Abstract Although theories of Job satisfaction have been extensively researched in the organisational psychology literature, researchers are yet to agree on the major predictors of Job satisfaction. Several predictors have been investigated such as needs, values, expectations and specific Job characteristics such as Job autonomy and job demands. This chapter reviews such theories, focussing on the ones that have made the greatest contribution to the understanding of Job satisfaction. Although these theories are well cited, many of them have theoretical and empirical problems s well as having limited applicability to the workplace.
One theory, which is less problematic, and particularly appealing to the workplace, is the Job demand-control model. This model proposes that Job autonomy can reduce the effect of Job demands on Job satisfaction, and that the most satisfied workers are those with high Job demands and high Job autonomy. According to the model, Job autonomy influences job satisfaction because it allows workers to redirect the physiological arousal produced from Job demands into an appropriate response. This explanation is riticised however for being non-specific and tautological.
A new explanation is developed, where it is proposed that Job autonomy influences how employees respond to work difficulties. This explanation forms the basis of a model of Job satisfaction, which includes the following predictors: Job autonomy; primary control and secondary control; personality; and life satisfaction. 1. 2 Job Satisfaction Job satisfaction, the extent to which employees like their Job and its components (Spector, 1997), is one of the most extensively researched topic in the industrial and rganisational psychology literature (High house & Becker, 1993).
The number of articles and books investigating this construct has increased from over 3000 in 1976 (Locke, 1976), to over 5000 in 1992 (Harwood & Rice, 1992). Today, a review of psychology and business databases demonstrates that over 10,000 publications on job satisfaction are available. Although this increasing interest in Job satisfaction is no doubt beneficial to the field of industrial and organisational psychology, the amount of research has become overwhelming to both researchers and practitioners. Nowhere is this more clearly evident than in the theories of Job satisfaction. 1. 2. Theories of Job Satisfaction: Environmental and Dispositional Predictors Theories of job satisfaction include dispositional and environmental predictors. The dispositional predictors of Job satisfaction refer to characteristics of the employee, such as needs, values, and expectations. The environmental predictors refer to Job characteristics, such as Job control, workload, feedback, role ambiguity, and role conflict. Some theorists focus on the dispositional predictors, whilst others focus on he environmental predictors. More recent theorists recognise the importance of both types of predictors.