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Job Satisfaction

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There is a strong relationship between age and job satisfaction. Despite conflicting results, studies conclude that the relationship between age and job satisfaction is U-shaped. Therefore, the main focus of the present study is to investigate job satisfaction among workers in their first full-time jobs. Job satisfaction is the collection of feelings and beliefs that individuals have about their first, current jobs (George &Jones, 2008). According to Nelson and Quick (2009) job satisfaction is the pleasure or a positive emotional state that emanates from an individual’s jobs or experiences.

In this chapter, I review relevant literature to job satisfaction and divide the literature into four sections. The first section will investigate the relationship between age and job satisfaction among young workers in their first full-time jobs; the second part will review the models of workers’ adjustment to work. In the third section, the literature will examine the main theories and models of young workers’ adjustment to work; this will assist in understanding the level of satisfaction among workers in their first full-time jobs. Finally, in this chapter, I will assess the attitudes of workers in their first full-time jobs, highlight how workers, in their first full-time jobs, are engaged, and achieve their well-being. Understanding job satisfaction among workers in their first full-time jobs is beneficial because, it can enhance a healthier and productive organization (Nelson and Quick, 2009).

Age and Job Satisfaction

The relationship between job satisfaction and the age of employees is critical to the productivity of organizations. Information concerning job satisfaction and the desires of different categories of employees can be obtained from an organization’s internal records (Rhodes (1893). The attitudinal studies provide reports based on samples of employees of mixed ages when analyzing the specific types of groups or job holders (Benge & Copell, 1947). The age of employees is an indication of developmental level, and may reflect differences in attitudes and, as such, may be treated as an additional variable. Studies on segmented sales persons into groups according age variable age preceded by means of a Self Development Index, identified the employee groups, by measuring the attitudes of each group, and provided reports on the age groups in detail. The studies indicated that age is positively associated with job satisfaction ((Nelson and Quick, 2009).

The search for an understanding of job satisfaction among workers in their first full-time jobs is an area of interest for researchers, managers and social scientists. Therefore, the premise of this study is that more satisfied workers will be more productive in the work place. However, studies that are more recent have concentrated on the implications of the demographic and occupational variables on job satisfaction, such as age. This study will investigate what type of relationship exists between age and job satisfaction, by analysis of workers in their first full-time jobs. Studies that are concentrated on the impact of age and job satisfaction are very few. For better understanding of its effect in job satisfaction, previous studies conducted have indicated that there are variations between different age groups with respect to job satisfaction (Rhodes (1893).

According to Benge and Copell (1947), job satisfaction increases with age. Hoppock (1935) noted the trend of job satisfaction with age, after investigating the level of job satisfaction among teachers. He concluded that the greatest period of job satisfaction occurs during the pre-retirement period. According to Turner (1955), the level of job satisfaction diminishes as workers contemplate growing old in occupations that they are least interested. Turner also claimed that the morale of workers might decrease as they begin to figure out how to leave an organization (1955, pg. 45), although older people approaching retirement age are not able to do so. Recent developments demonstrate the need for understanding the relationship between age and job satisfaction.

Currently, the labor force is increasingly becoming older, and the distribution of the available jobs favors the white-collar service jobs, which have become increasingly attractive to the older generation (Oshagbemi, 2000). Moreover, employers’ expectation of the aged employees at the workplace is drastically changing (Rhodes (1893). For instance, in order to maximize the employee output, most organizations are focusing to utilize their employees better. This involves adapting the workplace with different techniques and styles of supervising the attitudes and unique skills, as well as the levels of skills and experience of workers. The impact of age on workers in their first full-time jobs is an important area that requires more research to help organizations achieve healthier productivity.

In the recent years, changes in legislation such as the required abolition of the mandatory retirement age have increased the number of older employees at the workplace. Moreover, the influences of age discrimination lawsuits have also increased awareness among employees, particularly the aging workforce. Thus, the age composition at the workplace promises to change drastically after the post world war II and the baby boom generation, particularly in the U.S (Robison (2002). Rosen and Jerdee (1988) claimed that the ratio of workers to retirees is expected to reduce to a 2-to-1 ratio from the current 4-to-1 ratio by the year 2050 (source). In order to understand such variations on for the future workplace, it is crucial to conduct further research on the impact of age on job satisfaction. Furthermore, the studies should focus more on the duration of employment. Rhodes (1893) conducted one of the most influential and comprehensive study into the demographic variables and job satisfaction. He based his findings on previous work that demonstrated a linear relationship between age and job satisfaction up to the age of 60. Thus, his findings indicated that efforts to improve satisfaction levels may succeed partially and depends on the age distribution of the employees. According to Staw and Ross (1985) the impact of age on job satisfaction is a very interesting subject, particularly among workers in their first full-time jobs. It can enhance empirical analysis of individual’s well-being and productivity at the work place.

