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  • Summer 2014 Job Satisfaction Case Study
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Overview

Job Satisfaction refers to the amount of pleasure that an employee may have toward his or her position within a company. Most people can relate, a majority of our time is spent at work, a place that we are expected to be at for many hours out of our week, away from our home, friends, family and pets, not being able to do the things that we may want to do. 

"Work occupies a large part of each worker’s day, is one’s main source of social standing, helps to define who a person is, and affects one’s health both physically and mentally. Because of work’s central role in many people’s lives, satisfaction with one’s job is an important component in overall well-being”. (Smith-Academia.edu, 2010) 

People develop feelings about their jobs, good and bad, which measure the amount of satisfaction that they have. While some individuals may be completely satisfied with their job, others may be unsatisfied. 

Scenario

James Tyson has worked as an account representative for JK Clothing.  He began as an account representative in 2004 and moved up into a supervisory position for accounts management in 2012.  Mr. Tyson’s yearly evaluations show that he was a top ranked employee who had achieved several awards for top commissions.  He is a smart, business savvy person who loves to meet and interact with people.  As a supervisor for accounts management, Mr. Tyson was able to acquire new clients and manage their accounts along with existing ones.  He was able to utilize business/management and people/communication skills.  It was a dream job which gave him many opportunities to grow.  In 2013, the company was forced to close 25 stores and lay-off 125 staff members. 

JK Clothing has been going into a financial strain and force to close 25 stores, which lead to the laying off of 125 staff members.   A plan of formed to help save the company by re-organizing their business operations.  They began by creating new job descriptions and changing job responsibilities.  James Tyson became the manager for business operation.  He went from an interactive position to a desk job where he sits all day.  He no longer participates in face to face meetings with the clients.  His day entails crunching numbers, sending emails, calling clients, and directing 12 staff members.  Many employees have transferred to different departments or they have left the company.  The ones who have stayed are also unhappy with their new job descriptions and duties.  People can often be heard complaining about all the changes.  Mr. Tyson is trying to make the best of it in hopes that he will be given an opportunity to work on the client side once again, but he his beginning to lose faith.  He is afraid to approach his manager about his unhappiness with his new job responsibilities because he knows the company is going through a difficult time and they are struggling to hang onto good workers. 

Lately, James Tyson has become complacent in his duties.  Coworkers are beginning to complain about his hours as Mr. Tyson barely present for an 8 hour work day.  He is also starting to miss more days of work.  His job performance is faltering as he acquires fewer client accounts and clients withdraw their JK Clothing accounts.

Problems 

There are many problems that James Tyson is facing which are affecting his overall job satisfaction at JK Clothing. While the position change at JK Clothing was necessary for the company to stay in business, it affected its employee’s job responsibilities and increased their duties.  The upgrade to manager for business operations was beneficial to Mr. Tyson’s career as it moved him upward in the company.  He has only been unhappy since the company’s reorganization of job characteristics.  In his previous position, he spent more time working face to face in a more personal setting with his clients. James Tyson currently spends more time sitting at his desk, communicating with his clients via phone or email so he has more time to manage the business numbers and oversee operations within the company. Overall, he is unhappy with his new position because he believes that he is not getting what he wants out of it. James is also unhappy with his new position within the company because of Social Comparison. Every day he listens and is affected by his fellow co-workers and employees who are venting about this unhappiness within the company and poking fun at him for his new, not so involved, position. Social comparison is a problem for Mr. Tyson as his emotions toward his new position and the company is affected by the negativity that he hears about daily. Finally, due to the negative environment that Mr. Tyson has been working in and his new uncertainty in his position within the company, James has also been dealing with performance change. Even though unhappy, James goes to work, trying to make the best out of his day because he likes his place of work and knows it is his responsibility. 

Solutions

 

James Tyson is currently unhappy with his position due to the lack of interpersonal social activity, social comparison amongst his employees and the stagnation from working from his desk for the majority of his day. However, Mr. Tyson was selected for this position due to the amount of confidence higher-level management has in his abilities to handle the tasks. With this new position, James can somewhat dictate his daily schedule, considering he essentially works based on his clients and employees activities. He understands that his position is important and that he has to be at the office to help lead his team.  James Tyson has decided to perform weekly one-on-one meetings with his employees to provide feedback about their meetings with clients.  These meetings will also help him to better evaluate his own performance as a leader. In doing this, Mr. Tyson allows himself to be more personal with his employees and to increase his level of face-to-face interaction; this has also has increased levity amongst his employees and decreased the amount of social comparison Mr. Tyson initially felt.  He is still feeling somewhat overwhelmed as he tries to find time to both manage the business assets of the company and to meet with his team, but as the time passes he is becoming more effective in his work habits.  Mr. Tyson has found an improved outlook on his new job responsibilities, which has benefited his job performance and decreased his absenteeism form work.  James Tyson’s continual improvements upon his job stresses have gotten the attention of his manager.  Mr. Tyson has felt more confidence and willingness to discuss his desire to work with the clients face-to-face and his manager has allowed him to take on a couple of face-to-face meetings to see if he is able to fit them into his already busy schedule.

Summary

James Tyson has experienced a series of motivated and demotivated factors associated with the Job Satisfaction Theory.  First, the Job Characteristic had change for Mr. Tyson as the company down sized and re-organized.  He went from being socially active at his job to being isolated where his primarily interactions were by computer and/or phone. Social comparison among his peers also changed as a result of his new job allowed him to be more flexible with his hours.  Mr. Tyson’s performance was negatively affected as lack of enthusiasm caused him to miss work. Lastly, Mr. Tyson faced criticism from his employees and management for his faltering work ethic.

James Tyson was able to recognize how these changes were affecting his overall performance and he began implementing new tactics to help improve his job satisfaction. Mr. Tyson was able to use his organizational skills as a manager and change some of the aspects of his job characteristics. He began connecting better with his team and recognized the importance of feedback for his team and himself.  Mr. Tyson changed his perspective and found the personal interactions he was missing from client meetings could be found in working more closely with the members of his team. The company benefited from his interactions as the team found Mr. Tyson more relatable, thus decreasing the amount of social comparison they had for him. Once James Tyson was able to increase the satisfaction of his job, he was able to start focusing on his overall performance. After he was performing at a higher level, he was granted more freedom from his manager to once again work with clients. The overwhelming feeling which James Tyson once felt has diminished over time as he grows more confident in his job responsibilities. He is now able to find gratification from his job because he was able to change the characteristics of the job.

Resources

Bucheli, Marisa. Melgar, Natalia. Rossi, Maximo. Smith, Tom. Job satisfaction and the individual education level, re-assessing their relationship. Academia.edu. http://www.academia.edu/343402/Job_satisfaction_and_the_individual_educational_level_re-assessing_their_relationships 2012.




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