Job satisfaction and employee performance


Job satisfaction and employee performance


Job satisfaction


Job satisfaction refers to the extend to which an individual’s emotional feeling and particular facets of overall job specification (Fisher 2000, p. 25).  Job satisfaction, according to scholars, is of two distinct types, the cognitive and affective jobs satisfaction.  Affective job satisfaction is more about emotional satisfaction of an employee. While cognitive job satisfaction is the degree of particular traits of  the job description.  The cognitive characteristics involve facets such as pension arrangements, working hours, pay and reward schemes.  Therefore, job satisfaction is generally the contentment of an individual with his/her job.

More often, cognitive job satisfaction may facilitate the bringing up of affective job satisfaction, but the two types of job satisfaction are not related and are distinct.  Performance on the other hand refers to a process in which  organizational goals, objectives, skills, competency requirements, delivery results and development plans are aligned with the employee shared measures.  The performance of employees is all about learning and improvement, so that the company achieves its overall business strategy and create a quality performance workforce.

There are several theories that try to explain job satisfaction in relation to employee performance.  The theories aim at explaining how individuals find fulfilled; mind and  contentment with their job occupation.  The theories have suggested that, occupations are not just places where people go to earn a living, but rather important places that people realize happiness and identity in life.

Affect theory of job satisfaction

The proponents of the affect theory suggest that an individual’s job satisfaction is mainly influenced by two factors (Thompson& Phua, 2012, p. 302).  These two factors are a person’s expectation of the job and the actual result that the individual gets from his/her occupation.  This works in a way that when the gap between the two factors is considerably small, the individual has high chances of being satisfied with the job.  The greater a gap that exists, the bigger the discrepancy between what the employee expects and the actual thing that the job offers.  This affects an employee negatively therefore lowering their morale while at their work.  This results in a poor performance of the individual in their responsibilities, ultimately affecting the overall performance of the organization.

Another belief of the affect theory underlines the fact that there is a probability for an employee to prioritize one facet of the job more than the other facets.  And the priorities of one employee are different from the priorities of the other employees in the organization (Saari & Judge, 2004, p. 402).  Chances are that when priority of an individual are met, that individual is positively impacted to perform effectively and negatively impacted when the priorities are not met.  For illustration, if an employee values family connection, then the employee will be satisfied with a job that gives a high degree of family connection and will be less satisfied with a job with little family connection.  The extend should be considerate since too much of that particular aspect of the job may result in dissatisfaction, therefore lowering the performance of that individual.

Dispositional theory

This is a well known theory that believes that individuals have inner dispositions, which cause people to have preferences toward a particular level of job satisfaction, notwithstanding one’s job description.  This is because researches show that satisfaction of a job, tend to become stable with time, across jobs and careers.

The disposition factors that determine an individual’s job satisfaction include self efficacy, neuroticism, self esteem and locus of control.  The theory suggests that an employee with higher self esteem and high believe in their competence may result in greater job satisfaction thus increasing employee performance.  Similarly, consistent believe in one’s control over their lives without the influence of external forces, results in higher job satisfaction.  Last, higher levels of neuroticism of an employee than the average person leads to less job satisfaction since such an individual is emotionally unstable.

Two-factor theory of job satisfaction.

Another theory of job satisfaction is the two-factor theory.  The theory explains the factors that determine the level of job satisfaction, in which they may lead to an employee being satisfied or dissatisfied (Roberto & Joaquín, 2008, p. 30).  The factors include motivational factors, that facilitate employee performance of their roles, and hygiene factors at work that not necessarily motivate employees to improve their performance, but their inadequacy may lead to job dissatisfaction.  Motivating factors include rewards, work promotions and recognition, while hygiene factors include company policies, working environment and nonfinancial benefits.  The theory suggests that the presence of  these two factors lead to a better performance of roles and responsibilities of employees, thus achieving their job satisfaction.  The absence on the other hand, leads to poor performance and therefore leading to job dissatisfaction.


Employees at their workplace tend to improve their performance in relation to the level of job satisfaction they get.  Job satisfaction is ensured through many aspects and they include the following

Employee benefits

Employees are always encouraged to improve their performance at work and increase their effectiveness, when they receive benefits.  The benefits may be financial or nonfinancial.  By consistently and constantly providing employees with benefits, employees will ensure that their efforts are aligned to improve results thus developing their overall performance.  Workers appreciate any form of benefit offered to them by the company, and they will certainly increase their productivity since they feel that their efforts are being appreciated by the company.  The employee benefits may include medical care, disability insurance and child care.  Companies or organizations with a structured benefit plan have satisfied employees that will improve their work performance at any given opportunity.

