Job Satisfaction and Productivity across Gender

free essayJob satisfaction has continuously been considered a very important attribute in the labor market because of its usefulness in the measurement of workers’ utility in any given workplace. The variation of the levels of job satisfaction has been proved to relate to job performance, employee retention and absenteeism, which are all related to productivity. Most of the past researchers have focused on the effect that job satisfaction has on the performance of individual employees. The topic has attracted much debate with many organizations concentrating more on the need to ensure that their employees are satisfied, as a way of ensuring improvement in productivity. The same has been the position of the European Union which has emphasized that job satisfaction has a positive effect on firm performance (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012). The hypotheses point to the need of establishing relation between the two since the implication is that whenever there is an improvement in job satisfaction, both the employers and the employees will benefit.

There have been interesting findings regarding the factors influencing job satisfaction and productivity among different genders. Clark conducted a study in 1997, in which he proposed that women working in similar rankings with men should be equally satisfied with their jobs. His findings were made irrespective of the fact that the average job for males was higher in income and stature than that of females. However, males reported lower levels of job satisfaction. Another study conducted in Britain by Souza-Poza in 2003 also reported same findings. Therefore, it will be very interesting to find out the various factors that explain these variations. This study has been informed by such findings (Vlosky & Aguilar, 2009).

The study goal is to learn how job satisfaction affects productivity, and why it differs between men and women. It will be conducted among the employees of the UAE’s Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, its branch in Abu Dhabi. The UAE was especially appropriate for this study based on the fact that it has often been known to be an open society where women enjoy more freedom. The country has been ranked ahead of other countries in the Gulf region by the World Economic Forum annual gender gap Index; 103 out of 134 in the 2010 ranking (Shallal, 2011).

Study Purpose

The purpose of the study is to investigate how job satisfaction affects productivity, and why this effect differs between men and women.

Study Objectives

  1. To establish the effects of job satisfaction on employee’s productivity
  2. To establish the reason for job satisfaction affecting the productivity of male employees differently

Research Questions

  1. How does job satisfaction affect employees’ productivity?
  2. Why does job satisfaction affect the productivity of male employees differently?

Problem Statement

Job satisfaction is thought to be a key to productivity, and it differs between female and male. This research aims at establishing how job satisfaction affects productivity, and why it differs between men and women employees. Thus, the study will also find out the causes of the difference in job satisfaction between the two genders and the way it affects productivity. The study goes beyond looking at job satisfaction and productivity to enable it provide the present picture of men’s and women experiences in the labor market. Moreover, irrespective of the fact that there has been improvement in the level of participation of women in the labor force, the gender gap in terms of earnings and productivity has continued to widen across various jobs and sectors (World Development Report, 2012).

The UAE has been ranked among the fastest growing economies in the region of the Middle East. The nation has defied the gender barrier vice to prove itself an open society. As such, its women are said to relatively enjoy much freedom in comparison to other countries in the Gulf region. According to the report released in the year 2010 by Booze & Company, the participation rate of women in the UAE was 59%, only followed by Qatar at 36.4 percent (Shallal, 2011). The progress has been a result of change in attitude of the society regarding the working women. As early as 2007, the country had been able to have its women contributing $3.4 billion irrespective of their relatively smaller percentage of the entire workforce (Shallal, 2011). This is an indication that given a chance, women can greatly contribute to the development of any society. Irrespective of such revelations, not many studies have been conducted to examine how job satisfaction affects productivity and the difference in this effect between the two genders. A society or organization that wants to maximize on the contribution by women must know the specific factors that contribute to their satisfaction to be able to secure their optimum productivity.

Thus, even though the findings of this research will not solve the problems related to correlation between job satisfaction and productivity, it will help in highlighting various job satisfaction related issues that cause a reduction in the level of productivity. It will then offer recommendations on how the Technical regulatory Authority and of course other organizations can improve their productivity based on this correlation.

