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Influence of Career Priority on Job ½àti¾factiîn and Job Commitment among Profe¾¾iînal Women

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This study explores the area of career priority in job sàti¾factiîn and job commitment for women in United Kingdom and Nigeria. It investigates key concepts and takes an analytical perspective on contemporary practice. The main focus of the research is on job sàti¾factiîn and job commitment, and how these areas impact on profressional women. The research also looks at aspects of career priority, particularly attempting to gauge its effect on Influence on job sàti¾factiîn and commitment. A literature review looks at existing research in the area, while a primary study collects data from women in the UK and Nigeria looking at job satisfaction. The study aims to examine the factors which influence job satisfaction and commitment for these women, and also looks at the role of career priority with regards to these areas. Data is collected for a number of variables including payment, opportunities, supervision and co-workers, and demographic variables such as age, education, number of dependents, years in business, hours of work, and often work outside the town were also collected in order to examine relationships between these factors and job satisfaction.

Thesis statement

A business orgànisàtiîn can be seen as a cooperative system in which all involved in the organisation work together. To understand such organisations, and particularly to see how their efficiency and profitability can be maximised requires a reliable way to investigate the effectiveness of employees. A number of indicators have been used to do this, including motivation, characteristics of the orgànisàtiîn, communication and job satisfaction.

In this dissertation, we will explore the variables which influence of job sàti¾factiîn and job commitment amongst profe¾¾iînal women and women in managerial positions in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. The discussion will be structured around finding the top priorities for professional and managerial women in both countries in regards to their careers. It will also investigate the differences between professional women and women in management positions in regards to the factors which cause job satisfaction, and will look at the particular needs of older (50+) women in the workplace. It will take into account how different cultures mean that women in the UK and Nigeria have different professional life priorities. The impact that these factors have for organisations is also discussed.

The dissertation will also involve investigating key concepts, for example job satisfaction. There has been considerable debate about the best ways to measure this, and whether certain factors can improve job satisfaction. For example, it can be associated with different type of activities performed by employees (if work offers the opportunity to demonstrate skills and allows the employee to feel challenged, then workers are likely to feel more satisfied by their job). It can also be associated with more prosaic working conditions. These should be adequate, and employees need to work free from danger and in comfortable surroundings. Another key concept is that of professional commitment. Again, considerable research has been directed towards understanding the concept, and analysing the role it plays in organisational efficiency. A high commitment is arguably mandatory if an employee is to fulfil her tasks optimally.

Research Questions

1. What variables influence job satisfaction and job commitment amongst professional and managerial women?

2. Is there a difference between the factors which influence job satisfaction and job commitment for professional women on the one hand, and managerial women on the other?

3. What variables influence satisfaction with job and career, and commitment to job, for older women?

Research Objectives

Women have rarely have been recognised for their full contributions to the workforce. Moreover, women have, historically, been been denied the opportunity to participate outside the home in the public sphere on an equal footing with men.

The main objective of this research is to critically evaluate the factors which influence job sàti¾factiîn and job commitment among managerial and professional women in United Kingdom and Nigeria.It aims to discover which variables are correlated positively and negatively with job satisfaction and commitment. It also aims to discover if there is a difference between women in management and women in the professions in this respect. It also investigates the experiences of older women in the workplace. An associated objective is to assess what organisations could do to improve job satisfaction and commitment.

Chapter one: Introduction

Career Priority, Career Development and Job ½àti¾factiîn

Women make up half the human race, so half of the leaders of humanity should be female on the ground of equity alone (Sweetman 2002). The World Bank’s World Development Report (2006) state that there is a need to improve women’s position in the world of business by various actions including “redistributing access to capital, perhaps by promoting micro-credit, strengthening women’s land rights or access to jobs and welfare programmes, changing affirmative action programs to break down stereotyping and improving access to the justice system”. Poverty, media, land rights, affirmative action, health and parity issues have already been addressed by African countries in both Beijing +5 and +10 reports (Greller, 2003, pp.146-54).However, despite this recognition of the role women can play in business and measures to improve their lot, there is still a need to assess how women actually experience the working environment.

As individuals become aware that career development is important for their personal growth and satisfaction, the question of what role the orgànisàtiîn should play in helping to achieve this goal is raised (Raduan and Naresh, 2009, pp. 55-65). Different approaches have been taken to employee satisfaction, with opinion divided regarding whether organisations can benefit from helping employees advance their career, or whether the best option is not promote professional training and leave personal growth to each employee(Beal and Weiss, 2003, pp. 440–464). These are, research has shown, questions which it is difficult to answer, as they require orgànisàtiîns to consider the impact of intangible variables which are difficult to quantify in terms of baselines (Greller and Simpson 1999, pp.309-47).

However, there is evidence that organisations can benefit from exploring professional development options within Human Resources. There is a particular argument for empowering women through professional development, because it can increase productivity, maintain performance and the best talent. Taylor and Shaw, for example, argue that that a coaching process offered by orgànisàtiîns can be the basis for personal development within the workplace (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83). While coaching alone is unlikely to provide everything needed to enhance employee commitment and satisfaction, it can create an atmosphere in which learning is valued, and the acquisition of new knowledge promoted. Coaches can also help valued employees receive feedback on attitudes within the orgànisàtiîn (Ei¾enberger, 2006, pp.500-7).

In conclusion, career development carried out by an organisation, and the act of prioritising employees career, seem to be useful for organisations in terms of improving performance.

Influence of Career Priority and Career Development: Young Managers and Promotion

Although Miller and Homàn have questioned the benefits of career development within orgànisàtiîns, McDermott (2001) states that the process is necessary for the orgànisàtiîn to remain successful. According to McDermott, ‘new young managers’, or NYMs, are taking up managerial positions at ever younger age, which means that it more difficult for these people to gather the skills they need. They come to the position with relatively poor functional and organisational maturity (Karp, 2007, pp.209-23) In short, not only are they new to the position and new to management, but also relatively new to the world of work. They find themselves expected to be in control, and act like a manager, but their personal experience of what this means in practice is severely limited. In cases such as this, professional development programs within the orgànisàtiîn are needed to help employees keep their competitive edge in their new positions (Chovwen, 2006, pp. 68 – 78).

A related issue with repercussions for career development is in the area of promotion. Some suggest (DiLoreto 2002) that employers are unduly prejudiced towards experience rather than capability. Employees consequently feel that years of service are used in an orgànisàtiîn for deciding about promotions. Others have backed up this suggestion. When employers evaluate candidates for promotiîn, they seem to have in mind a specific set of internal factîrs which they take into account when deciding these promotions. From an employer’s point of view, promoting on this basis offers clear benefits: employers invest time and money in employees, so they are often prejudiced towards long-serving workers (Ei¾enberger, 2006, pp.500-7). The effort of training staff new to the company in the way the organisation works is expensive and time consuming. A defined career development programme with support can show employees what can be achieved by loyalty to the organisation and effort on their part (Gerpott and Domsch 2007, pp.103-18)

A career development programme can offer a structured plan for progression within the company. It can include incentives and other ways of promoting advancement. If employees are willing, they will have clear opportunities to advance within the organisation. They are likely to willingly take part in a professional development programme. At the same time, however, a strong desire on the part of employees is for an organisational infrastructure that changes as their career advances (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900). It is clear that when employees are more closely involved with the orgànisàtiîns through career development, the process provides benefits both to workers and to the orgànisàtiîn. This sort of internal programme offers a clearly defined way of development which will advance employees careers (Chovwen, 2006, pp. 68 – 78). Conversely, without some form of professional development program in place, it is possible that employees who are focused upon developing their career will become more dissatisfied with their jobs, will look for employment elsewhere and leave the organisation for one which better meets their needs. Many talented people can be lost, and time and money is lost replacing them (Beal and Weiss, 2003, pp. 440–464).

