Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

Effects of Communication Direction on Job Performance and Satisfaction: A Moderated Regression Analysis

Academic journal article The Journal of Business Communication

Effects of Communication Direction on Job Performance and Satisfaction: A Moderated Regression Analysis

Article excerpt

High levels of job performance and job satisfaction occur when congruence of individual needs (growth need strength) and job characteristics (job scope) exists. Downward communication received some statistical support as both moderator and predictor of job performance and job satisfaction in low individual-job congruence situations. Upward and lateral communication had some support as predictors but lacked support as moderators of job performance and job satisfaction in high individual-job congruence situations. These conclusions are derived from this research that examines the moderating effects of communication direction on individual-job congruence and work outcomes (performance/satisfaction). Data from 302 employees who reported job scope, growth need strength, job performance, job satisfaction, and communication direction (upward, lateral, downward) were used for the study. Moderated regression analysis was the statistical technique applied.

Keywords: Direction of Communication, Job Characteristics Model, Job Performance. Job Satisfaction, Organizational Communication

The Job Characteristics Model (JCM) by Hackman and Lawler (1971) and Hackman and Oldham (1976, 1980) proposes that the relationship between job characteristics and work outcomes is moderated by employees' growth need strength (GNS), a measure of employees' desire to obtain growth satisfaction from their work. The JCM implies that when individuals' GNS is matched with job scope or job characteristics, higher performance and satisfaction will result (Hackman & Oldham, 1976; Pierce, Dunham, & Blackburn, 1979; Fried & Ferris, 1987; Bhuian, Al-Shammari, & Jefri, 1996). Although the individual-job congruence proposition or JCM model has received some support (Spector, 1985; Graen, Scandura, & Graen, 1986; Fried & Ferris, 1987), the evidence is inconsistent (Graen, Scandura, & Graen, 1986; Tiegs, Tetrick, & Fried, 1992; Johns, Xie, & Fang, 1992).

Such inconsistency has prompted some researchers (Oldham, Hackman, & Pearce, 1976; Clayton, 1981; Van der Vegt, Emans, & Van de Bliert, 1998) to investigate the moderating effects of other organizational variables on the JCM. One research effort (Pettit, Goris, & Vaught, 1997) investigated organizational communication as a moderator of the association between job performance and job satisfaction. But no study examines organizational communication as a moderator in the JCM. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the moderating impact of communication direction on the Job Characteristics Model.

Rationale for Study

Desired work outcomes such as performance and satisfaction result, according to the JCM, when individuals experience three psychological states: (a) experienced meaningfulness--a job perceived as being important, valuable, and worthwhile; (b) experienced responsibility--a job perceived as providing autonomy; and (c) knowledge of results--a job perceived as providing feedback about how effectively the work is being performed (Robbins, 2001). Experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility, and knowledge of results are fostered by certain core characteristics of the job. The JOM proposes that experienced meaningfulness emerges from the following three job characteristics: task significance, task identity, and skill variety. On the other hand, job autonomy and job feedback are the job characteristics expected to produce the psychological states of experienced responsibility and knowledge of results, respectively.

Thus, task significance, task identity, skill variety, autonomy, and task feedback are expected to lead to the psychological states of experienced meaningfulness, experienced responsibility, and knowledge. These states hypothetically will lead to high levels of performance and satisfaction when they are matched with appropriate levels of growth need strength (Tiegs, Tetrick, & Fried, 1992). …

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