The relationship between job satisfaction and economic performance : a multi-national and longitudinal examination

by Julia E Brown

Institution: San Diego State University
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2064312
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/173300


Adults in the workforce spend as much as one-fourth to one-third of their total waking time working, making work and well-being central topics in organizational research. For many years, a popular assumption was that happy workers are more productive. Job satisfaction, therefore, has been widely studied in the field of organizational psychology. Not only does job satisfaction have important implications for workers, it also has been linked to indicators of organizational performance. It is widely acknowledged in the academic literature that employee job satisfaction is both an important cause and a consequence of individual job performance, team performance, and even overall organizational success. Recently, researchers found evidence of a relationship between employee satisfaction and economic performance at the national level, with employees reporting higher satisfaction in countries that are more economically successful. This suggests an important connection between economics and employee attitudes and behavior that may help account, in part, for national differences in global competitiveness and well-being. In this study, the relationships between economic performance indicators, unemployment (UE) and gross domestic product (GDP), and job satisfaction were examined using data collected between 1981 and 2014 from 45 countries. Data were collected from four international social survey projects including: European Values Survey, Eurobarometer, International Social Survey Program, and Life in Transition Survey. Pearson bivariate correlations, Pearson partial correlations, and regression analysis were used to test the hypotheses. Results revealed that job satisfaction was positively related to earlier and later GDP, and was negatively related to earlier and later unemployment. Eight mediation models were investigated, and evidence of full mediation was found for three models. Results showed that life satisfaction mediated the relationship between job satisfaction and both earlier and later GDP. Additionally, job satisfaction mediated the relationship between unemployment and later job satisfaction. Results of this study suggest that the relationship between economic performance and job and life satisfaction depends on the proximity of the performance indicator to the experience of workers. Advisors/Committee Members: Hattrup, Kate, Conte, Jeff, Randel, Amy.