Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

  • View
    215

  • Download
    0

Embed Size (px)

Text of Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

  • 8/12/2019 Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

    1/26

    Job satisfaction and life satisfactionrevisited: A longitudinal test of an

    integrated model

    Joseph C. Rode

    A B S TRA C T Research indicates that job satisfaction is significantly related to life

    satisfaction. However, previous studies have not included variables

    that may confound the relationship. Fur thermore, the vast majority

    of studies have relied on cross-sectional data. I tested a compre-

    hensive model that examined the relationship between job and life

    satisfaction and a broad personality construct called core self-

    evaluations, as well as nonwork satisfaction and environmental vari-

    ables, using a nationally representative (US), longitudinal data set.

    Results indicated that core self-evaluations was significantly related

    to both job satisfaction and life satisfaction over time, and that the

    relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction was not

    significant after taking into account the effects of core self-evaluations

    and nonwork satisfaction. Implications for theory and practice arediscussed.

    K E Y W O R D S job life nonwork personality satisfaction

    Results of more than three decades of research have led researchers to

    conclude that job satisfaction is significantly related to, or spills over into,overall attitudes towards life, or life satisfaction (see Rain et al., 1991 and

    Tait et al., 1989 for reviews). We would expect the two to be related because

    of the amount of time spent at work by full-time employees, and also

    1 2 0 5

    Human Relations

    DOI: 10.1177/0018726704047143

    Volume 57(9): 12051230

    Copyright 2004

    The Tavistock Institute

    SAGE Publications

    London, Thousand Oaks CA,

    New Delhi

    www.sagepublications.com

    http://www.sagepublications.com/http://www.sagepublications.com/
  • 8/12/2019 Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

    2/26

    because, for most people, work is a central life activity (Dubin, 1956).

    Empirical studies have consistently reported moderate correlations between

    job and life satisfaction, an average of .31 or .44 when corrected for atten-

    uation (Tait et al., 1989).

    However, the relationship is more complex than these numbers imply,

    and at least three theoretical perspectives could account for the observed

    zero-order correlations between job and life satisfaction. The first perspec-

    tive, sometimes referred to as the bottom-up perspective (Brief et al., 1993;

    Diener, 1984), proposes that job satisfaction has a casual influence on life

    satisfaction because it is part of life satisfaction (Andrews & Withey, 1976;

    Cambell et al., 1976; Rice et al., 1985). Life satisfaction is conceptualized,

    in part, as the result of satisfaction with various life domains such as work,family, health, etc., and the effects of environmental conditions on life satis-

    faction are assumed to be largely mediated by satisfaction with life domains.

    Research indicates that satisfaction with work and nonwork domains

    accounts for about 50 percent of the variance in life satisfaction (Andrews

    & Withey, 1976; Cambell et al., 1976; Hart, 1999; Near et al., 1984).

    The second perspective argues that the causal relationship between the

    two variables is top-down (Diener, 1984), or that life satisfaction influences

    job satisfaction (Judge & Watanabe, 1993; Schmitt & Bedeian, 1982). The

    influence of life satisfaction on job satisfaction represents a dispositionaleffect (Staw et al., 1986), whereby the positive affect associated with life

    satisfaction results in the recall of a greater number of positive job events

    and more positive interpretations of job conditions, which leads to higher

    job satisfaction (Bower, 1981; Judge & Hulin, 1993). Probably the strongest

    empirical support for this perspective comes from Judge and Watanabe

    (1993) who found that life satisfaction had a stronger relationship to job

    satisfaction over a 5-year period than job satisfaction had on life satisfaction

    over the same period.The third perspective has not been previously explicated, but is

    suggested by the results of previous studies. It may be that much of the

    relationship between job satisfaction and life satisfaction is spurious, result-

    ing from common influences. The literature presents two possibilities. First,

    research following the bottom-up tradition indicates that job satisfaction and

    satisfaction with nonwork domains are influenced by many of the same

    environmental variables (e.g. job income), and as a result, satisfaction with

    nonwork domains may confound the relationship between job satisfaction

    and life satisfaction. In fact, the percent of variance in life satisfactionuniquely attributed to job satisfaction often falls to 5 percent or lower

    (Andrews & Withey, 1976; Campbell et al., 1976; Hart, 1999; Near et al.,

    1984) when the effects of satisfaction in nonwork domains are controlled.

