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Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction

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Section 1: Aims And Context Of Project

Job satisfaction has received substantial attention from both researchers and practitioners due to its significance in achieving organisational goals in the private and public sectors. Researchers in the human resource field have long probed the relationship between variables related to job satisfaction and employee performance (Locke, 1976; Currall, et al, 2005; Qureshi  et al.,2011; Rehman & Waheed ,2011; Rehman, 2012), and productivity ( (Marks, 2006; Bataineh ,2011). However, there is little agreement on how contributory factors play a significant role in job satisfaction (Elding, Tobias, & Walker, 2006).

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Therefore, one of the most challenges for any management or organization is to find out the factors that affect employees’ job satisfaction and use them to motivate the workforce, and explore the consequences of job satisfaction to handle it in the appropriate way. Saari & Judge (2004) argued that, whilst there were many studies on job satisfaction, there was little on the causes, effects and measurement of employee attitudes and the relationship with job satisfaction.

This study aims to establish the level of job satisfaction in a range of public sector workplaces in Saudi Arabia, and identify the intrinsic and the extrinsic factors that influence job satisfaction among middle managers in the public organisations. It also aims to explore the effects of job satisfaction on both organizations and the middle managers in the Saudi public sector.

The public sector in Saudi Arabia is the direct source of civil services, encompassing health, education, security, transport, and in some cases, accommodation; or indirectly through the joint venture system between the Saudi elite and their partners, global firms. Whilst the government provider system is devolving towards the private sector to share responsibility for services, citizen satisfaction requires a high standard of such services for the country to function successfully and to continue to grow. There is a therefore need to understand the perceptions of public middle managers toward their employment, and towards the population they serve.

There are few recent studies on job satisfaction in the public sector in Saudi Arabia. Recent studies on public sector satisfaction in Saudi Arabia relate to nurses (Alasmari & Douglas, 2012; Michell, 2009), and academics (Al-Rubaish et al., 2011; Iqbal et al., 2011).

On the other hand, Job satisfaction has been identified as a factor in both employee absenteeism and intention to leave a job (Murrells, Robinson, & Griffiths, 2008; Consiglio, Borgogni, & Alessandri, 2010). In Saudi Arabia, up to a quarter of the workforce is frequently absent, and employees quit without notice (Alnaqbi, 2011). As an example, Iqbal, Kokash, and Al-Oun (2011) studied organisational commitment and job satisfaction in Saudi universities, finding high dissatisfaction, and the authors recommended tenure, increased monitoring of the faculty’s perceptions on their jobs, greater communication between the administration and faculty, and reduced wasta (nepotism).

This study proposes to investigate the factors that contribute to employee satisfaction in the Saudi public sector, and from the findings, make recommendations to the Ministry of Civil Service. In the private sector, the lack of interest of Saudis and their indifferent commitment to employment is being addressed through “Nitaqat”, a government policy to attract and retain Saudis in the workplace; however, there may also be a trend toward decreased public sector commitment such as depicted by Swales and Al Fahdi (2011) in Oman and Al-Yahya (2009) in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia this is of concern, particularly given the sector’s perceived highly attractive remuneration and working conditions.

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