The relationship between university faculty job satisfaction, role conflict, task clarity and productivity

Date

1981

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Abstract

For many years researchers have investigated the relationship of job satisfaction to a variety of variables, especially productivity. This interest in the study of job satisfaction is due mainly to its role as a potential predictor of other organizational factors, such as improved performance, and reduction in turnover and absenteeism. There has been general agreement in theories of management and social psychology that people who are more satisfied in their jobs will attain higher levels of productivity. Contrary to this idea, however, recently satisfaction has been causally explained in terms of productivity. The relationship between productivity and satisfaction is also affected by other constructs, including role conflict and task clarity. According to the model which was developed in this study, it is argued that task clarity has a direct effect on productivity and that productivity directly causes satisfaction (satisfaction with extrinsic, intrinsic and environmental rewards). Additionally, it was hypothesized that, there is a negative but low relationship between role conflict and productivity, and that role conflict is both directly and indirectly related negatively to satisfaction. This study, then, examined the relationship between role conflict, task clarity, productivity, and job satisfaction. The analysis utilized data collected from 300 full- time faculty members in six different colleges of the University of Houston Central Campus: College of Business Administration, College of Law, College of Natural Sciences § Mathematics, College of Social Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and College of Engineering. The "Faculty Satisfaction with Rewards" instrument was adapted for use in higher education and included three subscales: Extrinsic, Intrinsic, and Environmental satisfaction. The "Task Clarity and Role Conflict" instrument was used to measure the amount of conflict and task clarity which professors experienced in their jobs. The third instrument, a "Productivity Index" was developed to measure the extent of scholarship and service activities being conducted by the professors at the University. The statistical methods used to test the hypotheses were the Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient and multiple regression analysis. Multiple regression analysis yielded numerical coefficients for single and multiple combinations of factors. A significant negative relationship was evident between role conflict and job satisfaction and a positive relationship was found between task clarity and job satisfaction. The relationships between productivity and job satisfaction, role conflict and task clarity were not significant. Role conflict and task clarity did explain a significant amount of variance in satisfaction in addition to that explained by productivity. Contrary to the hypothesis, the interaction of task clarity and role conflict did not explain a significant portion of the variance in job satisfaction in addition to that explained by the linear combination of role conflict, task clarity, and productivity. Contrary to theory, there was no significant relationship between productivity and job satisfaction, role conflict, and task clarity. But the relationship between job satisfaction with role conflict and task clarity was significant. Therefore administrators should bring the maximum clarification to the faculty in three areas of teaching, publication, and service to try to eliminate role conflict. Since there is not any significant relationship between satisfaction and productivity, administrators apparently must seek other answers such as reward structures to influence the productivity of faculty members. For further research, this study can be expanded by considering teaching effectiveness as another index of faculty productivity. The productivity measurement should be more precise. Also tenure of full-time faculty members might be considered in future studies, because of the current debate over the nature of tenure as a faculty reward. In addition this study should be repeated with populations from other universities in the Unites States, in order to ascertain the consistency of the findings.

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Keywords

Job satisfaction, Universities and colleges--United States--Faculty

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