Journal of Nursing Education

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Academic Middle Managers for Baccalaureate Nursing: Work Motivation and Satisfaction

Karen D Carpenter, PhD, RN, CCRN

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Seventy-nine percent of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing reported that they did not plan to continue in their current management positions, or advance in academic leadership positions (George, 1981). This study examined the relationships between the job characteristics, a mediating variable "growth need strength", and the general job satisfaction and work motivation of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing.

The sample was drawn from the population of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing in 126 colleges and universities across the United States that oner both baccalaureate and higher nursing degree programs. Sixty seven percent returned the Job Diagnostic Survey Short Form (JDSSFX

The findings were interpreted through an examination of three analytical techniques: zero-order correlations, multiple regression, and multiple regression with interaction.

Findings indicate that the dependent variable, "internal work motivation," can be measured in the population, but it cannot be predicted using the seven job characteristics measured by the JDSSF.

The job characteristic autonomy was significant in predicting "general job satisfaction." General job satisfaction also proved to be some combination of security satisfaction and growth need satisfaction. Both independent variables "autonomy" and "feedback from the job itself were significant in predicting growth need satisfaction.

As a mediating variable, "growth need strength" was not significant in predicting general job satisfaction in a linear model, nor was it significant when entered as an interactive term. However, the multiplicative model did increase, by four percent above the linear model, the amount of variance predictable in general job satisfaction.

To increase the general job satisfaction and growth need satisfaction of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing, administrators may wish to increase the degree to which freedom, independence, and discretion of the middle manager is allowed in scheduling their work and in determining the work procedures to be used and to expand opportunities for middle managers to obtain direct and clear information about the effectiveness of their performance from the work activity itself.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Seventy-nine percent of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing reported that they did not plan to continue in their current management positions, or advance in academic leadership positions (George, 1981). This study examined the relationships between the job characteristics, a mediating variable "growth need strength", and the general job satisfaction and work motivation of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing.

The sample was drawn from the population of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing in 126 colleges and universities across the United States that oner both baccalaureate and higher nursing degree programs. Sixty seven percent returned the Job Diagnostic Survey Short Form (JDSSFX

The findings were interpreted through an examination of three analytical techniques: zero-order correlations, multiple regression, and multiple regression with interaction.

Findings indicate that the dependent variable, "internal work motivation," can be measured in the population, but it cannot be predicted using the seven job characteristics measured by the JDSSF.

The job characteristic autonomy was significant in predicting "general job satisfaction." General job satisfaction also proved to be some combination of security satisfaction and growth need satisfaction. Both independent variables "autonomy" and "feedback from the job itself were significant in predicting growth need satisfaction.

As a mediating variable, "growth need strength" was not significant in predicting general job satisfaction in a linear model, nor was it significant when entered as an interactive term. However, the multiplicative model did increase, by four percent above the linear model, the amount of variance predictable in general job satisfaction.

To increase the general job satisfaction and growth need satisfaction of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing, administrators may wish to increase the degree to which freedom, independence, and discretion of the middle manager is allowed in scheduling their work and in determining the work procedures to be used and to expand opportunities for middle managers to obtain direct and clear information about the effectiveness of their performance from the work activity itself.

Introduction

One of the primary purposes of colleges of nursing is to provide educational programs of the highest quality. In a complex university setting, department assistant deans, associate deans, and department chairpersons play a crucial role as they have "major responsibilities for curricular direction, faculty hiring, and evaluation and resource management. As a consequence, they set the tone of the institution in both teaching and research" (Bennett, 1982). Baker (1981) describes the position linking departmental faculty and academic administrators in nursing as "the academic middle manager position." This study uses Baker's definition and incorporates the positions of assistant dean, associate dean, and department chairperson into the title academic middle manager for baccalaureate nursing.

