Organizational regards to job satisfaction is how the structure,

 

 

 

 

Organizational Behavior: Concerning
Job Satisfaction

Brett Van Boven

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Florida Institute of
Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

            Since at
least the 18th Century and the Industrial Revolution, when
bureaucracies and businesses became more focused on efficiency and goal
attainment, those who have studied organizational behavior have observed
changing characteristics of the workplace and how those affect both the
employee and employer. Psychology, Social Psychology, Sociology, and
Anthropology are all some of the Behavioral Sciences that are studied in order
to better understand Organizational Behavior. Within those sciences
Behaviorists study topics stretching from workplace culture, to employee
training, motivation, effective leadership and communication, diversity, and performance
appraisal. Needless to say, there are a litany of factors that need to be
looked at when dealing with Organizational Behavior. However, for the purposes
of this paper we will be looking at Job Satisfaction and the many ways that it
affects employees and employers in and out of the workplace. We will
specifically look at three articles that deal with Job Satisfaction and the
assumptions made by the authors.

            One of the
more interesting things I found while reading through all of these articles was
how much they focused on the effect of Job Satisfaction on the person’s
non-working life. A major focus of Ward and King’s focus is that many employees
expect that their work would give them “feelings of happiness and satisfaction
with life. Indeed, many people hope that work will provide life with a sense of
purpose or meaning” (Ward & King, 2017). While financial rewards are
expected from any job, feeling rewarded on a more personal level has become an
intrinsic part of whether a person feels a sense of satisfaction from their
employment. In 2018 live in a more “global” world. It has become increasingly
important for employers to retain the workforce they spend time and money
developing as there are lots of opportunities for a prospective employee. Ensuring
that your employees feel a sense of happiness in the work place is sure to keep
them engaged and working at a high level, but making them feel the same outside
of their job gives them what is known as meaningfulness of work, or “how much
purpose or significance work has” (Wrzesniewski, LoBuglio, Dutton, & Berg,
2013) to the employee. This again states that the well-being of the employee
outside of the workplace is just as important as that of it inside. As much as
a business puts into training employees to find meaning in their work and work
efficiently on the job to feel positive there, Wrzesniewski’s et al. (2013) article
makes the assumption that they must feel similarly about how their work affects
the world in order to continue working at an efficient level.

            Another
focus of these articles in regards to job satisfaction is how the structure,
and changes/innovations to that structure, of the job affects the employee.
Wrzesniewski et al. (2013) specifically talks about “job crafting”, or “the
process of employees proactively changing the boundaries that comprise their
jobs” as opposed to being reactive and changing things only after issues have
arisen. As the employee is able to redefine the boundaries of their job around
their situation themselves, as opposed to management directing them, this
creates a greater sense of self and greater investment in their work. This then
raises job satisfaction as there is a more direct correlation between the work
that is being done and the accomplishments that are made upon finishing a task.
Considering Ward & King’s assumption along with this we can see how
creating a more personal work environment would lead to the employee feeling a
greater sense of meaning outside of work as well.

            The topics
covered by the above-mentioned articles have been discussed and implemented in
my workplace. Especially over the past year my employer has made a concerted
effort to improve the culture and atmosphere at work as well as ensure that
they are remaining flexible. The nature of what we do, assisting students
through Degree and Certificate programs that will better their lives, already
creates a lot of meaningfulness of work. We are actively changing and improving
the lives of students as they, especially upon finishing the programs, are
better equipped to earn the career opportunities that they desire. This affects
not only them but their families and loved ones and can be a very rewarding
experience that creates a built-in sense of job satisfaction. But the monotony
of the work and restrictions that are placed on us (given the field we work in)
also create a very sterile and rigid workplace at times. Therefore, we’ve been
given the ability to create our own flexible schedules, work from home,
collaborate with other work teams to see their best practices, and are given
the freedom to handle our students how we feel is best, so long as it doesn’t
break any of the boundaries the organization has set for us. These changes have
greatly aided in bolstering our job satisfaction while in the office and our
life satisfaction as it pertains to our work.

            However, it
is also important to maintain a sense of order within the work environment
despite all of the changes that businesses are having to undergo. Gonzalez-Roma
and Hernandez (2016) look at how making too many innovations at once actually
works to break down the increased satisfaction and performance that is brought
about by all of this. In their article Gonzalez-Roma et al. (2016) state that
“innovation in work teams can be conceptualized as the intentional generation,
promotion, and implementation of new ideas within a team in order to improve
team functioning and its outcomes”. As previously mentioned, the globalization
of the workplace and the increased, proactive, focus on employee job
satisfaction creates an environment where innovation is constant. Even small
businesses are having to make changes due to e-commerce, social, and political
developments. They are a reality for every employer no matter their size and by
definition are bound to shake up any norms and procedures that a team or
employee has created to become more efficient. Because of this, “teams that
implement more innovations in a given period will have to deal with a higher
degree of uncertainty” and “this increased uncertainty will result in greater
feelings of tension and anxiety” (Gonzalez and Hernandez, 2016). Gonzalez and Hernandez’s
articles focuses on the importance of businesses to innovate and adjust to the
marketplace, but also have a well laid out plan and ensure they are not shaking
things up too much for their employees. Doing so risks the chance of lowering
overall job satisfaction and the “meaningfulness” of work for the employees.

            I feel that
these articles accurately portray what businesses should be focusing on to
improve job satisfaction, for today’s workforce, from a theoretical standpoint
but also mirrors the changes that are taking place in successful businesses.
Generation X and Y workers are much more focused on breaking out of traditional
workplace boundaries and creating a strong environment for creative thought to
thrive. Finding new ways to engage your workforce and create, not only a balance,
but a personal connection to their lives should lead to a stronger sense of loyalty
to their work and a satisfaction in what they do. But at the same time, it’s important
to understand that it is still a place of business and that there must be certain
rules and restrictions so that tasks can get done and be tracked. It would be great
to have everyone’s ideas implemented, but you run the risk of fracturing your employees
and everyone doing things differently.

            The study of
Organizational Behavior and all of its parts, including job satisfaction, still
require lots of research and study. Most of the articles I found on these topics
only really go back a couple of decades, and given the complexity of the Behavioral
Sciences it can take just that amount of time to collect data and see meaningful
change in attitudes. But seeing that the research being done mirrors positive real-world
changes is certainly a good sign for creating a sustainable workplace for future
generations.

 

 

References

Gonzalez-Roma, V. & Hernandez, A. (2016). Uncovering the
dark side of innovation: the

influence on the number of
innovations on work teams’ satisfaction and performance.

European
Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 25(4), 570-582.

Ward, S. & King, L., (2017). Work and the good life: How
work contributes to meaning in life.

            Research in Organizational Behavior, 37,
59-82.

Wrzesniewski, A., LoBuglio, N., Dutton, J., & Berg, J.
(2013). Job crafting and cultivating

            positive
meaning and identity in work. Advances in
Positive Organizational Psychology,

            1, 281-302.

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