The impact of age and job satisfaction is a subject that has been investigated in various disciplines (Source). Most employers prefer that their employees become satisfied. Satisfaction is closely related to labor market behavior such as retention, quits, productivity as well as, absenteeism. A study conducted by Robins (2009) investigated the impact of age as an important factor in both job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Robison determined the overall job satisfaction among workers in the U.S, the findings showed that overall job satisfaction slightly increases with age, but fails to go beyond 49% regardless of the age group (Robison (2002). Robins (2009) claim that there is an opposite direction in the relationship between subjective age and job satisfaction. In a sample of previous studies that consisted of people employed in a broad range of jobs, in the U.S, the results indicated a relationship between age anf job satisfaction. Therefore, the impact of age differences on workers in their first full-time jobs influenced the assessment of subjective age and job satisfaction.

According to Herzberg et al, (1957) job satisfaction is U-shaped in age. Thus, it indicates increased morale among young employees but the nature of the curve declines after the attractiveness of the occupation diminishes and boredom and dissatisfaction increases. Newly employed young employees indicate a robust U- shape pattern (Herzberg et al, 1957). There are possible explanations for the U-shape of the reported job satisfaction, reflected in skill mismatch between new and old employees. For instance, there are marked differences between jobs in the wage distribution, and the differences are manifest and can be reported by an investigation on job satisfaction for workers in their first full-time jobs.

Previous studies have tried to show evidence that that newly recruited young workers may be low paid compared to experienced workers; hence, the difference in income is an important factor to consider in job satisfaction (Herzberg et al, (1957). Job satisfaction increases at an older age, when employees become accustomed to their occupations. However, according to Lee and Wilber, (1985) job satisfaction demonstrates a linear positive relationship based on the employee's age. Studies conducted by O’Brien and Dowling (1981, p, 49) indicated that job satisfaction increase by age, due to factors such as higher income and more responsible jobs. Oshagbemi (1999) provided evidence supporting their claim of the impacts of age on job satisfaction among lecturers. Their findings indicated that job satisfaction reduces with an increase in age, in some professions, such as teaching (Oshagbemi 1999). It is significantly necessary to address the causes of workers’ attitudes and job satisfaction, particularly, among workers at their first full-time jobs. Moreover, it is vital to understand the importance of the work situation, as a major influence of workers’ attitudes. Therefore, this area of study can be influenced through organizational programs and management practices.

In the previous decades, there have been significant studies to understand the cultural influences on job satisfaction; however, investigators still not yet understand it. The other area that requires attention, as a major factor that influences job satisfaction is the work environment itself, which has often been overlooked by researchers in the quest to address the issue of job satisfaction and the attitude of workers in their first full time job (Ang et al, (1993). New employees are less tolerant to adapt to copying strategies; hence, explaining that the correlation between job satisfaction and age are mixed, including factor like limited career prospect at a given age (Ang et al, (1993). There are intrinsic motivators that become less important to workers as they advance to their retirement age (Oshagbemi, 2000). Therefore, age is an important factor to job satisfaction since there are psychological variables that are linked to the aging process, which significantly influences job satisfaction. Age and tenure are closely related; therefore, employees who have longer tenure in the workplace may feel dissatisfied due to boredom (Clark et al., 1996). In addition, a study that combined the impacts of age and tenure indicated a linear positive relationship between age and job satisfaction, as well as, a linear relationship between tenure and satisfaction. However, in a study conducted by Luthanas and Thomas (1989), a curvilinear relationship between age and job satisfaction is grater at the age of 40, but lower in the ages 30’s, 50’s and 60’s, this further explains the U shaped the nature of job satisfaction and its relationship to the age of workers.

