SUPERVISION AND JOB SATISFACTION
Byron L. Bissell Lee Roy Beach University of Arizona
Lisa slowly opened her closet door and absently stared at her meager wardrobe. What should she wear today? What difference did it make anyway? If today was like most days, she would be close to tears by noon, and how she looked would not count for much. The problem was her supervisor, Ruth, who just did not seem to know her job. Ruth seemed to think of herself as a manager, not a supervisor--always soliciting her people's opinions, always soft-spoken and polite, always making sure everyone understood "the big picture." It was ridiculous. What was needed here was firmness, direction, and backbone. Lisa had worked many places and had never seen anyone like Ruth, had never worked under someone who had less of a clue about what supervision was all about. It was all Lisa could do to hold her tongue and not take over herself, and the constant strain was killing her. She wondered whether that factory in Kansas City was still hiring, they at least would have supervisors who knew how to supervise. Now that she thought about it, she not only disliked Ruth, she was beginning to hate both her job and the whole damned company. It clearly was time to move on.
Studies of leadership, management, organizational culture, quality of work life, and organizational satisfaction have focused almost exclusively on managers and employees. Little attention has been given to supervisors and supervision, even though the role of first-line supervision frequently is identified as fundamental to the success of modern organizations ( Doud & Miller, 1980; Kerr, Hill, & Broedling, 1986).