Job Satisfaction Questionnaire: a guide through the design process, conduct and survey analysis.
With CEO’s and HR Management striving to implement ways to enhance positive employee performance, often they ignore important factors that can easily go unnoticed. In this article my aim is to determine those factors from which relevant questions can be formed.
Constructing a Job Satisfaction Questionnaire involves a process that is known to many researchers as one of the most delicate and critical research activities.
The most delicate part of a questionnaire is to identify the right questions. The term “right questions” refers to questions that provide valid and reliable information for making a decision, testing a theory or investigating a topic. (Peterson, 2002)
- What is Job satisfaction?
Locke (1976), has defined job satisfaction as “a pleasurable or positive emotional state, resulting from the appraisal of one’s job experiences” meaning that job satisfaction is associated with an individual’s emotional reactions to a particular job.
- Why the need for job satisfaction surveys?
One of the major assets of an organisation is the people that it employs. This is because an effective organisation aims to involve good work performers.
“When practising managers endorse the proposition that satisfaction causes performance, they are thinking that satisfied people are more willing to do little ‘extras’ either spontaneously or when requested, and in general are easier to work with in a day-to-day relationship” (Organ, 1988).
Job satisfaction is of a great importance to an effective organisation and its employees as it has a great relevance for human health, considering that most people spend a large part of their working lives at work.
Apart from its humanitarian value though, there is also a great interest in seeing whether job satisfaction is related to or not, to job related behaviours such as productivity, turnover and absenteeism.
If low productivity, turnover and absenteeism are linked with decreased levels of job satisfaction then it appears to make economic sense for the organization to consider ways of improving job satisfaction in order to enhance work performance.
When engaging community groups in a company’s decision-making, questionnaires are one of the first tools that come to mind.
Questionnaires can be a valuable tool for gathering data, especially from a large sample population, as they save time by allowing each individual to quickly provide responses of their views.
Furthermore, questionnaires help to provide a rapid analysis and feedback to the occupational psychologist and more importantly they encourage objectivity by guarantying total confidentiality to the participants.
In this way individuals can give their views strongly without affecting relationships or even fearing that their responses may jeopardise their career prospects.
By using questionnaires, as a method to gather data, the researcher is also encouraged to plan each question carefully beforehand and consider how the gathered information will be analysed.
Last but not least, research bias can be checked in advance by piloting the questionnaire.
- Questionnaire Design Requirements
In order to extract only relevant information the construction of this questionnaire has taken into consideration the factors that influence job satisfaction. These factors are addressed and supported by various scientific studies.
The 10 most highly influential factors of employee performance
There are many factors which influence the performance of the employees. These can be the working condition, the salary, the job tasks, the relationships between employees and managers including levels of their communication between them etc. (Hoppock, 1935; Greenberg & Baron, 1983)
Bellow is a list of the factors I have taken into consideration while constructing this Job Satisfaction Questionnaire.
Findings from several studies underline pay as one of the most important factors influencing one’s level of job satisfaction. In a study conducted by Lawler (1971), pay has been identified as a determinant factor as most employees rated it as the most influential factor related to job satisfaction. Furthermore, according to Herzberg (1959), employees who are dissatisfied with their pay, is likely that they are also dissatisfied with their work.
2. Job Security
Job security has attracted a great deal of research interest in recent years. The importance of job security comes from the fact that it is vital for influencing work-related outcomes. Job security appears to be an important determinant of employee health (Kuhnert et al., 1989); for employee turnover (Arnold and Feldman, 1982); for job satisfaction and for organizational commitment (Ashford et al., 1989). Ashford et al., (1989) examined the impact of job insecurity on organisational commitment and job satisfaction and found that job insecurity is leads to reduced satisfaction and commitment. There is also evidence were job insecurity reduces job performance (Rosow & Zager, 1985).
3. Social Simulation
Work and social simulation is another determinant factor of job satisfaction. Employees prefer positions were they are active rather than bound to a working routine that is likely produce feelings of boredom. Employees who perceive their job as a way of making a career out of it rather than seeing it as a temporary position, are more likely to prefer challenges in their working tasks and seek further developmental opportunities in their working role (Greenberg & Baron, 1983).
4. Demographic Factors
Studies have shown that age, race and gender have important effects on job satisfaction. In a study conducted by Kalleberg and Loscocco, (1983) older workers were more satisfied than younger workers and minority groups of different ethnicity were less satisfied than the rest of the workers (Amy S. Wharton, Thomas Rotolo, and Sharon R. Bird ,2000). However, the effects of gender on job satisfaction vary with the level at which an individual works. A study by H. Jack Shapiro and Louis W. Stern found that professional women such as clinical psychologists, social workers, and medical workers experienced lower levels of job satisfaction than their male counterparts (Shapiro & Stern, 1998). Among non professionals the reverse was true. In a consequent study, job satisfaction was examined across graduates five years after they had graduated from university and the results show that at higher occupational levels men expressed more satisfaction than women in terms of pay and opportunities for advancement (Philip E. Varca, Garnett S. Shaffer, Cynthia D. McCauley, 1983). In addition, Charlotte Chiu (1998), found that female lawyers had significantly lower job satisfaction than male lawyers, and that the reason for the difference was that women feel they have fewer opportunities for promotion than men. The present questionnaire adds another demographic factor such as the type of job in order to make vertical and horizontal comparisons between and within types of #jobs and departments.