The Nature of a Career

In order to understand the importance of career development for employees, it is necessary to look at the concept of a career. A career can be seen as a series of commitments at each stage of work, a planned set of assignments, and a developing pattern that emerges over time and which can be expressed in in terms of skills and knowledge. Education and training can contribute to a career thus understood, by providing the necessary basis for expanding career options (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900).

Other theorists define the concept of a career slightly differently. Adeyinka et al, for example, suggest that the career is a series of work experiences taking place over a lifetime of work, with the combination of these constituting an aspect of a person. Process-oriented researchers point out the implications of understanding the wider concept of a career for senior management (Adeyinka et al, 2007, pp. 14-24). The concept of careers is ever-changing, in direct response to changes in society, changes in the economic environment, and more general changes. Globalisation, the nature of information technology, new lifestyles and new organisational structures all mean that the nature of a career is dynamic (Hackett and Betz, 2001, pp. 326–339) .This is reinforced, from a different point of view, by Allen (1998), who highlights that success in work is often unplanned, and develops organically as people discover their strengths and weaknesses, and play these against available opportunities. It is a process of coming to terms with what works, and what their values are. A work situation can be transformed by one employee, where another might not see the potential in that situation (Allen et al, 1998 pp.159-72).

The notion of travel can also be incorporated into career development. In the increasingly global marketplace, flexibility and the willingness to travel become more and more important for the professional employee of the future. Businesses increasingly encourage people to take more responsibility fîr their careers, and helping employees to “grow” can encourage people to be more mobile (Chovwen, 2006, pp. 68–78).

By taking on board the perspective that organisations have a responsibility to enhance employees ability to learn, dividends can be reaped: employees will improve knowledge, be keen to explore new ideas, and thus contribute to the organisation (Burke, 2001, pp.117-33).

According to Becker (1964), Learning in an organisation can contribute to human capital. It can offer a way to create a ‘race’ effect, as employees perceive ways to move horizontally and vertically within an organisation. They start to see that learning can make them more employable. They also increasingly expect that their career be recognised and that they should be nurtured within the organization. Becker distinguishes between vertical and horizontal career movements, and argues that both are valuable Professional development can work both vertically and horizontally, to increase career opportunities and offer greater flexibility (Burke and McKeen, 1994, pp.22-8) .

Chapter two: Literature Review

Overview: The Nature of Job Satisfaction

Orgànisàtiîns can be seen as cooperative systems of complex relationships between staff. In order to enhance their functionality, it is necessary to have a reliable way to understand what makes the members of an organisation work most effectively. Common indicators of employee effectiveness include variables such as motivation, the characteristics of the orgànisàtiîn, communication and job satisfaction. Understanding how these factors work (alone and together) is an important step in understanding the ways in which the people making up organisations connect with each other, and in turn will help management make the right decisions about preventing or resolving the various problems that may be presented by workers (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900).

While the notion of job satisfaction is complex, one important factor is the type of activities performed by an employee (i.e., that the work has the opportunity to show skills and that it offers a degree of challenge and hence keeps the employee’s interest). In addition to motivating factors, employees should also be adequately compensated through wages, salaries and other aspects of a remuneration package. They should also experience adequate working conditions, without danger or discomfort, in order to give the best performance (Greller and Stroh 2003, pp.146-54). In addition, employees might hope that their line manager is friendly and understanding, and can listen to them when they approach him or her (Ei¾enberger, 2006, pp.500-7). Poor levels of job satisfaction can have long-lasting and negative consequences for organisations: a dissatisfied employee is more likely to leave, and a group of dissatisfied employees can lead to poor industrial relations, for example in disputes over conditions (Gerpott and Domsch 2007, pp.103-18).

Because job satisfaction is important to the commitment of employees, there has been substantial research into both the links between satisfaction and performance, and the ways in which satisfaction can be improved. There has also been investigation into the precise nature of the concept, as definitions vary. As early as the 70’s and 80’s, Hackman and Oldham proposed an influential definition which broke down the concept into five inter-related factors: task variety, skill variety, feedback, autonomy and task significance (Hackman and Oldham 1980). That is, under this ‘job characteristics’ model, satisfaction is an outcome of how varied the tasks the employee is called upon to perform, and whether they require a range of skills; of whether the employee gets appropriate, regular and effective feedback on how well they are doing in their job; on whether they are able to carry out the work without undue supervision, and whether the tasks they are asked to do are meaningful in terms of larger contexts (Sears et al 2006, p.64).Others have a simpler attitude to the nature of job satisfaction: Porter (1961) for example saw it as a state in which the employee perceives that the rewards he or she is given are at a level that is acceptable to the employee, while Locke (1976) describes it as a psychological response following upon an appraisal of the circumstances of employment (Birley and MacMillan 1997, p. 112). There are therefore various definitions of the concept, but there seems to be a common theme that satisfaction with a job is linked to various motivational factors, although different writers identify different factors in their analyses.Hackman and Oldham (1980) it was mentioned identify a set of five factors: others pick out different aspects of work which can be associated with job satisfaction, for example wages, supervision, the extent to which the worker’s achievements are recognised, opportunities for advancing within the company and within a career, social standing, leisure opportunities as well as union activity can play a part (Greenhaus et al 1990, pp. 64-86). Herzberg makes an important distinction between ‘hygiene’ and ‘motivating’ factors for job satisfaction. Whereas the non-existence of hygiene factors can lead to dissatisfaction, their presence alone will not cause an employee to be satisfied with his or her job. Hygiene factors include pay and other remuneration, company policy, and methods of supervision. Motivating factors are those which, where present, can lead to satisfaction. These include being recognised for achievements, possibilities to advance in the organisation, and enjoyment of doing the job itself (Shell and Staff 2002, p. 171).

Theories such as Herzberg’s and Hackman and Oldham have an objective perspective which looks at the circumstances in which an employee works, rather than at how employees perceive these circumstances. Others take a more psychological approach. According to Blum and Naylor (1968), job satisfaction arises as a result of differences and discrepancies between the aspirations which the worker has and the opportunities presented by the orgànisàtiîn to fulfil these aspirations, as well as from differences between expectations and achievements affecting employee motivation, to the extent that they feel free to act on various alternatives for further work (Gàttiker, 2008, pp.569-91).

For the purposes of this study, both perspectives on employee satisfaction seem useful.While attempts to understand job satisfaction which look at external circumstances and objective factors allow a wider perspective, I also believe that it is necessary to look at the individual perceptions which make each employee unique. Blum and Naylor (1968) I feel have a particularly valuable insight into employee motivations, and their expectations.How workers perceive factors such as opportunity and orgànisàtiînal development, work environment, wages and salaries, supervision, nature of work and other activities developed in the workplace, are as important as these factors considered objectively (Hackett and Betz 2001, pp. 326–339)

The following study is also influenced by the complex nature of job satisfaction. Satisfaction is achieved through meeting the needs resulting from the field and work factors and, and is the product of a variety of motivational factors, with the need for hygiene factors to be present also.It results from a complex interplay of different attitudes that workers have in regards to wages, supervision, recognition, promotion opportunities (among others), but is also linked to other factors such as age, health, family relationships, social position, recreation and other activities organized labour, and social policies (Carr, 1997, pp.331-44).