Theoretical Explanation

For a better understanding of employees’ job satisfaction, it is necessary to understand the Maslow’s theory of needs hierarchy. He rated the various kinds of needs that every human being seeks to achieve and grouped them into five different levels. The level one in the hierarchy is the psychological need. In this category of needs are the basic needs that people pursue to live. They include food, financial benefits and housing. Falling in the second level is safety need. It concerns the need for security. Safety need requires employees to be able to feel that they are protected from both emotional and physical harm. At the third level is the social need. This involves the freedom, which employees have to relate while at their workplaces. This is followed by the esteem need. For employees to feel highly satisfied with their job, they must have a feeling of being recognized and respected. Therefore, an organization that wants to benefit from job satisfaction must ensure that its employees’ self esteem is boosted through the creation of positive self-images. At the last level is the self-actualization need. It involves employees trying to master their organizational status and coming up with ways of having their career improved. Normally, employees try to achieve this through being able to perform tasks that are more challenging while also working on improving their career. This means that the company is able to empower its workers to meet all the needs thus ensuring the optimal utilization of its employees (Naeem, et al., 2011).

The principle concept of the hierarchy of needs theory is that employees will always be motivated to seek job satisfaction through the fulfillment of their predominant needs, which has a major influence on their present situation. For instance, an employee seeking to make his/her boss happy can simply become satisfied by receiving recognition for every of his/her accomplishment at the workplace. Such an employee should also be given opportunities aimed at enabling him to build a relationship with others. Meeting employees’ need within the job environment and dimension makes them more satisfied and wanting to be more productive to better their organizations.

The Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Productivity

Job satisfaction has been discussed by many scholars in terms of employee’s well being and its connection with employees’ job performance. Certain scholars have gone ahead to establish their linkage with how happy or productive workers will be. Still, others have looked at it in terms of how job satisfaction is related to job performance. The worker’s happiness and productivity based hypothesis is that people who are not happy tend to put more emphasis on what they consider negative about their work and work environment. This is what leads to low performance.  This is mostly applicable in those jobs which require an employee to socially interact with coworkers and customers (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012). Moreover, workers who are not happy with their jobs may also negatively affect the performance of their colleagues by creating disruptions.

Job satisfaction or the well being of employees affects the productivity in a number of ways. First, employees’ productivity as measured by their supervisors has a direct impact on their productivity. This especially results from lower tendency to unconscious or conscious shirking like reduced tendency to slow down the rate at which one is working. Secondly, research has also established that satisfied workers may equally have the tendency to show more of citizenship of the organizations they work for as well as reduced counterproductive organizational behavior. Employees who are satisfied with the way they are treated by their organization have also shown lower tendency to involve themselves in strikes or take any industrial action against their organizations. Thirdly, people who enjoy a high level of job satisfaction exhibit decreased tendency to be absent from their work places. This does impact on the organizational productivity in a positive way (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012).

Studies have shown that employees who are experiencing low job satisfaction levels normally exhibit greater illness development tendencies. Some of them have revealed that they even stay away from their workplaces while in the real sense they are not sick. In terms of productivity, any worker who is absent from work will score zero. The effect of absenteeism on productivity remains the same even if one is replaced or if his or her colleagues arrange and make up for him, since there will still be a fall in productivity. Moreover, most people develop intentions to quit their jobs or to temporarily separate themselves from their workplaces because of low satisfaction. In this case, any organization will have to replace its employees who have quit. Apart from the lost accumulated experience, the process of replacement will obviously come with additional costs translating as reduced productivity. Thus, the effect will be felt irrespective of whether the employees who quit are those who can be considered less or more productive.

Another argument has been that employees who are satisfied with the jobs they do are less likely to involve themselves in an accident. This translates into less damage to organizational assets. The overall impact is less time being spent by both employers and their employees to correct the damage done by the accident and therefore improved productivity. In a nutshell, accidents are normally responsible for the direct loss for the involved worker as well as wider disruption in the process of production (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012).

A study done by Iafaldono and Muchinsky in 1985 found out that there is a modest average correlation of 0.17 between different job satisfaction and job performance facets. Whenever the attention of research is on the overall satisfaction as is experienced by employees, the average correlation will normally be higher. This would be because of the kind of workforce that a given organization has. For instance, a workforce of high productivity firm will most likely have highly educated employees. In this case, any failure to have employee characters controlled may cause an upward bias in the correlation between productivity and job satisfaction (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012).

Hockerman & Ilmakunnas (2012) note that though the analyses of most of the past studies on the linkage between productivity and job satisfaction are done at the level of an individual, it can be argued that it can also be aggregated to the firm level. Another study was conducted by Harter et al in the year 2002. It was a meta-analysis which considered nearly 8,000 firms from 36 different organizations. It found the job satisfaction correlation with business unity productivity to be 0.20 (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012).

