' Level of Motivation and Job Satisfaction

Article excerpt

Work occupies a central position in people's lives, and with the problems of inflation, outsourcing, shrinking labor supply, and slowdowns in the economic expansion, etc., the role that a job plays in a person's life takes a high priority. Additionally, the level of satisfaction that a person experiences as a result of his or her job can have a significant effect not only on the individual, but on those he or she interacts with as well. This is especially true for teachers, who have an immeasurable influence on their students. Thus, it is important to study the many variables relating to job satisfaction in an attempt to identify those variables or conditions that could be modified, leading to increased feelings of job satisfaction, motivation, and well being.

Review of the Literature

Job satisfaction has been the focus of countless studies. Over 40 years ago, Neff (1968) reported that the average individual spends two-thirds of his/her life engaged in work. With a significant portion of our lives spent in the workforce, it makes sense to examine the many variables surrounding what is often referred to as "job satisfaction".

Satisfaction in a job means different things to different people, and job satisfaction is a complex concept that is influenced by, and influences other variables. To come to a basic understanding of what job satisfaction really entails, I will review of some of the theories that account for individuals' feelings of job satisfaction.

Gruneberg (1976) defined job satisfaction as the total cluster of feelings an individual had about his job. He indicated that the nature of the job itself, the pay, the work environment, etc. were all important variables that led to a feeling of job satisfaction. Schultz (1982) indicated that job satisfaction is "the psychological disposition of people toward their work" (p. 287). Thus, as with Gruenberg's (1976) definition, job satisfaction is not limited to a single factor such as salary, but is dependent on a collection of work related tasks or activities. Okafor (1985) provided a definition of job satisfaction as well as job dissatisfaction. He stated that job satisfaction is the worker's appraisal of the extent to which the work environment fulfills his or her requirements, while job dissatisfaction is a negative feeling toward one's job that can be related to outcomes that are counterproductive.

Just as several definitions relating to job satisfaction have been proposed, numerous theories have been developed that attempt to explain why people differ in respect to satisfaction with their jobs. Many of the early studies assumed that job satisfaction had a unidimensional characteristic. In this sense, the same variables of the job determined satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Herzberg, Mausner, and Snyderman (1959) proposed a two-factor theory of job satisfaction. Here, the primary determinants of satisfaction are the intrinsic aspects of the job (motivators; e.g. recognition, promotions, etc.), and the primary determinants of job dissatisfaction are the extrinsic factors (hygienes; e.g. salary, working conditions, etc.). Thus, job satisfaction results when intrinsic aspects of work promote feelings of happiness in the worker, and job dissatisfaction results when the extrinsic factors are considered. Criticisms of this model indicate that the same factors can cause both satisfaction and dissatisfaction (Brunetti, 2001, U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Statistics, 2007).

Davis (1981) proposed a three-component model of job satisfaction; facet-free, facet-specific, and overall. He explained that facet-free is a general feeling toward one's work. Facet-specific relates to job comfort, challenge, pay, co-worker relations, promotion, and resource adequacy. Overall job satisfaction is a weighted index of the other components.

Various Factors Relating to Job Satisfaction/Dissatisfaction

Researchers have studied factors relating to job satisfaction for years. …


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