Journal of Nursing Education

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JOB SATISFACTION 

The Impact of Expectations on Faculty Job Satisfaction

Patricia L Christian, PhD, RN

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Although job satisfaction of nurses within the clinical area has been heavily studied, the satisfaction of nurse faculty members has seldom been examined. This study looks at the relationship of the role of the department chairperson to the satisfaction of faculty. The sample was composed of 163 faculty in eight state supported baccalaureate/masters programs. Age, length of service, size of the department, and the size of the program served as control variables. Two self-designed instruments (CPQ-E and CPQ-P) based on Need Fulfillment Theory created an Expectation Discrepancy Score for each faculty member. Job satisfaction was measured by the JDI. The relationship between the Expectation Discrepancy Score and job satisfaction was found to be significant (Fg= 15.786,p< 05). Several recommendations were suggested.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Although job satisfaction of nurses within the clinical area has been heavily studied, the satisfaction of nurse faculty members has seldom been examined. This study looks at the relationship of the role of the department chairperson to the satisfaction of faculty. The sample was composed of 163 faculty in eight state supported baccalaureate/masters programs. Age, length of service, size of the department, and the size of the program served as control variables. Two self-designed instruments (CPQ-E and CPQ-P) based on Need Fulfillment Theory created an Expectation Discrepancy Score for each faculty member. Job satisfaction was measured by the JDI. The relationship between the Expectation Discrepancy Score and job satisfaction was found to be significant (Fg= 15.786,p< 05). Several recommendations were suggested.

Introduction

In these times of economic uncertainty and declining enrollments, schools of nursing, especially those committed to the research mission, need to provide faculty with a climate that is energized with high morale and supportive of productivity. Such a climate is essential in recruiting and retaining well-qualified nursing scholars who can not only obtain funding and attract students but who can conduct nursing research, contribute to theory development and improve the standing of the nursing profession within the academic community.

Research tends to support the notion that people who are satisfied with their work are more productive, more committed to the organization, and more likely to contribute to high morale than are people who are dissatisfied. (Carroll, 1973). The examination of job satisfaction in nursing has been extensive but concerned primarily with satisfaction of nurses within the clinical area (McCloskey, 1974; Munro, 1983; Simpson, 1985). Although nurses entering academia usually come from the clinical areas, they are, in effect, choosing a second career. Expectations regarding one's role and the role of others (especially those in leadership positions) are developed early and often remain fixed. Those expectations are at times unrealistic.

The leadership role with which the faculty have most contact is that of the department chairperson. The role of the department chairperson is an ambiguous one, creating fertile ground for other-generated expectations (Baker, 1979). Faculty usually have expectations about how the role should be implemented. Those expectations can conflict with reality and impact upon the satisfaction of the nurse faculty member. Minimizing discrepancies between expectations and perceptions has been shown to increase job longevity which is directly related to job satisfaction (Wanous, 1976).

Theoretical Development

Need Fulfillment Theory provided the framework for ex amining faculty expectations and perceptions. Simply put, Need Fulfillment Theory is based on the belief that one is satisfied if one gets what one needs (Korman, 1976). Porter (1961) examined the need satisfaction of managers within an industrial setting and operationalized satisfaction as the difference between what a manager thought he/she "should receive" (as far as need fulfillment was concerned) and what the manager perceived self as "receiving." An a priori assumption was made that the smaller the difference (Should Receive-Is Receiving) the greater the satisfaction of needs.

This study utilized Porter's discrepancy model of Need Fulfillment in designing a tool to measure faculty expectations and perceptions of the role of department chairperson. The relationship between need satisfaction (as measured by the tool) and job satisfaction was examined. The chairperson's role was examined within the framework of Role Theory and was limited to participation within the areas of curriculum and instruction.