How Job Satisfaction Affects Productivity of Male and Female Workers

A number of studies have been conducted to determine factors that affect job satisfaction of female and male employees. A number of factors can help explain the variation. A study conducted by Clark in the year 1997 and that by Metle in 2001 showed that the female and male employees do obtain satisfaction in their jobs from different factors. The two studies found out that even in situations where male and female employees held similar job positions, the level of satisfaction they expressed were very different. The two studies also found out that averagely, female workers are lowly paid and are in most cases employed in positions of low stature. This was found to be the biggest factor lowering the level of satisfaction and productivity of female employees. However, irrespective of such disparities, a higher proportion of the women employees who had taken part in the study admitted to be satisfied with their current work positions than that of the males (Vlosky and Aguilar, 2009).

The two studies also found out that job satisfaction among female employees declined as the education level was increasing. In fact, it was evident that employees who had attained higher levels of education had higher expectations regarding the goals and the level of income they were obtaining from their work. It was also evident that organizations with a gender-balanced working environment had male and female workers exhibiting similar job satisfaction levels. On the other hand, organizations whose workforces were male-dominated had most of their men being demoralized because they felt a low level of job satisfaction (Vlosky and Aguilar, 2009).

Another study conducted in Eastern Europe in 2003 established that male employees were more likely to receive their managers’ help towards advancement and were more satisfied while performing their work compared to their female counterparts. The study linked the female workers’ reduced level of satisfaction and low productivity to being assigned tasks which are less challenging and which are not commensurate with their educational backgrounds (Vlosky and Aguilar, 2009).

On the other hand, another study that had been conducted by Heywood in the year 2005 in the United States reported that men are generally experiencing lower job satisfaction than their female counterparts. The same is true with workplaces which are female dominated. In this case, the level of job satisfaction exhibited by men will be lower. Another interesting finding in Heywood’s study was that the value that men and women attribute to flexibility differs. Whenever this variation is controlled well, their organizations will be able to eliminate the effects of gender composition on the level of satisfaction of its workers, both male and female (Vlosky and Aguilar, 2009). This study will look at this issue among the employees in Telecommunication Regulation Authority in the UAE.

Methodology

The study was based on both secondary (review of the literature) and primary (questionnaire and interview) methods. Having gone through the literature review in the previous chapter, chapter three will look at the primary aspect of this study.

Data Collection

The researcher used questionnaire and unstructured interview for this study. 50 questionnaires were distributed to employees working at the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority. 80% (40) of the distributed questionnaires were collected back. The questionnaire method was chosen based on two factors. First, it allowed the researcher to gather the responses of the participants in a standardized manner. This meant that data collection was done in a very objective way. Secondly, it enabled the researcher to collect information from all the selected groups of participants at once (Murphy & Dingwall, 2003). The questionnaires were delivered and responded to shortly before the employees settled for work in the morning. Participants had no problem with this since they had been requested to report an hour before the usual reporting time. Noting that the standardized nature of the questionnaire does not allow soliciting for more information, the researcher conducted interview with at least two employees (one male and one female) from every department and all the HR managers. This enabled the researcher to seek explanations on the issues that had not been clear from the questionnaires (Murphy & Dingwall, 2003).

Sampling and Sampling Method

Presently, the Telecommunication Regulation Authority has over 200 employees distributed to work in the authority’s eight departments. To ensure high quality and representativeness, the study will consider 50 employees, 10 from each of the 5 departments. The departments that will be considered are: Regulatory Affairs, Corporate Communications Affairs, Support Service Affairs, Legal Affairs, and Finance Affairs (Telecommunication Regulatory Authority, 2014). The researcher used the traditional non-probability sampling method, chain referral sampling and targeted sampling in selecting the 50 participants. To qualify for the study, one ought to have worked for TRA for at least one year and had to be between 18 and 58 years of age. The HR managers from all the eight departments were considered for the study, and 9 employees from every department. 60% of the participants had attained university degrees, 15% had attained post high school, while the remaining ones had attained high school level certificate only. The researcher selected participants based on the referral chains and insider knowledge assisted by the HR managers in charge of the different departments of the Authority.

