Job Satisfaction and Job Performance Direct and Indirect Relationship

Subject: Employee Management
Pages: 15
Words: 4188
Reading time:
17 min
Study level: PhD

The study is aimed at investigating the direct and indirect relationships between job satisfaction and job performance in companies that deal with automobiles in MI, USA. A standardized quantitative questionnaire will be distributed a sample of 100 employees who will be selected from the companies. Data analysis will then be conducted in two phases. The first phase will involve demographic variables while the second will encompass the analysis of on the variables under study. The expected results will be the significant relationships that exist between job satisfaction and job performance when an unmeasurable variable is included or controlled.


Engagement in work can be termed as a tendency by which people show either self-commitment or lack of commitment to their designated roles in the workplace (Albrecht, 2010). This situation has been linked to their performances and the overall positive or negative organizational outcomes. Workers normally engage in work when they personally express themselves emotionally, physically, and/or cognitively (Insync, 2012). In most cases, people disengage themselves from the role performance through physical, emotional, and/or cognitive expressions. It can be concluded that engagement in work involves both self-performance and expression of individual attitudes to the designated roles (Carayon, 2012).

Various researchers posit that work engagement possesses three factors that include psychological meaningfulness, safety, and availability. Psychological meaningfulness entails the measures taken by employees when faced with challenges. On the other hand, safety at work includes being courageous and bold when facing negative results aimed at tarnishing self-image. Lastly, availability entails an employee’s physical, emotional, and psychological wellbeing (Harvard Business Review, 2013).

These researchers have further indicated that employees who appreciate engagement have lower turnover intentions, are less frequent to accidents, and are highly motivated. As a result, their performances are higher than those who are pose disengagement from the workplace. It can be noted that success of organization lies in employee engagement that is mainly determined by their level of job satisfaction (Brown & Duguid, 1991).

In every organization, the managers play a critical role in ensuring that workplaces are developed in ways that ensure that the employees are engaged in their roles at constantly. These employees must be motivated by boosting their morale to ensure improved positive attitudes (Armstrong, 2012). Employees with positive attitudes tend to be committed to their duties; hence, the realization of the overall development and growth of a business is feasible (Haydon, 2015).

From the above highlighted statements concerning engagement, it can be noted that there seem to be connections between employee engagement, employee satisfaction, and the financial performance of the business and the growth of the entity. The research proposed will investigate the indirect and direct relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. The idea of this research proposed is borrowed from various key literatures that are elaborated below.

Major philosophies such as the agency theory have indicated that disengagements or negative effects of efforts at work can cause job dissatisfaction. Negative efforts and disengagements are noted to be influenced by employees’ motivational factors. Therefore, employee motivation and involvement are factors that must be monitored in any organization since they have links to satisfaction and performance of employees. Herzberg invented the motivator-hygiene theory with an idea of determining the effects of attitude on employee motivation and satisfaction (House & Wigdor, 2013). Herzberg concluded that various job characteristics (motivation factors) were related to employees’ satisfaction. At the same time, it was noted that different factors (hygiene factors) are responsible for the employees’ job dissatisfaction (Waheed & Tan, 2011). The hygiene factors mentioned included company policies, supervision, workplace relationships, conditions of work, salaries, and job security (Waheed & Tan, 2011). On the other hand, the motivational factors included achievement, recognition, work conditions, responsibility, growth, and advancement. Such factors are summarized in the figure below.

Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory.
Figure 1: Herzberg’s motivator-hygiene theory (HOUSE & WIGDOR, 2013).

From his conclusion, it is noted that solving the problems of dissatisfaction are not proper ways of ensuring satisfaction. This is because factors that ensure job satisfactions are different from those that cause job dissatisfaction (Waheed & Tan, 2011).

Most managers have used this theory when embracing employee satisfaction and performance. Its major criticisms lie on assumption a stronger relationship exists between satisfaction and productivity (performance) of which this theory is silent about. Employers therefore tend to apply this theory when motivating people by eliminating hygiene factors that lead to dissatisfaction then ensuring that employees find satisfaction (Waheed & Tan, 2011).