Methods

Hypotheses: This study was designed to examine the relationships between multiple dimensions of job satisfaction and factors hypothesized to be related to job satisfaction (age, length of employment, and size of the organization). The study was done in two phases. Phase 1 examined several preliminary questions regarding factors known to be related to job satisfaction. The hypotheses were stated as:

1. The greater the age of the faculty member, the greater the job satisfaction.

2. The longer the length of employment within the program of nursing, the greater the job satisfaction of the faculty member.

3. The smaller the size of the department, the greater the job satisfaction of the faculty member.

4. The smaller the size of the nursing program, the greater the job satisfaction of the faculty member.

The second phase examined the primary question developed from Need Fulfillment Theory. The hypothesis was stated as follows:

The smaller the discrepancy between the faculty member's perceptions and expectations of the department chairperson's participative role in curriculum and instruction, the greater the job satisfaction of the faculty member after controlling for age, length of employment, department size, and program size.

Sample

The sample in this study consisted of faculty members teaching in state supported, NLN approved nursing programs offering a masters and/or a baccalaureate degree. The sample included eight programs in four Southeastern states. The program faculty size ranged from 1 1 members to 65 members.

Measurement

Three measurement instruments were used to gather data in this study. The instruments were (1) Curriculum Participation Questionnaire-Perceptions (CPQ-P), (2) Curriculum Participation Questionnaire-Expectations (CPQE), and (3) The Job Descriptive Index (JDI). A short demographic questionnaire provided information on faculty age, degree, and length of service.

Curriculum Participation Questionnaires: The CPQ-P and the CPQ-E contained 27 identical items that measured faculty perceptions and expectations of the department chairpersons participation within curriculum and instruction. The CPQ-P amswered the "How much is there now?" question in Porter's theory . The items were preceded by the statement, "My department chairperson actively participates in." The CPQ-E measured expectations instead of perceptions and answered the "How much should there be?" question. The items were preceded by the statement, "A department chairperson should actively participate in." Responses ranged from strongly agree to strongly disagree. The items represented participation ranging from general ("coordinating departmental philosophy with school philosophy", "coordinating departmental objectives with school objectives") to specific ("suggesting teaching strategies to be used in specific courses", "assigning faculty to clinical").

Definitions of curriculum and instruction provided boundaries for the inclusion of items in the CPQ-A and CPQ-E. Job descriptions for the role of department chairpersons were obtained from three programs not included in the study. Items were then created from both the literature and the job descriptions. Two department chairpersons were asked to read the items and comment on inclusions and exclusions. Items were then revised and submitted to four faculty members who read the list of activities for applicability and relevance. A total of 23 items comprised the final list.

The CPQ(P&E) were field tested at a state supported college not included in the study. Twenty-three faculty participated in the testing. Coefficient alphas were calculated with resulting values of .92 (CPQ-P) and .78(CPQ-E). Feedback after the initial testing suggested that four of the items were each measuring two distinct activities. Two separate items were created from each of the four items and a total of 27 items formed the final questionnaire. Calculated coefficient alphas for the questionnaire used in the study were .94 (CPQ-P) and .91 (CPQ-E).

Job Descriptive Index: The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) was designed by Patricia C. Smith (1969). The JDI is an adjective checklist that has been called the most carefully constructed instrument to measure job satisfaction (Vroom, 1964). Numerous studies have assessed the validity of the JDI in different settings. Discriminant and convergent validity have been substantiated (Evans, 1969; Locke, 1976; Schneider & Dachler, 1978). The JDI measures job satisfaction from a multidimensional approach looking at a job not as an entity but a complex interrelationship of tasks, roles, responsibilities, and interactions. Five aspects of the job are measured with the JDI: (1) the Job itself, (2) Pay, (3) Promotion, (4) Co-Workers, (5) Direct Supervision.

Since the JDI was developed primarily for use within the industrial and business setting, it was found that one of the items was inappropriate for this study and was therefore omitted. That item dealt with "profit sharing" and was included under the Pay scale. Perry (1977) dropped nine items from the JDI when measuring job satisfaction within academic departments and reported little change in the reliability.

