The Relationship between Participation in Decision Making and Job Satisfaction among Academic Staff in the School of Business, University of Nairobi

Journal of Human Resources Management Research

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Florence K. Muindi

School of Business, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 246460, Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 34 pages, DOI: 10.5171/2011.246460

Received date : ; Accepted date : ; Published date : 4 August 2011

Copyright © 2011 Florence K. Muindi .This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License unported 3.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided that original work is properly cited.

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between participation in decision making and job satisfaction among academic staff in public University of Nairobi. This study was conducted on the positivism approach to research. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. The population of the study was all non-management members of academic staff at the school of Business, University of Nairobi. A structured questionnaire was prepared and distributed to all selected respondents.  The study comprised of two major variables, namely participation in decision making, which was the independent variable and job satisfaction which was the dependent variable. A five point scale was used to collect data and analysis was based on averages, percentage, correlation coefficient and linier regression .The findings indicate that a significantly strong positive correlation was found to exist between job satisfaction and participation in decision-making (=0.888). The findings indicate also a positively strong correlation between participation in decision-making and job satisfaction in relation to general working conditions (=0.640); pay and promotion potential (=0.703); use of skills and abilities (=0.895); job design (=0.750); and job feedback (=0.632). The findings indicate that the level of job satisfaction for workers at the SOB increases proportionately with an increase in their level of participation in decision-making.

Keywords: decision making, participation in decision making, job satisfaction

Introduction

Background

The environmental and contextual changes present a number of competitive challenges to organizations and that means that Human Resource functions have to be involved in helping build new capacities (Ulrich, 1998). One of these challenges is that firms have to ensure that they have the capacity to find, assimilate, compensate and retain human capital in the shape of talented individuals they need to drive the organization.  In a globalizing world with a better educated workforce that is no longer inclined to be seen and not heard, a new management style is in fact called for.

Helms (2006) observed that organizational restructuring and the accompanying cultural change has caused management styles to come in and go out of fashion. He also noted that there has been a move away from an authoritarian style of management in which control is a key concept, to one that favors teamwork and empowerment.  Today there is a greater emphasis on participatory management.  Participation (or participatory management), otherwise known as employee involvement in decision making, encourages the involvement of stakeholders at all levels of an organization in analysis of problems, development of strategies and implementation of solutions (Helms, 2006). Armstrong, (2006) and Graham and Bennet, (1998), define participation in decision making as the inclusion of the employees in the decision-making process of the organization. Evidence shows that when employees are involved in decision making, staff absenteeism is reduced, there’s greater organizational commitment, improved performance, reduced turnover and greater job satisfaction (Luthans, 2005, Moorhead and Griffin, 2004).

Decision Making

Decision making can be defined as choosing between alternatives (Moorhead and Griffin, 2004). It can be regarded as an outcome of mental processes (cognitive processes: memory, thinking, evaluation) leading to the selection of a course of action among several alternatives. Decision making involves mapping the likely consequences of decisions, working out the importance of individual factors, and choosing the best course of action to take.

In the decision making process, the decision maker’s actions are guided by a goal. Each of the several alternative courses of action is linked to various outcomes. Information is available on the alternatives, on the value of each outcome relative to the goal. The decision maker chooses an alternative on the basis of his/her evaluation of the information (Moorhead and Griffin, 2004).

Employee Participation in Decision Making

Employee Participation is generally defined as a process in which influence is shared among individuals who are other wise hierarchically unequal (Locke and Schweiger, 1979; Wagner, 1994). Participatory management practice balances the involvement of managers and their subordinates in information processing, decision making and problem solving endeavors (Wager, 1994). Beardwell and Claydon (2007), define worker’s participation as the distribution and exercise of power, in all its manifestations, between the owners and managers of organizations and those employed by them. It refers to the direct involvement of individuals in decisions relating to their immediate work organizations and to the indirect involvement in the decision making, through representatives in the wider socio-technological and political structures of the firm. According to Luthans (2005) the decision making can be formal or informal and entails intellectual and emotional as well as physical involvement. This process, according to Graham and Bennet (1997), implies that employees have access to sufficient information on which to base their decisions, that they will be consulted before the decision is made and that negotiations will be made between management and the employees about implementation of the decision.

Participation involves individuals or groups in the process. Individual participation techniques are those in which an employee somehow affects the decision making of a manager. Group participation techniques use consultative techniques and democratic techniques. Consultative techniques imply that a manager asks for and receives involvement from employees but maintains the right to handle the decision while in the democratic form, there’s a full participation and the group not the individual heads and makes the final decision by consensus or majority (Luthans, 2005).

The actual amount of participation in decision making ranges from one extreme where the manager makes the decision and asks for no help or ideas from anyone, to the other extreme of full participation, where everyone connected with, or affected by the decision is completely involved. In practice, the degree of participation will be determined by factors such as experience of the person/group and the nature of the task. The more the experience and unstructured the task, the more the participation there will tend to be (Luthans, 2005).

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction is a pre-requisite for employee performance in any organization. It is important for both the employee and the employer. For the employee, job satisfaction gives them a sense of security and fulfillment. In return, it leads to employee commitment, decreased absenteeism and reduced employee turnover. For the employer, employee job satisfaction ensures committed staff and stable workforce which reduce cost of recruitment and training. According to Stogdill (1965), successful organizations consider worker morale and job satisfaction an output just as important as productivity.

Locke (1996) defines job satisfaction as a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences. Schneider and Snyder (1975) on the other hand defined job satisfaction as a personal evaluation of conditions present in the job, or outcomes that arise as a result of having a job. Job satisfaction thus, has to do with an individual’s perception and evaluation of his job, and this perception is influenced by the person’s unique circumstances like needs, values and expectations. People will therefore evaluate their jobs on the basis of factors, which they regard as being important to them.

Spector (1997) asserts that job satisfaction is the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs. Job satisfaction is a positive orientation of an individual towards the work role, which he is presently occupying. He further states that variables related to job satisfaction include achievement, advancement, job enhancement, job enrichment and teamwork. One of the most challenging tasks in management today is keeping the most qualified employees satisfied and being able to retain them on the job. Armstrong (2006) defines job satisfaction as the attitudes and feelings people have about their work. Positive and favourable attitudes towards the job indicate job satisfaction. Negative and unfavorable attitudes indicate job dissatisfaction. Morale is often defined as being equivalent to satisfaction. Guion (1958) defines morale as the extent to which an individual’s needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual perceives satisfaction stemming from his total work situation. Lawler (1971) defines job satisfaction as the favorableness or unfavourableness with which employees view their work.  Satisfaction is an aspect of motivation.

Okoth (2003) asserts that job satisfaction is a positive state, resulting from the appraisal of one’s job experiences.  Job satisfaction is a collection of feelings and beliefs that managers have about their jobs. She further argues that managers, who are high in job satisfaction generally like their jobs, feel that they are being fairly treated and believe that their jobs have many desirable features such as interesting work, good pay and job security.

According to Gumato (2003), job satisfaction is the extent to which employees favourably perceive their work. High job satisfaction indicates a strong correlation between an employee’s expectations of the rewards accruing from a job and what the job actually provides. Workers who are satisfied in their jobs will be co-operative and well motivated while those who are dissatisfied will be more inclined than others to produce low quality output, go on strike, and be absent from work, invoke grievance procedures or even leave the organization. A worker’s sense of achievement and success is generally perceived to be directly linked to productivity as well as to personal wellbeing. Job satisfaction implies doing a job one enjoys, doing it well, and being suitably rewarded for one’s efforts. Job satisfaction further implies enthusiasm and happiness with one’s work. The Harvard Professional Group (1998) sees job satisfaction as the key radiant that leads to recognition, income, promotion, and the achievement of other goals that lead to a general feeling of fulfillment. Oshagbemi (2003) identifies job satisfaction as an important attribute which organisations desire of their employees.  Love and Edwards (2005) define job satisfaction as a function of the match between the rewards offered by the work environment and the individual’s preferences for those rewards.