Validity Issues

A number of issues could compromise the validity of this study. First, though the UAE had tried to free women, the nation was still affected by general practices of Muslims in which women were not public figures. This could make it hard for women to be accessed to take part in the study. The second issue concerned the representativeness of the study sample. To avoid misrepresentation, the researcher worked closely with the HR managers who availed the necessary demographic data for the employees. This made it easy for the researcher to determine the composition of the sample. The researcher also met a deeply rooted and strong concern for privacy. However, he managed to assure the respondents that the information they were going to give would be treated with a high level of confidentiality. Moreover, the researcher will conduct member checking to increase the validity through elimination of any information deemed inaccurate or biased (Murphy & Dingwall, 2003).

Research Procedure

The researcher began by seeking permission from the relevant authorities at the Telecommunication Regulatory Authorities. This was then followed by designing the data collection tools that the researcher used. Then, there was conducted a pilot study prior to the actual study. The pilot study enabled the researcher to test research collection tools, seek the consents of the participants and develop rapport with them (Cresswell, 1998).

In the next stage, the researcher conducted the actual study, during which data was collected. This involved the use of the interview guide and questionnaires to request for explanations from the participants. With the data from the field, the researcher then proceeded to the analysis stage. The process involved phenomenological analysis of data. At this level, as Cresswell (2013) advices, the researcher was able to come up with various thematic areas/factors which were common for the most participants. In this way, he managed to come up with a general way of describing how the level of job satisfaction affects productivity and how this effect differs with one’s gender. The researcher then proceeded to the initial description of data where obtained information was categorized into the kind of experiences the TRA employees had reported to undergo. Finally, the report was presented to the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority and other interested parties.

Ethical Considerations

The ethical issues that the researcher foresaw are majorly those dealing with permission from the relevant authorities, consent of the participants, and confidentiality of information about the participants.  Thus, the researcher sought to obtain the permission of the TRA. Moreover, he sought to have formal consent from all the selected participants before the actual study. The researcher also guaranteed the participants of their confidentiality and anonymity by assuring that their identities would be concealed. The researcher also complied with the principles of ethics that do not harm through adhering to the acceptable routine practices in scientific research.

Data Analysis

The study aimed at finding out how job satisfaction affects productivity and how the effects vary with gender among the employees of Telecommunication Regulation Authority in the UAE. Job satisfaction was taken to mean a collection of feelings that employees held towards their jobs. A number of variables/factors were used to establish the level of satisfaction among the employees and the way these impacted on their productivity across gender. It was evident that an individual employee’s job satisfaction is affected by different factors. They work together in influencing job satisfaction and therefore employee’s productivity. An employee normally obtains satisfaction in his/her job place based on his/her perception of the situation and what would be gained in exchange of the effort. This will obviously influence the level of productivity of any given employee.

Analysis was done with respect to both personal and job related factors that were found to influence job satisfaction and productivity among a significant number of employees across gender. Personal factors like the level of education, age, and sex and job related factors like the type of work, pay, organization’s size, coworkers, conditions of work, and opportunity for advancement were considered in the study. In general, the outcome was as shown in the table below.

S.

N

Satisfaction Level Female Male Total
1 Strongly dissatisfied 2 4 6
2 Dissatisfied 3 6 9
3 Neutral 3 4 7
4 Satisfied 8 10 18
5 Strongly Satisfied 4 6 10
Total 20 30 50

Results of Data Analysis

There was a revelation that apart from the aspects of job satisfaction that are positive, there are also the negative aspects of job satisfaction. The respondents were allowed to identify various aspects in the two categories. The common thing among the responses was that positive satisfaction results from good experiences. The motivators that were common for all the respondents were achievements, the work itself, recognition, advancement and responsibility. On the other hand, the respondents associated dissatisfaction with bad experiences resulting from such factors as personal life, supervisors, company policy, fellow workers, and working conditions, collectively described as hygiene factors. This was a response to the question which required the respondents to describe the occasions when their productivity was either boosted or lowered.

The study revealed a great correlation for respondents who were either in professional or supervisory jobs. The reason was that once an employee reaches these levels, the effect of the external pressures on their performance becomes minimal. Such factors as wage incentives begin to have limited influence on them and their concern becomes dependent on their level of helpfulness, motivation and creativity. It was also revealed that one of the strategies that managers used to enable their organizations benefit from the knowledge of the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity is through coming up with programs like mood induction. The program was thought to lead to more original and better problem solving, positive attitude towards colleagues, and greater generosity and helpfulness. These factors in turn boost employees’ satisfaction and therefore organizational productivity.

