Job Satisfaction of People with Disabilities Placed through a Project with Industry

By Houser, Rick; Chace, Anne | The Journal of Rehabilitation, January-March 1993 | Go to article overview

Job Satisfaction of People with Disabilities Placed through a Project with Industry


Houser, Rick, Chace, Anne, The Journal of Rehabilitation


Job satisfaction has been related to personnel turnover (Scott & Taylor, 1973), plans to terminate employment (Rosse & Hulin, 1985), and life satisfaction (Iris & Barrett, 1972). Additionally, job satisfaction has been correlated with positive behaviors toward others (Smith, Organ & Near, 1983) and physical health (Burke, 1970; Karasek, Gardell, & Lindell 1987). Job satisfaction has been noted to be important for people with disabilities (Quigley, 1968; Selzer, 1984).

The Hawthorne study (Roethlisberger & Dickenson, 1939) was an early indicator of research on job satisfaction. As a side effect of studying productivity, investigators found that workers influenced the behavior of their coworkers and a sense of belonging to the work group was pursued. Prior to this time there was little expressed interest among employers to understand job satisfaction. In the 1940s as more workers were needed, largely due to World War II, there was an increased interest in job satisfaction of workers and several theories of job satisfaction were developed to understand relevant issues. Theories have been helpful in understanding the nature of job satisfaction and for developing measures to assess job satisfaction.

One theory of job satisfaction is based on a person's evaluation of whether one gets what he/she wants from a job (Vroom, 1964). The amount of job satisfaction is related to the degree the job provides outcomes which are in congruence with what the person desires. In another theory of job satisfaction Herzberg (1966) suggested a two factor theory wherein job satisfaction is composed of intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Intrinsic factors consist of work dimensions of autonomy and responsibility. Herzberg, Mausner, Peterson, and Capwell (1957) differentiated intrinsic and extrinsic factors of job satisfaction. Intrinsic factors involved characteristics of the job whereas extrinsic satisfaction concerned the work environment. They found that intrinsic factors contributed to job satisfaction and extrinsic factors were related to job dissatisfaction.

A third viewpoint is the Minnesota Theory of Work Adjustment (MTWA) wherein job satisfaction is defined in terms of the relationship between the reinforcers in the work environment and the person's needs (Dawis, England & Lofquist, 1964). A contingency is that the individual's ability corresponds to requirements of the job. The closer the relationship between the reinforcers and the person's needs the higher the level of job satisfaction. These theories of job satisfaction have provided the basis for numerous studies about the topic. Additionally, instruments measuring job satisfaction have been developed based upon these theories (Weiss, England, & Lofquist, 1967).

Investigators have studied a range of jobs and issues related to job satisfaction (Tziner & Lotham, 1989; Walsh, 1982). For example, Walsh (1982) focused on job prestige and worker satisfaction, comparing occupations such as garbagemen, teachers, bartenders, and professors. Hackman and Lawler (1971) investigated the effects of job characteristics on job satisfaction. Four specific job characteristics were related to job satisfaction: variety, autonomy, task identity and feedback. Individual personality characteristics were related to preference of job tasks and job satisfaction.

There has been some research about job satisfaction and rehabilitation focused on rehabilitation professionals (Wright and Tenian, 1987; Jenkins and Kelz, 1973; Miller & Muthard, 1965). However, there has been relatively few studies about the issue among participants going through the rehabilitation process (Lam, Chan, & Thorpe, 1988; Reiter, Friedman & Mokho, 1985). Much of the research conducted among people with disabilities has been focused on those with mental retardation. Reiter, Friedman, and Mokho (1985) for example, surveyed 83 individuals exploring both intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction. …

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