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job satisfaction and employees' performance

job satisfaction and employees' performance

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Published by Obasanya Sheriff

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Published by: Obasanya Sheriff on Jun 15, 2012
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Discussion Papers
The job satisfaction-productivity nexus:A study using matched surveyand register data
Petri BöckermanLabour Institute for Economic Researchand University of TampereandPekka IlmakunnasAalto University and HECER
Discussion Paper No. 297June 2010ISSN 1795-0562HECER – Helsinki Center of Economic Research, P.O. Box 17 (Arkadiankatu 7), FI-00014University of Helsinki, FINLAND, Tel +358-9-191-28780, Fax +358-9-191-28781,E-mailinfo-hecer@helsinki.fi, Internetwww.hecer.fi 
HECERDiscussion Paper No. 297
The job satisfaction-productivity nexus: A studyusing matched survey and register data
We examine the role of job satisfaction in the determination of establishment-levelproductivity. Our matched data contain both information on job satisfaction from ECHP(European Community Household Panel) and information on establishment productivityfrom longitudinal register data that can be linked to the ECHP. The estimates for the effectof one point increase in the establishment average level of employee job satisfaction, on ascale 1-6, on productivity vary depending on the specification of the model. Our preferredestimate, based on the IV estimation that uses satisfaction with housing conditions asinstrument for job satisfaction, shows that the effect on value added per hours worked isroughly 20 percent in the manufacturing sector. The economic size of this effect is smaller,because the observations are bunched towards the higher end of the satisfaction scalemaking it difficult to increase the average level of job satisfaction in the establishment byone point. An increase in job satisfaction by one within-establishment standard deviationwould increase productivity by 6 percent.
JEL Classification:
D24, J28
: job satisfaction, employee well-being, productivity, firm performance.Petri Böckerman Pekka IlmakunnasLabour Institute for Economic Research Department of EconomicsPitkänsillanranta 3 A Aalto UniversityFI-00530 Helsinki P.O. Box 21240FINLAND FI-00076 AaltoFINLANDe-mail:petri.bockerman@labour.fie-mail:pekka.ilmakunnas@hse.fi  * This study is funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund and the PalkansaajasäätiöFoundation. The data used in this study are confidential and can be accessed on site atthe Research Laboratory of the Business Structures Unit of Statistics Finland. Thecomputer programs to generate the results are available from the first author. We aregrateful to Antti Kauhanen and participants at the Conference on Econometrics of HealthyHuman Resources in Rome for comments.
Job satisfaction is an important attribute of all labor market matches, as it is a usefulsummary measure of utility at work. The effects of job satisfaction on various labor marketoutcomes have been widely explored in the literature (e.g. Freeman 1978; Clark et al.1998). Despite this, there are still relatively neglected areas of research. One of thoseconcerns the effect of employees’ job satisfaction on firms’ performance. Job satisfactioncan have a positive effect on performance, if it increases effort e.g. by reducing employeeshirking and superfluous on-the-job activities. The issue has been at a high place in thepolicy agenda. For example, European Union argues in its Lisbon strategy that jobsatisfaction positively contributes to firms’ performance. This is a rather provocative claim,because it implies that policies to improve job satisfaction would be beneficial for bothemployees and employers.The empirical evidence on the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity isquite sketchy owing to the lack of suitable data. The connection between job satisfactionand productivity is also challenging to identify, because job satisfaction is only one of themany different factors that affect firms’ productivity. Judge et al. (2001) perform a meta-analysis covering 312 samples with a combined number of observations of 54 417. Themean correlation between job satisfaction and job performance is estimated to be 0.30. The80% confidence intervals range from 0.03 to 0.57. Some of the highest estimates are likelyto be caused by the fact that establishment characteristics are not controlled for in allstudies. Furthermore, the causal effect of job satisfaction is difficult to establish, as theremay be reverse causality from firm performance to job satisfaction.We contribute to the literature on several frontiers. First, we use the standard measures of productivity as the dependent variables. The literature has typically used various proxyvariables for productivity. One of the earliest quantitative studies relied on the use of medicines by employees as a measure of their productivity (Mangione and Quinn 1975).Other studies have used the prevalence of sickness absence as the measure of firms’performance (e.g. Glegg 1983) or relied on the evaluations made by supervisors about theiremployees’ performance (Iaffaldano and Muchinsky 1985; Judge et al. 2001; Zelenski et al.2008).
It has also been common to use customers’ satisfaction scores in the studies thatfocus on the service sector. However, it is evidently difficult to detect the underlying

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