Reflection and Analysis Based on Article
The concept “job attitude” refers to a psychological tendency expressed through evaluating an issue with a level of favor making an individual develop attitudes towards his or her job, which can be either loving or hating the job. Negative attitudes towards jobs are often triggered by pressure from employers or top organizational leaders or managers. Closely linked or associated to “job attitude” is “job satisfaction” that refers to how favorable an individual perceives a certain duty or responsibility at the workplace. The achievement of job satisfaction depends on several factors including the recognition of an employee’s efforts and commitment, allocation of doable responsibilities, and having the required experience (Bal et al., 2008). Research shows that a person’s general attitude towards a job stems from various features of a job including how simple or difficult the task or job to be handled is.
It is believed that job attitudes have evolved over the years, and this has occurred across six eras between 1915 to the present day. The eras across which the evolution has occurred include the war era, post-war era, cognitive era, behavioral era, dispositional era and the affective era (Bal & Kooij, 2011). During the war era, job attitude stemmed from satisfaction rather than performance. Besides, during this era, employee performance was consistent over the entire period worked. Employees suffered from chronic emotional maladjustment because of ongoing wars at the time. In researching the causes of employee dissatisfaction during this era, there was the use of questionnaires to discuss the various facets of job dissatisfaction.
During the post-war era, researchers’ attention was turned to the outcomes of job attitudes and performance with the assertions that some individuals were prone developing negative attitudes at the work place. It is further noted that dissatisfied employees who scored highly on the gripe index he developed were less likely to quit as compared to those who scored lowly in the same. During this era, researchers began to measure the components of satisfaction where tt was discovered that managers could enhance employee satisfaction by providing needs that are likely to lead to self-actualization. Through promotions and giving the employees a chance to advance their studies to reasonable working hours, it was discovered that job satisfaction improved significantly. Bal & Kooij (2011) assert that factors that trigger positive job attitudes are different from those that generate negative reactions from individuals.
The cognitive era brought with it a change in the research on job attitudes. During this era, job satisfaction theories were linked to linked to mathematical representations. Calculation was done to prove people’s job satisfaction and this was based on extrinsic characteristics. Computational processes were also used in this era to find out employee attitudes with satisfaction perspectives or facets being deduced through models that calculated individual attitudes.
The behavioral era focused on the study of behaviors emanating from job attitudes (Gilboa et al., 2008). Studies conducted during this era proved that it was not clear if job satisfaction would increase job performance. The most influential studies concerning job attitudes were meta-analyses that showed a weak relationship between job satisfaction and performance. This era occurred between 1975 to 1990 where a lot of self-discovery was taking place. However, during this era, attitudes were linked to behaviors that build morale and are concerned with helping employees become well-mannered people. Other research conducted at the time also found that job satisfaction was reasonably stable over time even with the change in employers or occupation. This era showed growth in the sophistication of statistical models for theory testing with more structural equation models being developed and paired with commitment and satisfaction.
The present era, the affective era, includes emotions in the definitions of attitudes. Primarily, it proved that job attitudes were studied based on the individuals’ moods (Gilboa et al., 2008). Researchers have proved that commitment which is a form of attitude was the best example as an affective attachment to an object. Affective property of job attitudes tends to come from within, which means that one’s attitude towards a job comes from within an individual and not from external factors in an organization influence from co-workers. Therefore, this led to the re-emergence of within-person measurement of job attitudes to determine job satisfaction levels (Ng & Feldman, 2010).
Briefly, as discussed above, changes over the years in job attitudes and satisfaction came about in a bid to better understand the scope provided by research. It is important to take note of the key perspectives emphasized by past research to develop or form better ideas for the future. Whereas earlier periods allowed diverse views, differences were later seen in subsequent eras and periods as sophistication and precision of methods was witnessed. The humanist perspective was rejected using the calculative models to deduce problems. Unlike early perspectives of job attitudes and satisfaction, today’s or present perspectives focus on the innate and cognitive components of a person. It is also important to note that past approaches and opinion regarding job attitudes and satisfaction differ with those of the subsequent eras and periods in terms of rationality. Over the years, dispositional perspectives emphasized on enduring patterns of job attitudes but they later agreed with the influence caused by individual differences.
Bal, P. M., & Kooij, D. (2011). The relations between work centrality, psychological contracts, and job attitudes: The influence of age. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 20(4), 497-523.
Bal, P. M., De Lange, A. H., Jansen, P. G., & Van Der Velde, M. E. (2008). Psychological contract breach and job attitudes: A meta-analysis of age as a moderator. Journal of vocational behavior, 72(1), 143-158.
Gilboa, S., Shirom, A., Fried, Y., & Cooper, C. (2008). A meta‐analysis of work demand stressors and job performance: examining main and moderating effects. Personnel Psychology, 61(2), 227-271.
Ng, T. W., & Feldman, D. C. (2010). The relationships of age with job attitudes: a meta‐analysis. Personnel Psychology, 63(3), 677-718.