Companies which lack benefit programs for its employees, perform poorly and employees are most likely to leave such companies due to dissatisfactions.  Workers tend to perform better when they are safe and believe that benefits are guaranteed.  Thus just as the two factor theory suggest, motivated employees are satisfied with their roles in organizations and thus encouraged to increase their performance unlike dissatisfied employees.  Gone are the years when, salary was enough motivation for employees to join and perform in organizations.


Satisfaction on the part of employees is considered as the most vital contributors of continuous performance of organizations (Carole, & Jeremy 2007, p. 307).  Motivation plays an important role in ensuring job satisfaction.  Motivation is driven by many factors, among them money. Money is a core incentive for employees to perform.   This is due to the fact that money acts as a measure of the value that the organization places on the employee.  The employees use money to determine their value to organization compared to others.  Furthermore, as the theory of affect state, employees expect the value of their performance at work should be proportional to the money they receive.  An added motivation  will therefore reduce the discrepancy that exists therefore increasing employee satisfaction.  Increased satisfaction in turn leads to improved performance.

Another motivating factor that increases the performance of employees is participation in decision making (Ashforth  & Humphrey, 1993, p. 89).  The degree  of participation in decision making determines job satisfaction.  Employees are more motivated to perform if they are  involved in making decisions of the company, this is because they feel a sense of belonging hence achieving high levels of satisfaction.  Redesigning of work is another motivation that employees find effective in increasing job satisfaction (Alf, & Bassem, 2003, p. 370). Redesigning implies that new parameters are included in the job  description and thus the new responsibilities and challenge motivates workers to perform.  Furthermore, management has the discretion to offer high performing employees with rewards.  This is greatly significant in increasing the performance of employees.  Employees in organizations with structured rewards, tend to be more satisfied with their job and will certainly work harder so that they are recognized (Steel, 2012, p. 34).

Just as the affect theory suggests, the motivation factors vary from one employee to another.  Some employees may be motivated by the money, others their priority motivator may be goal setting while other, participation in decision making.

Woking environment

A conducive working environment is the first step in the job satisfaction process.  The dispositional theory suggests that understanding of the peoples inner facilitates in determining what motivates employees.  This is dearly crucial to satisfaction process.  A conducive working environment calls for more than provision of employee needs.  The company needs to have friendly environment that is sensitive to the welfare of employees and that which develops skills and talents of workers.  A positive environment that provides day care, bus passes and discount information makes employees to be satisfied with their work and therefore facilitate their performance improvement.  A conducive environment makes employees loyal to the company and motivated.  Those companies that do not provide conducive environment risk less job satisfaction and may ultimately lose their talented employees to their competitors (Cohen & Golan, 2007, p. 24).

Developing workers potential and skills

Training and educational development encourage employees and enhances their productivity in organizations.  Training makes sure that peoples’ skills are strengthened and weakness is minimized.  New and innovative ideas come up and thus employees have more confidence over their roles .  This makes them to be satisfied with the roles they perform.  Confident employees perform better than those without confidence, this is because the confident individuals have job satisfaction.  The turnover rate is considerably reduced in organizations that have training and educational programs.  Trained individuals are more willing and capable of assuming control over their roles (Xiao-Ping & Jiing-Lih 2001, p. 110).  They complain less and communicate effectively throughout their operation.

In conclusion, the level of job satisfaction determines the level of employee performance.  Just as the theories suggest, in the application when the employees are satisfied with their work, they are motivated to increase their productivity.  There are several factors that motivate employees to be satisfied with their roles , but these factors vary from one individual to another. Poor or lack of job satisfaction can have negative consequences on organizational performance, success and deviance.  Therefore the relationship between  performance and job satisfaction is a straightforward , where a satisfied worker performs better.  


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Ashforth, E., & Humphrey, R. (1993). Emotional labor in service roles: the influence of identity. Academy of Management Review, 18, 88–115.

Carole, P., & Jeremy D. (2007) ““High commitment” strategies: It is not what you do; it’s the way that you do it”, Employee Relations,  29 (3), 306 – 318.

Cohen, A., & Golan, R. (2007). Predicting absenteeism and turnover intentions by past absenteeism and work attitudes. Career Development International, 12 (5), 416-432.

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Roberto L., & Joaquín C. (2008) “A model of high performance work practices and turnover intentions”, Personnel Review,  37 (1), 26 – 46.

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Xiao-Ping, C., & Jiing-Lih F. (2001) “Transformational and transactional leader behaviors in Chinese organizations: Differential effects in the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan”, Advances in Global Leadership 2 (2), 101 – 126



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