Despite the importance of academic leadership in colleges of nursing, recent evidence indicated that currently employed middle managers for baccalaureate nursing are not interested in continuing to provide such leadership. A national study conducted by George (1981) revealed that only 21% of assistant and associate deans of nursing expressed a definite positive commitment to continuing their academic leadership roles. Seventy-nine percent of the academic middle managers studied do not plan to continue their current position or advance in academic leadership positions. This finding indicates a tremendous lack of work motivation and general job satisfaction. Since the majority of academic nursing deans come from the ranks of assistant and associate dean, there continues to be a shortage of candidates who are both interested in and qualified for top leadership positions in colleges of nursing. (Hall, Mitsunaga, & de Tornyay, 1981; Baker, 1981).

To highlight the "drop-out" problem in academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing, a comparison is made with academic middle managers for subjects other than nursing. Uehling (1977) found that 32% of non-nursing academic middle managers did not intend to remain in the middle management position for more than 5 years, nor did they intend to continue functioning in other administrative roles. Based on her findings of a 32% "drop-out" rate, Uehling concludes that the traditional position of academic middle manager is not personally satisfying (in spite of reported relatively high satisfaction with salary) and only weakly motivating. One wonders what Uehling would think of the 79% drop-out rate of academic middle managers in baccalaureate nursing.

What factors contribute to the low level of work motivation and job satisfaction of academic middle managers in nursing? Perhaps job characteristics inherent in the position contribute to the reported low levels of work motivation and job satisfaction. (Hall, Mitsunaga, & de Tornyay, 1981; Baker, 1979; George, 1981). Research in other fields supports the hypothesis that various job characteristics significantly impact work motivation and job satisfaction. Studies by Lawler and Hall (1970) and Hackman and Oldham (1974) indicate that job satisfaction and work motivation can be increased by manipulating the particular job characteristics of a given position.

Since job characteristics are alterable variables that have been shown to affect work motivation and job satisfaction, there is reason to look at how these job characteristics can be manipulated in order to increase the work motivation and job satisfaction of academic middle managers for nursing. However, before the job characteristics can be manipulated it is necessary to identify the precise relationships between specific core job characteristics and the personal characteristics of work motivation and job satisfaction.

The purpose of this study is to determine the relationships among seven core job characteristics, growth need strength, work motivation, and job satisfaction in a population of nursing academic middle managers. The seven core job characteristics are: 1) skill variety, 2) task identity, 3) task significance, 4) autonomy, 5) feedback from the job itself, 6) feedback from agents, and 7) dealing with others.

Theory and Related Literature

Historically the focus of inquiry in academic nursing research has revolved around the position of dean of nursing with very little research being conducted on nursing middle managers from whose ranks rise nursing deans. A survey study conducted by Hall, Mitsunaga and de Tornyay (1981) showed that the various fields of education, specifically educational administration, were the most popular doctoral preparations for nursing deans, and that two thirds of the deans surveyed in 1981 had planned their career choice as opposed to one third in 1971. The job of nursing dean is obviously desired by persons willing to prepare themselves academically for the position. Why then do so many drop out on the way to becoming a nursing dean? What happens at the middle management level, between faculty position and nursing dean, to cause such a reluctance to progress in academic administration?

A complete review of the literature reveals only three publications concerning academic nursing middle management positions, one general publication and two research studies. This scant amount of research, all published after 1980, may indicate a growing awareness of the importance of the middle management position both to the current functioning of ever-growing schools of nursing, and to the future leadership of the same.

George (1981) surveyed academic middle managers for nursing and found that while 57% of the associate and assistant deans viewed their position as a career step to the deanship, only 21% expressed a definite commitment to this career goal. Seventy-nine percent indicated they did not intend to remain in a leadership position at all.

Baker (1981) studied aspects of role conflict in academic middle managers in baccalaureate and higher nursing degree programs. Of considerable interest is the high percentage, averaging about 70% of middle managers in nursing, reporting structurally-induced role conflict in their jobs.

The third publication regarding nursing academic middle managers is by George and Coudret (1986). This work points out that academic productivity, professional growth, and job satisfaction are dependent on the successful resolution of the previously discussed structurally-induced conflict. Job redesign for job enrichment is strongly recommended by the researchers who have studied academic middle management in nursing.