The scoring of the JDI was modified for the purpose of this study. The traditional scoring method applied weights to each adjective. The scoring method was changed to a 0-3 scale with responses ranging from "not at all descriptive" to "very descriptive." Changing the scoring scale allowed for a wider range of response. Other investigators have changed the scoring of the JDI and demonstrated no substantial advantages for the weighted approach (Johnson, Smith & Tucker, 1982).

Reliability coefficients established by Smith ranged from values of .80 to .88 (split half corrected) for the five scales. Reliability coefficients for this study ranged from .85 to .90 (coefficient alpha).

Results and Discussion

A total of 240 faculty members received questionnaires. Of the returned questionnaires, 163 (67.9%) were useable in the study. The sample was composed of 28 departments, almost three fourths of which (71.4%) were represented by at least half of their faculty.

Table 1 shows a breakdown of faculty according to age, degree, and employment history. The majority of the faculty were less than 40 years of age and held a master's degree as their highest earned degree. Over three-fourths had been employed at their current school for seven years or less and one third were in their first teaching job.

The primary relationship of interest in this study was between the "Should Be-Is Now" (Expectation Discrepancy Score) and job satisfaction. However, research has consistently shown that certain demographic and organizational variables are related to job satisfaction. Age and length of employment (Tenure) have been found to be positively related to job satisfaction while size of the organization and job satisfaction tend to be inversely related. In order to determine which of these variables needed to be included as control variables, each was examined as a separate minor hypothesis using multivariate regression analysis.

Table

TABLE 2INTERCORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE JDl VARIABLES AND TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE

TABLE 2

INTERCORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE JDl VARIABLES AND TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE

Contrary to the majority of research findings, Age did not explain a significant proportion of variance in job satisfaction. One possible explanation for this finding could be in the unique relationship between Age and Tenure in this sample. Other studies have reported a close relationship between age and length of employment within the organization. The correlation in this study was not as strong as that found in most other reported studies (r=.296). A large number of faculty (44.8%) were above the age of 40, while 56.4% of the faculty had been in their current program for only four or less years. The mobility of nursing faculty could contribute to this finding.

Table

TABLE 1AGE, DEGREE AND EMPLOYMENT HISTORY OF FACULTY

TABLE 1

AGE, DEGREE AND EMPLOYMENT HISTORY OF FACULTY

Tenure was found to explain a small, although significant proportion of variance in job satisfaction ( .075). This finding is consistent with other studies and seems to suggest that the longer a nursing faculty member is employed in a particular program of nursing, the more likely she is to know what to expect and to know the "ins" and "outs" of the system.

Department Size was found to be inversely related to job satisfaction and to explain a significant proportion of variance (.101). A number of studies have shown that the smaller the working group, the greater the cohesiveness, productivity, stability, and morale of the group. Small groups also allow for more verbal participation from group members.

Program Size, on the other hand, did not explain significant variance in job satisfaction. There are several possible explanations for the non-significant relationship between program size and job satisfaction. Faculty spend the majority of their time in department activities and have limited contact with the entire faculty and administrative group. Another possible reason was postulated by Porter (1965) in a study on overall company size. It seems that a point exists in the organizational hierarchy at which the disadvantages of working for a large organization are outweighed by the advantages. In any case, it seems that department size and not program size was the important group size for faculty satisfaction in this study.

Table

TABLE 3SUMMARY OF THE MULTIVARIATE MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSIS TO TEST THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE JDI SUBSCALES AND THE EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE WHILE CONTROLLING FOR TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND DEPARTMENT SIZE X PROGRAM SIZE INTERACTION

TABLE 3

SUMMARY OF THE MULTIVARIATE MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSIS TO TEST THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE JDI SUBSCALES AND THE EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE WHILE CONTROLLING FOR TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND DEPARTMENT SIZE X PROGRAM SIZE INTERACTION

Once the control variables had been established, the major relationship between the Expectation Discrepancy Score and job satisfaction was examined. According to Porter's discrepancy model of Need Fulfillment Theory, the smaller the discrepancy score,the greater the satisfaction of needs. The results of this study showed that the smaller the discrepancy between a faculty member's expectations and perceptions of the role of the department chairperson, the greater the faculty member's job satisfaction. The reliability of the discrepancy score was .93 (split half).