Models of Young Workers’ Adjustment to Work (around 5200 words)

When an individual reaches physical maturity, he or she will engage in some work. Work is any activity that engages an individual for a pay and to earn a living. Moreover, an activity utilizes a person’s abilities or skills in some social or economic activity.  Pieper (1952) argues that work is a natural right and duty to men of Middle Ages. Some studies have indicated that workers in their first full-time jobs are affected by dispositional influences. According to Staw and Ross (1985) a worker’s job satisfaction scores stabilize over time. In additional study conducted by Staw, et al, (1986) childhood temperament is statistically related to adult job satisfaction. Despite the contribution to the understanding the causes of job satisfaction across employees of different ages, one of the setbacks is that, there is little literature that is not yet very informative as to how exactly age affects job satisfaction (Staw & Ross, 1985). Friedman and Havighurst (1954) defined work as the means of maintaining standards of living and an advanced level of existence. In most societies, there is a common heritage that everybody has the right of choice. However, while there is freedom to choose work, it is constrained by a number of complex forces (Staw & Ross, 1985). For instance, social scientists would pinpoint pressures on the individual, which stem from the social class, which means some limits on work-choice opportunities. These are occurrences of birth that places an individual in a socioeconomic status group, or in a sex or racial group. As stated by Hewer and Neubek (1962), class membership influences work choice. Furthermore, there are constraints of freedom of choice that include unique hereditary and history of experiencing and reacting to the external pressures exerted by the society, social class, family, or peer group.

Among new employees, job satisfaction indicates correlations with employee turnover and absenteeism; this is related to other withdrawal behaviors, which may include lateness, as well as, drug abuse among young workers. Hulin et al. (1985) claimed that workers' withdrawal behaviors are manifestations of job adaptations; hence, it is crucial to understand the models of young workers adjustment to work, since job satisfaction forms part of organizational commitment. Most people are subjected to the pressure to enter the work as they advance to physical maturity. These pressures make an individual suddenly expect to assume some economic responsibility. Moreover, these pressures make an individual explore work opportunities that exist and their characteristics, needs, and availability. Wolfbein (1964) explains that there are additional complicating factors that occur because of the normal condition in the labor market. When a young person is curious about entering the job market, there are other problems that are related to work choice, such as the problem of knowing oneself in educational and work related term. Therefore, it is necessary to require knowledge of unique characteristics as they relate to work. Workers do not understand themselves best concerning making occupational choices.

Many problems that surround work such as the vocational choice, job finding, as well as, work adjustment that occurs from the central position of the human activity requires thorough studies on human behavior as it relates to work. Therefore, it is important to have systematic ways of relating human characteristics to the information concerned with occupation. Brayfield (1961) supports the idea of placing a higher priority in the development of science of vocational psychology to provide a basis for practice of vocational counseling. It is necessary to have a theoretical framework that can enable people to conceptualize the development of an individual as an individual ready for work, the development of an individual as a working person, the individual’s adjustment to work, as well as, the impact of having chosen certain occupations. In addition, the conceptual framework should enable people to conceptualize work in a manner that can account for the impact of physical as well as social trauma as well as changes like disability and the displacement by automation and retirement.

Individuals respond to different kinds of stimulation even before birth. This is important in understanding human behavior, Hooker (1936). Thus, in organized societies the behaviors of individuals are viewed by the social norms or standards, developed from the society’s collective experience. A skill dimension is defined in terms of such characteristics, like the level of difficulty, economy of effort as well as, the level of efficiency. Hence, it is important to understand a smaller number of more basic dimensions that underlie several skill dimensions. An individual’s norms or preferences for conditions can be stimulated to reflect different reinforcement values, of stimulus conditions experienced by an individual. The experience varies with different reinforces organized by an individual into different patterns of preferences. Some people can are able to describe the given set of stimulus conditions in terms of the different reinforces linked to different categories of reactions by another person. Furthermore, an individual can also exhibit different sets of conditions based of different sets of reinforcement values related to the same class of responses experienced by others. These reinforcement values are related to the likelihood of a person’s report for stimulus conditions; hence, it is crucial to account for the distinction based on the concept of need stability. For instance, in most observations that form the main part lived out in a relatively stable environment where the same stimuli are experienced on a daily basis.

The theory of work adjustment is based on the concept of correspondence that exists between an individual and the environment. The correspondence means that there are inductions that may be described as a harmonious relationship between an individual and the environment. This induction refers to the suitability that exists between an individual to the environment and vice versa. Work adjustment of an individual is critical to specific job tasks. Work adjustment is related to various environmental factors over a specified period and factors such as aptitudes, changing job market conditions, employers, coworkers and supervisors as well Crow, and Hartman (1995) argue that people who intend to achieve and keep correspondence with their work environment view work adjustment theory as a dynamically evolving process. Work adjustment grows out of an individual’s differences in tradition.

