Organisational Behavior: Job Satisfaction & Organizational Politics

1 January 2017

In simple terms, job satisfaction pertains to an employee’s general attitude towards his or her job. Attitude can be said to be the final psychological stance an individual takes after he/she has evaluated his/her perceptions or paradigms regarding the job, organisation, work-conditions, co-workers etc. An individual’s values also play a key role in the background to shape up the final outcome of the job satisfaction dynamics. An employee’s job satisfaction is said to have influence on the outcome variables such as productivity, turnover, absenteeism and other factors of organisational importance.

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A meta-analytical study has shown that job satisfaction and individual productivity has a significant positive correlation of 0. 30 , while in another study it has been seen that individual’s attitude and productivity has a positive correlation of 0. 17 . The studies point to the fact that most likely a satisfied employee will be productive but there are other factors which determine the outcome. The flipside of the ‘high satisfaction-high productivity equation’ is that the higher productivity could lead to burn-out.

Motivation in form of rewards play a significant role in pushing the employee towards a high productivity trajectory, however an unchecked boost could lead to exhaustion resulting in additional cost for the organisation. Some studies have even shown that high job satisfaction and high productivity could lead to greater complacency among some group of workers . Another outcome variable that is of important to job satisfaction is employee absenteeism. A numerous empirical studies have been conducted on this topic and results have been inconsistent.

Some studies show that there is a negative correlation between job satisfaction and absenteeism , while others indicate that there is zero correlation between the two variables. In a study by Nicholson et al. it has been shown that job satisfaction and absenteeism have zero correlation but their conclusion supported that there may be some causal relationships under special circumstances . Hence it can be stated that a high job satisfaction may not lead lower absenteeism in all cases, however definitely a low job satisfaction can lead to higher rates of absenteeism.

Various studies have shown that dissatisfied employees are more likely to leave their jobs than the ones who have a higher job satisfaction . Employee turnover is another factor which seems to have a moderate negative correlation with job satisfaction in the range of -0. 25 . Therefore the fact that higher job satisfaction will definitely lead to a lower turnover rate cannot be carved in stone. A study shows that there can be around 26 variables that are related to employee turnover, among which gender and nationality influences are a few.

It would more precise to say that job satisfaction has a strong negative correlation with turnover intention rather than just turnover rate . Hence, an employee who finds that his job is more in line with his or her self-identify and involving oneself in such a job is overall satisfying the intention to leave would be reduced drastically. To sum it up it is well within scope to state that there are significant amount of grey areas pertaining to the topic of job satisfaction and its impact on the organisation on the whole.

However, one can surely state that if not entirely but to quite a large extent, that satisfied employees will definitely exude positive vibes toward his or her work versus a dissatisfied employee. Various contradictory empirical study data are only the proof to the fact that human behaviour is not entirely predictable as most of it is emanated from the depth of the subconscious mind which in itself remains a mystery. Factors influencing job satisfaction: There are various models that measure the job satisfaction of an employee and among them the most widely used is the Job Descriptive Index (JDI) .

The six measures are as follows: 1. Pay: Pay refers to wages, salaries, bonuses or benefits of any kind that is offered to the employee in exchange of the service rendered. This forms one of the basic tenants of job satisfaction as it is directly related to satisfy the basic safety and psychological needs of an individual to survive in the economy. It has been observed that an employee will be more impacted by the direct pay that he or she receives and in many cases they are not even aware of the other benefits that they receive.

Also, it has been studied that the pay packages have a strong correlation with job satisfaction . 2. Work: The nature or content of the job itself forms a significant factor that leads to job satisfaction and employees prefer to undertake jobs that are interesting and don’t lead to boredom. Also, when there is mismatch between the skill of the employee and the job that is being assigned it leads to dissatisfaction. 3. Promotions: Promotions form an important aspect of employee motivation which can lead to job satisfaction however; it differs in the fact that promotion related satisfaction depending on the type of promotions.

An employee being promoted on the basis of seniority derives more satisfaction than that promoted on basis of performance. Also, the range of hike the employee gets plays an important role. Two employees working in the same team and one who gets 9 percent hike will be less satisfied than the one receiving a 20 percent hike. Promotions in the higher management is said to be more satisfactory than the ones at the basic level. 4. Supervision: Supervision pertains forms another important aspect job satisfaction and especially when the boss-employee relation is concerned.

Supervision style in which the employee is involved in the decision making process related to the job leads to higher satisfaction. Studies have shown that poor supervision can very well lead to dissatisfied employees , while another study states in addition that it leads higher to employee turnover as well . 5. Work group: The work group or team quality affects the job satisfaction. An employee who is a part of team with co-operative and friendly co-workers will tend to have a positive job satisfaction score rather than an employee who is in a non-conducive environment. . Working conditions: There is a moderate effect of working conditions on the job satisfaction of an employee. A workplace that offers little comfort and is dirty and does not have the basic hygiene factors, may lead a lower level of job satisfaction. ? Question 2: Elaborately discuss the factor which leads to politics in the organisation. Also highlight the role of organisational culture and individual factors in organisational politics. Answer 2:

The global economy of 2011 is ridden with economic, political and humanitarian ambiguities and sailing in such an environment are organisations who manage their everyday resources by making complex decisions. Decision making involves human interaction and communication between individual employees and such a scenario invariably tends to create a ripple of politics in every corner of the organisation. The presence of limited resources creates competition among employees to gain control of the limited resources and being a zero-sum game, one man’s gain is out of another man’s loss.