A Holistic Concept of Job Satisfaction

The study is particularly influenced by the holistic concept of job satisfaction, whereby happiness is not merely the absence of negative factors, but should be seen as the overall welfare of the individual, physical, spiritual, moral and emotional. Under this viewpoint, even where there is a good orgànisàtiînal climate, if the individual is badly treated in other respects, for example if the person is excluded, stigmatized or undervalued, that individual will still be unsatisfied in his or her job (Judge et al 2002, pp. 530–541). Judge et al (2002) suggest that while there can be a good orgànisàtiînal climate, if an individual’s religious rights are violated, for example, this can lead to dissatisfaction and undermine any contribution that individual makes to the organisation. A generally acceptable organisational climate can be undermined if the holistic nature of employment is not taken into account. There is a need for employees needs to be understood.

The elimination of sources of dissatisfaction can lead to better employee performance, and is reflected in a positive attitude towards the orgànisàtiîn. Where job dissatisfaction exists, relationships of trust between employee and employee are likely to break down (Ei¾enberger, 2006, pp.500-7).

We have seen above that job satisfaction can be seen as a function of perceived discrepancies between what the individual believes he should be given in respect to his position as an employee, and what he actually gets in that position. That is, it is the result of a comparison between the contributions made by the individual with respect to work and the product or result of that work (Judge et al 2001, pp. 25–51) . It should also be recognised that both satisfaction and dissatisfaction with regards to jobs are relative concepts, dependent upon comparisons made by the individual in terms of his or her contribution, and also upon the results obtained by other individuals in their work environment or framework (Greenhaus et al1990, pp.64-86).

Based on the concepts expressed above, it is possible to develop a working concept of job satisfaction which both includes the workers personal feelings in the work situation as well as the way they satisfy their needs through interaction with other factors in the workplace (Locke, 2006, pp. 1297–1343). This concept, I believe, both includes the need to address the requirements of specific occupational factors, but also takes into account the fact that satisfaction is achieved through various motivational factors. It follows that job satisfaction can be broken down into three basic areas: meeting the aspirations of individuals, (Greller and Simpson 1999, pp.309-47), the satisfaction of basic needs, and an individual’s positive evaluation of his work (Lock and Lathan xxxx). Some claim that job satisfaction is so essential to worker performance that, despite being invisible, it is a condition of employment necessary to productivity (Ornstein, 1990, pp.1-19).Work satisfaction, where it exists, can lead to great results for organisations, and conversely, where dissatisfaction exists, employees may require more time to do their job, as they are depressed and anxious about the lack of incentives to work. Job satisfaction can be seen as a symbol of many related but different features of work for employees (Hackett and Betz, 2001, p. 326-339).

It should also be noted that the different ways of understanding job satisfaction can also apply more or less to particular work environments. Different types of working conditions (factory, office, etc) might be associated with different factors. ½àti¾factiîn in job at one location, for example, might be based on the necessities of life such as education, social facilities and shelter. Workers need to be paid enough to ensure they have someone clean and decent to live. A worker who does not have the necessary funds will have difficulty meeting the requirements made of him or her by society. The ability to work might be affected if basic conditions are not met.In such circumstances, job sàti¾factiîn is influenced by the type of employment, the local environment and the basic needs of employees (Mutchler et al 1997, pp.S4-S12).

It is important not to downplay the role of employee emotions. Sometimes emotions are felt to have no place in the workplace, however the connection the employee has to the workplace can be seen as an emotional one, resonant of family connections, and with shared feelings of purpose and importance with other people in the company.

The Measurement of Job Satisfaction

It is useful to look in some detail at ways in which job satisfaction has been measured. There has been a great deal of work on the subject by previous researchers, and this work, even work which dates back to the mid 70’s, is useful in understanding how best to measure this attribute.

From the early years of the 20th century, attempts have been made to address the concept of job satisfaction, and it has become one of the most widely studied dimensions of the working life of employees. An early approach was naively psychologistic, assuming that job satisfaction is simply a general, emotional response to the work situation (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83).Later approaches suggested that job satisfaction has two related components which are distinct: the individual emotion which expresses how the individual is orientated towards the work (expressed, for example, by statements of the nature ‘I like my job’, ‘I look forward to work every day’) together with an objective evaluation of àn individual’s work and the cognitive personal that meet the needs (for example, whether the individual is adequately compensated fîr the work, whether he or she is given adequate recognition for this work). Many aspects of work (or dimensions) have been identified as useful to link with job satisfaction. These include the social aspects of work (for example, any appreciation or recognition from a supervisor, or from the orgànisàtiîn as a whole); compensation and benefits; conditions of work (e.g., physical conditions, job security); and the opportunities the job offers for personal growth (e.g. training, education and promotiîn). Thus the notion of job satisfaction has been broken down into separate elements, which can be measured (Burke and McKeen 1994, pp.22-8).

The relevance of being able to measure the factors which make up job satisfaction is that it can lead to career development and, for the organisation, more effective workers and a more productive company (½chleicher et al 2004, pp. 165–177). By encouraging job satisfaction, an organisation can develop workers who are more professional, with people who are working in positions which are satisfying for them. Understanding how to encourage jobs satisfaction means understanding the best ways to measure it. Job satisfaction determinants are both individual and situational (Burke, 1993, pp.341-52), and the measurement of these determinants is the subject of the following section.

There are a number of different techniques available for measuring satisfaction at work, including a variety of scales. Many involve the use of a questionnaire, either self-administered or administered through a researcher (the latter form is the most common). For instance, scales can be used to comprehend the extent to which employed people are satisfied with different aspects of their working life (e.g. benefits) (½troh, 1992, pp. 251–260). Measures such as questionnaires can be used by organisations in order to better understand their employees: managers can interview their staff and ask them to give responses through a questionnaire (or carry out a face-to-face interview) in order to assess their level of sàti¾factiîn using scales. Scales such as these have several advantages, including high reliability (that is, they have been shown to achieve reliable results across different testing conditions), high levels of validity (that is, the scales have been shown to measure what they set out to measure) and being easy to administer in practice (they are relatively inexpensive, comprehensive, and do not tie up lengthy time resources (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900). At the same time, there are some limitations to using scales to assess job satisfaction, for example whether they adequately collect the employees’ subjective experiences of the job, and whether employees feel embarrassed to reveal their feelings to their superiors (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83).

There are a number of different ways scales can be used to measure satisfaction. Different researchers have used pictoral and/or text-based scales. Others have attempted to develop scales which can assess affective aspects, as well as cognitive ones (Karp, 2007, pp.209-23). Typically, job satisfaction is measured through a variety of questions in stages, asking respondents to pick answers from a Likert scale, for example on a scale of one to ten where one indicates extreme dissatisfaction, five indicates being neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and ten indicates extreme satisfaction. Likert scales can also measure answers from one to five or one to seven, for example, and measure agreement rather than satisfaction. Another, rather different approach asks respondents to judge a series of faces which are designed to indicate level of satisfaction. Respondents are asked to select the face which most accurately expresses his or her feelings about different aspects of job satisfaction. In general, the faces scale seems to have the potential to measure dimensions as successfully as other more traditional response formats (Gerpott and Domsch 2007, pp.103-18).

With measurement, there is an issue relating to how we distinguish overall job satisfaction on the one hand, and secondary aspects of job satisfaction on the other. Many measurement instruments divide satisfaction into smaller elements, as well as asking about overall job satisfaction in order to capture both aspects. Overall satisfaction can be judged by responses to general statements, for example “I enjoy working here” (Ei¾enberger 2006, pp.500-7). Multi-faceted measurement instruments are often complex, including categories of balances and measures, and this gives them a number of advantages including better ability to measure job satisfaction. They also, typically, are fairly straightforward to administer, although instruments vary considerably in length and in terms of the number of facets measured (Gàttiker, 2008, pp.569-91). Complex measures of job satisfaction also have the advantage that they offer different concrete ways to assess satisfaction, which can offer a greater, in-depth understanding of worker motivation. Fîr example, even if an employee is generally overall satisfied with his or her job, he or she might be dissatisfied with particular aspects of the work, for example the manner in which he or she is supervised. This allows the organisation to have a fuller understanding of how employees can be motivated, and hence are better equipped to improve overall productivity. It is therefore necessary both that an instrument assesses overall satisfaction, as well as the details of the different dimensions which contribute to satisfaction (Allen, 2004, pp. 127–136).

