Academic journal article Annals of Business Administrative Science

Spurious Correlation between Self-Determination and Job Satisfaction: A Case of Company X from 2004-2013

Academic journal article Annals of Business Administrative Science

Spurious Correlation between Self-Determination and Job Satisfaction: A Case of Company X from 2004-2013

Article excerpt

Abstract: In most Japanese companies, regular employees work under a lifetime employment system and a seniority-based pay system. Under such conditions of no contingent money payments, we can accurately observe the phenomena associated with intrinsic motivation. Therefore, we conducted Survey X, an exhaustive survey for all employees of Company X carried out once a fiscal year, during the fiscal years 2004-2013. Using the total 13,019 employees' data of Survey X, we test a version of Deci's (1975) hypothesis that if a person's feeling of self-determination is enhanced, his or her job satisfaction will increase. As a result, there is a strong linear relationship between the job satisfaction ratio and the degree of self-determination. However, occupation and rank tend to determine the band of fluctuation with respect to the degree of self-determination. This indicates a strong likelihood that there is a spurious correlation between a degree of self-determination and a job satisfaction ratio.

Keywords: self-determination, intrinsic motivation, job satisfaction, white-collar workers1.

1. Introduction

According to expectancy theory, the most popular and most sophisticated theory on work motivation, the force to perform an act should be formulated in a similar manner to the expected utility theory in economics. The present well-known expectancy theory of work motivation was completed by Vroom (1964), while the prototype of the similar model dates back to the 1930s. Vroom's theory is fundamentally based on the assumption that a person is calculating and rational. Thus, motivating that person to engage in a particular act is formulated as like "dangling a carrot in front of a horse's nose." However, based on the results of a comprehensive survey of literature, Vroom suggests that "performance may be an end as well as a means to the attainment of an end" and that "individuals may derive satisfaction from effective performance and dissatisfaction from ineffective performance, regardless of the externally mediated consequences of performance" (Vroom, 1964, p. 267).

In fact, although job performance and job satisfaction have stuck together, external rewards such as money have an overwhelming impact and separate job satisfaction from job performance. Thus, monetary rewards compel satisfaction to be driven by rewards. In other words, monetary rewards have a separating effect: job performance ->* monetary rewards ->* job satisfaction. If workers working solely for money receive no monetary rewards, they lose their satisfaction and their willingness to work (Takahashi, 2004). On this point, Deci (1975) states that external rewards have a greater salience and impact, and "they can 'co-opt' intrinsic motivation" (Deci, 1975, p. 139). Actually, there is no additional relationship between intrinsic motivation and motivation by external rewards; many experimental studies prove that in many cases, external rewards reduce intrinsic motivation (Deci, 1975, chap. 5).

According to Deci (1975), intrinsically motivated activities are "ones for which there is no apparent reward except the activity itself" (Deci, 1975, p. 23). In contrast to expectancy theory which, supposes that the activities are done as means to external rewards, intrinsically motivated activities are "ends in themselves rather than means to an end"; "the person is deriving enjoyment from the activities" (Deci, 1975, p. 23).

Deci (1975) defines intrinsically motivated behaviors as "behaviors which a person engages in to feel competent and self-determining" (Deci, 1975, p. 61). The concept of competence here was originally used by White (1959) in a much broader meaning than its everyday usage. White refers to it as the ability of an organism to react effectively with its environment. The behaviors of visual exploration, grasping, crawling, walking, thinking, exploring novel objects and places, and producing effective changes in the environment are supposed to have a common biological significance: they all form part of the process whereby the animal or child learns to react effectively with its environment. …

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