Another theory that elaborates on satisfaction and performance is the expectancy theory coined by Vroom (2009). This theory is kind of a process (employee perceptions on work conditions and interactions that come up because of their individual expectations) in motivation since people tend to choose a given behavior over other options.

This theory is normally based on the idea that people expect positive outcome based on their decisions.Vroom through his theory expressed that employees’ motivations are dependent on relationship that exist between performance and results (Gegenfurtner et al., 2009). Therefore, the anticipated outcomes (performance or reward) as perceived by employees are based on their behaviors of which they tend to modify to suit positive results. Employers in most organizations initiate motivational programs based on the perceptions of employees on their individual outcomes. This theory further alludes that a positive correlation exists between efforts and performance which results to a reward that is desirable hence satisfy the person (Gegenfurtner et al., 2009).

Vroom highlighted that performance of an employee was based on several factors that included knowledge, skills, personality, and abilities. The variables that were examined by Vroom included expectancy, instrumentality, and valence to prove that there is some links that exist between performance, effort and personal motivation (Gegenfurtner et al., 2009). Expectancy refers to the employee’s belief that an increase in effort leads to improvement in performance. Instrumentality is the certainty that an employee can performs better to attain a valued while valence implies the seriousness that is placed by an employee to achieve a desired outcome.

This theory is summarized in the below figure.

Vroom’s Expectancy Theory
Figure 2: Vroom’s Expectancy Theory (Gegenfurtner et al., 2009).

Although job satisfaction has been noted to be both directly and indirectly related to job performance, entities at the global level have been facing challenges of high turnovers, employee disengagement, dissatisfaction, and reduced performance. Others are faced with unresolved questions. How do employees get motivated? How can managers cultivate improved performance in situations where employees indicate dissatisfactions?

How can their attitudes be transformed into a positive way to ensure improved job performance? These questions need to be addressed since they form the basis of improved job performance. Furthermore, other researchers have indicated that job satisfaction and performance have both direct and indirect links especially in the automobile industry. This research will center on the investigation of the direct and indirect relationships between job satisfaction and job performance.

Summary of Existing Literature

Employee Satisfaction

Satisfaction at any given place of work ensures positive attitude of the employees towards their performance. Sempane, Rieger, and Roodt (2002) define job satisfaction as a global feeling of an employee’s work or a related attitude about various features of the environment where one works. The satisfaction as mentioned by Ellickson and Logsdon (2011) is influenced by the environment and personal traits of an individual’s satisfaction.

Therefore, it can be noted that satisfaction of employees leads to more production and higher performance (Dawal, Taha, & Ismail, 2009). Managers have been ensuring the satisfaction of employees to improve both performance and productivity in sectors such as banking. Such sectors have been noted to experience higher turnover rates due to minimal job satisfaction. Employees in the banking industry are known to disengage from their duties. This situation leads to high turnover rates (Bellou, 2010; Lund, 2003). The managers at such sectors strive to satisfy their employees to minimize the decrease in performance and low productivity.

Researchers indicate that job satisfaction correlated with positive behaviors in an organization. This situation has been seen among employees who are retained in organizations due to improved performance. Issues such as downsizing have been noted to cause lower levels of job satisfaction (Testa, 1999). To underscore on the statement, a research conducted by Jones and Sloane (2007) in Europe to survey employees in 2002 indicated that their satisfaction were positively correlated with job statuses and activities (Jones & Sloane, 2007).

Therefore, it can be shown that job satisfaction relates to engagement of employees due to its stronger connections with good wages, high quality jobs, security, promotion, training, and individual growth. Such factors conform to both motivation and hygiene factors. An indirect relationship exists between job satisfaction and job performance (Testa, 1999).

Lu Hong, Alison and Barribal (2007) have identified dimensions of job satisfaction and such have been measured against performance. They have indicated that job satisfaction is brought about by factors such as interests, needs, motivations, environment and cultures of an organization (Lu Hong, Alison, & Barribal, 2007; Cambré et al., 2012).

Job Performance

Job performance is indicated as a behavior that based the organization or individual’s task performance or contextual performance. Task performance are behaviors that are directly involved in ensuring that products and services as well as well as other operations that indirectly support an entity’s various processes (Quack, Morgan, & Whitley, 2000).

