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Paper Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. The influence of job satisfaction on staff turnover and past studies
  • Definition of job satisfaction
  1. Factors that determine job satisfaction
  2. Conclusion
  3. Objectives of the research
  • Hypotheses
  • Methods




    Since 1930s when the concept of job satisfaction was pioneered, it has contributed a significant body of knowledge in the study of employees. In fact by the year 1969, there were over four thousand publications on the subject. Many researches have been carried out on the subject however, over the years there has been various opinions which differ on the applicability width of the research findings of job satisfaction as well as the theories related to it (Evans, 1998). Staff turnover has been a major problem that almost all organizations are struggling to reduce as a way of reducing costs. This has been necessitated by the increasing pressure of competition as a result of globalization and the demand for efficiency.

    Unfortunately most organizations have focused on attaining organizational commitment as a way of reducing employee turnover. Particularly because many research findings have suggested that there is not relationship between job satisfaction and staff turnover and that staff turnover can only be explained by organizational commitment of employees or the lack of it. (Iverson & Buttigieg, 1999;Jaros, 1997). This study will focus on establishing the relationship between job satisfaction and staff turnover as well determining the priority factors of job satisfaction as determined by employees. In addition the study will find out if there is a difference between employees’ and employers’ perceptions of job satisfaction.

    The study will search through previous researches and theories that have tried to explain the causes of staff turnover. This is meant to establish the width of applicability of those findings and theories. It will also examine various definitions of satisfaction in an attempt to find out what an organization should focus on as it tries to ensure that employees are satisfied with their jobs. In addition the study will focus on the factors that determine job satisfaction, as this will help in finding out what the priority factors of job satisfaction are as perceived by employees. This will eventually explain the influence and importance of job satisfaction on staff turnover.

    The influence of job satisfaction on staff turnover and past studies

                A number of past studies have reported mixed findings on the causes of staff turn over with some arguing that the decision to quit from an organization is determined by the level of commitment that an employee has on the organization that he is working for (Iverson & Buttigieg, 1999). They also suggested that only organizational commitment was directly linked to job commitment. Most of those researches explained that though job satisfaction was related to staff turnover, the relationship is established through organizational commitment (Thatcher et al. 2003). The proponents of these theories argued that in tackling staff turn over the management should put most of their focus on how to influence commitment to the organization instead of job satisfaction (Igbaria & Guimaraes 1993).

    On the contrary other studies have equally shown that job satisfaction has a significant influence on the employee’s intention to quit. Low levels of job satisfaction are a key predictor of turnover. This was a conclusion that Clark (2001) came up with after examining voluntary job quitting on seven waves of a yearly British panel survey. He found that dissatisfaction on various facets of job will lead to the decision to quit. These include dissatisfaction on pay, job security, hours of work and personal discretion. Boswell et al (2005) also found that lower job satisfaction levels was common to employees who had quit their jobs and moved to other organizations in a similar position as in the previous organization.

    (Cranny, Smith & Stone, 1992) referring to staff of home cares for the old, said that by ensuring employees are satisfied the management will reduce the risk of losing them to other competitive opportunities which are increasing in number day-by-day. However some studies have explained that job satisfaction can only be a good predictor of employee turnover in an environment where there are few job opportunities to change to (Carsten & Spector, 1987). This therefore means that if the local employment rate is high then job satisfaction may not be the only influencing factor.

    There are also some thoughts that have been fronted that question the applicability of both views. First focusing on the organizational commitment view, it was found out that the research findings of (Thatcher et al. 2003) only focused I T employees in the public sector. Therefore such employees valued job security more, in addition there were no many alternatives as there are today hence explaining the result. This can be confirmed by a research that was done on Thai IT employees in the private sector that showed that employees are highly influenced to quit their jobs by the level of satisfaction they obtain from the current job. One of reasons for the differences in the findings is that public employees generally do not have a high demand for job satisfaction as compared to those in the private sector. (Termsnguanwong, n.d)

    Definition of job satisfaction

    One conceptual problem that faces research on job satisfaction is that there is no an agreed definition as to what job satisfaction is. There are a range of definitions that have been fronted and this has contributed to challenges of analysing as well as interpreting the concept. (Locke, 1976), defined it as an emotional state that is positive, which is as a result of appraisal of ones job or even job experience. It can also be defined as an affective reaction that one exhibits to his job after comparing the actual results of current job with expected or desired results (Cranny, Smith & Stone, 1992). Hoppock, (1935) who can be regarded as the pioneer of the term, defines it as a combination of both psychological and environmental response that leads someone to either like or dislike a job.

    What comes out from the above definitions is the emphasis on reaction at the end of an event or an activity. However the above definitions are only describing the possible results or outcomes of the term (Mumford, 1972). Therefore there are two aspects about job satisfaction that come up from these definitions and many others. The first one is how elusive job satisfaction concept is, which shows how hard it is to capture its meaning. Secondly is how complex is the whole subject of job satisfaction. There are two concepts that also try to explain how job satisfaction is achieved. The first one focuses on satisfying personal needs and it states that job satisfaction can be achieved by meeting personal needs of the employees. The second one focuses on meeting expectations that the employees have when joining a certain job (Evans, 1998).