Hackman and Lawler (1971) took the psychological aspects of work motivation, added job satisfaction, and developed a conceptual framework specifying the conditions under which jobs will facilitate the development of internal motivation. They found that when jobs were high on four core dimensions, employees who were desirous of higher order satisfaction tended to have high motivation and high job satisfaction test scores. The four core job dimensions were variety, autonomy, task identity, and feedback.

Hackman and Oldman (1976) created a comprehensive, testable theory of the effects of redesigning jobs or job enrichment. This monumental work, "Motivation Through the Design of Work: A Test of a Theory," yielded, among other things, the Job Diagnostic Survey. Hackman and Oldham's study showed substantial and significant support for the theoretical suppositions proported in their Job Characteristics Model. Indeed, the characteristics of the job (skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback) did impact significantly, if in varying amounts, work motivation and job satisfaction.

Oldham (1976) utilized the Job Characteristics Model and the Job Diagnostic Survey to further research the relationships between a) internal work motivation of employees and their job performance, b) the moderating effect of individual growth need strength, co-worker satisfaction, and supervisory satisfaction on the relationships between the theory's several core job characteristics and internal motivation. The results of the study indicate that internal work motivation is an accurate predictor of an employee's performance,

Lawler and Hall (1970) studied the relationship of job satisfaction and intrinsic motivation in a population of research scientists holding jobs that were supposedly already designed to provide high measures of job satisfaction, autonomy, and job motivation. The population was considered to already possess considerably high levels of growth need strength. Job satisfaction proved to be related to such job characteristics as the amount of control (autonomy) the job provided the holder.

At this point, research from business administration on the relationship between job characteristics, job satisfaction, and motivation has not been applied to the position of academic middle manager for baccalaureate nursing. Research does shed light on the obvious considerable dissatisfaction of middle management academic nursing administrators with the resulting dearth of candidates both willing and able to fill upper level academic leadership positions. This study applies Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model to academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing and uses their Job Diagnostic Survey to assess the same.

Method

Sample

The results of this study can be generalized to all academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing education. The population consists of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing in 126 United States colleges of nursing that offer both baccalaureate and higher degree nursing programs. The survey instrument was mailed to all 126 universities offering both baccalaureate and higher nursing programs that are listed in the College Blue Book and the Directory of Degree Programs in Nursing (Anderson and Schmidt, 1984). Of the total of 126 surveys mailed, 84 (67%) were returned. Seventy-two of the returned surveys matched the criteria for data analysis.

Previous studies (Baker, 1981; George, 1981) provide a comparison of the demographic characteristics of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing. No systematic bias was found in private and public sector representation, geographic region, or length of employment in the middle management position. Potential error was further minimized by carefully scrutinizing the biographical data to determine the exact job titles of the persons completing the form. Acceptable job titles were: Associate Dean of Nursing, Assistant Dean of Nursing, Assistant or Associate Dean of Undergraduate Nursing, Assistant or Associate Dean of Baccalaureate Nursing, Department Chairperson of Undergraduate or Baccalaureate Nursing, Coordinator of Undergraduate or Baccalaureate Nursing, and Director of Undergraduate or Baccalaureate Nursing. All these job titles represent the classification of the job described as "Academic Middle Manager for Baccalaureate Nursing" (Baker, 1981).

The instrument, the Job Diagnostic Survey Short Form, is easy to falsify, intentionally or unintentionally. This was, in part, controlled for by requesting the respondents to answer honestly and assuring them their personal answers would be kept confidential.

Instrumentation

The Job Diagnostic Survey Short Form (JDSSF), developed by Hackman and Oldham, was used to collect information on the variables included in this study. Both the long and short form of the JDS are used extensively in private and public organizations to diagnose the need for, and the results of, job redesign. The JDSSF has been proven both valid and reliable with regard to the variables it measures (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). Because the instrument measures perceptions of concepts and rates how well those concepts are met by the job, it is applicable to any job that calls for the performance of the variables and is not limited to commercial jobs alone.