Job satisfaction was also found to be correlated with other desirable behaviors which could help improve peoples’ productivity at workplace. Whenever people’s behavior is in order, there would be less sabotage, gossiping or spreading rumors with bad motives, stealing, or working with low quality on purpose. The effects were stronger among those whose age was over 30 years. This was true with over 80% of the respondents in this age bracket. The reasoning was that they could only take part in such forms of behavior if they wanted to express a very strong sense of grievance.  Instead, they engaged in behaviors that were in line with the values of the organization where they work. For instance, the HR managers’ responses indicated that this category of workers were more dependable, cooperative, punctual, helpful, and tidy. They also complained less, were angered less frequently, and created less waste. With these factors, comes the retention of employees and high job satisfaction levels, which in turn boost productivity within any organization.

Another issue that is related to job satisfaction and productivity is absenteeism. Workers who were more satisfied with their jobs stated that they had fewer cases of absenteeism. This group of employees turned up for work almost on a daily basis with the aim of continuing to enjoy the work related benefits. The positive relationship between satisfaction and productivity derived majorly from promotion, work itself and pay. Job satisfaction was also found to be related to unexcused or voluntary absence from work, especially not necessitated by sickness. This is because of the warrant for immediate replacement, which was expensive for the organization. Equally affected by low satisfaction were women who were contacted to do manual work, younger workers who had not risen to higher ranks, and those who work in very large departments.

Regarding the issue of why the effects of job satisfaction on productivity are different between male and female workers, it was evident that female and male employees obtain satisfaction in their jobs from different factors. The study confirmed the findings that men and women holding same job positions showed different levels of satisfaction. Moreover, female workers who took part in the study averagely held positions which attracted lower income and stature compared to the male participants. Yet, the proportion of female participants who admitted to be comfortable with their current work positions was higher than that of the male.

Another interesting finding was that job satisfaction among the women who were employed at Telecommunication Regulatory Authority declined as the education level was decreasing. It was evident that employees who had attained higher levels education had higher expectations regarding the goals and the level of income they were obtaining from their work. In addition, some women had been discouraged to give their best in work because of the feeling that they were discriminated as far as qualification and seniority is concerned.

Equally, it was evident that whenever there was a gender balance in a working environment, both men and women would exhibit the same levels of job satisfaction. On the other hand, a men-dominated workplace had its men admitting that they felt very low levels of job satisfaction. The number of men who indicated that they would be satisfied with their jobs in this environment was lower than that of the women who admitted of the same in workplaces dominated by female workers.

Limitations of the Research Project

The major limitation of this research is found in its scope. First, the researcher was not able to review all the relevant literature on the topic. Equally, the study considered a sample of 50 employees of an organization that has more than 200 employees. It could attract criticisms concerning its representativeness. Another problem that normally arises in the determination of the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity is the possibility of having reverse causality. For instance, an employee who exhibits good performance may express high satisfaction. There is another complexity arising from the possibility of having both job satisfaction and productivity being affected by unobservable characteristics of a given workplace (Hockerman & Ilmakunnas, 2012).

Recommendations for HRM Practitioners and/or Future Research

The study revealed the need for organizations/employers to continuously carry out studies into the feeling of their workers regarding the work they do. This will help organizations to limit such cases as absenteeism, people quitting jobs, low self-esteem and unnecessary conflicts among many others. In this way, companies can be able to improve their level of productivity. Equally important is the need for organization to close down on gender disparity. This is the main factor affecting the level of job satisfaction among women employees and therefore their productivity. This is the area that needs further research.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the study established that there was a relationship between job satisfaction and productivity. Equally, the differences in the factors that cause satisfaction among male and female employees explain the difference in the effect of this relationship on productivity. A number of factors seemed to have the same influence on both male and female employees. For instance, the younger employees (below 30 years old), the subordinate staff, and those who had only attained secondary education were generally not satisfied with the jobs they do. Because of the low level of satisfaction, the rate of absenteeism among them was high. This was the same with other mistakes like conflicts which were also rampant among these employees. It was impacting adversely on their level of productivity. Equally, most of them were quitting their jobs and had to be replaced every now and then. On the other hand, those who had attained a high level of education, were in senior positions, or earned good pay were generally satisfied with their jobs. However, the level of satisfaction was different across the two genders with the main determinant being whether the female workers had a feeling of biasness in promotions and qualifications.