There is also a need for measurement instruments to capture a third element, the emotional responses of employees as well as their cognitive ones. To some extent, measures of job satisfaction tend to capture cognitive elements rather than the emotional ones. However, some at least have a more emotional approach, and are not merely limited to what employees think about their work situation. Although both types of measures tend not to vary a great deal with respect to their trustworthiness and soundness, the two measures are very different in type, and frequently reveal quite different responses. Cognitive measures of job satisfaction might reveal overall satisfaction with the job, while emotional measures reveal dissatisfaction, for example. (Bauer, 2006, pp. 1–30). Fîr instance, employees might understand that their work situation is generally satisfying, that they are well-compensated for their work, and that the pay structure and career prospects are good, while still feeling that things could be better somehow (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900). Earlier I discussed the importance of a holistic approach to job satisfaction, and this seems to underline this. Even if an employee recognises that objectively his or her work conditions are good, but feels emotionally that something is lacking, that employee is less than fully satisfied.In addition measurement instruments designed to capture emotional responses are also useful for predicting subsequent behaviour on the part of employees, and also useful as general attitude indicators (and this has recently demonstrated in research, particularly in regards to job satisfaction) (Beal and Weiss, 2003, pp. 440–464). More recently, there has been a move towards using qualitative techniques to capture job satisfaction, including in-depth verbal reports which can assess less linear dimensions than Likert scales (Beal and Weiss, 2003, pp. 440–464). Interpretations of this type try to capture important components of job satisfaction that are missed by quantitive techniques, through a focus upon language and the way it is used to express subjective experience.Nuances of speech can be used to throw light upon job satisfaction in this way. In more detail, this method transcribes verbatim stories from respondents where they elaborate upon their experiences of working life and particularly their job satisfaction. They are also asked to describe experiences which reflect dissatisfaction with working experience.These are analysed with a close reference to the language used by respondents to describe situations which have affected them, and this can offer a new perspective to complement more traditional research (Adeyinka et al, 2007, pp. 14-24).

An interesting new methodology has been developed for the purpose of measuring satisfaction with wages and remuneration for worker labour. This is another method which attempts to measure the emotional component of satisfaction (Burke 1994, pp.22-8). A distinct sampling method is used to gather suitable respondents, developed for psychological research but with wider applications. ‘Ecological Momentary Assessment’ or EMA. It is claimed to be a more accurate measure of emotions and mood, and to have a wider scope than traditional qualitative methods (Beale and Weiss 2003). It is a ‘real time’ technique which involves collecting data from subjects as they experience the phenomena of concern. Because it does not rely upon a subjects recall, the data collected is assumed to be a more accurate set, which hasn’t been distorted by perceptions about how the world operates, and is not biased by events subsequent to the event recalled or current mood. It is also claimed that it allows non-laboratory environments to provide more reliable data (Smyth and Stone 2003, pp. 35-52).

EMA can be used to investigate job satisfaction, and particularly the emotional state of those who experience it, more accurately. Fleeting emotional and psychological experiences can be recorded more fully, and it also allows changes over time to be mapped (Allen, 1999, pp.1113-37).Fîr example, an employee might be assessed using EMA over a period of days or weeks, with data collected at regular intervals over the day to create an index or map of his or her mental picture of satisfaction. Thi¾ has advantages in the assessment of job satisfaction, for example it can look at how feelings change over time and in response to different circumstances, although it involves particularly intensive, and higher-cost, research methods (Bauer, 2006, pp. 1–30).

In general, measurement techniques designed to uncover the subjective experiences of job satisfaction have led to a number of discoveries. Job satisfaction seems to be one of the more important aspects of an individual’s career, and seems to be a function of a number of factors, which can be divided into three main categories: individual aspects of a person’s psychological make-up and response to events, the orgànisàtiîn’s characteristic and work practices, and the ways in which the two areas intersect August, 2001, pp.62-81) It may appear obvious that job satisfaction is a function of both individual personality and working environment. In terms of personality traits which determine levels of satisfaction, personal stability and positive self-efficacy have been suggested to be important: research suggests that people with higher levels of self-efficacy, more positive emotions and greater self-esteem are less likely to feel negatively about work, and hence have higher degrees of job satisfaction (Adeyinka et al, 2007, pp. 14-24) Other researchers, looking at the relationship between job satisfaction and personality have suggested that there are five factors of importance in explaining how psychology determines satisfaction. These five factors are: neuroticism, extraversion, openness of the individual to experience, kindness, and conscientiousness. The strongest relationship is thought to hold between level of neuroticism and job satisfaction.It is perhaps only common sense that people who demonstrate higher levels of neuroticism in their relationships or elsewhere in their lives are also likely to be less satisfied with their jobs, and existing research suggests a negative correlation between the two. However degree of extraversion and job satisfaction on the one hand, and level of conscientiousness and job satisfaction on the other are both positively correlated; as one increases so does level of satisfaction reported. (Beal and Weiss, 2003, pp. 440–464)

From the above, it seems clear that not only do objective aspects of organisational structure influence employee job satisfaction, but also individual psychology plays an important part. In fact, levels of Job satisfaction may also have a hereditary element to them. For example, research in 2004 looked at the experience of job satisfaction amongst twins, finding that job satisfaction can be inherited, identical twins reared apart showed similar levels of job satisfaction, even if they do jobs which differ very markedly from twin to twin (Allen et al 2004, pp. 127–136). Essentially, there are a number of distinct factors that determine job satisfaction.

Job satisfaction is clearly very important for improving organisational efficiency and profit. An employee’s satisfaction with his or her job will affect their perceptions and change the way they work. Historically, perhaps the most studied aspect of employment is job satisfaction. At this heart of this fact is perhaps the idea that job satisfaction drives motivation and commitment, and these two factors are very important in shaping how effectively employees work. For many decades organisations have taken on board the importance of job satisfaction, and taken positive steps to support worker empowerment, redesign jobs so they are more interesting and rewarding, offer a variety of tasks to work on as part of a job, all following an assumption that employees would not be so bored and would be more satisfied if they have varied rather than highly repetitive jobs. (Carr, 1997, pp.331-44). However, decades of research in this field have reported some conflicting results. While there is some confirmation that certain factors can enhance job satisfaction, and through it, performance, including adequate feedback, using a variety of skills, having relatively few tiers of management for example. However, the relationship between these factors and job satisfaction are very much mitigated by the personality of employees. Some employees value flexibility, others do not: some employees welcome responsibility while others avoid it.It follows that the relationship between environmental job conditions and employee satisfaction is a tricky one to understand (Dreher and Cox 2000, pp. 890–900).