Spector (1997) asserts that job satisfaction is the extent to which people like (satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs. Job satisfaction is a positive orientation of an individual towards the work role, which he is presently occupying. He further states that variables related to job satisfaction include achievement, advancement, job enhancement, job enrichment and teamwork. One of the most challenging tasks in management today is keeping the most qualified employees satisfied and being able to retain them on the job. Armstrong (2006) defines job satisfaction as the attitudes and feelings people have about their work. Positive and favourable attitudes towards the job indicate job satisfaction. Negative and unfavorable attitudes indicate job dissatisfaction. Morale is often defined as being equivalent to satisfaction. Guion (1958) defines morale as the extent to which an individual’s needs are satisfied and the extent to which the individual perceives satisfaction stemming from his total work situation. Lawler (1971) defines job satisfaction as the favorableness or unfavourableness with which employees view their work.  Satisfaction is an aspect of motivation.

School of Business, University of Nairobi

The inception of the school of business dates back to 1956/57 academic year in the Royal Technical College of East Africa, where the School of Business trained students for professional examinations in Accountancy and Secretarial practice. Students throughout Kenya and the region received training from the faculty. This practice continued until the Faculty of Commerce was established in its present form in 1964, producing the first graduates with Bachelor of Commerce degree in 1967.

The School of Business underwent changes after 1970 when the University of Nairobi was inaugurated. From the 1972/73 academic year the school began offering the Master of Business Administration degree programme (MBA), an additional compliment to its offerings. The School marked another milestone in its development with the move to Lower Kabete Campus in 1998 which is located 12 km from Main Campus.  It has developed teaching and research facilities to accommodate a student population of over 6000.  Today the School of Business continues to meet national needs by providing trained human resources in commerce. In 2004, the School launched a campus in Mombasa and in 2008, launched another campus in Kisumu.  The School continues to meet the demand of training Human Resources in the broad areas of Business Management.

The School is headed by a Dean; it also has two Associate Deans, one for the undergraduate programme and one for the postgraduate programme. The School has three departments as follows; Department of Finance and Accounting, Department of Business Administration and Department of Management Science. Department of Business administration is the largest department in the School of Business in terms of the areas of specialization and students enrolment.  The department also offers service course to various departments in the University of Nairobi. The Department of Finance and Accounting is charged with the responsibility of offering and teaching accounting and finance courses at the University of Nairobi, spearheading research and development in its areas of specialization among other University wide responsibilities. The Department of Management Science is involved in teaching, research and consultancy in Operations Management and Management Information Systems. These two areas equip decision makers with skills in quantitative and qualitative aspects of Operations Management and Information Technology for enhancing quality management decisions.

The school has a total of 112 members of staff. Of these, 30 are non academic administrative support staff and 82 are academic. Of the 82, 12 are members of the School Management Board and 10 are on leave of absence.   This leaves 56 to be the focus of this study. Recruitment of staff is generally done through print media but certain negative perceptions by potential staff on issues such as remuneration and job security have led to limited access to the much needed experience and skills.

Statement of the Problem

The work environment has changed greatly over time. In the traditional work environment, employees were employed for ‘a life time’. Today this is being replaced with short-term contacts and part-time employment. Khainga (2005) in her study on job satisfaction and organization commitment, noted that this major shift from ‘life-time’ employment to contract (short-term) employment has affected the level of employee participation in decision making and degree of satisfaction and commitment. Secondly, the employee has evolved; the employee today is more literate and empowered and more inclined to be heard. Mwaura (1993), in his study of Probable Causes of Job Dissatisfaction among the University of Nairobi Library Workers, observes that the inability to influence supervisors’ decisions is a cause for dissatisfaction.

Lastly, in today’s organizations, there is an awakened interest in participation. According to Wagner III et al. al (1997), participative techniques have been talked about ever since the early human relations movement and now because of competitive pressures, the elimination of the old hierarchical superior-subordinate relationships and the emergence of teams and horizontal structures and boundary spanning information technologies, organizations, teams and individual managers are effectively using them. The above mentioned observations and many other changes in the work environment may offer good suggestions as to why today’s labour market is characterized by a culture of ‘job hoping’. Job hoping in turn could be a good indicator of dissatisfaction at the workplace. Mwiria et al (2006) in his book ‘Public and Private Universities in Kenya’, observes that various factors in the work environment have led to exodus of teaching staff in Kenyan Universities in search for superior remuneration and better terms of employment in Rwanda and Southern Africa among other countries.  According to Abwavo (2005), job dissatisfaction is the root cause of dysfunctional behavior (such as turnover) at the workplace. With the employee looking beyond the pay-cheque, other factors that affect job satisfaction ought to be considered.

Various studies have been carried out on issues affecting job satisfaction; Agala-Mulwa (2002) did a survey on the relationship between Training and Development Programs and Job satisfaction in Micro Finance Institutions in Nairobi, Mududa (1983) did a case study on employing trained personnel for improved job satisfaction in the Kenya civil service, Koech (2002) looked at the relationship between career development and job satisfaction. She did a survey of managers in commercial banks in Nairobi. Ukur (2003) studied the relationship between perceived empowerment and job satisfaction of employees in commercial banks in Nairobi. King’ori (2003) studied employee discrimination and job satisfaction of teachers in private international schools in Kenya, Okoth (2003) did a survey of factors that determine the level of job satisfaction among teachers in top ranking private secondary schools in Nairobi. Azegele (2005) looked at the relationship between employee training and development and job satisfaction in classified hotels in Nairobi, Bulitia (2006) studied the supervision styles and employee job satisfaction in commercial banks in Kenya while Nyanga (2007)  looked at the extent to which personal characteristics determine job satisfaction among NSSF employees, just to mention a few. 

In all the studies mentioned above, various issues that affect satisfaction were addressed. None of these studies have addressed the issues related to job satisfaction and decisions making in Universities. Public Universities are unique in Kenya because each university is governed by a University Statute which is the basis for decision making. To the best of my knowledge, no study has been done to determine the extent to which employees in a public university setting are allowed to participate in decision making and whether this has a bearing on their level of job satisfaction. This study therefore sought to address this issue.

Objectives of the Study

This study sought:

  1. To determine the extent to which academic staff in University of Nairobi, school of Business are allowed to participate in decision making
  2. To establish if  the level of pay, the work itself, responsibility, achievement, recognition, opportunity for growth, supervision, work groups and working conditions determine job satisfaction?
  3. To establish the extent to which participation in decision making affects the level of job satisfaction of academic staff in university of Nairobi, School of Business

Significance of the Study

This study will be of value to the following groups of people:

Scholars: They will gain knowledge on the relationship between participation in decision making and job satisfaction. They will acquire an insight into what factors affect participation in decision making in private university environments. They will also be able to use the findings of this study to prove various theories and to use the study as a basis for further research on other variables not included in this study.

Human Resource Specialists: They will be able to understand how the variables used in the study interact with each other and to use the information from the study to design better jobs so as to ensure job satisfaction.

Universities: the study can be useful to the university administration to understand the impact of participation in decision making on job satisfaction and hence improve job satisfaction among academic staff.

Scope of Study

The study was carried out at University of Nairobi, School of Business. The respondents were the school’s academic staff. It was assumed that the school would be a representative sample of other schools in the university because the method of conducting day to day business is the same in all other faculties of the universities.