A similar instrument, the Job Descriptive Index, developed by Smith, fendali and Hulin (1969) for assessing business jobs, has been shown to be valid in assessing job satisfaction in academic nurse educators (Fain, 1987). Researchers other than the authors continue to use the JDSSF in all organizational settings to add to the body of knowledge involving job design, job satisfaction, and work motivation (Arnold & House, 1980; Kiggundu, 1978).

The JDSSF takes about ten minutes to complete. It is comprised of five sections or scales. Each scale consists of approximately 14 questions all scored on a Likert type, seven choice scale. After scoring, all JDS concepts are expressed on 7-point scales, where 1 is low and 7 is high. All JDS Short Form concepts (except for the five sub-compoments of "general job satisfaction") are measured using two different response formats in two different sections of the instrument. This was done to decrease somewhat the degree to which JDS Short Form results might be method specific.

By way of illustration a sample item of the JDS Short Form that assesses "skill variety" is shown in Figure 1. Respondents are instructed to circle the number that best reflects their assessment of the amount of variety in their jobs.

Reliability correlations range from a low of .56 for coworker satisfaction to a high of .88 for growth need strength. The median reliability correlation is .71. Discriminant validity between the variables measured is reflected by median off-diagonal correlations. A low median offdiagonal correlation reflects a high measure of discriminant validity. The median off-diagonal correlations for all the variables measured range from a low of .12 for task identity to a high of .25 for internal work motivation. The median off-diagonal correlation is .19.

Table

FIGURE 1AN EXAMPLE OF AN ITEM OF THE JOB DIAGNOSTIC SURVEY. "SKILL VARIETY"

FIGURE 1

AN EXAMPLE OF AN ITEM OF THE JOB DIAGNOSTIC SURVEY. "SKILL VARIETY"

In general, the results suggest that both the internal consistency reliability of the scales and the discriminant validity of the items in the scales are satisfactory for use in the present study.

Independent variables

The independent variables in this study are seven core job characteristics. These job characteristics are described as:

1. Skill Variety: The degree to which a job requires a variety of different activities in carrying out the work, which involves the use of a number of different skills and talents of the employee.

2. Task Identity: The degree to which the job requires completion of a "whole" and identifiable piece of work - i.e., doing a job from begining to end with a visible outcome.

3. Task Significance: The degree to which the job has a substantial impact on the lives or work of other people - whether in the immediate organization or in the external environment.

4. Autonomy: The degree to which the job provides substantial freedom, independence, and discretion of the employee in scheduling the work and in determining the procedures to be used in carrying it out.

5. Feedback from the Job Itself: The degree to which carrying out the work activities required by the job results in the employee obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance.

6. Feedback from Agents: The degree to which the employee receives clear information about his or her job performance from supervisors or from co-workers.

7. Dealing with Others: The degree to which the job requires employees to work closeiy with other people in carrying out the work activities (including dealing with other organization members and with external organizational "clients").

Mediating variable

Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model of Motivation mentions growth need strength as a mediating variable. The theory states persons having a high level of growth need strength will also be highly motivated and highly satisfied with their jobs if those jobs are high in the seven independent variables. Growth need strength, as a mediating variable, can be described as the degree to which an individual wishes job opportunities for meeting the psychological needs of learning, personal accomplishment, and self-direction.

Dependent variables

The dependent variables in this study are two personal outcome characteristics. These two dependent variables are described below.

1. Work Motivation: The degree to which the employee is self-motivated to perform effectively on the job (i.e., the employee experiences positive internal feelings when working effectively on the job, and negative internal feelings when doing poorly).

2. General Job Satisfaction: An overall measure of the degree to which the employee is satisfied and happy with the job.

Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model of Motivation mentions five specific sub-components ot the dependent variable "general job satisfaction." These five sub-components serve to clarify specific factors that, along with other measures of job satisfaction, make up the total dependent variable "general job satisfaction." The five subcomponent satisfactions are listed and defined below.

