Values and Attitudes


Job satisfaction
Bibliography and further reading



Values and attitudes are a basic part of human behaviour. Values are our gut level beliefs about what is right or wrong, good or bad, normal or abnormal. We learn our basic values at a very young age from everyone and everything around us. By the time we are twenty, we have pretty well developed our value system which we will use in relating to the world from then on. During the first few years, children are value programmed mostly by their parents and immediate families. Media, especially TV, are important value programmers also. As the child enters school, the latter becomes a major source of values. In the teenage years, parents and family become secondary to peers as the primary source of values. Also, there is a genetic component to values. Just how large this component is inconclusive at this time. Values are relatively stable over time. After the value system has been established, only a truly significant emotional event is likely to cause these values to change.



There have been many theories about values. One is the Allport, Vernon, Lindzey "Study of Values" which found that there are six types of values: theoretical, economic, aesthetic, social, political, and religious. The combination of these values and their relative strength, they found, could predict one's success in certain occupations.

Another very popular value theory is that of Milton Rokeach. The Rokeach Value Survey measures the ranking of 18 terminal values (desired goals of your life such as happiness or true friendship) and 18 instrumental values (ways of behaving to achieve the end values such as cheerful, helpful, and ambitious). Rokeach's survey has been used in many U.S. based and international studies. Like Allport et. al., Rokeach concluded that people attracted to the same occupations tend to show the same value profiles.

While people hold only a limited number of core values, they may have thousands of attitudes. Attitudes are how we feel about something or somebody--either positive or negative. Attitudes have three components:

Cognitive Component: What you believe to be true. Example: I believe higher education is very important.

Affective Component: What you feel about the belief. Example: I disapprove of parents who discourage their children from going to college.

Behavioural Component: What does that feeling lead you to do. Example: I argue with Mrs. Smith because she is trying to lead her son to go into the Army instead of going to college.

Much of the management literature deals with the attitudes we have about work--especially job satisfaction, job involvement, and organisational commitment.

All humans struggle for consistency among their attitudes and between their attitudes and behaviour. When you are in a situation which demands that you behave against your beliefs and attitudes you suffer from what Leon Festinger identified as "Cognitive Dissonance". Cognitive dissonance refers to an uneasy feeling when beliefs and behaviour are in conflict. Individuals will struggle to reorient either their attitudes or behaviour in order to bring them back into harmony.

Job satisfaction


Job satisfaction is an elusive variable. We try to measure it often using attitude surveys. Some research suggests that productivity leads to job satisfaction. Other research says just the opposite--that job satisfaction leads to productivity.

Studies that measure overall job satisfaction show widely varied results. It could be that even as the workforce is getting increasingly professional (an item often associated with increased job satisfaction), the overall workforce is less satisfied in the 90s than they were in the 80s. The reason for this guess is that the 90s have been a turbulent time of downsizing and destruction of long-standing cultures like IBM, leading to increasing anxiety among workers as to the security of their jobs. A feeling of security, as you will soon find out, is a basic tenet of a motivated workforce. It is also getting increasingly difficult for unskilled people to find work as widespread technology increases.

Your textbook author tells us that job satisfaction is at least partially determined by mentally challenging work, fair rewards, supportive working conditions, and supportive co-workers. The job-personality fit is also very important.

While the relationship between productivity and job satisfaction is not clear, studies show that job satisfaction and absenteeism are at least moderately negatively correlated. In other words, as job satisfaction goes up, absenteeism goes down. There is even a stronger negative correlation between satisfaction and turnover. Logically, if we like our job, we are likely to stay there.

Bibliography and further reading


Bowman, C (1992) ‘Interpreting competitive strategy’ in D Faulkner & G Johnson (eds.) The Challenge of Strategic Management London: Kogan Page Ltd.

Forster, J & M Browne (1996) Principles of Strategic Management Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia Pty Ltd

Baker, Betsy and Beth Sandore. "Motivation in Turbulent Times: In Search of the Epicurean Work Ethic." Journal of Library Administration 14, no. 4 (1991): 37-50.

DeLisi, Peter S. "Lessons from the Steel Axe: Culture, Technology, and Organisational Change." Sloan Management Review 32, no. 1 (autumn 1990): 83-93.

Walton, Richard E. "Promoting Organisational Commitment and Competence." In Up and Running: Integrating Information Technology and the Organisation, 73-90. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1989.

Hingston, Peter (1985) "The Greatest Little Business Book." Hingston, Scotland. ISBN 0 906555 01 9

Liddane, Joe, BA, FCA. Consultant editor. (1987) (Various contributors) "The Manager's Handbook". Sphere Books, London.

Ratzburg, Wilf H. (1999) "Organisational Behaviour." Geocities, Athens.

Sharma, Shikha (1995) "Motivation Theory" Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto.

Herzberg, Frederick (1966) "Work and the Nature of Man."

Clayton, Alderfer. "ERG Theory"

Wellins, Byham, and Wilson, (1991) "Empowered Teams" Jossey-Bass Publishers,

Harrison, Lee Hecht (1997) "Beyond Downsizing: Staffing and Workforce Management for the Millennium"