Thursday, November 18, 2010

The impact of job satisfaction on performance

Many organizations have similar objectives and structure. An example of such an objective could be tied to an organization’s social mission, profitability objectives, or governmental practices of bureaucracy. By effectively understanding the relationship between job attitudes, organizational attitudes, and organizational performance one will identify variables of importance within an organization. In addition, such a theoretical model will provide a foundation for future research or practical application. This post will provide a clear definition of variables within such a model, justify how each variable is related, and conclude with a discussion about future research considerations or immediate practical applications.

Job Attitudes

Job attitudes are a vital part of an organization’s success. Such attitudes can determine the satisfaction, motivation, and sense of social responsibility an individual may have within the organizational structure. According to Cascio (2005) employee selection is a critical part to make sure employees have the correct attitude. The selection phase in this process is “the central phase of matching individual and job” (Cascio, 2005, p. 53). Over time the impact of this process and importance of job attitude has been a subject of study and debate. However, one will find a couple of important factors related to this importance.

Job Satisfaction

Saari & Judge (2004) “identify major gaps between HR practice and the scientific research in the area of employee attitudes and job satisfaction” (Saari & Judge, 2004, p. 16). Job satisfaction and non-work related satisfaction have been under study for quite some time. Employees that are satisfied with life in general tend to be more satisfied at work.

Social Exchange

Social exchange seems to be a large part that could make up an employee’s attitude. As a result one effective model might focus on the social interaction and team work including team based performance incentives. However, the organization also must be concerned with their output within society and the satisfaction of their stakeholders.

Job attitude directly ties into the attitude of the organization as a whole. As a result the effective selection of employees as identified above can be critically important for the organization. Organizational attitude can also have an impact on the overall performance. As a result, the next section of this post will identify variables and how managers can ensure the organization is presenting the correct attitude to stakeholders.

Organizational Attitudes

Cascio (2005) suggests that the utility theory is an effective way to manage organizational attitudes. This theory, in part, helps managers decide on “which applicants should be hired, who should be promoted, how much money should be allocated to research and development” and so on (Cascio, 2005. P. 44). However, organizational attitude might be somewhat swayed by such an approach. The real question at hand would be what is the perceived attitude an organization might have.

Objective Driven

An organization of any kind must be driven by specific objectives or a mission. These objectives will help define a clear attitude of the organization. For example, Ben & Jerry’s, Inc. had the primary objective focused on their social well-being as first and foremost. As a result they helped people within the organization by offering the high pay to employees even at the bottom of the organization. Ben & Jerry’s, Inc. also purchased ingredients from organizations that were also socially responsible. The attitude of the organization was one of belonging and caring when in fact they made ice cream.


Innovation within organizations is critical in today’s global environment; however, not all organizations innovate. The openness to innovation as seen by organizations helps employees meet their creativity and social needs. Edwards et al (2008) claims innovation can be a motivation to employees. One might question the long-term impact this type of motivation has on employees. Google, Inc. for example thrives on the best known openness to innovation in the world; however, it seems the impact of this innovation is immeasurable as results from innovation come years later or often not at all.

Organizational Performance

At large, organizational performance seems to be the single most important aspect of an organization. However, the purpose of this research is to help industrial and organizational psychologists with the process of understanding how job and organizational attitudes relate to such performance. The variables of both job and organizational attitude have been defined above. This section will define the variable for organizational performance.
Financial and Non-financial Results

Some of the results of a well tuned organization are financial and non-financial depending on the type of organization. For the most part these results seem to be impacted by a large diversification of events and again the specific tie between attitude and performance does not have ample empirical data to support this hypothesis. What one can claim is a slight relation at best.


The performance of an organization is most often measured by growth. Satisfied employees are more likely to be loyal to the organization according to Cascio (2005). However, what makes an employee satisfied is still at question. Many factors such as their satisfaction off work, social satisfaction, and rewards are only a few. In most models the primary focus is on a reward structure that motivates employees. As a result the organization reached growth goals.

Benefit to Society

The overall outcome of the organization and how it impacts society must be considered as part of the performance. As one can see in Appendix B, relationships and trust might be tied to job and organizational attitudes. However, the social responsibility seems to be the single factor between these three representations.

The Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Perfroamnce

Research has shown that there is little conclusive empirical relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. One such example according to Christen et al (2006), suggests "the link between these constructs is weak at best" (Christen, Iyer, & Soberman, 2006). If one defines job attitude as related to job satisfaction, then the emphasis within an organization need not be extensive. However, Christen et al (2006) does recognize “actions to increase job performance can also increase job satisfaction” (Christen, Iyer, & Soberman, 2006).
Other constructs that one must consider as part of this complex equation might be related to cultural differences that can be found within today’s organizations. According to Yunxia & Jianmin (2010), the “relationship between job satisfaction and job performance may vary based on a variety of factors, including culture” (Yunxia, Z., & Jianmin, 2010). One final factor that must be taken into consideration could be age as well. As the end result one might consider the relationship only at a social level.

Finally, an improved organizational model could provide a better connection for organizations between job and organizational attitude and organizational performance. According to Doest et al (2006), “personal goal facilitation through work offers a promising source of insight into job attitudes and well-being” (Doest et al, 2006). However, there is not enough empirical evidence to suggest the opposite is also true. As a result, the relationship between job attitude and organizational performance is still being researched. One clear relationship that is identified when job attitude, organizational attitude, and organizational performance in aligned side by side is the output within society and potential richness of social exchange.


Effective organizational theory, structure and design can help an organization reach their objectives. Cleary, there are a number of approaches an organization can consider. As a result of this presentation one can clearly see the amount of focus, areas of additional research or in some cases a clear area of practical application. In regards to research one can see the need to better understand the factors outside of attitude and performance that might also have a direct impact on performance. In addition, one can see the importance of social interactions and the relationship of social exchange as presented in Appendix A for immediate practical application. Finally, the importance of understanding attitudes is apparent but not clear. Industrial and organizational psychologist must help organizations understand factors to ensure employees and organization have the right attitude to reach organizational objectives.

Cascio, W. F., & Aguinis, H. (2005). Applied Psychology in Human Resource Management (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Christen, M., Iyer, G., & Soberman, D. (2006). Job Satisfaction, Job Performance, and Effort: A Reexamination Using Agency Theory. Journal of Marketing, 70(1), 137-150. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.

Di Mascio, R. (2010). The Service Models of Frontline Employees. Journal of Marketing, 74(4), 63-80. doi:10.1509/jmkg.74.4.63.

Doest, L., Maes, S., Gebhardt, W., & Koelewijn, H. (2006). Personal Goal Facilitation through Work: Implications for Employee Satisfaction and Well-Being. Applied Psychology: An International Review,55(2), 192-219. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2006.00232.x.

Edwards, B., Bell, S., Arthur, J., & Decuir, A. (2008). Relationships between Facets of Job Satisfaction and Task and Contextual Performance. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 57(3), 441-465. doi:10.1111/j.1464-0597.2008.00328.x.

Foy, A. (2004). Conducting Primary Research Online. Marketing Review, 4(3), 341-360. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.

Saari, L., & Judge, T. (2004). EMPLOYEE ATTITUDES AND JOB SATISFACTION. Human Resource Management, 43(4), 395-407. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.

Yunxia, Z., & Jianmin, F. (2010). Does the Relationship Between Job Satisfaction and Job Performance Depend on Culture?. Academy of Management Perspectives, 24(1), 86-87. Retrieved from Business Source Complete database.