5. Opportunity For Promotion
Employee perceptions about opportunity for promotion are also another determinant that influences job satisfaction. One survey found that a perceived lack of promotion opportunities was the strongest reason why federal employees left government service (U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board 1987).
6. Recognition & Appreciation
In a study that was carried out in 23 Romanian organisations, recognition and appreciation were found to be motivating factors responsible for increased effectiveness of employees at work and their high levels of job satisfaction (Farhad Analoui, 1999).
7. Interpersonal Relationships
Several studies take a social approach to job satisfaction, examining the influence of supervision, management, and co-worker social support. An individual’s level of job satisfaction might be a function of personal characteristics and the characteristics of the groups to which she or he belongs to. The social context of work is likely to have a significant impact on a worker’s attitude and behaviour Relationships with both co workers and supervisors are important. Some studies have shown that the better the relationship, between fellow workers and between workers and their immediate boss, the greater the level of job satisfaction (Arne L. Kalleberg and Loscocco, 1983).
8. Opportunity To Use One’s Abilities
Internal rewards involve job characteristics, or the nature of the task that an employee performs. Employees generally need and like jobs that make use of their abilities. (National Commission on the State and Local Public Service, 1993)
9. Working Hours & Physical Conditions
Two elements related to job satisfaction are the working hours and the physical conditions under which workers spend their working days. According to Siegel and Lane (1974), the level of importance to some factors is strongly related to job type.
10. Adequate Authority & Sense of Control
Another important component of job satisfaction is the worker’s attitude toward the job. The intrinsic rewards of a job, such as a sense of control over one’s work and a feeling of accomplishment are important determinants of job satisfaction. Employees are more satisfied when they have adequate freedom and authority to do their jobs and to choose their own method of working. When workers have various autonomous tasks in their jobs, they tend to have more of a sense of control. Previous studies have shown that job satisfaction is negatively related to the performance of routine tasks, and also that job satisfaction is positively related to the performance of more complex and autonomous tasks (Gary Blau, 1999).
Types of Job Satisfaction Measures
There are two types of job satisfaction measures, single question versus multiple question measures. Single question measures ask a question such as ‘are you satisfied or dissatisfied with your job?’ (Quinn, et al., 1974, p. 51) were the respondent is presented with a scale of measure from satisfaction to dissatisfaction. However, in multiple question measures the respondent can rate various aspects of their job on a scale running from levels of dissatisfaction to levels of satisfaction.
In a study conducted by Oshagbemi (1999), single-item measure overestimated the percentage of people satisfied with their jobs and grossly underestimated the percentage of dissatisfied workers. Thus, the present questionnaire is using the multiple question measure. Furthermore, the questionnaire is using simple to understand questions in order to avoid ambiguity or problems related to misinterpretation.
Formulation of statements
The formulation of the statements has been kept simple in order to avoid any response biases by leading the respondents to agree or disagree with the statement. However there may be the tendency to guess what it might be socially acceptable and respond according to this. This is called social desirability effect, and can be avoided by confirming that that the respondents’ answers will be kept strictly confidential and therefore they should express their true feelings against the statements. For this reason no names are asked to be noted down. Therefore, the attempt of the respondents to make a good impression would be minimised (Saughnessy & Zechmeister, 1997).
Finally, the layout of the job satisfaction questionnaire has been condensed in one page just in case that multiple pages act as a de-motivator for the respondents to comply with the surveys’ most important requirement; the willingness of the workers to respond in motivated and genuine fashion.
Feedback & Analysis of Results
Respondents: All participants who take part in this research project have the right to be informed about the results of the research. In this research project participants will be able to get a feedback by contacting the researcher by e-mail that is given on the cover of the questionnaire and the form of consent.
Client: The client will receive a detailed analysis from the results obtained by the researcher in order to inform him/her and an organisational level regarding any possible problematic areas and therefore to suggest immediate action for improvement. The results will be communicated in a precise and understandable way using on site presentations and comprehensive graphical figures that should make it easier for the client to grasp important information. Thus, the client will be informed about the factors that are most likely to affect job satisfaction in order to evaluate the current situation of the organisation.
Statistical Analysis & Presentation
Step One: This can be done as follow; for each given statement (11 in total) a graph will be plotted that will present the percentages of the employees’ levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction including those that ‘were not sure’ answers.
Step Two: A next step can be based on the type of job satisfaction measure. In the present research project the type of job satisfaction measure is a multiple question measure (7 answers in total). These answers constitute of three levels of dissatisfaction, three levels of satisfaction and one level of ‘not sure’ thus, three categories. By adding up the percentages of each category and illustrate this by a graph display it should make a more complete picture of the current data.
Step Three: The last part of the report considers the relation between these many job quality variables and job satisfaction. Regression analysis can show whether overall job satisfaction is strongly correlated or not, with all of the job quality measures. Thus, regression analysis could act as a useful summary measure of a number of job characteristics that are typically not observed.