Limitation of the Study

Due to limitations of time, the study was only carried out at the school of Business, University of Nairobi

Literature Review

Decision Making

The Nature of Decision Making

The frequency and recurrence of a decision determines whether the decision is programmed or non-programmed. A programmed decision recurs often enough for decision rules to be developed. A decision rule tells decision makers which alternative to choose once they have predetermined information about the decision situation. The appropriate decision rule is used whenever the same decision is encountered. Programmed decisions are usually highly structured, that is; the goals are clear and well known, the decision making procedure is already established and the sources and channels of information are clearly defined (Moorhead and Griffin, 2004).

When a problem or a situation has not been encountered before or is unique, the decision made, is known as a non-programmed decision and it requires problem solving (Moorhead and Griffin, 2004). Problem solving is a special form of decision making in which the issue is unique – it requires developing and evaluating alternatives without the aid of decision rules. Non-programmed decisions are poorly structured because information is unambiguous and there is no clear procedure for decision making and the goals are often vague (Moorhead and Griffin, 2004). 

Levels of Decision Making

There are four levels of decisions making in an organization. According to Bennet (1997), these levels are: strategic decisions, tactical decisions, operational decisions and policies. Strategic decisions are broad decisions about a firm’s direction and its relations with the outside world. These decisions establish organizational objectives and impose frameworks for controlling the organizations activities. They include decisions on issues such as what to produce and how the organization will finance its operations. These decisions are usually made by senior level management (Bennet, 1997). Tactical decisions are concerned with implementation of strategic decisions. They include decisions on issues such as the acquisition and deployment of resources, allocation of duties and specification of secondary objectives, monitoring performance and reporting to higher levels of authority (Bennet, 1997). 

Operational decisions on the other hand are concerned with minor administrative matters such as lengths of production runs, shift rosters, stock levels and so on (Bennet, 1997).  They focus on the day-to-day activities of the organization. The fourth level of decision making is policies. Bennet (1997) defines policies as a set ground rules and criteria to be applied when taking decisions related to a particular function or activity. Policies therefore exist to restrict the scope and nature of decisions concerning a specific issue, for example, internal promotion. Policies facilitate the co-ordination of diverse operations and ensure that all decisions made are compatible with the overall aims of the organization.

Approaches used in Decision Making

There are two major approaches to decision making in an organization, the authoritarian method in which an executive figure makes a decision for the group and the group method in which the group decides what to do. The first is Authoritarian, where the manager makes the decision based on the knowledge he can gather. He then must explain the decision to the group and gain their acceptance of it. The second is the Group, where the group shares ideas and analyses, and agrees upon a decision to implement. Studies show that the group often has values, feelings, and reactions quite different from those the manager supposes they have. No one knows the group and its tastes and preferences as well as the group itself.

Employee Participation

Ways of Employee Participation

A range of options through which an employee can participate in decision making can be viewed on a continuum ranging from participation in ownership of the organization by means of shareholding through involvement in day-to-day operations to the appointment of employee directors on company boards (Cole, 1997).

Share options/ profit sharing offers employees a chance to own shares in the company and thus participate in financing as well as receiving all  the information normally made available to shareholders. This option gives employees the chance to take a stake in their employer’s business, but is scarcely relevant if one considers ‘participation’ in decision making (Graham and Bennet, 1998 and Cole, 1997).

Consultation is seen as ‘participation’ only in the sense that employees are consulted about decisions affecting their working lives. This doesn’t imply that employers take any notice of the employees’ views. Consultation can be implemented through workforce consultative groups such as quality circles. The aim is to improve employee dialogue, but in most cases, they improve working methods, quality standards and productivity. Where operational matters are concerned, consultations lead to participation in decision making (Graham and Bennet, 1998 and Cole, 1997).

The job enrichment option allows for a greater discretion over the immediate work decisions. It also leads to motivation by increasing responsibility for the employees’ work outputs and increasing job interest. However, it does not offer real opportunities to participate in even the operational decisions taken in the organization (Graham and Bennet, 1998 and Cole, 1997).

Empowerment through delegation is a participative management style that encourages real delegation of authority. It implies that all employees will be encouraged to play a part in the decisions affecting their work. In practice, this may be more than a paternalistic method of involving employees in day-to–day   affairs. However, where a bona fide approach to participation is adopted, then it is likely that employees will in fact become ‘empowered’ by being able to fully share in decisions affecting their immediate work (Graham and Bennet, 1998 and Cole, 1997).

According to Graham and Bennet, (1998) and Cole, (1997), bargaining is by nature adversarial and its outcomes are therefore dependant on the relative power of the parties and extent to which a compromise is reached. Compared to consultation, collecting bargaining is essentially an active form of employee participation.  Here unionized members are represented by their unions in the decision making process between the owners or employers and the representatives who are employees.

Work councils are joint bodies of managers and employees established to consider and agree on key matters affecting the organization. These are open to all grades and groupings of employees regardless of union membership status. These councils are concerned with strategic, operations and consultative aspects of participation (Graham and Bennet, 1998 and Cole, 1997). The last option of participation is through board representation. According to Cole (1997), board representation is the appointment of rank and file employees to non-executive directorships on the company’s board.

Management theorists have repeatedly found evidence to support the advantages of management styles such as participative management; Theory Y versus Theory X; Theory Z; Total Quality Management (TQM); Management by Walking Around; Management by Objectives; and employee empowerment (Helms, 2006). For this study, MacGregor’s Theory X and Y will be used to explain participation in decision making since it the theory that best explains the behaviour of different categories of employees and management regarding participation in decision making.

Douglas McGregor’s Theory X assumes that people are lazy, they don’t want to work, and it is the job of the manager to force or coerce them to work. McGregor’s Theory X makes three basic assumptions:

(1) The average human being dislikes work and will do anything to get out of it;

(2) most people must be coerced, controlled, directed, and threatened or punished to get them to work toward                      organizational objectives; and

(3) the average human being prefers to be directed, wishes to avoid responsibility, has relatively little ambition, and places      job security above ambition.

According to this theory, responsibility for demonstrating initiative and motivation lies with the employee and failure to perform is his or her fault. Employees are motivated by extrinsic rewards such as money, promotions, and tenure (Helms, 2006). The implication of theory X is that if organizational goals are to be met, managers must structure the work and energize the employee. This therefore would lead the manager to apply the authoritarian style of management, in which the decision making rests with the manager (Papa et al., 2008).

Theory Y suggests that employees would behave differently if treated differently by managers. Theory Y assumes that higher-order needs dominate individuals. The set of assumptions for Theory Y is

(1) the average human does not dislike work and it is as natural as play;

(2) people will exercise self-direction and self-control in order to achieve objectives;

(3) rewards of satisfaction and self-actualization are obtained from effort put forth to achieve organizational objectives;

(4) the average human being not only accepts but also seeks responsibility;

(5) human beings are creative and imaginative in solving organizational problems; and

(6) the intellectual potential of the average human is only partially realized.

If productivity is low and employees are not motivated, then it is considered failure on the manager’s part (Helms, 2006).  McGregor (1960) argues for managers to be open to a more positive view of workers and the possibilities that this creates. He adds that Theory Y managers are more likely than Theory X managers to develop the climate of trust with employees, which is important for human resource development. This would include managers communicating openly with subordinates, minimizing the difference between superior-subordinate relations, creating a comfortable environment in which subordinates can develop and use their abilities. This climate would include sharing in decision making so that subordinates have a say in decisions that influence them.