Table 2 shows the intercorrelation between the JDI Subscales, the Expectation Discrepancy Score, and the control variables. Because of the sampling structure and the nature of the construct being studied, the possibility of a contextual effect on job satisfaction was considered. Although Program Size was not found to be significant in the previous analyses, in this analysis, Department Size and Program Size were included to serve as a proxy for the overall context effect which represented the "faculty nested within departments nested within programs" sampling structure. Table 2 shows that all five of the dimensions of job satisfaction were inversely related to the Expectation Discrepancy Scores.

Table 3 is a summary of the multivariate multiple regression analysis. The proportion of variance in overall job satisfaction explained by the Expectation Discrepancy Score (after controlling for Tenure, Department Size, Program Size, and Department Size x Program Size interaction) was .346. The relationship between the Expectation Discrepancy Score and job satisfaction was found to be significant (Fg= 15.786, p<.05)

The JDI was designed to measure the multidimensional aspects of job satisfaction. The relationship between the Expectation Discrepancy Score and four of the JDI subscales was significant: Job (F= 17. 069), Promotions (F=7.929), Co-Workers (F=12.667) and Supervision (F= 79.025).

The Expectation Discrepancy Score did not explain a significant proportion of variance in the Pay subscale of the JDI (F=5.225, /X.01). It is understandable that this subscale might not be significantly related to the Expectation Discrepancy Score. Researchers who are interested in equity theory believe that pay satisfaction results from selfother comparisons (Salinas, 1964). In general, people with high salaries are more satisfied with their jobs than people with low salaries. If this is the case, the (Should Be-Is Now) discrepancy as it relates to the role of the department chairperson in curriculum and instruction, might not be significantly related to satisfaction with pay.

Conclusion and Implications

A faculty member has certain expectations about how a department chairperson should function within the role. The smaller the discrepancy between those expectations and current perceptions, the more likely the faculty member is to be satisfied with his/her job.

The vast number of studies in recent years that have addressed job satisfaction indicate the importance of the variable from a humanistic and organizational perspective. The findings, however, are often difficult to translate into meaningful interventions that might impact on individual satisfaction. Many variables such as age, tenure, and organizational size are difficult if not impossible to manipulate. It is possible however to decrease the discrepancy between a faculty members expectations and perceptions, thus increasing the faculty member's degree of job satisfaction.

Interventions for decreasing the expectation/perception discrepancy can be divided into two major areas: those initiated by administrators and those initiated by faculty. From an administrative point of view, by decreasing the discrepancy and increasing the satisfaction, the school will have a faculty member who is more productive, more committed to the organization, and less likely to seek other employment. Since administrators in schools of nursing are concerned with quality of life issues for patients, it seems reasonable to assume that they are also concerned with the quality of a faculty member's work life. As faculty apply for positions, the chairperson can initiate discussion of roles with the applicant. In this give-and-take exchange, faculty expectations regarding the role of the department chairperson can be compared immediately to the reality of the situation. Continued discussions could result in clarification of roles, possible compromises, and discrepancy reduction.

Administrative and applicant decisions regarding employment could take the stated discrepancy into account.

Probably the most effective way for the department chairperson to aid in role discrepancy reduction, however, is to maintain frequent contact with departmental faculty. Stereotyping of a role is usually associated with lack of knowledge about, and contact with, persons in that role. High visibility should discourage stereotyping and encourage a closer fit between expectations and perceptions.

Faculty who understand the relationship between expectation-perception discrepancy and job satisfaction can take responsibility for decreasing their own discrepancy. Faculty who find themselves interviewing for positions where their expectations are extremely different from their perceptions should carefully consider the position. Asking questions of the department chairperson and faculty regarding the role of the chairperson could provide valuable information to the faculty applicant.

