Do the Changing Characteristics of Jobs Impact Job Satisfaction?

15400504982_0b3fa842d1_zThe characteristics of jobs have evolved over the last handful of decades, but has the change in the nature of work impacted employee job satisfaction? A recent article published in Journal of Management, entitled “Placing Characteristics in Context: Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Changes in Job Characteristics Since 1975,” seeks to answer this question. Authors Lauren A. Wegman, Brian J. Hoffman, Nathan T. Carter, Jean M. Twenge, and Nigel Guenole studied changes in task identity, task significance, skill variety, autonomy, and feedback from the job to begin looking into the matter. The abstract for the paper:

Despite frequent references to “the changing nature of work,” little empirical research has investigated proposed changes in work context perceptions. To address this gap, this study uses a cross-temporal meta-analysis to examine changes in five core job characteristics (e.g., task identity, task significance, skill variety, autonomy, Current Issue Coverand feedback from the job) as well as changes in the relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction. An additional analysis of primary data is used to examine changes in two items related to interdependence. On average, workers perceived greater levels of skill variety and autonomy since 1975 and interdependence since 1985. In contrast, the results of a supplemental meta-analysis did not support significant changes in the association between the five core job characteristics and satisfaction over time. Thus, although there is some evidence for change in job characteristics, the findings do not support a change in the value placed on enriched work. Implications for researchers and organizations navigating the modern world of work are highlighted.

You can read “Placing Characteristics in Context: Cross-Temporal Meta-Analysis of Changes in Job Characteristics Since 1975” from Journal of Management free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to stay current on all of the latest research from Journal of ManagementClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Working image attributed to Boris Baldinger (CC)

The Power of Meaningful Work

Organizations engage in corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts for a variety of reasons, not least of which is the desire to attract investors, customers, and prospective employees. But a new study in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly shows that CSR efforts in the hospitality industry also benefit another key group of stakeholders—current employees:

pullquoteFrom the viewpoint of hospitality industry practice, the most important implication of our findings is that when hospitality organizations engage in CSR activities and make their employees aware of these activities, they can reap substantial benefits in terms of improved job attitudes and greater engagement in discretionary work behaviors. This is an important finding because research suggests that engagement in CSR may be driven by the objective of projecting a better image to financial investors, potential customers, or potential employees, or may simply reflect a trend to follow the latest management fashion, rather than being explicitly focused on promoting outcomes at the level of the organization’s employees. When engagement in CSR is not motivated by an explicit concern for the attitudes and performance of current employees, it is more likely that organizations miss out on multiple opportunities of making their employees aware of ongoing CSR CQ_v53n3_72ppiRGB_150pixWinitiatives. However, this study suggests that it is the employees’ awareness of these initiatives that drives results. Observation of CSR practices in the organization under investigation in our study and discussion with managers revealed multiple starting points for thinking about how hospitality businesses can foster greater awareness of corporate CSR initiatives in their employees.

The paper, “The Power of Meaningful Work: How Awareness of CSR Initiatives Fosters Task Significance and Positive Work Outcomes in Service Employees” by Steffen Raub of Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne and Stephan Blunschi of MIGROS, Switzerland, is forthcoming in Cornell Hospitality Quarterly and now available in the journal’s OnlineFirst section.