Benefits of Participation in Decision Making

Participation in decision making offers various benefits at all levels of the organization. Rice (1987) explains that putting decision making power as close as possible to the point of delivery makes that implementation of those decisions not only possible, but also successful. Participation in decision making leads to harmony in the organization (Ward and Pascarelli, 1994) and improves staff morale and support (Parshiadis, 1987). By creating a sense of ownership in the company, participation in decision making instills a sense of pride and motivates employees to increase productivity in order to achieve their goals. Employees who participate in the decisions of the company feel like they are a part of a team with a common goal, and find their sense of self-esteem and creative fulfillment heightened (Helms, 2006).

Managers who use a participative style find that employees are more receptive to change than in situations in which they have no voice. Changes are implemented more effectively when employees have input and make contributions to decisions. Participation keeps employees informed of upcoming events so they will be aware of potential changes. The organization can then place itself in a proactive mode instead of a reactive one, as managers are able to quickly identify areas of concern and turn to employees for solutions (Helms, 2006).

Participation helps employees gain a wider view of the organization. Through training, development opportunities, and information sharing, employees can acquire the conceptual skills needed to become effective managers or top executives. It also increases the commitment of employees to the organization and the decisions they make (Helms, 2006). Creativity and innovation are two important benefits of participative management. By allowing a diverse group of employees to have input into decisions, the organization benefits from the synergy that comes from a wider choice of options. When all employees, instead of just managers or executives, are given the opportunity to participate, the chances are increased that a valid and unique idea will be suggested (Helms, 2006).

Challenges of Participation in Decision Making

Cole (1997) notes that most managers are not enthusiastic about sharing strategic decisions with employee representatives, partly because they do not want to alert their competitors of important strategic moves (for example, a major investment or significant takeover) and partly because they often have to face up to some unpleasant decisions about redundancies and redeployments among existing staff.

Participative management is not a magic cure for all that ails an organization has. Managers should carefully weigh the pros and cons before implementing this style of management. Pashiardis (1994) in the article, ‘Teacher Participation in Decision Making’, notes that for participation in decision making to be successfully implemented, policy has to be changed to support this approach. He further adds that time, resources, participatory involvement and support will determine the effectiveness of participation in decision making and recommends training to enable members participate effectively.

Job Satisfaction

As stated earlier, job satisfaction is a pre-requisite for employee performance in any organization. It is important for both the employee and the employer. For the employee, job satisfaction gives them a sense of security and fulfillment. In return, it leads to employee commitment, decreased absenteeism and reduced employee turnover. For the employer, employee job satisfaction ensures committed staff and stable workforce which reduce cost of recruitment and training. 

One of the biggest preludes to the study of job satisfaction was the Hawthorne studies. These studies (1924-1933), primarily credited to Elton Mayo of the Harvard Business School, sought to find the effects of various conditions (most notably illumination) on workers’ productivity. These studies ultimately showed that novel changes in work conditions temporarily increase productivity (called the Hawthorne Effect). It was later found that this increase resulted, not from the new conditions, but from the knowledge of being observed. This finding provided strong evidence that people work for purposes other than pay, which paved the way for researchers to investigate other factors in job satisfaction.

Scientific management (also known as Taylorism) also had a significant impact on the study of job satisfaction. Frederick Winslow Taylor’s 1911 book, Principles of Scientific Management, argued that there was a single best way to perform any given work task. This book contributed to a change in industrial production philosophies, causing a shift from skilled labor and piecework towards the more modern approach of assembly lines and hourly wages. The initial use of scientific management by industries greatly increased productivity because workers were forced to work at a faster pace. However, workers became exhausted and dissatisfied, thus leaving researchers with new questions to answer regarding job satisfaction.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of need theory of motivation also laid the foundation for job satisfaction theory. This theory explains that people seek to satisfy five specific needs in life – physiological needs, safety needs, social needs, self-esteem needs, and self-actualization. This model served as a good basis from which early researchers could develop job satisfaction theories. Various scholars concur that job satisfaction is affected by various factors, namely: relatively higher pay, an equitable payment system, real opportunities for promotion, considerate and participative management, a reasonable degree of social interaction at work, interesting and valid tasks and a high degree of autonomy: control over work pace and work methods.  The degree of satisfaction however, largely depends upon the employee’s own needs and expectations and the work environment. That is a person may feel different levels of satisfaction towards each factor (Armstrong, 2006, Luthans, 2005, Moorhead and Griffin, 1989). Job satisfaction is therefore a result of employees’ perceptions of how well their job provides those things viewed as important. According to Armstrong (2006), job dissatisfaction results in absenteeism and turnover.

A commonly used theory of job satisfaction is the Discrepancy Theory (Wilcock and Wright, 1991) or as it is also called, the value-percept disparity model (Locke 1969). This model hypothesizes that satisfaction depends on the extent to which outcomes, which an individual thinks he/she derives from work, correspond to the outcomes pursued in work. The model has three essential elements namely; the perception of some aspect of the job, an implicit or explicit value standard, and a conscious or subconscious judgment of the gap (discrepancy) between one’s perceptions and one’s values. Perception is the awareness that a matter existed as well as a cognitive judgment of the matter against a cognitive standard. A value judgment was defined as “an estimate of the relationship of some existent (matter) or judged relationship to one’s value standards (normative standards)” (Locke, 1969:316). Branden (cited in Locke, 1969:315) defined a value as “that which one regards as conducive to one’s welfare”. In the evaluation process, an individual estimates, either on a conscious or subconscious level, the relationship between some object, action or condition and one or more of one’s values (Locke,1969).

Rhodes and Hammer (2000) noted that among the most important values or conditions conducive to job satisfaction are: mentally challenging work with which the individual can cope successfully; personal interest in the work itself; work which is not too physically tiring; rewards for performance which are just, informative and in line with the individual’s personal aspirations; working conditions which are compatible with the individual’s physical needs and facilitate the accomplishment of his work goals; high self esteem on the part of the employee; agents in the workplace who help the employee to attain values such as interesting work, pay and promotions, whose basic values are similar to his own, and who minimize role conflict and ambiguity.

Job satisfaction mainly looks at the extent to which employees have positive or negative attitude towards their work. An attitude is an individual employee’s feeling (satisfaction, indifference or dissatisfaction) towards a specific situation, object or person. Job satisfaction is the net result of the good or poor attitude held by an individual employee at a given period of time. It is a subject to swings from one extreme to the other but usually reverts to a fairly stable level that can be good or poor (Mwaura, 1993). According to Luthans, (2005) job satisfaction is a result of employees’ perception of how well their job provides those things which are viewed as important.

Job satisfaction is a potential determinant of absenteeism, turnover, in-role job performance and extra-role behaviours (Locke, 1976). According to Cranny, et al (1992), job satisfaction is an effective reaction to a job that results from the employee’s comparison of actual outcomes with those that are desired. Locke (1976) equates job satisfaction to morale of workers. Job satisfaction increased as opportunities to provide feedback increased. When supervisors’ basic values are similar to those of their subordinates, job satisfaction can increase (Locke, 1976). Personality similarities between supervisors and subordinates have also been linked to job satisfaction (Rhodes and Hammer, 2000).  Bavendum (2000) argues that increasing job satisfaction is important for its humanitarian value and for its financial benefit due to its effect on employee behavior. He notes that employees with higher job satisfaction believe that the organization will be satisfying in the Long run, care about the quality of their work, are more committed to the organization, have higher retention rates and are more productive.

