An Empirical Test of a Model of Franchisee Job Satisfaction

By Morrison, Kimberley A. | Journal of Small Business Management, July 1996 | Go to article overview

An Empirical Test of a Model of Franchisee Job Satisfaction


Morrison, Kimberley A., Journal of Small Business Management


Research Objective

The objective of this study was to analyze empirically some important relationships influencing franchisee job satisfaction. From a conceptual standpoint, empirical studies investigating job satisfaction have important implications for such vital organizational outcomes as intention to leave (Mobley 1982), job performance (Iaffaldano and Muchinsky 1985), and improving organizational interrelationships (Schul 1980). Moreover, job satisfaction has been shown to be related to various other non-work satisfactions such as life-, family-, and self-satisfaction (Near et al. 1984; Rain, Lane, and Steiner 1991; Thompson, Kopelman, and Schriesheim 1992).

From a practical standpoint, harmonious franchisor/franchisee relations appear to be a major determinant of the future attractiveness and success of franchising. It is proposed that franchisees' relative job satisfaction plays an integral role in maintaining this relationship. Despite attempts to regulate the franchise industry with tougher disclosure laws, conflicts between franchisor and franchisee appear to be more widespread than once believed (Caffey 1993; Charlwood 1993; Galen and Touby 1993; Stern and Abelson 1991; Tannenbaum 1993b). This apparent level of conflict has led to increasing franchisee alienation.

In addition to helping improve franchisor/franchisee relations, this investigation may provide useful information to franchisors for selecting and training franchisees and for marketing franchises. Further, results may aid franchisees in their investment choices and help them develop mutually beneficial relationships with their franchisor. Overall, empirical study of franchisee job satisfaction appears necessary and worthwhile for both organizational and individual concerns.

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is commonly defined as "a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experiences" (Locke 1976, 1300). The last decade has seen a reexamination of the dispositional underpinnings of job satisfaction and support for the relative consistency of job satisfaction over time (George 1992; Staw and Ross 1985). However, this does not refute the important role situational factors play in explaining the remaining variance in worker attitudes (Davis-Blake and Pfeffer 1989; Gerhart 1987). The above argument has led to the overall appeal of the interactionist perspective, whereby both personality and situational characteristics play key roles in understanding attitudes and behavior (Carson 1989; George 1992; Newton and Keenan 1991).

Over 20 years ago, Walker's research (1971) was one of the first studies to examine franchisees' relative overall satisfaction with their position. Using a mail survey of 319 franchisees from five established franchise systems, Walker found that the majority (77 percent) of franchisees reported general satisfaction with their franchises. In distinguishing comparatively satisfied franchisees from comparatively dissatisfied franchisees, the author found that the more satisfied had the following characteristics: (1) they expressed a favorable attitude toward both the various controls in their agreement and the income/inputs ratio associated with their operations; (2) they were working fewer hours and earning more money than they had expected; and (3) they perceived the parent company as fair-dealing and their unit as successful. The most common sources of dissatisfaction cited were poor financial return, lack of franchisor support, and unfulfilled expectations.

Goodman's (1980) study of conflicts of interest in non-food franchisees reported that the principal sources of conflict were (1) unfair contractual agreements; (2) the lack of continuing support services; and (3) inadequate income. Overall, the majority (62 percent) perceived their franchising experiences as satisfactory.

More recently, the Gallup organization conducted a telephone interview of 994 franchisees across the U. …

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