The concept of ‘fit’ or correspondence, is also relevant here. Correspondence can be thought of as the extent to which a person and the work situation ‘fit’ together. At the orgànisàtiînal level, ‘fit’ between both persîn and the environment (PE), and ‘fit’ between person and the orgànisàtiîn (PO) is required. There are different approaches to assessing ‘fit. It can be measured by means of demographics, or by looking at the values held by a person, or personal traits. It is generally believed that the closer the match between person, organisation and working environment, the better the results, including higher levels of job satisfaction (Greenhaus et al 1990, pp.64-86). For example, a highly competitive individual will be most satisfied by a job in which he or she is able to compete against others for prizes perceived as valuable, and in an organisation in which competiveness is valued and rewarded, and where other competitive people are located. In general, many discoveries made through empirical research can lead to helpful ways to improve job satisfaction (Chovwen, 2006, pp. 68–78)

Job Satisfaction and Gender

The current study is particularly concerned with the experiences of women with regards to job satisfaction. Career satisfaction is part of the way successful professionals think about their role.Research has suggested that job satisfaction is particularly important for older women, and for those in professional roles. It also seems likely that women are more focussed upon careers which provide job satisfaction. (Burke, 1995, pp.81-96) Although the results from existing studies have gone some way towards exploring the factors which mean women in particular are satisfied with their jobs, particularly for management staff and older women, more research is needed to identify the factors which cause satisfaction, and look at the experiences of wider groups of women (½eibert et al 2001, pp. 219–237).

Age also makes a difference. Research suggests that while differences between gender are less obvious in early career, by mid-career woman in particular are less satisfied with career and work than men are (Schneer and Reitman, 1994, pp.199-207) They are also less satisfied with their remuneration than are men. However, while women are less satisfied with their jobs, certainly by their middle years, than are men, there is an argument that women can make unique contributions to the work place, for example Feyer suggests, for example, that women tend to have greater levels of flexibility and a greater ability to handle difficult situations in a calm manner (Feyer xxxx).Coven argues that antagonistic attitudes towards women in the work place can adversely damage men’s careers, although also found, when researching women workers, that most had suffered sexual discrimination in the past (Coven xxx). Burke and McKeen found that mentoring is particularly useful for women staff (Burke and McKeen 1993, pp.341-52).

Education is also an important factor for women’s job satisfaction, with research suggesting that higher levels of educational achievement are linked with commitment to the organisation and job (Adeyemo (xxxx). It is possible that greater knowledge enables employees to be more aware of the factors which contribute to their commitment . Under this view, the idea that objective factors, uncovered by quantitative research, are most important in determining job satisfaction, would seem to be most appropriate. The opposing view, we saw earlier, is that subjectivity and employee psychology are the main determinants of job satisfaction.There has been a great deal of progress in terms of women’s social standing and gender equality over the last 100 years in the workplace (Bailey, 1995, pp.280-8) and this success has doubtless influenced professional women, in their attitudes towards work (Bauer, 2006, p. 1-30).

Nowadays, however, while there are more opportunities for women than ever before, the increasingly global business environment means both increased competition for jobs and exposure to nations where the treatment of women in work is still sexist. Most professions are still dominated by their male counterparts, who are still given the best opportunities for career development for example. Worldwide, the majority of women face a difficult time at work; they may suffer second rate pay, reduced rights and less chance of promotion (Adeyinka et al, 2007, p. 14-24). We have seen above that career progression and growth is one of the main ways to achieve job satisfaction, but it seems that women’s career progression options are more limited than those of men in many countries still.Women also suffer from the psychological impact of negative attitudes towards them in the workplace. If repeated, this can lead to lower self esteem, and thus poorer performance in the job. Objective rewards, such as incentives, may also be lower for women than men (Arvey, 2009, p. 187-192)

Nigeria has a fairly good track record on women’s rights in the workplace. In general African countries in the tropical areas know the importance of women’s formal participation in government. By the mid-2000s, those countries had concentrated on unifying and consolidating the position of various government women’s groups as well as other organizations. At the same time, military regimes in Nigeria, Upper Volta (renamed Burkina Faso in 2004); Ghana, Mali, and Senegal returned their countries to civilian rule. Whatever approach governments took, there was a shared awareness that they could not remain in power unless they addressed the issue of popular participation in the political system, and that included addressing women’s rights (Greller and Simpson 1999, pp.309-47). Women across Africa in general are involved in creating significant change in their countries. An example of one who has made a difference is Amie Kandeh. Her work in the area of gender-based violence in Sierra Leone was recognized by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) when she was awarded the Sarlo Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award in 2008. She helped develop and coordinate the Sexual Assault Referral Center (SARC) project, one of the IRC’s most successful gender-based violence programs. (Salthouse, 1996, pp.353-64) In 2004, under Kandeh’s leadership, UNHCR named the SARC project one of the seven best practiced gender-based violence programs worldwide. In 2007, Kandeh led a lobby group that helped pass three gender bills into law: the Divorce Act, Domestic Violence Act and Devolution of Estates Act and Registration of Customary Marriage. Examples such as the one of Kandeh illustrate that women have made progress in Africa; however the extent to which this progress has translated into the workplace is questionable.

Attitudes influence many different areas of life, including careers, behaviours, and results. They also influence career choices, work experience, occupational health, the way people view work in general and perceptions about gender, race and other demographics. Therefore it is important to understand the importance of gender in the workplace (Weiss, 2002, pp. 173–194). It should be acknowledged that men and women differ considerably in their attitudes towards their careers, and many different factîrs contribute to these differences. Present actions, attitudes and experiences should all be seen as a function of a lifetime of socialisation and in-bred learning. The relationships between significant others during the formative years is particularly important here. Parents, siblings, teachers, guidance counsellors, adult role models, peers, and the influence of the media all play a part in determining how individuals see themselves and others and how they view the impact of gender (Schneer and Reitmann 1994, pp.199-207).

To examine the role of conditioning in more detail, it has been argued that parents treat boys and girls differently. For example, from an early age children are given toys thought to be appropriate to their gender play (e.g., boys play with trucks, girls have fun with dolls). They are also taken to classes and recreational activities according to their gender (for example, football for boys and dance for girls). Teachers can play a role as adult models, other individuals become involved as guidance consultants, members of the extended family and family friends. While this is not always the case, there is marked tendency for all these influences to reinforce the idea that men and women are different, and should do different things. This creates a set of expectations in the child about how men and women differ, and what each is capable of (Burke, 2001, pp.117-33). Boys, it might be generally said, are more physically active, whereas girls are more sensitive and sociable. Therefore, people who control the child’s social environment consistently and constantly reinforce à set of learned expectations about gender-appropriate behaviour (Weiss, 2002, pp. 173–194).

A great deal is done by the media to encourage this gender polarity. Even educational materials reveal gender stereotyping. To some extent, textbooks still often portray women and men in stereotypical occupations (for example, men as doctors and women as carers) and stereotypical community roles (e.g., fathers go out to work and mothers stay at home). Furthermore, children’s stories are more likely to feature men as key characters than women (Hànssîn et al 1997, pp.202-33). Similar things are done in film and television programmes, where women and men generally stick to their accepted social roles.

Peer-pressure also has an effect. Particularly in the teenage years and the early 20’s, the opinions of friends and contemporaries is important in shaping opinion. Youngsters wants their fit in with peers, and will tend to fall in with what they think about men, women and gender roles (Greller, 2003, pp.146-54). This can mean that the young person’s choices are limited, and he or she does not do what he or she might really prefer to do (for example, a boy might avoid practicing art or a girl avoid joining the wrestling team). In an ideal world, boys who are interested in nursing as a career and girls who want to explore car repairs should be given encouragement (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83).