1. Pay Satisfaction: The degree to which the employee is content with the salary he or she receives for doing the job.

2. Job Security Satisfaction: The degree to which the employee is content with the stability of his or her position.

3. Co-Worker Satisfaction: The degree to which the employee is content with his or her co-workers.

4. Supervisory Satisfaction: The degree to which the employee is content with the amount and quality of the supervision he or she receives on the job.

5. Growth Need Satisfaction: The degree to which the job meets the psychological needs of learning, personal accomplishment, and self-direction.

Procedure

The completed survey forms were scored using the JDS Short Form Scoring Key. Reversed scored questions were adjusted using the directions in the Score Key for each item. For each variable measured by the JDS Short Form, the items were averaged to yield a summary score for that particular variable. For each variable, means, standard deviations, and sample sizes were computed and examined.

Multiple regression was the primary data analytic technique used to test the question, "Is there a relationship, individually or collectively, between job characteristics, growth need strength, and the work motivation and general job satisfaction of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing?" As this study has two criterion variables, each with multiple predictor variables, and a mediating variable, several different multiple regression correlation equations were utilized to observe the relationships between variables. Both .05 and .01 levels of significance were reported in this study.

Table

TABLE 1MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS FOR THE VARIABLES INCLUDED IN THIS STUDY COMPARED TO SIMILAR VALUES FOR THE JOB FAMILY "MANAGERS"

TABLE 1

MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS FOR THE VARIABLES INCLUDED IN THIS STUDY COMPARED TO SIMILAR VALUES FOR THE JOB FAMILY "MANAGERS"

Results

The range for the alpha reliabilities for the variables in this study is from .67 to .96. The alpha reliabilities for 11 of the 15 scales for the sample included in the present study are 0.80 or higher. Thus, the data appear to be sufficiently reliable for use in the study.

Descriptive statistics

Table 1 represents the mean scores and standard deviations for each of the 15 variables for the present sample as well as for the "managerial" sample in Hackman and Oldham's study. The "managerial" sample consisted of 6,930 employees who worked on a wide variety of managerial jobs in 56 organizations throughout the United States (Hackman & Oldham, 1980). The mean scores for all 15 variables for the job of academic middle manager for baccalaureate nursing fall within one standard deviation of the normative scores for the job class "manager." Table 1 indicates that, on the whole, the job of academic middle manager for baccalaureate nursing is comparable to management positions in general.

Zero order correlations

Table 2 presents the zero order correlations for all variables included in this study. A one-tailed test was used to determine significance at the .05 and .01 levels. There is a small but statistically significant correlation, r = 0.25, between the two primary dependent variables "general job satisfaction" and "internal work motivation." As predicted by Hackman and Oldham's theory, the dependent variable "general job satisfaction" is substantially correlated with all five sub-components of satisfaction. The data suggest that general job satisfaction can be defined in terms of all specific satisfaction variables. The dependent variable "general job satisfaction" is significantly and moderately correlated with all seven independent variables and the dependent variable "work motivation" is not.

Interestingly, the mediating variable "individual growth need strength" is slightly negatively correlated with job satisfactions (both general and specific) and positively and significantly correlated with internal work motivation (r=.22).

The results of this analysis appear to indicate that the mediating variable "individual growth need strength" does not operate in the manner described by Hackman and Oldham. Further, internal work motivation is not as strong a correlate of the seven job characteristics as hypothesized by Hackman and Oldham's Job Characteristics Model of Motivation.

Since neither the job characteristics (skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, feedback from the job itself, feedback from agents, and dealing with others) nor the mediating variable "individual growth need strength" were related to the dependent variable "internal work motivation," regression analysis was not performed on internal work motivation.