                It therefore comes out that real consensus on the meaning of job satisfaction has not yet been reached. In fact most researchers argue that it is easier to identify as well as measure job dissatisfaction compared to job satisfaction.         Therefore a good definition should include desires and goals as well as interests and values of the employee. In addition reaction as part of the defining words should capture the response to activities, conditions as well as events that compose the job. The reason for this is that different people doing the same job can have different levels of satisfaction (Evans, 1998)

    Factors that determine job satisfaction

                There are various factors that influence satisfaction and these factors vary in importance depending on an employee’s needs and expectations. First we have leadership, which state that the extent to which an employee will be satisfied is largely determined by how the leadership interacts with the employee. One of the reasons for this is that employees generally believe that leaders represent the views of the organization. Therefore the degree, to which the supervisor or leader can form positive relationship with the people under him and provide a supportive environment, will determine how much the employee likes the job. This also includes providing feedback and helping the employee in attaining goals by removing obstacles (Tsui &Lau, 2002).

    Second factor is reward, which includes the salary and other work-related benefits. One of the reasons why people go to work is to get money to meet their needs. Therefore an employee will feel satisfied with a job to the extent that that job enables him/her to meet his or her needs. However many people are always reluctant to admit that money forms a significant part in influencing their perception over whether they are satisfied with a job or not. This also includes the remuneration system, whereby it examines whether the employee perceives the payment system as fair. Therefore the extent to which an employee is satisfied with the reward system will determine his job satisfaction level (Robbins, 2009).

    Thirdly we have job characteristics, which explain what duties to be carried out and how. A job that involves high interaction with colleagues as well as one that has various tasks to be performed will be interesting tomostemployees and as a result will be satisfying. However if the job has few repetitive tasks, it becomes less interesting, as a result it’s not satisfying. In addition employee empowerment is another side of job characteristic. The more an employee feels empowered the more satisfying he will feel about a given job. Empowerment means how much control the employee perceives he has in executing organizational tasks (Warr, 2007).

    Another factor that affects job satisfaction is shared vision and objectives. This factor states that the organization and the employee must have a point where their goals meet. For instance an employee may want to climb up the career ladder and yet the organization he works for does not have promotion opportunities. Therefore that employee will be influenced by his career dream to seek otheropportunities; as a result his commitment to his current job will be low. Therefore it clearly comes out that there are various factors that influence job satisfaction. These factors vary in importance from one employee to another; this is also true to employees who are doing the same job in the same organization and in the same position (Robbins, 2009).


    Job satisfaction has been a complex and elusive concept since its inception and this has led to many definitions thatare not embraced by all. As a result of the many definitions, many findings have been put across to try and analyse the concept. Previous researches that had been done had showed that there was no direct relationship between staff turnover and job satisfaction. Proponents of these findings argued that job satisfaction and staff turnover had only an indirect relationship, whereby the former derives its relation ship to staff turnover from organizational commitment. However various researches in the recent past have shown that job satisfaction is directly related to staff turnover.

    Such findings have explained that when an employee is not satisfied, he/ she will think of quitting. However this theory has also been faulted in that with a low employment rate it cannot be used to predict staff turnover. After evaluation of both studies I have come to a conclusion that job satisfaction has a direct relationship with staff turnover. In addition job satisfaction is influenced by various factors and each employee has factors that he/ she values most while evaluating his/her job satisfaction. Therefore what might influence an employee to be satisfied with a particular job is different from another though he/she may be working under the same conditions.

    Objectives of the research

    To find out if there is a relationship between job satisfaction and staff turnover

    To find out if job satisfaction factors as perceived by employees differ from managerial perceptions

    To find out priority factors of job satisfaction as perceived by the employee


    H1 Does the level of job satisfaction influence an employee’s decision to quit?

    H2 What is job satisfaction to an employee?

    H3 What factors does an employee value to determine if a job is satisfying?



    The research will use descriptive survey and descriptive correlation. In descriptive survey the researcher asks the respondent to respond to questions about the incidence and nature of variables as well as their distribution. In addition it’s mainly used when identifying population characteristics. Therefore this will be used in the first and the third hypotheses. Descriptive correlation, is used whereby two variables are being observedand it seeks to find if there is a relationship between them. This will be used in the second hypothesis. Particularly because it examines whether there is a relationship between job satisfaction and staff turnover. The survey research will use questionnaire and interviews to gather primary information as these two techniques provide adequate information(Ary, Jacobs, & Razavieh, 2002; Gravetter & Wallnau, 2004)

    The respondents include employees of various companies, at least 1000 of them. Managers from each of the companies where employees have been interviewed will be interviewed to find their views on job satisfaction factors. One of the challenges is thatit’s not easy to find employees who have changed employment;therefore the researcher will use intention to quit instead of actual quitting; whereby employees will be asked what will influence their intention to quit.



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