Main theories of young workers’ adjustment to work

It is crucial to understand what motivates workers. According to Campbell, et al. (1970) cited in (Smucker & Kent, 2004) job satisfaction theories are categorized as content theories or process theories. Content theories depend on factors, which influence job satisfaction. Whereas, the process theories, consider the process by which different variables interact with the job to produce job satisfaction.  According to content theorists, workers are satisfied with their jobs based on the types of goals and incentives that they want to achieve. There are incentives such as money, working conditions, security as well as supervision, which may also influence \the attitudes of young workers towards their current first-time jobs.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory

According to this theory, Maslow believed that individuals come from an environment that does not meet their daily needs; hence, they tend to encounter psychological complaints later in their lie time. Based on the applications of this theory to workers job satisfaction and the organizational setting, it can be deduced that young workers who do not meet their needs will not function efficiently. According to Smith and Cronje, (1992) the theory is based on two assumptions; workers want more, and arrange their needs in order of importance.

Herzberg’s two-factor theory

Herzberg modeled the motivation-hygiene theory. Based on the Herzberg’s two-factor theory, factors that make workers feel good about their work differs from the factors that make them have a negative feeling about their work. According to Herzberg, as cited in Schultz, 2003) employees who are satisfied at work attribute their satisfaction to internal factors. On the other hand, dissatisfied workers relate their behavior to external influences. These are factors that play a role in contributing to job dissatisfaction, also known as intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

Alderfer’s ERG Theory

This theory was revised from Maslow’s theory with a more empirical study (Robbins et al. 2003). Alderfer’s theory, known as the ERG theory is based on the needs of existence, relatedness, as well as, growth. Existence is involved with providing workers with their basic existence needs, and it subsumes the psychological and safety requirements, relatedness refers to the urge to maintain good interpersonal relationships, labeled by Maslow as social esteem needs. On the other hand, the growth needs refers to internal desire for personal development based on self actualization needs, as stated by Maslow (Robbins et al. 2003)

McClelland’s theory of needs

This theory focuses on the need for achievement, quest for power and affiliation (Luthans, 1998). The theory of needs can be briefly described as the need for achievement. It drives a worker to excel to meet standards and to achieve success, the need for power that drives workers to let their colleagues behave in a manner that they do not behave otherwise, and lastly, the need for affiliation that makes people develop a friendly disposition as well as good interpersonal relationships with others (Luthans, 1998).

Rosse and Miller (1984) describe work adjustment project designs as a wide understanding to aid in the clarification of the relationship that exists between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction by adopting a cyclical model. Rosse and Miller’s model describe how employees consider various strategies in order to reduce the relative dissatisfactions occasioned by a stimulus event. These factors include; personal experience, role modeling, social norms and the perception of the constraints hypothesized to influence the development of alternative strategies and their assessment for use. Based on this model, the strategy with the highest perceived utility is used, but when it fails, after which another cycle begins, and other strategies get adopted. The model indicates how, why and when the withdrawal behaviors among individuals such as lateness and absenteeism might develop among workers. Moreover, it is believed that this model can provide a useful theoretical framework to think about the relationship between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction. Therefore, the Rosse and Miller’s model provides a theoretical basis for understanding a theoretical basis of employee characteristics such as age, might influence the strength of the relation between perceived work alternatives among young workers.

Based on age of the workers, four possibilities that are related to employees’ work alternatives are suggested, and all of which indicate a weaker correlation between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction (Pond III & Geyer, 1987). However, for simplicity of presentation, these possibilities get portrayed from the perspective of older workers. In the first place, older employees may not be bothered so much by their perceptions; therefore, changes in values and more prestigious higher pay jobs and investing in the current jobs may not cause perceived work alternatives to be a critical stimulus occurrence for aged workers (Hall and Mansfield, 1975). Secondly, it is evident that old employees compared to younger employees, who are not concerned by their perceptions of better work alternatives but are more able to deal with aggravating stimulus event because of job positions. Next, the aspirations of the older workers ground down due to age so that they become more resigned to their job situations and less likely to consider perceived work alternatives as important stimulant events (Seashore, 1974). Furthermore, the older workers relative to younger workers may not be concerned with the perceptions of better work alternatives due to some cohort effects. Given the common history of the older workers, they are different from the younger workers in terms of adjustment to work; because of the factors, they consider important determinants of job attitudes or beliefs. Therefore, the perceived work alternatives may not be relevant to the frame of reference of older employees when they judge job satisfaction (Smith et al, 1969).