Factors Affecting Job Satisfaction

There’s a massive literature on what satisfies a person and what does not and various theories have been put forward to explain job satisfaction. These are: Maslow’s theory, Equity Theory, Value Theory, Discrepancy Theory, Vroom’s Expectancy Theory and Hertzberg’s two factor theory. For this study, Hertzberg’s two factor theory will be considered. Hertzberg’s theory identifies two groups of factors that were responsible for satisfaction or dissatisfaction. These were termed as satisfiers (or motivators) and dissatisfiers (or hygiene factors). According to Armstrong (2006), Cole, (2002) and Hunt (1992) motivators are those factors that are seen to be effective in motivating the individual to superior work performance and effort. Motivators are concerned with the content of the job. They include factors such as achievement, recognition, advancement, autonomy, responsibility, challenge and the work itself. Hygiene factors on the other hand essentially describe the environment and primarily serve to prevent job dissatisfaction, while having little effect on positive job attitudes. These are concerned with the context of the job. They include factors such as company policy and administration, job security, supervision, salary and working conditions. Cole, (2002) and Hertzberg et al (1957) observe that motivators appeared to produce motivated behaviour while hygiene factors produced either dissatisfaction or no response. That is: the effect of motivators was likely to have a much deeper and longer-term effect because they were inherent in individuals and not imposed from outside, while hygiene factors would have an immediate and powerful effect but would not necessarily last long.

Factors that influence job satisfaction include pay, promotion, recognition, working conditions, supervision and leadership, skills and abilities, organizational policies and procedures. Bavendam (2000) identified six factors that cause job satisfaction; opportunity, stress, leadership, increases in relative strength, work standards, fair reward and adequate authority. The level of job satisfaction is affected by intrinsic and extrinsic motivating factors, the quality of supervision, social relationships with the work group and degree to which individuals succeed or fail in their work (Armstrong, 2006). According to Hertzberg et al (1957), intrinsic factors (motivators) are those that are self generated and influence people to behave in a particular way or move in a particular direction. They include: Responsibility (feeling that work is important and having control over one’s own resources), autonomy (the freedom to act), scope to use and develop skills and abilities, interesting and challenging work and opportunities for advancement.

Extrinsic (hygiene factors) on the other hand encompass what is done to people to motivate them. They include: rewards such as increased pay, praise or promotion and punishments such as disciplinary action, withholding pay or criticism. The most common determinants of  job satisfaction include; race, age, working conditions, control of work, establishment size, financial rewards, public image of the work place, promotion opportunities, work content and attitudes of the co-workers (Futrell, 1979).

Bowen, Radhakrishna, and Keyser (1994) found significant relationships between job satisfaction and commitment to cooperative extension, concluding that one does not exist without the other. To ensure high levels of job satisfaction, administrators need to know and understand what their employees want from work to develop better in-service training programs designed to enhance job satisfaction and reduce job dissatisfaction.

In his research, Bavendam (2000) identified six factors that influence job satisfaction. The first is opportunity. Employees are more satisfied when they have challenging opportunities at work. This includes chances to participate in interesting projects, jobs with a satisfying degree of challenge and opportunities for increased responsibility. The second factor is stress. When negative stress is continuously high, job satisfaction is low. Jobs are more stressful if they interfere with employees’ personal lives or are a continuing source of worry or concern. The third factor is leadership. Employees are more satisfied when their managers are good leaders. This includes motivating employees to do a good job, striving for excellence or just taking action. The fourth factor is work standards. Employees are more satisfied when their entire work group takes pride in the quality of their work. The fifth factor is fair rewards. Employees are more satisfied when they feel they are rewarded fairly for the work they do. Consider employee responsibilities, the effort they have put forth, the work they have done well and the demands of their jobs. The sixth factor is adequate authority. Employees are more satisfied when they have adequate freedom and authority to do their jobs.

According to Terez (2002) the following key criteria are the most important in determining job satisfaction:  acknowledgment, balance, challenge, dialogue, direction, equality, fit, flexibility, informality, invention, oneness, ownership, personal development, purpose, relationship building, relevance, respect, self-identity, service, support, validation and worth. Terez stated that each of us has a set of factors that, for us, is what we need to have a meaningful work experience. It is much like the set of keys we carry with us at all times. For one person, the top three keys might be a deep sense of purpose, an open field to be inventive, and opportunities to build relationships. Another person’s top three keys might include ownership, abundant challenges, and a good fit in the organization.

The major factors influencing job satisfaction can be summarized to pay, the work itself, promotion, supervision, the work group and working conditions. Wages are a significant factor in job satisfaction Luthans (1992) . Money not only helps people attain their basic needs but is instrumental in providing upper-level need satisfaction. Employees often see pay as a reflection of how management views their contribution to the organization. The content of the work itself is another major source of satisfaction. Some of the most important ingredients of a satisfying job uncovered by surveys include interesting and challenging work, work that is not boring and a job that provides status. Promotional opportunities seem to have a varying effect on job satisfaction. This is because promotions take a number of different forms and have a variety of accompanying rewards. For example, individuals who are promoted on the basis of seniority often experience job satisfaction but not as much as those who are promoted on the basis of performance. There seem to be two dimensions of supervisory style that affect job satisfaction. One is employee-centeredness. This is measured by the degree to which a supervisor takes a personal interest in the employee’s welfare. The other dimension is participation or influence as illustrated by managers who allow their people to participate in decisions that affect their own jobs. The nature of work group will have an effect on job satisfaction. Friendly, co-operative co-workers are a modest source of job satisfaction to individual employees. The work group serves as a source of support, comfort, advice and assistance to the individual worker. If the working conditions are good (clean, attractive surroundings for instance), the personnel will find it easier to carry out their jobs. If the working conditions are poor (hot, noisy surroundings for example), personnel, will find it more difficult to get things done.

Measure of Employee Satisfaction/ Dissatisfaction 

Herzberg, Mausner and Synderman (1967) claimed that one of the major reasons for measuring job satisfaction is to answer the question, “what does the worker want from his/her job?” and that the answer to this question will assist management in discovering new methods of motivating employees. Employees that have a high job satisfaction care more about the quality of their work and, therefore are more committed to their organization (Scott and Sun, 2003). Job satisfaction is a very important attribute which is frequently measured by organizations. Employee retention and turnover are the most objective measures of employee satisfaction/dissatisfaction in organizations. Luthans (2005) argues that since job satisfaction is an attitude, it can not be directly observed and therefore must rely on the employees’ self reports. According to him, some of the most common ways of measuring job satisfaction are rating scales, critical incidents, interviews and action tendencies. 

The most common way of measurement is the use of rating scales where employees report their reactions to their jobs. Questions relate to rate of pay, work responsibilities, variety of tasks, promotional opportunities, the work itself and co-workers. Some questioners ask yes or no questions while others ask to rate satisfaction on 1-5 scale (where 1 represents “not at all satisfied” and 5 represents “extremely satisfied” One of the most popular rating scale is the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ)  (Weiss, Dawis, England, and Lofquist, 1967). MSQ was designed to measure employee satisfaction with their jobs. This instrument provides a detailed picture of the specific satisfactions and dissatisfactions of employees.  The MSQ measures satisfaction with several aspects of work and the work environment. Several studies have demonstrated good reliability and validity data for the MSQ (e.g., Albright, 1972; Anderson, Hohenshil, and Brown, 1984; Bolton, 1986; Brown, Hohenshil, and Brown, 1998; Decker and Borgen, 1993; Guion, 1978; Levinson, Fetchkan, and Hohenshil, 1988).