Table

TABLE 2ZERO ORDER CORRELATION COEFRCIENT MATRIX: INTERCORRELATIONS OF THE VARIABLES

TABLE 2

ZERO ORDER CORRELATION COEFRCIENT MATRIX: INTERCORRELATIONS OF THE VARIABLES

Primary analysis of the data

The primary question for research in this study concerns the relationship, individually or collectively, among the seven job characteristics, the mediating variable "growth need strength," and the dependent variables "internal work motivation" and "general job satisfaction." The question is addressed in terms of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing. To examine this question, a series of multiple regression analyses were employed. Since the dependent variable "work motivation" and the mediating variable "growth need strength" were not significantly related to the seven job characteristics, or to each other, they are not included in the regression analysis. This leaves the dependent variable "general job satisfaction" of primary interest.

Tifale 3 displays the results of a multiple regression analysis showing the relationship between the five subcomponent variables in explaining variance in general job satisfaction. In combination, the predictor variables account for 63% of the variance in the criterion variable "general job satisfaction." Individually, the predictor variables "security satisfaction" and "growth need satisfaction" are the significant predictors of general job satisfaction.

Regression analysis showed the seven job characteristics were not significant in predicting the sub-component variable "security satisfaction."

Table 4 shows that of the seven job characteristics, both autonomy and feedback from the job itself were significant in predicting 68% of the variance in the sub-component variable "growth need satisfaction."

Table 5 indicates that the seven job characteristics account for 46% of the variance in the dependent variable "general job satisfaction" with "autonomy" being the significant predictor. By itself, autonomy accounts for 36% of the variance in general job satisfaction.

While internal work motivation has very small correlations with the seven job characteristics and only a slight, although significant, correlation with the mediating variable "growth need strength," the regression analysis based on a multiplicative model produces some interesting results. When an additive model is specified, the predictor and mediating variables account for only 8% of the variance in internal work motivation with none of the variables being significant in this linear model. However, when a multiplicative model is specified, the combined prediction and mediating variable account for 27% of the variance in internal work motivation. The interaction of task identity with individual growth need strength is a significant predictor of internal work motivation, as Hackman and Oldham suggest in their theory.

Summary

This research examined the perceptions of job characteristics, general job satisfaction, and work motivation among academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing in the United States. It included only those academic middle managers in colleges of nursing having both an undergraduate baccalaureate program and a graduate nursing program. The results can be generalized to academic nursing middle managers who function between the Dean of Nursing and the faculty and who are responsible for the baccalaureate nursing program.

Table

TABLE 3MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF SUB-COMPONENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

TABLE 3

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF SUB-COMPONENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

Table

TABLE 4MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GROWTH NEED SATISFACTION

TABLE 4

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GROWTH NEED SATISFACTION

Data from this study indicate that academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing are comparable to Hackman and Oldham's (1980) normative group of managers and support their theory that the characteristics of the job are related to general job satisfaction.

Findings in this study that do not support Hackman and Oldham's (1980) theory are of special interest. Notably, work motivation can be reliably measured for the population of academic nursing middle managers in this study. However, work motivation cannot be predicted by the job characteristics because there is no significant relationship between the seven job characteristics and internal work motivation. This is in direct contrast to Hackman and Oldham's theory which suggests that managers whose jobs are higher in the seven job characteristics will be more highly motivated. These findings substantiate those of Kiggundu (1978) who tested Hackman and Oldham's theory on a population of supervisors, professionals, semiprofessionals, and technicians and found "low, nonsignificant correlations between the set of job characteristics and internal work motivation" (Kiggundu, 1978, p. 77).

Also not supporting Hackman and Oldham's theory of job satisfaction, the mediating variable "growth need strength" does not interact with the job characteristics in any meaningful way. However, including the job characteristics and growth need strength in interactive terms in the model does increase, by four percent, the amount of variance that can be explained in general job satisfaction This finding lends support, however slight, to Hackman and Oldham's theory that growth need strength operates as a mediating variable between the seven job characteristics and general job satisfaction. Growth need strength contributes very little to our understanding of general job satisfaction regardless of the predictive model (linear or multiplicative). These findings are substantiated by Arnold and House (1980) whose study found no support for growth need strength acting as a mediating variable.

