An industry-level examination of U.S. employee job satisfaction following the 2008 Great Recession: A study of Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory using the U.S. General Social Survey

by Le, Tam T., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 153 pages; 3639043


The objective of this research study is to examine the interrelationship between employee job satisfaction (dependent latent variable) and thirteen contributing factors (independent latent variables) identified in Herzberg's motivation-hygiene theory, with an emphasis on the impact of the 2008 Great Recession at the industry level among the U.S. labor force. The study utilized bi-annual, aggregated, industry-level data sets from the U.S. General Social Survey (GSS) conducted on U.S. household population in 2006 ( N = 851) and 2010 (N = 615) by the National Research Center. This quantitative study employed the two-step structural equation modeling (SEM) method, using SPSS and AMOS Version 22 software, to explore interrelationship effects between 14 latent variables constructed from 37 items in the GSS quality of working life topical module. The SEM analysis resulted in three iterative measurement models in Step 1, with Model 3's goodness-of-fit values of CFI = 0.984, RMSEA = 0.044, GFI = 0.979, AGFI =0.966, and PGFI = 0.603, and Hoelter's size effects of 517 (p < .05) and 584 (p < .01). Subsequent structural modeling resulted in the full structural Model 3 (trimmed) with goodness-of-fit values of CFI = 0.972, RMSEA = 0.052, GFI = 0.97, AGFI =0.954, and PGFI = 0.639, and Hoelter's size effects of 292 (p < .05) and 321 (p < .01). The study concludes that (a) two motivation factors (i.e., recognition and advancement) correlate with employee job satisfaction (EJS), (b) no hygiene factor has direct influence on EJS, (c) one hygiene factor (i.e., policy and administration) has significant interrelationships with both motivation factors, and (d) economic climate influences employee attitudes toward job satisfaction. Three implications resulted from the research study's findings. From a theoretical perspective, key Herzberg's motivation factors (i.e., recognition and advancement) correlate with employee satisfaction at the industry level. From a scientific merit perspective, the SEM method optimizes and validates both measurement and structural models with the inclusion of interrelationship effects between variables. From a practical perspective, employees prefer tangible advancements (e.g., opportunities to develop, promotion) more than comfortable environment (e.g., respect, trust) at the economic recovery phase in 2010.

AdviserRobin Parry
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsBusiness administration; Management; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3639043

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