The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) is also popular. The facets of the JDI are derived from the definition of job satisfaction put forth by Smith, Kendall, and Hulin (1969). Smith et al. (1969) defined job satisfaction as “feelings or affective responses to facets of the situation” (p. 6). Because of this definition, the JDI viewed satisfaction as the accumulation of five facets: work on present job, present pay, opportunities for promotion, supervision, and people on your present job (co-workers). JDI has been widely used by organizational behaviour researchers over the years and provides a broad picture of employee attitudes toward the major components of jobs. The JDI has been widely used in business and government (Hulin, 1968; O’Reilly and Roberts, 1973; Waters and Waters, 1969) as both a research tool and a diagnostic indicator. A strong case has been built for construct validity, both in original source (Smith,Kendall and Hulin, 1969) as well as in numerous other publications that report correlation between JDI scales and other measures of job satisfaction (e.g., Dunham, Smith, and Blackburn, 1977).

The JDI is an instrument that is used to assess job satisfaction more than any other inventory (Kinicki, McKee-Ryan, Schriesheim, and Carson, 2002). Spector (1997) also states that it may also be the “most carefully developed and validated” job satisfaction measure (p. 12). It is designed to measure job satisfaction on the basis of five facets, including an overall job satisfaction facet, the Job in General (JIG) scale (Kinicki et al., 2002).The basis for the JDI is that job satisfaction is important for three different reasons: humanitarian concerns, economic concerns, and theoretical concerns.

Rating scales offer a number of important advantages in measuring job satisfaction. One is that they are usually short and can be filled out quickly and easily. Another is that they tend to be worded in general language so that they can be used with employees in many different types of organizations. A third is that because they have been so widely used in research, there is usually normative data available so that the responses can be compared with those of employees in other organizations who have taken the test in previous years.

The Critical Incidents technique as a measure of job satisfaction was popularized by Fredrick Herzberg et al (1959). He and his colleagues used it in their research on the two factor theory of motivation. Employees were asked to describe incidents on their job when they were particularly satisfied and dissatisfied. These incidents were then content analyzed in determining which aspects were most closely related to positive and negative attitudes. Other methods are interviews and action tendencies. Interviews allows for an in-depth exploration of job attitudes. If the respondents say something that the interviewer does not understand or would like to learn more about, the interviewer can follow up with additional questions. Action tendencies are the inclinations people have to approach or to avoid certain things. By gathering information about how they feel like acting with respect to their jobs, the job satisfaction can be measured.

Job Satisfaction and Participation in Decision Making

It is known from various authorities that there is a relationship between various variables in the work environment and job satisfaction. Many studies have been carried out to prove that both management style and job design have an effect on the level of perceived job satisfaction by the employee. Hertzberg et al (1957) notes that aspects of a job such as responsibility, the degree of freedom to act, scope to use and develop skills and abilities, interesting and challenging work opportunities for advancement, rewards and punishment coupled with the quality of supervision will affect the employee’s level of job satisfaction.

Studies show that employees who participate in decision making may feel more committed to execute them properly. Further, the successful process of making a decision, executing it and then seeing the positive consequences can help satisfy one’s need for achievement, provide recognition and responsibility and enhance an employee’s sense of self esteem. By participating in decision making, employees may better understand linkage between their performance and rewards they want most (Moorhead and Griffin, 1989).

Studies also show that participation in decision making has a positive influence on high performance and employee job satisfaction. However, Guion (1998) notes that the degree of satisfaction will depend on individual needs and expectations, and the working environment. This study therefore sought to answer the question: Do employees participate in decisions making?; Do the level of pay, the work itself, responsibility, achievement, recognition, opportunity for growths, supervision, work groups and working conditions determine job satisfaction?;  Does Employee participation in decision making increase intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction? The following two hypotheses were tested in this study to test the second and third objectives of the study.

Hypothesis 1

H0: The level of Job satisfaction among academic staff at the SOB has no significant relation to  the nature of working conditions, level of pay and promotion potential, nature of work relationship, use of skills, job design and job feedback.

H1: The level of Job satisfaction among academic staff at the SOB is significantly moderated by the nature of working conditions, level of pay and promotion potential, nature of work relationship, use of skills, job design and job feedback.

Hypothesis 2

H0: The level of employee participation in decision-making has no significant effect on their level of job satisfaction.

H1: The level of employee participation in decision-making significantly influences their level of job satisfaction.

The Conceptual Model

The above literature shows that there are arguments which support that employee participation in decision making is related to job satisfaction. However there are other factors that can moderate and intervene in these two variables. The employee’s characteristics and personality can have a moderating effect on job satisfaction.  Essentially, there always exists a gap between an individual’s actual state and some desired states and therefore employers should always strive to learn about the characteristics of their employees and work towards reducing this gap to maintain a satisfied workforce.  People differ; they distinguish themselves from each other regarding their needs, backgrounds, expectations, and individual characteristics. In other words, what may satisfy one employee may be different from what will satisfy another, at least in terms of the satisfaction degree, moreover, some needs may change over time, getting stronger or weaker. A group of employees sharing the same individual features may have the same needs and expectations toward work and may be satisfied in the same way. The knowledge of those factors may be of great value for the organization in order to increase the employees’ satisfaction with the work (Bassy, 2002). Employees’ characteristics in this case include the age, level of education, gender, number of years worked in the organisation, and whether they are employed on part time or full time basis.

The intervening variable in this case is the environment in which the context of decision making in the university occurs. This includes the university statute which outlines the decision making process and also the university hierarchy. The legal structures of the country, the national constitution and human rights laws also are intervening variables in this context. The conceptual model shown below shows that there is a relationship between participation in decision making but this is moderated by the employees’ characteristics. The intervening variables also have an impact on the level of employees’ participation and hence their job satisfaction.

Figure 1: The Conceptual Model

Methodology

Research design

This study was conducted on the positivism approach to research. This approach focuses on facts, looking for causality and fundamental laws. The concept of decision making and job satisfaction was operationalised so that it could be measured. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. This is because the study sought perception of employees on the various topics and therefore the respondent would give information based on experiences, and tapping on their memories.

Population of Study and Sample

The population of the study was all non-management members of academic staff at the school of Business, University of Nairobi. This therefore excluded deans, and chairmen of departments who substantially are members of the university management board.  The members of staff who are away from the university for various types of prolonged leave were also excluded from the study. This led to a population of about 50 members of staff as of 31st march 2010. With this small level of population, the sample design was a census survey.

Data and Data Collection Procedures

Primary data was used for the study. A structured questionnaire was used as a tool of data collection. The questionnaire was prepared and distributed to all selected respondents.  Respondents did not include their names on the questionnaires for confidentiality purposes. The relevant documentation such as an introduction letter was obtained from the relevant University administration to facilitate the research process. The questionnaire was dropped on each lecturer mailbox and they were requested to fill the questionnaire and return it to the researcher.

Independent and Dependent Variables

This study comprised of two major variables, namely; participation in decision making, which was the independent variable and job satisfaction which was the dependent variable. Participation in decision making was operationalised by asking respondents to indicate on a five-point scale how frequently they participated on various aspects of decision making (see appendix 1). The scale ranged form 5 = always to 1 = Never. Job satisfaction, the dependent variable, was operationalised by asking respondents to indicate on a scale of five points, their level of job satisfaction on various aspects of job satisfaction (see appendix 1). The scale ranged from 1=Not satisfied to 5 = extremely satisfied.

Data Analysis and Presentation

Descriptive statistics including measures of central tendency (e.g., mean, mode and standard deviation) and measures of dispersion (e.g., variance, standard deviation and range) were used. Descriptive statistics covered all response variables as well as the demographic characteristics of the respondents. Descriptive statistics provide the basic features of the data collected on the variables and provide the impetus for conducting further analyses on the data (Mugenda, 2008; Ezirim and Nwokah, 2009; Stiles, 2003).