For the group of academic middle managers studied, general job satisfaction is some combination of the subsatisfactions security satisfaction and growth need satisfaction. Apparently, when academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing say they are satisfied with their jobs, they are satisfied with the stability of their position and with the degree to which the job meets their psychological needs of learning, personal accomplishment, and selfdirection.

From inspection of the definitions of the seven job characteristics it comes as no surprise to find that although the sub-satisfaction "security satisfaction" is related to general job satisfaction, it is unrelated to the seven job characteristics. Both autonomy and feedback from the job itself are significant in predicting the sub-satisfaction "growth need satisfaction."

Of the seven job characteristics, only "autonomy" is significantly related to general job satisfaction, by itself accounting for 36% of the variance in general job satisfaction while all seven of the job characteristics together account for 46% of the variance.

Discussion

In ever increasing numbers, nursing middle managers are preparing themselves academically to progress through the administrative ranks to the position of dean of nursing. Why then, after achieving a middle management position, do these well-prepared and motivated persons change their minds and indicate (79%) they no longer wish to remain in their current position or to progress to the position of dean of nursing? This drop-out rate for academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing is far greater than the drop-out rate for other academic middle managers (32%) cited in the literature.

Table

TABLE 5MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

TABLE 5

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

Work motivation cannot be predicted in this population by the characteristics of the job itself. As work motivation is theorized to play a major part in retaining employees, this area of concern needs to be restudied using different instruments. Perhaps even redefining work motivation would shed some light on the drop-out problem among academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing. Considerable further research needs to be done utilizing the concept of work motivation.

Hackman and Oldham's mediating variable growth need strength has been found by this study and others (Arnold & House, 1980) to make no significant contribution to their model. Eliminating this mediating variable from the model would greatly simplify the model, thereby possibly encouraging its use in further studies.

Only the sub-satisfactions growth need satisfaction and security satisfaction significantly predict general job satisfaction. Therefore, if higher education administrators are indeed interested in decreasing the middle management drop-out rate by increasing the job satisfaction of academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing they may wish to look into expanding the opportunities for learning, personal accomplishment, and self-direction provided by that position as well as increasing the job holders sense of stability in that position.

Since the two job characteristics autonomy and feedback from the job itself predict the significant sub-satisfaction growth need satisfaction, increasing the degree to which the job provides substantial freedom and independence and discretion in scheduling the work and determining the procedures to be used in carrying out the work, as well as increasing the degree to which carrying out the work activities results in obtaining direct and clear information about the effectiveness of his or her performance will be reflected in an increase in growth need satisfaction and, ultimately, general job satisfaction.

As the job characteristic autonomy is the single largest predictor of job satisfaction, increasing the autonomy of academic middle managers will increase their general job satisfaction. Since academic preparation, motivation, and personnel selection appear to be adequate, perhaps as theorized by Hackman and Oldham, manipulation of the characteristics of the job itself may reduce the high attrition rate among academic middle managers for baccalaureate nursing.

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FIGURE 1

AN EXAMPLE OF AN ITEM OF THE JOB DIAGNOSTIC SURVEY. "SKILL VARIETY"

TABLE 1

MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS FOR THE VARIABLES INCLUDED IN THIS STUDY COMPARED TO SIMILAR VALUES FOR THE JOB FAMILY "MANAGERS"

TABLE 2

ZERO ORDER CORRELATION COEFRCIENT MATRIX: INTERCORRELATIONS OF THE VARIABLES

TABLE 3

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF SUB-COMPONENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

TABLE 4

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GROWTH NEED SATISFACTION

TABLE 5

MULTIPLE REGRESSION: SIGNIFICANCE OF INDEPENDENT VARIABLES IN EXPLAINING VARIANCE IN GENERAL JOB SATISFACTION

10.3928/0148-4834-19890601-06

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