The behaviors are directly related to various organizational rewards system. The contextual performance are those efforts made by employees and are indirectly related to the main operation of the organization (Quack et al., 2000). Both these types of performance are essential in ensuring that the organization is shaped in terms of its social and psychological contexts (Quack et al., 2000). Job performance is also observed as a behavior of an employee that is relevant to the stipulated goal of an entity and can be evaluated through performance ratings by supervisors (Newman, Kinney, & Farr, 2004).

Relationship between satisfaction and job performance

Although researchers and theorists elaborate that job satisfaction leads to improved performance of employees, it is notable that there are conflicting reports on the relationships that exist between job satisfaction and job performance. On the other hand, Ravindran (2012) noted that there was a non-significant correlation between the two variables.

Most employees perceive that the more satisfied they are the better they perform. However, literary work supporting the idea of job satisfaction and its relation to employees’ performance is minimal. Some psychological theories have postulated that performances of employees affect their job satisfaction/ such have been indicated by the intrinsic motivation theory. A research conducted by both Schneider et al. (2003) note that since there is insignificant effect of job performance on employees satisfaction thus activities that are directed towards job satisfaction are indirectly related employees’ performances. In such cases, issues to do with employee turnover are not related to performance (Schneider et al., 2003).

Conversely, some researchers have also indicated that direct relationship between job satisfaction and job performances of employees share same antecedents such as supervision, communication, compensation, efforts and clarity of responsibilities (Elving, 2015). Even though such sentiments are highlighted, clarity should be indicated on the direct and indirect results of such common features to arrive at a conclusion that the effect of satisfaction on job performance is indeed insignificant. Research conducted by Tabassum, Rahman, and Jahan (2011) confirm that a positive relationship exist between satisfaction of employees and factors including motivation, involvement, performance and organizational citizenship. Tabassum et al. (2011) elaborate that a positive correlation exists between employee satisfaction and financial performances.

Theoretical framework

An explanation of job satisfaction and job performance variables can be well noted when a third unmeasured variable exist. Researchers have identified that a third variable; self-esteem has been used to explain the existing relationship that exist between job satisfaction and job performance. Since self-esteem a trait of an individual, in his case another trait called employee attitude will be used as a non-measured variable in explaining the association that exist between job satisfaction and job performance. In order to determine the existing association the employee’s attitude will be lowered or boosted to ensure that indeed a relationship exist between the two measurable variable.

This research will borrow some ideas from a research conducted by Gardner and Pierce (1998) where they used self-esteem as the un-measured variable in determining the relationship that existed between job satisfaction and job performance. Their result indicated that job satisfaction and job performance were significantly related (r = 0.27, p < 0.01), but immediately the self-esteem that is organization based was lowered, no significant relation was identified between job satisfaction and performance ( Judge & Bono, 2001).

It is therefore indicative that relationship between job satisfaction and performance will be non-significant if the un-measured variable is controlled. The studies where such idea was borrowed also indicate that non-significant direct association between job satisfaction and job performance does not imply that there are indeed no associations that exist between the two measurable variables since other variable also play a role in the mediation (Judge & Bono, 2001).

The framework therefore will be followed as summarized in the below figure;

Framework of hypothesis.
Figure 3: Framework of hypothesis.

The hypothesis and objectives of the study


By treating job satisfaction as a distinct from engagement and accounting for direct effect on job performance, the following hypotheses will be addressed.

  • H1: There is positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.
  • H2: There is positive relationship between the Job satisfaction and employees attitude.
  • H3: There is positive relationship between employee attitude and job performance.

Research Aim and Objectives

The study proposed will majorly aim at investigating the Direct and Indirect Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Job Performance. To support this, there will be four objectives that will guide the study towards its completion.

  1. To confirm if job satisfaction affect employees’ performance
  2. To investigate the indirect and direct relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.
  3. To identify the hygiene factors that lead to dissatisfaction of employees in automobile companies in MI; USA.
  4. To confirm if employees’ attitudes affect job performance.

The purpose of the research therefore investigates the direct and indirect relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.