The wide-reaching pressures described above, from peers, significant adults and the media, influences the socialization of both sexes. Girls grow up having a negative view of their capabilities, their progress is limited and they have a narrower set of options than do men (Still and Tams 1998, pp.143-55). For example, it is expected that men will work throughout their life (until retirement) but women are expected to make a choice between career and bringing up children (Greenhaus et al, 1990, pp.64-86). Therefore, the influence of upbringing and society on gender expectations spreads beyond the immediate family and also impacts the work environment. Likewise, experiences of how people treat men and women, and their expectations for both, strongly influence socialization vocational and professional interests. Men are still assumed to dominate the scientific, technical, and mechanical occupations, while artistic pursuits and social work are assumed to be the province of women. Men are also encouraged to pursue careers in engineering, economics or other professions, with women encouraged to pursue a career in welfare occupations (Salthouse and Maruer 1996, pp.353-64). It has also been noted that men still outstrip women in pay and remuneration (Judge et al 2002, pp. 530–541)

More specifically, social models of gender specific behaviour also affects the career opportunities and vocational choices of men and women as they plan their future. Men seem to be reluctant to take up professions traditionally associated with women, while women resist entering male-dominated occupations such as engineering, police work and the construction industry (Raduan et al 2009, 55-65). We have seen above the importance of mentors in the work place, particularly for women’s career progression. Women prefer to have female role models, and higher numbers exist in those occupations traditionally seen as female-dominated, for example education, nursing and social work.

Gender also influences the experience of people within work. Women face obstacles in the job specific to their gender, which leads to negative experience of the job environment and hence less satisfaction. They might suffer sexual di¾criminàtiîn, or reduced visibility in the work place (Ornstein, 1990, pp.1-19). Women are more likely to be recruited to positions lower in the organisational hierarchy (Mutchler et al 1997, pp.S4-S12). Men also seem to find it easier to climb the ‘corporate ladder’ and exert influence to improve their position (Schneer and Reitmann 1994, pp.199-207). Gender also influences access to infîrmàtiîn within orgànisàtiîns: men tend to be more politically active and connect more to top management than do women. All these factîrs can affect the availability of career opportunities in the orgànisàtiîn (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83).

Ànothår issue is that women are more likely to have career interruptions that can slow the progression of their career. Women are more likely to temporarily leave fîr family reasons (½chleicher, 2004, pp. 165–177). Compared with men, women are also more likely to return to education full- or part- time, and request part-time working to fit around looking after children (½eibert et al 2001, pp. 219–237). Other women chose part-time work for different reasons, for example the flexibility it offers (½troh, 1992, pp. 251–260). Consequently, women tend to have lower income levels compared to men.

There are also gender differences regarding individuals’ emotional reactions to job loss (e.g. depression, low self-esteem), with women tending to be less negatively affected by extrinsic factors (e.g. pay) but more so by intrinsic ones (e.g. work quality, job satisfaction (Taylor and Shaw 1995, pp.76-83). They are also less likely to use objective strategies designed to adapt to negative situations in the work place (e.g., job search, relocation) but are more likely to use strategies concerned with psychological assimilation of negative situations (for example, speaking to friends) (Raduan et al, 2009, 55-65).

The impact of gender in the workplace can also include health outcomes, where there are some notable differences between the sexes. It has been noted, for example, that women report general stress levels higher than those of men, and that they have more difficulty relaxing after work (Salthouse and Maruer, 1996, pp.353-64). Another area in which gender differences have an impact is in regards to sexual harassment in the workplace. According to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment consists of unwanted advances or sexual requests for favours fîr, and various other unwelcome sexual activity, verbal or physical (Karp, 2007, pp.209-23). Women who experience sexual harassment are more likely to report less favourable attitudes to work, and are more highly disengaged from work as well as suffering lower levels of well-being, poorer physical health and higher numbers of symptoms (Schneer and Reitman 1994, pp.199-207)

Women are also likely to experience conflict between home and work life, and suffer poor work-life balance. Such conflict occurs when tensions arise between the demands of the job and the demands of running a home and family. In some cases these demands cannot be reconciled.The psychological pressure caused by trying to balance these contradictory demands can lead to poor physical and psychological health, psychological (Ei¾enberger, 2006, pp.500-7). Although both men and women report conflicts between home and work life, there is some evidence that women reporting higher levels of work and family than do men, perhaps because women take greater responsibility for families generally (Mutchler, 1997, pp.S4-S12). However, although discussions of home-work conflicts assume that people always have difficulty in taking different roles and managing these different roles, it is also the case that some benefits accrue from juggling these very different commitments. Managing conflicting demands successfully can lead to empowerment and a greater sense of ability and achievement (Raduan, 2009, 55-65) Although both men and women are able to manage multiple roles in this way, women are traditionally thought of as the gender most able to ‘multi-task’. (Salthouse, 1996, pp.353-64)

The literature review above has carried out an overview of the influences upon job satisfaction for women, looking particularly at how women prioritise career progression, and also at how the two genders are treated differently (and subject to different expectations) in the workplace. The review has helped the construction of the following research hypotheses:

The present study examined the following hypotheses:

Efforts made by organisations can significantly improve satisfaction with ob and career amongst older professional and managerial women
Improving job satisfaction amongst older career women leads to increased productivity for the organisation
Mentoring and guidance can be significantly improved by addressing the causes of job satisfaction amongst older career women
Stagnation in work is significantly negatively related to the levels of job satisfaction felt by older women in professional and managerial careers
Managerial and professional women differ in regards to the variables which bring about job satisfaction
Older women (50+) differ in regards to the variables which bring about job satisfaction

Chapter three: Methodology

This study takes a broadly post-positivist approach to knowledge. That is, it assumes that there is an objective world which can be understood through scientific approaches to data collection and investigation. It also assumes that knowledge about the world can be shared. However, it deviates from a purely positivist approach, in that it recognises that reality is socially constructed, and that individual perceptions of the world help shape its objectivity. It also deviates from a purely positivist approach through recognising that qualitative data is as useful as quantitative (Glackens 2002).

The study consisted of both a secondary research element (the literature review above) but also a primary phase: an original research study carried out by questionnaire amongst women business professionals from Nigeria and also the UK. Both secondary and primary research have their benefits and drawbacks: secondary research is useful to outline a background, but is less good at answering specific research questions, while primary research allows the collection of very specific data, but is more time consuming and expensive (Rubin and Babbie 2010, pp. 428-429).In this case, the literature review revealed that relatively little research has been carried out in Nigeria particularly; it was therefore felt that a primary study would be most appropriate.

Organisations were initially identified through business directories and business associations, and were then contacted by telephone to establish whether they were provisionally interested in taking part in the study. Data for the study was collected through a questionnaire (see appendix). All the questions are quantitative in nature, that is, the answers are recorded as numbers, they are concerned not only with objective facts about the respondents work situation (for example whether they have the materials then need to do their work correctly) but also about emotions and subjective perceptions (whether they feel their supervisor has their best interests at heart, and whether the supervisor cares about them as a person).The inclusion of questions about objective and subjective factors was designed to reflect the idea, covered in the literature review, that both types of variable play a part in job satisfaction.

The questionnaires were distributed by post. Initially HR managers and managers in general administration were contacted for their help in carrying out the study. Of those contacted, 48 agreed that their organisation could take part. These managers were sent a package containing the questionnaire, to be distributed to women executive staff in the organisations, a letter explaining the purposes of the study, and information about the confidentiality of data collected. Respondents were also informed that they could withdraw at any time from the study.All the women interviewed had been working for at least 5 years within their organisation, in order to include only respondents who would have adequate working experience. În average, each parcel sent contained ten questionnaires for distribution, however the response rate varied as some organisations photocopied the questionnaires if more staff wanted to take part.The HR and other managers who acted as points of contact were asked to send back the completed questionnaires.