The next step entailed testing the hypotheses developed for the study. The researcher is cognizant of the fact that different hypotheses could require different kinds of statistical tests depending on the particular hypothesis as well as the level of measurement of the variable(s) involved. Table 1 provides a summary of the various hypotheses to be tested, the nature of data to be used, and the appropriate statistical test (s).

Table 1: Summary of Hypothesis to be Tested, Nature of Data and Statistical Measures

The correlation coefficient was used to measure the degree of correlation between the dependent and independent variables. Pearson correlation coefficients were applied in testing the relationship between participation in decision making and job satisfaction. The correlation between two random variables, X and Y, is a measure of the degree of linear association between the two variables. The population correlation, denoted by p , can take on any value from -1 to 1.

p = -1      :   indicates a perfect negative linear relationship

 -1< p <0 :   indicates a negative linear relationship

p = 0       :   indicates no linear relationship

0< p <1   :   indicates a positive linear relationship

p = 1       :   indicates a perfect positive linear relationship

The absolute value of r indicates the strength or exactness of the relationship. The significance of the correlation coefficients shall be assessed at 95% level of confidence. Distribution tables, charts and/or graphs were used to present the data so as to show where most responses featured and thus make the research more focused. A multiple linear regression model (Equation 2) was applied in testing hypothesis 1 above.  The operational conceptual and analytical models are algebraically illustrated by equation (1) and equation (2) below, respectively:

Where:

  • JOBsat    =              Job Satisfaction index of the ith individual (i= 1, 2, ……..30;)
  • WC         =              Work Conditions index 
  • PandP     =              Pay and Promotion Potential index 
  • WR         =              Work Relations index 
  • UoS        =              Use of Skills index 
  • JD           =              Job Design index 
  • FB          =              Feedback index
  • β            =              Regression coefficients
  • ε            =              The regression error term

Presentation of Findings

Introduction

The purpose of the study was to establish the relationship between participation in decision making and job satisfaction among academic staff at the School of Business (SOB) of the University of Nairobi. Specifically, the study sought to determine the extent to which employees at the School of Business are allowed to participate in decision making; and the extent to which participation in decision making affects the level of job satisfaction of employees in the School of Business. This chapter presents the findings gathered from the survey. The study achieved a response rate of 56% since up to 30 out of the targeted 56 respondents could be reached during the field study.

General Characteristics of the Sample

Table 2 presents the general characteristics of the sample. The sample was largely comprised of full-time lecturers (86.7%). The findings indicate that cumulatively, 80% of the sample had over 10 years of experience while teaching at the SOB. About two-thirds of the sample (67.3%) had over 10 years of experience in their current positions. The findings also indicate that a majority of the sampled lecturers (63.3%) did not perform any supervisory tasks at SOB. All but one of the respondents who reported to perform supervisory tasks were ranked at the middle level of management. The respondents were requested to pick a statement (out of three provided) that best described their daily routines at work. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents (64.3%) reported that some of the tasks in their job are pre-determined and routine in nature. Finally, the findings indicate that a majority of the sampled respondents were aged above 42 years.

Table 2: Demographic Characteristics of the Sample


Participation in Decision-making

Table 3 presents findings on the frequency of occurrence for factors influencing decision-making at the School of Business. The factors were rated on a five-point Likert scale with the ratings applied as follows: 5 = Always; 4 = mostly; 3 = Often; 2 = occasionally; 1 = Never. The distribution of responses for each item was tabulated as shown in Table 3. Besides, the average scores were calculated for each item. The findings are presented in the order of descending means.

Items with means above 3.0 were regarded to present aspects that are often, mostly, or always observed by the respondents. These include: being left to work without interference from seniors, but help is available when needed; employees’ knowledge of the SOB’s aims and targets; availability of seniors in discussing employees’ concerns, worries, or suggestions; the fact that decision-making in the departments is made through consultation with members of the department; decision-making in departments is made by those individuals in the department who are charged with the task; staff are encouraged to learn skills outside their immediate area of responsibility; the seniors asks the juniors to  do things, whilst giving them reasons why, and inviting their suggestions; giving employees an opportunity to solve problems connected with their work; and according those in authority respect by referring to them using their first names.

In addition, the findings indicate items with means below 3.0; indicating aspects that are occasionally or never observed at the SOB. These include: keeping employees updated with what is happening in the organization; giving them credit and praise when they do good work or put in extra effort; those in authority making decisions that affect the department all by themselves; award of extra responsibility by the seniors; support for extra training; regular meetings to discuss personal staff development; regular updates on SOB’s performance; and giving incentives to work hard and well. All the respondents agreed that it had never happened that staff leaving the company are given an ‘exit interview’ to hear their views on the organization. The findings show that decision-making at the SOB is participatory across all levels. Overall mean was found to be 2.899.

Table 3: Participation in Decision Making

 

 

Level of Job Satisfaction

The levels of satisfaction were measured in regard to general working conditions, pay and promotion potential, work relationships, uses of skills and abilities, job design, and feedback. The items were scored on a five-point Likert scale with 1 = Not satisfied at all; 2 = satisfied; 3 = somewhat satisfied; 4 = Very satisfied; and 5 = extremely satisfied. The mean scores were computed for each item. Means below 3.0 indicate low levels of satisfaction among the respondents. The findings are presented and discussed below.

General Working Conditions

The findings presented in Table 4 indicate the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the general working conditions at the SOB. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents expressed high levels of satisfaction in regard to the number of hours worked each week (63.3%), and flexibility in scheduling work (53.4%). The respondents expressed low levels of satisfaction in regard to the location of work, and the amount paid in vacation time or sick leave offered. However, the overall mean score in regard to general working conditions was found to be 3.12, indicating high level of satisfaction.

Table 4: Level of Satisfaction with General Working Conditions


Pay and Promotion Potential

The findings presented in Table 5 indicate the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the pay and promotion potential at the SOB. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents (60%) were not satisfied at all with the salary offered. In addition, low levels of satisfaction were noted in regard to opportunities of promotion, benefits such as health and life insurance, and recognition for work accomplished. On average, the respondents seemed somewhat satisfied with the level of job security at SOB (mean = 3.00). However, the overall mean for all items was found to be 2.22, indicating a fairly low level of satisfaction in regard to pay and promotion potential.

Table 5: Level of Satisfaction with Pay and Promotion Potential

Work Relationships

The findings presented in Table 6 indicate the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the work relationships at the SOB. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents expressed high levels of satisfaction in regard to relationship with co-workers (76.6%; mean = 3.90); relationship with the supervisors (63.4%; mean = 3.73); and relationship with sub-ordinates where applicable (68.2%; mean = 3.68). However, the overall mean score for all items was found to be 3.77, indicating high level of satisfaction in regard to work relationships.

Table 6: Level of Satisfaction with Work Relationships

Use of Skills and Abilities

The findings presented in Table 7 indicate the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the use of skills and abilities at the SOB. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents expressed average levels of satisfaction in regard to being accorded an opportunity to utilize their skills and talents (53.4%; mean = 3.17). However, the respondents reported average levels of satisfaction in relation to being accorded opportunities to learn new skills (mean = 2.93) and support for additional training and education from the management of SOB (mean = 2.48). The overall mean score for all items was found to be 2.86, indicating a fairly high level of satisfaction in regard to the use of skills and abilities. 

