Employee Satisfaction definition

Employee satisfaction, also known as job satisfaction, is the extent to which an individual is happy with their job and the role it plays in their life.

The extent to which employers prioritise employee satisfaction depends on the employer and the industry – the Hawthorne studies and the work of George Elton Mayo in the 1930s put the link between employer satisfaction and productivity on the radar.

Satisfaction researchers tend to differentiate between affective satisfaction and cognitive job satisfaction – affective satisfaction is the sum total of pleasurable emotions and feelings associated with the job and its place in the individual’s life, whereas cognitive satisfaction refers to rational satisfaction over particular facets of the job e.g. pay and day-to-day responsibilities.

There are a wide variety of theories surrounding employee satisfaction. Dispositional theory, for example, argues that individuals are predisposed to a certain level of job satisfaction regardless of the job or industry. Range of Affect Theory, put forward by Edwin A. Locke in the 1970s, is a theory based on expectations – satisfaction depends on the gap between what an employee expects from a job and what they actually get.


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