If expectations were not identified on entering the position, faculty members can attempt to decrease their discrepancy by reading about the role of the department chairperson, discussing expectations with colleagues and initiating discussions with the chairperson. It is the responsibility of both the faculty member and the department chairperson to work together in decreasing discrepancies between expectations and perceptions.

Limitations and Recommendations

The primary limitations of this study center on sampling issues and instrument validation. The sample was one of convenience and included only nurse faculty in state supported baccalaureate or masters programs. The small sample size (163) should also be considered when attempting to generalize the findings. Although the reliabilities of the CPQ-P and CPQ-E were certainly acceptable (.94 and .91), further validation of both instruments is needed.

The relationship between faculty expectations and job satisfaction warrants further examination. This study concentrated on the discrepancy generated from expectations of the department chairperson's role within the limited area of curriculum and instruction. It is possible that a study examining the role from a leadership style or a power and control perspective could produce equally significant results. It is also possible that a relationship exists between faculty job satisfaction and their expectations regarding pay, prestige, or academic freedom.

The general area of job satisfaction continues to be heavily studied. The satisfaction of faculty in schools of nursing has only recently received attention. It is vital that schools of nursing utilize the results of other studies in examining the satisfaction of faculty. Satisfied faculty members will help to create the type of en vironment needed for schools to successfully exist in this time of uncertainty.

References

  • Baker, C.M. (1979). Role conflict of middle managers in baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs in the United States In Power: Nursing's challenge for change. Kansas City: ANA, 147-158.
  • Carroll, B. (1973). Job satisfaction: a review of the literature. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University.
  • Evans, M.G. (1969). Convergent and discriminant validities between the Cornell job descriptive index and a measure of goal attainment. Journal of Applied Psychology. 53, 102-106.
  • Johnson, S.M., Smith , P.C. & Tucker , S.M. (1982). Response format of the job descriptive index: assessment of reliability and validity by the multitrait-multimethod matrix. Journal of Applied Psychology. 64, 500-505.
  • Korman, A.K. (1976). Organizational behavior. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall.
  • Locke, E.A. (1976X The nature and causes of job satisfaction. In M.D. Dunnette (ed.) Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology. Chicago: Rand McNally.
  • McCloskey, J. (1974) Influence of rewards and incentives on staff nurse turnover rate. Nursing Research, 23, 238-247.
  • Munro, B.H. (1983X Job satisfaction among recent graduates of schools of nursing. Nursing Research, 32(6), 350-355.
  • Perry, J.L. (1977). The interrelationship of job satisfaction and similarity in philosophic view within academic departments. Research in Higher Education, 7, 269-280.
  • Porter, L. W. (1961). A study of perceived need satisfaction in bottom and middle management jobs. Journal of Applied Psychology, 45, 1-10.
  • Schneider, B. & Dachler, H.P. (1978). A note on the stability of the job descriptive index. Journal of Applied Psychology, 63, 650-653.
  • Simpson, K. (1985). Job satisfaction or dissatisfaction reported by registered nurses. Nursing Administrative Quarterly, 9(3), 64-73.
  • Smith, P.C., Kendall, L.M. & Hulin, C.L. (1969). The measurement of satis faction in work and retirement. Chicago: Rand McNally.
  • Vroom, U.H. ( 1964). Vfork and Motivation New York: John Wiley & Sons.

TABLE 2

INTERCORRELATIONS BETWEEN THE JDl VARIABLES AND TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE

TABLE 1

AGE, DEGREE AND EMPLOYMENT HISTORY OF FACULTY

TABLE 3

SUMMARY OF THE MULTIVARIATE MULTIPLE REGRESSION ANALYSIS TO TEST THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE JDI SUBSCALES AND THE EXPECTATION DISCREPANCY SCORE WHILE CONTROLLING FOR TENURE, DEPARTMENT SIZE, PROGRAM SIZE, AND DEPARTMENT SIZE X PROGRAM SIZE INTERACTION

10.3928/0148-4834-19861101-07

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