Job satisfaction

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In industrial psychology, job satisfaction is understood to be the attitude of an employee towards their work . It is expressed as an emotional response to a situation and represents several related attitudes. Job satisfaction is of particular concern to management theory . The opposite is work suffering .


Since the two-factor theory of Frederick Herzberg (with "hygiene factors" and "motivators") is the job satisfaction of comprehensive research. Locke estimated that around 3350 relevant papers had already been published in 1976.

To examine job satisfaction, communication scientist Irene Neverla differentiated between job satisfaction and job satisfaction using the example of the journalist profession . Similar to the two-factor theory, she differentiated between “objective conditions of employment” (such as adequate pay, job security and tolerable workload) and expectations going beyond this. After Neverla, dissatisfaction among journalists was expressed above all in connection with factors related to the concrete livelihood. Similarly, in 1991 a distinction was made between (low) job satisfaction and (high) job satisfaction for daycare workers. The sense of such a distinction is doubted, however, where a change to another employer is hardly an option, for example in the case of teachers.

In Germany, since Herzberg's reception, two waves have been observed: One can be traced back to Walter Rohmert's evaluation scheme for human work , in which the hierarchy of practicability - tolerability - reasonableness - satisfaction was postulated. The other was initiated by the EFQM , which in 1994 listed job satisfaction as a “result factor” in its widespread quality model. This was changed in the 2000 version, but interest in job satisfaction was rekindled.

After decades of his own research, Oswald Neuberger came to the following key statements in a collective lecture in 1985:

  • The closer you get to the concept of job satisfaction, the more blurred and meaningless it becomes.
  • In the case of an expression of satisfaction, it is difficult to determine whether it is actually caused by the situation ("strength through joy ...") or simply comes from the fact that one has learned not to wish anymore ("... or euphoria in unhappiness?")
  • A connection between job satisfaction and job performance , motivation or any other relevant business performance indicator could not be proven.
  • Humanizing work cannot mean making people happy” (p. 137).
Claim and Reality

Agnes Bruggemann presents job satisfaction as the result of an inner comparison of one's own needs with the situation-related possibilities of their realization. Accordingly, on the one hand, an inner experience of the situation develops from the external influences. On the other hand, the upbringing and past of an individual and personal demands create a desired target state. According to Bruggemann, the correspondence and deviations between these two images result in job satisfaction or dissatisfaction.

The merit of the model is to have qualitatively differentiated the hitherto global concept of satisfaction, which hardly did justice to reality. It distinguishes six forms:

  1. Progressive job satisfaction: The target / actual comparison is positive, but this increases the level of aspiration.
  2. Stabilized job satisfaction: The target / actual comparison is positive and the level of aspiration remains unchanged.
  3. Resigned job satisfaction: The target / actual comparison is negative and the level of aspiration is reduced to compensate
  4. Pseudo job satisfaction: The target / actual comparison is negative and the level of aspiration remains unchanged, but the situation is perceived as distorted (embellished).
  5. Fixed job dissatisfaction: the target / actual comparison is negative and the level of aspiration remains unchanged and no attempted solutions are made.
  6. Constructive job dissatisfaction: The target / actual comparison is negative and the level of aspiration remains unchanged, but you are working on attempted solutions.

Job satisfaction is thus interpreted as a process and no longer as a static construct. The resigned forms make it clear that job satisfaction and job satisfaction are not synonymous .

The latest results of the satisfaction research according to Roedenbeck go the way of combining both approaches. On the one hand, Neuberger's quantitative approaches are taken into account: In professional life, people evaluate various factors or facets in relation to their level of aspiration and thus create a central component in the development of job satisfaction. On the other hand, however, the qualitative approach of Bruggemann as well as André Büssing and Thomas Bissels is also taken into account. According to this, people form a quality of satisfaction for each factor they consider by comparing the level of aspiration and the actual situation (and no longer just for job satisfaction in general). The complex model of job satisfaction developed by Roedenbeck . goes further than this differentiation and also explains how behavior is influenced by the different qualities of job satisfaction for each individual factor.

For the economist Achim Pothmann, job satisfaction primarily depends on the employee himself: the individual's ability to find fulfillment and satisfaction at work depends primarily on being able to imagine it at all. In addition, he must understand what influence he can have on it and know how to increase his own job satisfaction. In this respect, Pothmann speaks of “job happiness competence”.

The current main point of criticism of the new complex model of job satisfaction is the lack of empirical evidence. The model was developed on the basis of a theoretical meta-analysis.

See also

Web links


  • Agnes Bruggemann, Peter Groskurth, Eberhard Ulich: Job satisfaction . Hans Huber, Bern 1975, ISBN 3-456-80188-2 .
  • Yvonne Ferreira, job satisfaction: basics, fields of application, relevance , Kohlhammer Verlag, Stuttgart 2019, ISBN 978-3-17-035122-6 .
  • Achim Pothmann, Jobglück - How you learn to love Monday , Humboldt-Verlag, Hannover 2019, ISBN 978-3869101149 .
  • Marc RH Roedenbeck: Theoretical Foundations of a Complex Model of Job Satisfaction (KMA) - A theoretical meta-analysis . In Journal of Psychology. 1, 2008. ( Abstract )
  • Bernd Vonhoff, Gerald Reischl : Success Factor Sense. The discovery of satisfaction. Carl Ueberreuter Verlag, Vienna 2009, ISBN 978-3-8000-7444-0 .

Individual evidence

  1. E.-A. Locke: The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In: MD Dunette (Ed.): Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Rand McNally , Chicago 1976, pp. 1297-1349.
  2. ^ A b Irene Neverla: Job satisfaction of journalists. Minerva Publication, 1979, ISBN 3-597-10094-5 . Quoted from: Natalie Helka: Editorial deadline - Why journalists get out: A qualitative study with former journalists from NRW local radio. Springer, 2014, ISBN 978-3-658-03994-3 , p. 27.
  3. Michael Bodin: Burnt out ...: About the "burnout" in journalism, causes and ways out. Springer, 2013, ISBN 978-3-322-85126-0 , p. 35.
  4. Enders-Drahgässer: Survey on the work situation in Frankfurt day-care centers. Society for sociological women's research, 1991. Quoted from: Michael Dartsch: Educators in work and leisure: A regional study on the situation of skilled workers in day care facilities for children. Springer, 2013, ISBN 978-3-663-09989-5 . P. 50.
  5. Thomas Ammann: On the job satisfaction of female teachers: experience balances in the middle professional phase. Julius Klinkhardt, 2004, ISBN 3-7815-1345-9 , p. 19.
  6. ^ Rohmert, Walter: Tasks and content of ergonomics. In: The vocational school. 24, 1972, pp. 3-14.
  7. Eberhard Ulich: Industrial Psychology. Schäffer-Poeschel, Stuttgart 2006, p. 138 f.
  8. Oswald Neuberger: Job satisfaction: strength through joy or euphoria in unhappiness? A collective review. In: DBW - Business Administration. 45, 1985, pp. 184-206.
  9. Agnes Bruggemann: To differentiate between different forms of job satisfaction. In: work and performance. 28, 1974, p. 281.
  10. Marc RH Roedenbeck: Theoretical foundations of a complex model of job satisfaction (KMA): A theoretical meta-analysis. In: Journal for Psychology. 16, 2008. ( Abstract )
  11. ^ André Büssing , Thomas Bissels: Different forms of work satisfaction: Concept and qualitative research. In: European Psychologist. 3, 1998, pp. 209-218.
  12. Achim Pothmann: Jobglück - How you learn to love Monday , Humboldt-Verlag, Hannover 2019, ISBN 978-3869101149 , p. 63