When an individual tries to exercise his or her influence over another for personal gain of any form in an organisational perspective, it is said to be indulging in politicking behaviour. The word politics finds it source in the Greek word: politika or politikos , which means of, for, or relating to individuals or citizens. Individual relations would mean that a diverse plethora of perceptions will come into the scene as every individual would tend to interpret a common fact differently.

Among other various factors the most important factor which leads to politics in the organisation is the knowledge of the above fact. In an interaction between atleast two individuals, one would tend to influence the other for individual gain and according to German sociologist Max Weber, the probability with which one would be able to do so determine power. For example an employee trying to obtain favourable job promotion through flattery (Impression Management Technique) would be an instance of exercising power and hence manipulating the situation for gain of limited resources leading to organisational politics.

A typical day in the organisation would tend to have many such instances where individuals who are aware of the fact that perceptions exist and they can be manipulated, tend to exercise influence over a co-worker. The difference in individual values, interests and goals give rise individuals with diverse personality traits. Among them there are individuals who tend to be more politically active in the organisation. Politics tend to hamper organisational progress and may bring about lowering of job satisfaction, especially when higher ranking employees exercise power over juniors.

The reverse case tends to give rise to tension and finally conflict between the co-workers. According to Watson and Crossley (2001) organisational power relationships are an integrated part of managerial roles . Though it is said that politics lead to organisational regression, on a different note it can be said that it is once again needed to ensure a tight running of the company. For example it is in the best interests of the manager to ensure economic profitability of the company for which he or she needs to manipulate the limited manpower and other resources.

When this is done tactfully and with no motive of individual gain as such, a positive politics is being played . However a study on 120 British managers suggests that nearly 70% of them have been affected with negative impacts of organisational politics . Hence the fact that an individual who is a high self monitor with an internal locus of control and a high need for power tends to be more political, but only an individual who knows the implications and acts responsibly, brings in good ethics in the game.

Organisational culture and the individual human factor are the two halves of the dynamics of organisational politics. Looking into the influence of the organisation culture in politics would be to analyse the macro-factors that gives rise to instances which form the breeding ground of political tendencies. The organisation spurts out instances such as appraisal cycles, opportunity for future career benefit, a chance of leading an important project and many such cases which breeds politics.

It may give rise to good politics if the employees keep in mind the gain of both the individual and the organisation, where as malicious actions may creep in if only individual gains are kept in mind. Here comes in the individual factors which form the other half of the picture. Individual factors are like the micro aspects which tend to carry forward the wave of politicking that has been sparked-off by the organisation-wide phenomenon. A personality trait with a high self monitor and an internal locus of control and high power need tend to be more political.

Typically a Machiavellian type of personality with a high power need play politics in the organisation. Such a character would manipulate and satisfy individual need for power at the expense of the organisation’s cost or reputation. The various kinds of organisation politics involve influencing, covert agendas, positioning of power and manipulation. In an organisation which is witnessing low business cycle or undergoing any form of a crisis situation, will have individuals who employ the above techniques and tend to be of Machiavellian in nature.

In an organisation, powerful and experienced individual as well as naive and inexperienced employees tend to involve in illegitimate form or harmful politics. Also a person who thinks that he or she will be able to succeed using illegitimate means or there are chances of a low success rate will get involved in bad politics. An ideal organisation is where politics is not expected to thrive and such an organisation is expected to have unlimited resources and individuals with common goals. Such is a utopic vision as far as the organisational environment is concerned.

Being a zero-sum scenario the tug of war and the underlying tension between individuals and groups will always remain. The only fact to be kept in mind by managers is that even if politics is involved, it should be mixed with good ethics and by keeping in mind the greater as well as the individual good. ********************* Bibliography: Amah, 2009 (Conceptual framework on the relationship between human resource management practices, job satisfaction, and turnover by Hamdia Mudor & Phadett Tooksoon, February 2011) Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969

A Theory of Human Motivation by Abraham H. Maslow, 1943 Ting, 1997 (Conceptual framework on the relationship between human resource management practices, job satisfaction, and turnover by Hamdia Mudor & Phadett Tooksoon, February 2011) Keashly and Jagatic, 2000 Karasek and Theorell, 1990 Merriam-Webster Dictionary Politics in Organisations by Linda Holbeche, 2002 Positive Organisation Politics by Geof Cox, June 2006 Politics in Organisations by Linda Holbeche, 2002

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