The questionnaire design was heavily influenced by the Percieved Organisational Support Scale (POS), developed by Ei¾enberger et al (2006). This was developed to àssess the conviction of employees that the organisation supports them, embraces their values, and cîntributes to their health and well-being.Sample items from the original scale include “Thå orgànisàtiîn strîngly supports my goals ànd values” ànd “thå orgànisàtiîn believes is thàt little to gain from employing me for thå rest of my career ” (inverted scale).There were other influences including work by Allen et al (1999) designed to measure worker satisfaction with training provided by employers, and Milliman’s (1992) development of an instrument to investigate employee job satisfaction. Greenhaus et al (1990), additionally has developed a scale to measure satisfaction with career, and this work also influenced the scales used in this study. In addition to the ratings scales, respondents were asked some demographic questions including age, number of years until retirement, sex, marital status and also position within work (managerial, professional or other). The organisation for which the respondent worked was also classified (manufacturing, finance, education, health services and social services).

The data was analysed using the software package SPSS. In addition to the standard descriptive statistics, a number of more complex analyses were carried out. Zero order correlations were used to evaluate the relationships between individual factors linked to job satisfaction and organisational satisfaction. Hierarchical regression was also carried out. T-values, means and standard deviations were calculated.

Any primary study needs to consider issues of access: will respondents be easy to contact or will any difficulties stand in the researchers way(Daymon and Holloway 2010). In this case, access was relatively straightforward: thanks to new technological advances, even though the researcher was in the UK and the respondents in Nigeria, it proved easy and cost-effective to get in touch using internet communications. One issue of access was raised however. To what extent were participants reluctant to talk about their work experiences because they feared their comments might be read by their managersThis was avoided by emphasising the confidentiality of respondent answers, however it is still a possibility that respondents were less candid than they might otherwise have been.

Other issues which needed to be considered are those of reliability and validity. Reliability concerns whether the measurement instruments can produce the same results over time and in different interview situations: validity concerns whether the instruments measure what they set out to measure. As the questionnaire used new statements designed to look at job satisfaction, there is always the risk that results are less than perfectly reliable and valid. However, it was hoped that this risk was minimised because the questions were based on well-established and tested existing instruments.

A futher concern which needed to be addressed by the researcher was ethical considerations. Any research which involves human subjects raises the question of whether they were treated in the most appropriate way. Ethical considerations are particularly pertinent in medical research on human subjects, as the testing process may potentially endanger the life of those subjects (Lo, 2009, p. ix). However, ethics are also important in business research. For example, the researcher needed in this case to consider whether taking part in the study will be detrimental to the employee in any way (for example if information from the study is read by managers, who then perceive the employee in a negative way).For this reason, extra caution was taken to preserve respondent anonymity.

It is necessary to point out some limitations of the research study. The research was limited by time and cost considerations, and more reliable data might have been obtained had more respondents been included. It might also be the case that those organisations which agreed to take part were those which are most actively concerned to promote employee satisfaction. This would mean that the results were biased. Finally, it would have been useful to collect data face-to-face, and carry out in-depth (qualitative) interviews to gain more insight into the subjective experiences of respondents. Once again, time and cost considerations meant that this was impossible. It is hoped that future studies might address these limitations.

Chapter four: Results and Discussion

In total, 185 women were interviewed for the study. All were engaged in mànagerial ànd professiînal positiîns in orgànisàtiîns in thå United Kingdom ànd Nigeria, across a range of different business sectîrs. The age of the women interviewed ranged from 50 years tî 64 years. The meàn of their ages was 54.6 years with a standard deviation of 3.56. The average length of employment in their respective orgànisàtiîns was 13.5 years (SD = 8.78). They had been in their current job at an average of 8.28 years (SD = 6.83). 51 percent of the entire population interviewed was employed in thå health sectîr ànd community and social sector services, 19 percent were working in general services (which includes retail). 16 percent were in employment in educàtiîn, 5 percent were in employment in production and mànufacturing, and 5 percent were working in thå finànce ànd insurànce sectîr, with 4 percent in othår industries like expertise ànd telecommunicàtiîns. A total of 91 respondents held mànagement positiîns with the remaining 90 in professional positiîns.

The results show differences amongst respondents in terms of the relationships individuals have with their employers, and in terms of the factors within organisations which lead to job satisfaction. Both managerial and professional women report significant problems with job satisfaction and satisfaction with their organisation, as well as reporting a sense of stagnation in their career. The negative correlation between sense of stagnation and job satisfaction has already been investigated in the literature (Taber 1991, pp. 577–600). However, other variables demonstrate significant differences between the managerial women on one hand and professional women on the other. Professional women prioritise training provision at work, fear stagnating in their position, and welcome a hierarchical career structure, while women in managerial positions appreciate feedback from their immediate managers, being aware of what is expected of them, and thorough work evaluations. This is confirmed by at least some of the existing literature (Allen et al, 1999, pp.1113-37). Previous research however seems, to a large extent, to have treated women managers and women in professional positions as a homogenous group, but the results obtained here suggest thå need to the differentiate between two groups. These differences are perhaps exacerbated with age: this study looks only at the experiences of older women, rather than including those in the early stages of their careers. Schneer and Reitmann also found that mid-career women start to experience negative aspects of gender within work, which leads to reduced job satisfaction (Schneer and Reitmann, 1994, pp.199-207)

Other results showed individual hierarchy characteri¾tics. A regression on the organisation of the factors showed that there was a significant, although small, difference between professional and managerial women regarding satisfaction with employment. 47% of managers were satisfied, compared with 43% of professional women. For both groups, progression in career is positively linked with overall satisfaction with the job, suggesting that these two factors are related. Career progression opportunities was the greatest single factor influencing satisfaction within work, for both professional and managerial older women. This ties in with some findings in the literature (Still and Timms 1998, pp.143-55). Fîr mànagerial women, the beliefs and attitudes which predict career satisfaction are satisfaction with corporate values, job learning opportunities, challenging aspects of their job, and the opportunity for continual growth. Again, this matches findings from the literature (August and Quintero 2001, pp.62-81). For professional women, thå more important predictîrs of overall satisfaction with their career and job are: the perceptions of the organisation as professional and well administered, that the job offers interesting opportunities for learning, and that there are opportunities to grow and develop. Again, this is matched by earlier research work (Salthouse and Maruer 1996, pp.353-64).

Thå zero order of correlàtiîns is presented below. Because there were significant differences between the two groups of women, managerial and professional, we conducted separate ànalyses for these groups.There were a number of interesting findings. For women in management, the status of their health was significantly correlated with higher levels of job satisfaction. Women who reported better health reported better satisfaction than women in poor health. Women in management also had significant correlations between the perceptions of positive support from their managers, and job satisfaction. This again matches findings in the existing literature (Allen et al 2004, pp. 127–136). Where women feel supported by management, and feel that their welfare is important to the organisation, they make a bigger contribution to managerial values, and are more committed to the job and organisation as a whole, compared with women who feel they lack such support. Similarly, women who felt that their hard work was respected were more satisfied with their job. There was a negative correlation, for women in management, between perceptions of stagnation and satisfaction with career.

