Effects of individual and company values on employee job satisfaction

In 2010, researchers from Vilnius University analysed the links between job satisfaction and individual and organisational values in an IT and telecommunications company in Lithuania. The research revealed that higher job satisfaction was closely related to individual values such as self-achievement, social recognition and self-respect. Employees also expressed higher job satisfaction if working in an organisational culture based on loyalty, traditions and trust.

Aim of the survey and methodology

The aim of this study was to reveal the degree to which individual and organisational values correlate with employee job satisfaction.

An IT and telecommunications company was selected because of its publicly declared values, indicating a strong organisational culture. Although the survey was carried out among the employees of one company, it allowed the researchers to analyse the links between different types of organisational culture. This is due to the fact that the main emphasis in the questionnaire was placed on examining how employees perceived the organisational culture of the company.

The data was collected by distributing questionnaires among employees and the main research method was face-to-face interviewing. Some 80 employees participated.

A self-administered structured questionnaire was used to assess employees’ individual values, organisational culture, job satisfaction and the importance of the organisational values.

Types of values

The assessment of individual values is based on the Rokeach Value Survey (1973) which defines two types of values: instrumental and terminal.

Terminal values refer to desirable end states of existence: the goals a person would like to achieve in their lifetime. They are desirable without being conditional on other consequences.

Instrumental values show desirable modes of behaviour, or means of achieving the terminal values; these are strictly conditional on their anticipated consequences.

Following Rokeach methodology, two lists containing 18 instrumental and 18 terminal values were constructed in the questionnaire. When filling in this questionnaire, the respondents had to align their values in a hierarchical order, from the most to the least important.

Descriptive statistics methods were used to analyse the distribution of the data.

Main findings of the study

Job satisfaction

The survey showed that employees were most satisfied with their supervision, fellow workers and with the work itself, and least satisfied with their salary and working conditions (see Figure 1). (Job satisfaction was measured according to Spector’s Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) containing 36 questions designed in the Lickert style and measuring 9 job satisfaction facet scales.)

Figure 1. Job satisfaction levels of the Lithuanian IT company’s employees (N=80)

Individual values of employees

The terminal and instrumental values of employees in the company are provided in Table 1. The lowest mean corresponds to the most important values; the largest mean corresponds to the least important ones. Research results indicated that the employees placed the largest emphasis on values such as family security, self-respect, inner harmony, happiness and a comfortable life.

Table 1. Employee’s individual values
Instrumental values Mean Terminal values Mean
Family security (taking care of loved ones) 4.18 Capable (competent; effective) 5.35
Self-respect (self-esteem)* 7.65 Responsible (dependent and reliable) 5.83
Inner harmony (freedom from inner conflict) 7.70 Intellectual (intelligent and reflective)* 6.18
Happiness 7.96 Ambitious (hardworking and aspiring)* 6.46
A comfortable life (a prosperous life) 8.11 Honest (sincere and truthful) 6.73
A sense of accomplishment (making a lasting contribution)* 8.28 Independent (self-reliant; self-sufficient) 8.13
Social recognition (respect and admiration)* 8.35 Logical consistent; rational 8.21
Freedom (independence and free choice) 8.39 Broad-minded (open minded)** 8.30
Wisdom (a mature understanding of life)* 8.6 Courageous (standing up for your beliefs) 9.43
A world at peace (a world free of war and conflict) 8.68 Helpful (working for the welfare of others) 9.85
True friendship (close companionship) 8.83 Polite (courteous and well-mannered) 10.08

(Highlighted values correlate with job satisfaction * positively or ** negatively).

Organisational culture

Seeking to assess the existing organisational culture in the company, the authors adopted a Competing Values Framework. This framework is based on eight organisational culture dimensions (flexibility, discretion, external focus, etc.) and four dominant culture types: ‘clan’, ‘adhocracy’, ‘market’ and ‘hierarchy’ (see Table 2).

Table 2. Competing Values Framework
Flexibility and discretion
Internal focus and integ-ration Clan culture – an organisation that focuses on internal maintenance with flexibility, concern for people and sensitivity to customers. Core values: loyalty, traditions, trust. Adhocracy culture – an organisation that focuses on external positioning with a high degree of flexibility and individuality. Core values: innovations, risk, flexibility. External focus and differen-tiation
Hierarchy culture – an organisation that focuses on internal maintenance with a need for stability and control. Core values: formal rules, policies and procedures. Market culture – an organisation that focuses on external positioning with a need for stability and control Core values: product, market expansion, goal achievement.
Stability and control

According to the survey, most of the respondents perceived their organisational culture type to be predominantly market oriented. However, clan and adhocracy culture were the preferred types of culture. The research also showed that employees who identified themselves as performing in the clan culture were more satisfied with their job, compared with those who performed in other types of organisational culture.

Conclusions

The study revealed that higher job satisfaction was related to an employee’s individual terminal values (self-accomplishment, social recognition, self-respect, and wisdom), individual instrumental values (intellectual, ambitious), and the clan type of organisational culture. The clan culture is typical of organisations that focus on internal maintenance with flexibility, concern for people and sensitivity to customers.

Rasa Zabarauskaite, Institute of Labour and Social Research

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