Contribution of the research (gaps)

There is minimal information from the previous literary work concerning the topic being studied on the relationship between job satisfaction and job performance. Most of the literatures are only related to various theories such as the agency theory that elaborates on influences of job performance on job satisfaction and motivation rather than relationship on job satisfaction and performance.

The evidences on relationships between satisfactions and job performances are rather minimal especially in those that are more elaborative on both direct and indirect links. The research therefore will fill the gaps that exist by applying theories in the modern automobile industry of which no previous documentation exist. Its application will further be more specific to modern automobile industry in Michigan (MI) in the United States. The automobile sector has proved to be the most important economic sector worldwide in terms of the revenue provision.

The methodology to be applied will include a quantitative design with quantitative survey being conducted.

This research through its findings will benefit companies and other institutions that are faced with the challenges of turnovers of employees, companies with low job performance among others. Furthermore, it will provide an insight on how managers should cultivate proper employee management through creation of a culture that ensures improved employee satisfaction and motivation; factors that leads to improved performance. The public will also benefit especially researchers since it will act as springboard for further comparative research to other environment on the related topics.

Methodology of the research

Research design and research data

Since the study proposed majorly emphasizes on Investigating the Direct and Indirect Relationship between Job Satisfaction and Job Performance, the research will major on the quantitative research design (De Choudhury et al., 2010). The research will be conducted in organizations that embrace the current automobile industries in the MI in the USA.

The study adopted a quantitative approach using the survey. The sample size selected will be 100 that include employees of different backgrounds from various companies that embrace automobile industry. Such companies include Chrysler, GM, and Ford in MI, USA. The questionnaires will be distributed physically and online randomly to the respondents. These questionnaires will then be submitted online as agreed by the respondents (De Choudhury et al., 2010). The questionnaire will be structured to indicate personal information of the respondent of various companies. It will also contain closed, open-ended questions and those of multiple choices. The respondents will write the instrument in simple English for easier understanding (De Choudhury et al., 2010).

Rationale of the selection

Companies embracing automobile industry in MI USA were selected since this industry has been identified since currently the industry is currently known for its importance in term of its economic sectors due to high revenue.

MI in USA was also chosen since it is the custodian of different companies embracing the automobile industry namely; Chrysler, GM, and Ford. The sampling design chosen is also appropriate for the study since the study will focus on the quantitative design.

Validity and reliability

Pearson Moment Correlation will be used for testing validity of the questionnaire and points of 0.5 r-value will ensure validity. If the point will be above the mark thus the instrument will be valid (De Choudhury et al., 2010).

The reliability of the questionnaire will be measured using the Cronbach’s Alpha at 0.5. In summary both validity and reliability of the instrument will be ensured to be positive for recommendation for inclusion (De Choudhury et al., 2010).

Data analysis for demographic variables

The demographic variables to be considered include age, education, skills and on automobile industry among others. These variables will be analyzed using univariate analysis or tables. This will be easily enhanced by using the SPSS version 21. The univariate analysis will indicate details about age distribution frequencies, the central tendencies such as mean, mode and median and the dispersions like range, standard deviation and variance (De Choudhury et al., 2010).

Data analysis for study variables

The research will be based on three hypotheses;

  • H1: There is positive relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.
  • H2: There is positive relationship between the Job satisfaction and employees attitude.
  • H3: There is positive relationship between employee attitude and job performance (De Choudhury et al., 2010).

Inferential statistics in this case will be used to elaborate on what can be inferred to general condition of the study. Some of the tests that will be conducted include the correlation analysis and ANOVA among other multivariate methods (De Choudhury et al., 2010).


The various variables that are to be measured include dependent variables such as job performance while the independent variable will be job satisfaction. Lastly the un-measured variable to be included in the study is employee’s attitude.

Research limitations and future recommendations

This research will be based on data collected from a minimal number of respondents (100 employees) within the MI in the USA. Its findings must be used cautiously especially when generalizing on relationship between job satisfaction and job performance of employees in different regions on the automobile industry.

A further comparative study is recommended to be conducted in a different region within an organization especially the non-profit making sector.