    Human Relations 57(9)1 2 0 6

  • 8/12/2019 Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

    3/26

    The second possibility is suggested by Judge et al. (1997) who proposed

    a broad personality construct called core self-evaluations, which they devel-

    oped specifically to explicate the process by which disposition may influence

    both job satisfaction and life satisfaction. Unlike earlier top-down theories,

    Judge et al. proposed that life satisfaction is not a dispositional variable per

    se, but that it is influenced by disposition, as is job satisfaction. Empirical

    research has found core self-evaluations to be related to both job and life

    satisfaction, suggesting that it may be at least partially responsible for the

    bivariate relationship between the two constructs (Heller et al., 2002; Judge

    et al., 1998). To date, the possible confounding effects of both core self-

    evaluations and satisfaction with nonwork domains on the relationship

    between job satisfaction and life satisfaction have not been simultaneouslytaken into account.

    Irrespective of the underlying theoretical perspective, the vast majority

    of the empirical research on job and life satisfaction has utilized a cross-

    sectional design. Although the use of longitudinal data in a non-experimental

    study does not necessarily establish causality, it does provide stronger

    support for causal relationships than can be inferred from analysis of cross-

    sectional data (Menard, 1991). This is particularly relevant to studies of job

    and life satisfaction, given that the perspectives described earlier are based

    on differing causal assumptions. In this study, I tested a comprehensive modelthat enabled me to examine the relationship between job and life satisfaction

    over time, while taking into account the possible confounding influences of

    nonwork satisfaction, personality (i.e. core self-evaluations), and a set of

    environmental and demographic variables. I tested the model using a nation-

    ally representative, longitudinal sample of US workers.

    Theoretical model and hypotheses

    My model integrates the bottom-up perspective and Judge et al.s (1997)

    dispositional perspective. Following bottom-up theorists, I propose that

    satisfaction with specific life domains (i.e. work and nonwork in this study),

    mediates the relationship between environmental conditions and life satis-

    faction (e.g. Andrews & Withey, 1976; Campbell et al., 1976; Rice et al.,

    1985). I also propose that core self-evaluations is related to both domain

    satisfactions and life satisfaction as shown in Figure 1. I incorporated the

    dispositional view proposed by Judge et al. over the dispositional proposi-tion that life satisfaction influences job satisfaction for two reasons. First,

    Judge et al.s approach offered greater conceptual congruence with the

    bottom-up approach which forms the basis of my model. Second, a growing

    Rode Job and life satisfaction 1 2 0 7

  • 8/12/2019 Job Satisfaction and Life Satisfaction

    4/26

    body of research supports the idea that life satisfaction is not dispositional

    in and of itself, but that it is influenced by disposition (Brief et al., 1993;

    Diener et al., 1999). For simplicity, I do not explicitly address the indirect

    relationships contained in the model, but I do take into account these

    mediated effects in the structural equation modeling analysis described later.

    Relationships between domain satisfactions and life satisfaction

    Research indicates that life satisfaction can be viewed as the result, in part,

    of satisfaction with various life domains (Andrews & Withey, 1976;

    Campbell et al., 1976). This notion is based on the assumption that indi-

    viduals evaluate the details of experience when making overall satisfactionjudgments (Rice et al., 1985). For example, evaluations of ones job are based

    on how one evaluates ones pay, supervisor support, working conditions, etc.

    relative to desired levels of these variables. The direction of influence is

    assumed to be from the specific to the general, in this case from satisfaction

    with specific life domains (e.g. work) to overall life satisfaction. From this

    perspective, satisfaction with a life domain represents the aggregate evalu-

    ations of the domains salient aspects that are taken into account when

    making overall life satisfaction evaluations.

    Empirically, satisfaction with major life dom