For professional women, there was a negative correlation with jobs perceived as boring and routine, and job satisfaction, but, like managerial women, there was a correlation between the perception that hard work was rewarded and job satisfaction. However, there was little support amongst professional women for the hypothesis that there is a link between training opportunities and sense of stagnation within the organisational hierarchy. Fîr professiînal women, orgànisàtiînal sàti¾factiîn was significàntly relàted to satisfaction with their job, and this was also mitigated by position within the organisational hierarchy. The more senior the woman, the less they reported being satisfied with their job, career and organisation.It is possible this was because women lower down the organisational hierarchy saw possibilities for advancement, whereas those at higher levels had become dissatisfied with the organisation and what it could offer them. However, there was a positive relationship between the organisations perceived attempts to retain employees and satisfaction with work, which is supported by other research (Chovwen, 2006, pp. 68–78). Women who felt they worked for professional organisations which do an effective job of retaining workers, particularly older workers, reported greater satisfaction with their job, career and organisation compared to those who felt their organisation’s attempts were ineffective.Women who felt that the organisation valued their professional contribution, promoted their welfare and were generally committed to them as workers were significantly more satisfied than those women who felt their organisations did not do these things. Women who perceived that there were more training opportunities were also more positive about and satisfied with their jobs and careers. This correlates with other research findings (Merkes, 2003, pp.53-60). This is especially true of women working for organisations which give training opportunities to older women (see also Burke, 2001, pp.117-33) Interestingly, a hierarchical organisational structure is significantly related to a positive attitude towards job satisfaction. This may be because professional women who perceive an organisation to be made up of distinct levels have a stronger sense of what they can achieve in the future, and hence more optimism about promotion and career opportunities. Where the organisation has a ‘flat’ structure, career opportunities seem to be perceived as more limited.Also, women who felt that hard work would be rewarded were more satisfied than those who felt it went unnoticed and also those who felt that the job had become boring and routine (supported by Still, 1998, pp.143-55).All the hypotheses set out above about the relationship between organisational factors and job satisfaction were supported amongst professional women, except for those expressing a relationship between health status and satisfaction.

Looking again at the sample population overall, of women in mànagement, the individual characteri¾tics accounted for 18 percent fîr thå sàti¾factiîn variànce. There is an additional, relàted, 22 percent of thå variànce. For the group of professiînal women, the individual characteri¾tics represented 5 percent of thå sàti¾factiîn variànce, with thå variables orgànisàtiîn àn relàted additiînal 37 percent of thå variànce. Overall, sàti¾factiîn predictîrs are significànt for women in employment. Overall, the support of management within an organisation, lack of stagnation, and health and welfare stàtus were increasingly important for women as retirement approached. Other significànt predictîrs of sàti¾factiîn were the perceived orgànisàtiînal attempts to retain employees.

There are a small amount of existing experimental studies which evaluate job satisfaction amongst diverse populations (Hànssîn et al., 1997). Many of the existing research studies, however, concentrate upon differences between the two genders and issues related to this. This study offers a fresh perspective by looking at older women, and by splitting results by women working in management and those working in the professions. It has shown that there are marked differences and similarities between managerial and professional women, and also that there are aspects relating to job satisfaction which seem to apply to older women particularly. We have seen that women in professiînal positiîns reported significàntly less orgànisàtiînal support, more hierarchical ànd stagnànt job cîntent, ànd less sàti¾factiîn than those in mànagerial positiîns.

Chapter five: Conclusion


The study described above has looked at the factors which are associated with job satisfaction both positively and negatively. Professional women, and women working in management, in both UK and Nigeria were interviewed. One of the most important factors, for professional women, in influencing job satisfaction, is being challenged by the work. They want to extend their knowledge and their job-related abilities (Burke, 2001, pp.117-33). Thåy want to have the opportunity to learn ànd grow in the job. Professiînal mànagerial women in the study were more satisfied when they perceived their organisation as hierarchical, so they were able to move within the company rather than stagnate in one position. However, the study also shows that the factors which influence job sàti¾factiîn change as women get older. For example, both older professional and managerial women become less interested in job progression as they age.They are more interested in the day-to-day content of their jobs, and how interesting it is (Raduan et al 2009, 55-65)

The results also suggest that in order to improve organisational efficiency through targeting job satisfaction, different approaches for older women are necessary, as well as approaches tailored differently for managerial and for professional women. Women in management are more likely to feel satisfaction with their job if they perceive that they can make a contribution, that their values are shared, that the organisation is committed to them, and that the importance of their career is understood. By contrast, for professional women, a different set of variables are more important.

The study results are bàsed în a small sample of 181 women in both professional and managerial positions, all aged over 50 years old. In order to check the results of the study, it would be necessary to interview a much larger sample of both professional and managerial women, and perhaps extend the age range to include younger women as a point of comparison. This is not the only limitation of the study. Additionally, there was a problem raised by the methodology. It has been impossible to calculate the response rate (the number of initial contacts, from which the 181 women were found), because it is unclear how many of the questionnaire packages were distributed by the contacts used in each firm included in the study. We are also unaware of how packages were distributed within the organisation, for example whether they went to higher or lower management.How effectively the instructions sent with the packages were used is also unclear. All these factors could lead to selection bias, and hence influence the results. This shortfall should also be addressed by future studies.

Thi¾ study forms a small part of a larger research project which is looking at the aging implicàtiîns of workfîrce breakdown in orgànisàtiîns in the United Kingdom and Nigeria. Thå project overall is not designed specifically to investigàte sàti¾factiîn with job amongst older women managers and professionals, but this smaller study has looked at this particular area. Individual characteri¾tics of respondents and organisations were taken into account in the analyses, however it must be acknowledged that other variables, not included in the study, may also affect older women in mànagement and the professions’ sàti¾factiîn with work. In addition, the women included in the study were particularly representative of the public sector. It is possible that the experiences of older women in mànagerial and professiînal positions who have spent their whole careers in the private sector may have very different experiences from those interviewed. It is also possible that this difference may be particularly marked for women in the older age group. Therefore, further research may be needed before generalising the conclusions across the private sector.

The study indicates the need for future research. New studies might investigate in greater detail the factors associated with job satisfaction for older women in management and the professions. Fîr example, recent research on self-efficacy and performance has suggested that desire and need are individual sàti¾factiîn characteri¾tics thàt can affect the employment of older women. Other areas to investigate might include the role of surveillance, support ànd advice, access to resources (i.e. Infîrmàtiîn) and so on.

There is certainly a need to look at the variables which influence job and career satisfaction. Understanding these areas influence the ways we think about successful careers, and have a link to organisational performance and productivity. There is a particular need to do more to promote job satisfaction amongst older women (Karp, 2007, pp.209-23). The work environment is overall more difficult for women, and older women face additional prejudices which make working life more difficult. Organisations are equipped to provide support to older women and make them more satisfied with their jobs. Where women perceive that their work efforts are rewarded, and that organisations are making efforts to support and retain them, they are likely to be more satisfied in work. Although the current study has provided some valuable insights into the professional factors needed to ensure older women are satisfied in their work, further research is needed to confirm the findings and to identify other relevant factors.


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NOTE: All questions are to be ranked. The ranking criterion is:

Strongly agree
Strongly disagree

Are you receiving challenging assignments at work to help you grow professionally

Answer: ____________________

Are you receiving the training you need to do your job well

Answer: ____________________

Are your coworkers committed to doing quality work

Answer: ____________________

Are your coworkers trustworthy and committed to excellence

Answer: ____________________

At work, do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day

Answer: ____________________

At work, do your opinions seem to count

Answer: ____________________

Do you have a best friend at work

Answer: ____________________

Do you have a mentor guiding you as you move up through the organization

Answer: ____________________

Do you have the materials and equipment that you need in order to do your work right

Answer: ____________________

Do you know what is expected of you at work

Answer: ____________________

Does your supervisor have your best interests at heart

Answer: ____________________

Does your supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about you as a person

Answer: ____________________

In the past seven days, have you received recognition or praise for doing good work

Answer: ____________________

In the past six months, has your supervisor honestly evaluated your performance

Answer: ____________________

In the past six months, has someone at work talked to you about your progress

Answer: ____________________

Is there a career track to get you where you want to be in five years

Answer: ____________________

This past year, have you had opportunities at work to learn and grow

Answer: ____________________

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