Research model

The objective of the automobile industry is to maximize performance of employees affected by their satisfactions in the automobile companies within the MI, USA. The data therefore consisted of satisfaction and performance of the 100 employees in these companies. The automobile umbrella industry in our case consists of Chrysler, GM, and Ford. These firms are able to control hygiene and motivational factors of which lead to the influence of satisfaction which furthermore influence the job performance. The model is thus summarized both indirectly and directly as indicated below using the formula Ẑ=α+βX1+ βX2+€;

Research model

Following the equation used above; the indirect relationship proves that a job performance equation is based on the assumption that an employee’s job performance (Ẑ) is a function of his or her job satisfaction (βX1), his or her attitude (βX2) and any other hygiene characteristics (€) that affects his or her satisfaction. Under direct relationship, the employee attitude is controlled to if there is indeed some relationship.

Expected results and implications

When direct relationship is provided with immense support in the automobile industry, then performance can be higher from individual employees. While when indirect relationship is supported, then employers must ensure that an additional support is given to employees to ensure that they have positive attitude to ensure job satisfaction that in the long run leads to increased job performance. The expected result will confirm that indeed there is both direct and indirect relationship between job satisfaction and job performance.

Communication of the research to the wider community

The benefits of the research will be communicated to the public with both academic and non-academic audience through publication of journals. The journals will entail the tested results and prove the correlations that are being investigated. Secondly, internet will be of immense importance in sharing the information with the public and online discussion to identify its benefits and limitations and various areas that need further research.

Other ways that will be utilized to pass the information is through direct communication with the companies involved and other interested public in forums. This will be advantageous since it will provide an opportunity to meet the audience face-to-face as they learn from the research.

Lastly, other forms of disseminating the information contained in the research report will include conduction of regular internal seminars, reporting such information to stakeholders such as government, company partners, and publication of reviews and outreach which will involve public engagement.

The supervisory provision as well as specialist and transferable skill training

There has been a lucrative return in form of revenue derived from automobile industry. This formed the basis of coming up with the idea of what make these companies more productive. I had been trained in a bachelor’s degree on human resource management with Information Technology and the most important skills gained from the course are the advantage of investing in human resource specially employees. The idea of relationship between job satisfaction and job performance after sharing out with various automobile company managers and their importance led to the development of the proposal for the study. This research will therefore interest many especially to such companies that have been experiencing high turnover rates of employees irrespective of well stipulated policies regarding job performance and appraisal.

The research I believe will be successful due to the prior experiences I have gained including training in public relations, qualitative, and quantitative studies that I have performed, and several surveys that I have done especially as an assistant researcher whose main work was data collection. Prior to conducting this research, I have trained in data analysis skills especially the correlation analyses and the ANOVA using the latest versions of SPSS. Lastly, I am conversant with computer packages since part of my degree course involved Information technology training.

Most research experts to provide the best proactive skills through its website have commended the current University that has enabled me to conduct this research. The university achieve can easily be accessed to gain information. The management has also provided session for frequent seminar programmes where students are allowed to contribute and disseminate any relevant and up to date information concerning researches. The university furthermore prioritizes on mentorship whereby skilled professors and experts are assigned to students who give them guidance on how to successfully gain experience on matters of research and dissemination of information

Ethical considerations for the research

This research will be conducted after seeking permission from the relevant authorities from the various institutions that guarantee study. The various relevant authorities from companies selected such as the management where the study will be conducted will also be contacted to grant permission for the research. The respondents will be issued with consent forms for participation in the study and upon their acceptance they will be included for the study (Miller et al., 2012).

Summary and Conclusion

The proposal as presented is meant to investigate the direct and indirect relationship between job satisfaction and job performance in automobile industry in MI, USA. It is clear that satisfaction of employees in any given entity leads to its success thus managers in various profitable entities may use the information from this study to be conducted to improve their organizational performances through optimization of performance through enhancement of employee satisfaction along the various dimensions proposed in the study.

The research to be conducted will therefore provide information to not only the automobile sectors but also other industries since a common link is management of employees in all sectors. Such will be disseminated to the public or stakeholders who will be in need of it through seminars, conferences, and other forms that will be deemed appropriate for them to get such information. Any company that may feel to form part of the project is invited to provide resources especially funding to make it a success.

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