Age represents a lot concerning job satisfaction. According to Rhodes (1983), age factor relate to other groups of effects that influences individuals’ work attitudes and behaviors. The age variable includes the; the biological and the psychological aging effects, the cohort effects, the period effects, which are all work experience effects. The psychological and the biological aging effects are developmental components of the overall aging effect, also termed as the chronological age, (Rhodes, 1983). Psychological aging effects are the systemic changes that occur in personality, behaviors, needs and expectations, as well as, performance of individual’s prescribed roles. Therefore, the workers’ values, needs, and outlooks changes workers grow older. For instance, people, depending on the stage career they belong to (Wright & Hamilton, 1978), value the promotion opportunities and other old age benefits differently. On the other hand, biological aging is the change in an individual’s sensory motor performance and balance. When young workers approach old age, the significance of the physical demands of different job alternatives are weighed differently (Rhodes, 1983).

Another influence on work attitudes and behaviors associated with workers age are the cohort effects. These are the unique behaviors of different age groups due to differences in factors such as level of education or common life experiences. When young workers relative to the aged coworkers have as a group grown up with  little stigma attached to changing jobs due to advancement or for the sake of change (Arnold & Feldman, 1986). According to (Wright & Hamilton, 1978), the younger and older worker employee cohorts may value job mobility differently; hence, altering the relationship between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction among employees of different age groups. An important assumption is that employee age may influence the relation between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction due to the work experience conditions linked with it. When linked to workers’ age, the work experience effect and the relationship to employee age pertain to the impact of understanding about a job, and the influence of the job environment to a worker. The perceptions of workers regarding the aspects of work such as the job market environment conditions are subject to temporal changes (Rhodes, 1983).  Work experience is an important factor that influences workers’ perceptions of job alternatives and job satisfaction, also determines how workers respond to their perceived work alternatives (Hulin et al, 1985). According to the study conducted by Rhodes (1983), it is clearly stated that employee-employee education variable is important in assessing the relationship between employee age and the cohort effects. If employee age is a factor that moderates the relationship between perceived work alternatives and job satisfaction, then exploring the relationship between employee age and educational level.

Many scholars have addressed some aspect of the spirituality or cognition interface and the complexity it brings forth over the course of a person’s lifetime. Spirituality refers to the product of a lifespan maturational process. When at middle age, young people experience ambiguity and relativity of human life, they begin to understand moving beyond linear logical modes of understanding reality, hence, use more evolved means of conceptualizing the world, incorporating illogicality, feelings, as well as, logic when making spiritual judgments (Whyte, 1957). The same positive age-related ability to relate cognitive and emotional perspectives that lead to a greater comfort with metaphor and subjectivity were described by Levinson, et al (1974), not to be unlike Postformal Thought, thus spiritual intelligence enhances the adaptive nature of people (Fournet, et al, nd).). Moreover, there are other theories that have a common goal of making connections between cognitive development and spirituality. According to Mobley (1982), individuals have features of conceptions of their relationship to some external forces. She noted that some theories have suggested parallels of how children understand spiritual concepts or religion and the Piaget’s stages of cognitive development (Mobley et al, 1978)). Based on the Post Formal Theory, spiritual is connected by the Felt Connection Aspect. Furthermore, the Felt Connection Aspect of the Post Formal Theory is also related to the development of mature spirituality among individuals. It is important to understand the cognitive processes involved in complex, transcendent, spiritual knowing and how much thinking is necessary to form part of the skills, processes, and experiences of the normal developing person.

The concept of the Post Formal Thought can me modeled to assist in understanding how ideas of transcendence and a higher meaning in an individual’s life can be modeled into some cognitive language. Moreover, the model of the Post Formal Thought can help us in understanding the how the theory focuses on the Felt Connection with the transcendent that would greatly assist in this study. By describing other people, it is possible to understand how individuals do multiple realities knowing in different contexts. The analyses can be done through the Post Formal Thought that can enable us understand how different frames of realities can coexist in a coordinated manner within the human mind. The Post Formal Though can also assist in explaining how man can function on a daily practical level while experiencing the conflicting basic logical frameworks that underlie an individual’s spiritual knowing. There are four potential points of interface between two domains of post formal cognitive development and spirituality. These includes the form of this logic, the process of development to attain the thought, the connection between the types of thought, and the underlying logic as well as the felt connection, emotion, and will. Consequently, it also entails the multi-person and the cooperative cognition element. Concerning stated form of this logic, it is easy to examine information processing and the cognitive style of any person.

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