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Is job satisfaction, the same as motivation?

No. Job satisfaction is a complex and multifaceted concept, meaning different things to different people. It is more of an attitude, an internal state. It could, for example, be associated with a personal feeling of achievement, either quantitative or qualitative (Mullins, 2005).

Moreover, job satisfaction acts as a motivation to work. If employees are happy and satisfied, they will be more committed to their work and will have a good image of the organization (Bashir and Ramay, 2010).

Edwin Locke (1976) gave a wholesome and complete definition of job satisfaction- “a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experience.”

There are three important features of job satisfaction that an organization should keep in mind:-

  1. Organizations should be guided by human values so that they are oriented towards treating workers fairly and with respect. In such cases, the assessment of job satisfaction may serve as a good indicator of employee effectiveness.
  2. High levels of job satisfaction may be a sign of a good emotional and mental state of employees.
  3. The behavior of workers depending on their level of job satisfaction will affect the functioning and activities of the organization’s business.
  4. Thus, job satisfaction will result in positive behavior and vice versa.
  5. Job satisfaction may serve as indicators of organizational activities and indicate the organizational units in which changes should be made to boost performance.

Job satisfaction is beneficial to each and every employee and is of utmost importance to the organization he/she works for. Thus, it should be examined from a realistic as well as from a practical managerial-organizational effectiveness perspective.

Satisfaction and Performance:

  • The “satisfaction-performance controversy” has been continuing for years with assumptions regarding a positive, though a somehow weak relationship between the two variables.
  • Satisfaction may not necessarily lead to individual performance improvement but does lead to departmental and organizational-level improvement. Thus, satisfaction plays a vital role in the study and the application of organizational behavior.

Satisfaction and Turnover:

  • High job satisfaction helps in keeping the turnover rates low while on the other hand, if there is considerable job dissatisfaction, it leads to high turnover.
  • Sometimes, turnover tends to be higher during times of low unemployment and expanding job opportunities as workers perceive the economy to be growing and hence, find it easier to consider changing their jobs with the hope of increased satisfaction towards their job.

Satisfaction and Absenteeism:

  • Many variables affect absenteeism, including the degree to which people feel that their jobs are important. Employee absenteeism causes serious additional costs for the company, therefore, managers should pursue ways of reducing it to its minimum.
  • The best possible way of reducing employee absenteeism would be through an increase in job satisfaction since satisfaction is potentially under the organization’s control.

By following the given guidelines, organizations can enhance the job satisfaction of its employees:

  • Making jobs more fun
  • Having fair pay, benefits and promotional opportunities
  • Matching people with jobs that fit their interests and skills
  • Designing jobs to make them exciting and satisfying
  • Praising employees for good performance
  • Keeping satisfactory hours of work
  • Availability of leave and rest
  • Giving freedom to seek help in solving problems

Research reports that highly satisfied employees tend to have better physical health, they learn new job-related tasks quickly, have fewer on-the-job accidents and have fewer grievances.

Thus, it can be concluded that job satisfaction as a variable is important not only to the employees but is important for improving the quality and quantity of production in organizations as well.