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  • Summer 2012 Job Satisfaction Case Study
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Case Studies 

Job Characteristics

Job satisfaction is determined by the characteristics and the nature of the job itself. Nurse Karen has been a nurse for 20 years. She recently moved to a new town and works at a new hospital. She took a pay cut, but it was a sacrifice she was willing to make to be closer to her family. It is in a bad area of town, so many of the patients she treats are victims of gun shots, rapes, or drug abuse. She never had the time or resources to go back to school. Her only degree is as an RN. There is no opportunities for promotions for Karen unless she were to return to school to further her education. Karen is supervised by multiple head nurses that constantly criticize her work and how she does things even though it does not affect the quality of care for the patients. Since she is the newest nurse on the staff and the rest of them have been there for years, she does not get along well with or have anything in common with her fellow co-workers, and "a harmonious relationship with...colleagues and work is the primary target of 'job satisfaction'" (Celik, 2011). . Since the characteristics of her job are not ideal, Karen has low job satisfaction, which is clearly an issue, as "satisfied employees tend to be more productive, creative and committed to their employers" (Syptak, 1999).


Even though Karen has a good home life now that she is closer to her family and in a new home that she loves, the nature of her work is still really affecting her mood. Each and every day she sees innocent people being killed, badly hurt, raped, or overdose on drugs. It really bothers her when children are the innocent victims in these situations. She does as much as she can as an RN to help, for "most individuals sincerely want to do a good job", but it is often not enough for her (Syptak, 1999). After a few weeks of her new job, her whole disposition has changed and her outlook on life has severely changed. She is worried that her negative disposition will soon begin to affect her work ethic; she is aware that "full customer satisfaction and employee...job satisfaction" are inseparably linked (Celik, 2011).  Job satisfaction is and should be "on the top of the important targets for an establishment" which seeks to benefit its community and its employees (Celik, 2011).

Social Comparisons 

Ashley and Amy are co-workers in a large corporate office in busy New York City. They have known each other since they both were hired 10 years ago. They are good friends outside of the job as well. One day Amy came into work and she wasn’t her cheerful, welcoming, hardworking self. She complained a lot and was slacking on a number of tasks she was to complete within a day’s work. Amy’s actions led to her co-workers having to stay late hours at the office to make up for her lacking. After about two months of Amy’s grouchy attitude, lack of office work, and bitterness towards her co-workers it was decided that because Ashley was the closest to her that she should sit down and have a conversation with her. Ashley invited Amy to lunch and informed her about her negativity at the job which was affecting the attitudes of the other co-workers. Ashley also told Amy that it might be a good idea for her to take some time off work until she was competent enough to be successful at work. Amy appreciated the advice and took heed by taking some time off work off work, but most importantly she apologized to her co-workers for her actions. 


Brandon recently started his own business and hired six new employees all of who are family members. Brandon wanted to assure that each employee was satisfied, so he noted that there would be weekly meetings that all employees were required be at. The employees would have the chance to talk about the work week, and give new ideas and insight on what was making their job better and or worse. Weeks went by and the meetings weren’t held as planned. After about a month of business the first meeting was scheduled and of course the employees had a lot to say mainly negative feedback from lack of training to arguments amongst employees. Brandon sat in awe as he listened to each employee’s negative comments. That night when Brandon got home he felt disappointed in himself because the business was his life and he knew he had to make changes in order to remain successful. His new plan consisted of skilled workers and rewards for good performance. This meant that he would have to fire some of his employees, but he knew he had to do what would be best for the business. Brandon put the new plan into effect right away and he immediately saw a difference in the satisfaction among employees. Brandon also implemented a weekly performance appraisal. The rewards proved beneficial as well employees began to perform at their best and many rewards were issued. 


Jennifer and Courtney work at the same job and are constantly calling off from work. Courtney is a single mother of 3 and Jennifer is single with no children. Jennifer is unsatisfied with her employment at her job and has shown her dissatisfaction through tardiness and absenteeism. Jennifer has increased the amount of time of tardiness to an extent that she has become a no call no show on many occasions as of lately without any tolerable excuse. Her actions of absenteeism is on the verge of costing her a job. Courtney, however, loves the job Jennifer and her work at, but share the same amount of absenteeism as Jennifer. Courtney has recently given birth to an unhealthy baby that needs special attention and care in order to survive until it's immune system builds up enough defense to fight its diseases. Courtney's absences puts her job in jeopardy, but considering it is a legitimate excused absence and the love for the company, the company is willing to work with her issues that can benefit both parties. 


Ryan works as a low-level employee at a grocery market. He has worked at this job for five years and have not been promoted yet or received a raise. He has become very disgruntles with his job and the employee opportunities the company offers. For the past year, Ryan's is been debating for the past two years on whether or not he should just up and quit his job and how that would affect him life. He has applied to several different jobs looking for new employment, but has been unsuccessful thus far. He realizes the economy is doing very bad and not many jobs are hiring nor willing to pay the extra money for his experience and skill. The dead-end grocery job has Ryan on the brink of quitting anyways because the feeling of performance with no reward and the dislike for his job is taking over the benefit of having a steady paycheck every week which will result in turnover for the job.


In conclusion, the case study details an intricate outlook on job satisfaction. Six mini stories outline the major six components of job satisfaction which are: Job Characteristics, Disposition, Social Comparisons, Absenteeism, Turnover, and Performance. Karen's job characteristics and disposition are described as a nurse whose job depends on life and death situations for others. She is very happy with her family life, but her disposition shows that the environment she witnesses is unsettling also. Social comparisons is displayed between Ashley and Amy because Amy's negative attitude and actions were affecting the performance and attitudes of others, in which Ashley felt it was her responsibility to help Amy overcome this. Brandon shows performance is determined by him working with his employees to achiever better job satisfaction even if he does have to fire old employees that are family. Jennifer and Courtney are described as two people who live separate lives that affect their presence at work, but have two different excuses for their absenteeism. Ryan is shown as dissatisfied with his job which ultimately led to quitting and causing turnover for the company.


Syptak, M., Marsland, D.W., & Ulmer, P. (1999, October). American academy of family physicians. Retrieved from

Celik, M_._ (2011). A theoretical approach to the job satisfaction. Retrieved from

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