Table 7: Level of Satisfaction with the Use of Skills and Abilities

Job Design

The findings presented in Table 8 indicate the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the job design at the SOB. The findings indicate that a majority of the respondents expressed high levels of satisfaction in regard to the variety of job responsibilities (mean = 3.00); the degree of independence associated with their work roles (autonomy) (mean = 3.73); the adequate opportunity for periodic changes in duties (mean = 3.10); the significance of their jobs (i.e. the extent to which their jobs add value to the entire organization) (mean = 3.80); the ability to identify where the job begins and ends (i.e. how well defined the tasks are) (mean = 3.90); and the recognition of the challenging and interesting tasks that make up their jobs (mean = 3.60). However, the overall mean score for all items was found to be 3.52, indicating high level of satisfaction in regard to job design.

Table 8: Level of Satisfaction with the Job Design

Feedback

Table 9 shows the distribution of responses on the level of satisfaction with the aspects of job feedback at the SOB. The findings indicate that the respondents reported low levels of satisfaction in regard to immediacy of the feedback (i.e. how soon the feedback is given) (mean = 2.40); and the manner in which the feedback is given (mean = 2.40). The overall mean for the items was consequently 2.40.

Table 9: Level of Satisfaction with the Feedback


Tests of Hypotheses

The null of the first hypothesis of the study stated that the level of job satisfaction among academic staff at the SOB has no significant relation to the nature of working conditions, the level of pay and promotion potential, the nature of work relationship, the use of skills, the job design and the job feedback. The null of the second hypothesis of the study stated that the level of employee participation in decision-making has no significant effect on their level of job satisfaction. To ascertain this, an index for participation in decision making was computed for each respondent based on the 18 items specified in the study’s question. In addition, an index for job satisfaction was computed. However, the job satisfaction index was broken down into sub-indices based on the indicators applied. These included: general working conditions, pay and promotion potential, work relationships, uses of skills and abilities, job design, and feedback on the job. Regression analysis was used to test the first hypothesis while on the other hand Pearson Correlation Coefficients were computed to determine the strength and direction of the relationship between job satisfaction indices and the indices on participation in decision-making (hypothesis 2).

The findings from the regression model (hypothesis 1) are presented in Table 10 below. The model represented by equation (2) was first subjected to F-Test to establish whether the variables were jointly significant. T-tests were further computed for the individual variables’ coefficients to determine their significance in the model. the F-Test yielded F (6, 23) = 39.069; (P-value < 0.01) and an adjusted R2 value of 0.737 implying that 73.7% of variations in the moderated index on job satisfaction could be explained jointly by the influence of job feedback, work relationships, general working conditions, pay and promotion potential, job design, and use of skills and abilities. The values of F-statistics were found to be statistically significant implying the existence of linear relationships. The results of the T-tests are presented in Tables 4.8 below.

Table 10: Regression Estimates on the Relationship between Moderated Index on Job Satisfaction and the Moderating Variables

              * denotes significance at 5% level (P-values < 0.05); Critical values = 1.96 (at 5%)
                 
Dependent Variable = Job Satisfaction Moderated Index

The elimination of the independent variables from the model is based on the test of the hypothesis that the constants associated with the variables are equal to zero. This is based on a t-test whose decision rule is to reject the hypothesis where p-value < 0.05 (the level of significance for the test). Based on this, the findings of Table 10 indicate the results. The findings indicate that the moderated index on job satisfaction was positively correlated (at 95% level of confidence) to aspects of working conditions, pay and promotion potential, use of skills and abilities, job design, and job feedback. No correlation was established between job satisfaction and work relations.

In testing hypothesis 2, the correlation statistics were computed using SPSS. The findings are presented in Table 11 below. The findings indicate that a significantly strong positive correlation was found to exist between job satisfaction and participation in decision-making (=0.888). The findings indicate also a positively strong correlation between participation in decision-making and job satisfaction in relation to general working conditions (=0.640); pay and promotion potential (=0.703); use of skills and abilities (=0.895); job design (=0.750); and job feedback (=0.632). The findings indicate that the level of job satisfaction for workers at the SOB increases proportionately with an increase in their level of participation in decision-making. The findings from the tests of both hypotheses are in concurrence.

Table 11: Pearson Correlation Coefficients Matrix

     ** Indicates Correlation is significant at the 99% level of confidence (2-tailed).
      * Indicates Correlation is significant at the 95% level of confidence (2-tailed).
        H0: P=0   (No linear relationship)

        H1: P 0 (Some linear relationship)

Conclusions and Recommendations

This part presents the summary and description of findings derived from the study. It also details the conclusions and recommendations to the management of SOB regarding ways of improving job satisfaction levels through participation in decision-making.

Discussions

The findings of the study showed that there is a fairly high level of satisfaction among respondents on aspects relating to participation in decision-making at the SOB, although dissatisfaction was evidenced in a number of factors. The study showed that employees are given freedom to work with minimal interference from the top management of the SOB. Employees also receive optimal support from management on all matters touching on their daily routines. The findings revealed that decision-making is participatory for all. Above all, the views and opinions of all the stakeholders are considered in informing decision-making at the SOB.

To the contrary, the findings showed that a number of aspects touching on participatory decision-making are not accorded adequate attention at the SOB. These include: keeping employees updated with what is happening in the organization; giving them credit and praise when they do good work or put in extra effort; those in authority making decisions that affect the department all by themselves; award of extra responsibility by the seniors; support for extra training; regular meetings to discuss personal staff development; regular updates on SOB’s performance; and giving incentives to work hard and well. In addition, no exit interviews are conducted for staff leaving the organization. The prevalence of these would be attributed to the bureaucratic nature of public sector organizations in Kenya as well as lack of adequate managerial and financial resources to run staff reward and motivational schemes.

The first hypothesis of the study stated that the pay, the work itself, the responsibility, the achievement, the recognition, the opportunity for growths, the supervision, the work groups and the working conditions are the factors which determine job satisfaction. To confirm this, the findings further revealed high levels of job satisfaction in regard to general working conditions, pay and promotion potential, work relationships, uses of skills and abilities, job design, and feedback. Regression analysis was used to ascertain the relationship.

The second hypothesis stated that employees’ participation in decision making increases intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction. Correlation analysis confirmed this hypothesis by establishing a perfectly positive correlation between the level of participation in decision-making and the level of job satisfaction. The findings on this hypothesis concurred with Hertzberg et al (1957), Moorhead and Griffin (1989), and Guion (1998) findings that aspects of a job such as responsibility, the degree of freedom to act, the scope to use and develop skills and abilities, the interesting and challenging work opportunities for advancement, the rewards and punishment coupled with the quality of supervision will affect the employee’s level of job satisfaction.

Conclusions

The study found out that most of the SOB employees were satisfied with their jobs as their level of participation in decision-making increases. Job satisfaction was related to the factors of rewards, work environment, leadership, administrative supervision, and aspects of the job itself. Level of satisfaction with job characteristics was found to be largely influenced by the level of employees’ participation in decision-making. These included pay, hours of work, future prospects, difficulty experienced in performing the job, job content and interpersonal relationships. The study showed that monetary rewards were not as important as job autonomy. This provides the basis for further improvement in employees’ participation in managerial so as to enhance their levels of job satisfaction. The hypothetical basis of the study was ascertained by confirming that employee participation in decision making increases intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction.

Recommendations

The study identified a number of aspects relating to participation in decision making that influence employees level of satisfaction. However, some aspects require improvement going by the low mean rating obtained from their scores. These include keeping employees updated with what is happening in the organization; giving them credit and praise when they do good work or put in extra effort; support for extra training; regular meetings to discuss personal staff development; regular updates on SOB’s performance; and giving incentives to work hard and well.

Recommendations for Further Studies

This study targeted employees of the school of business at the University of Nairobi only. There could be different perceptions about job satisfaction and decision making among other employees in other schools in the universities and other universities as well. This is the area which needs to be studied.



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