رضایت، شرایط شغلی و آرمان ها
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|6098||2010||14 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 31, Issue 6, December 2010, Pages 936–949
People’s evaluation of objective working conditions (job satisfaction) may be only partially explained by the objective working conditions faced by workers. Individuals are constantly drawing comparisons from their environment, from the past or from their expectations of the future. Workers look both upward and downward when making comparisons and aspirations about working conditions. They fix both lower aspiration bounds (that are, minimum acceptable working conditions) and upper aspiration bounds (representing the best working conditions they can obtain on the labour market). Reality lies between the upper and the lower bounds. Distance between aspiration bounds and reality might create biases in the evaluations of job satisfaction. In this paper, we propose a new approach towards studying the following issues: (i) we analyse the existence and the impact of aspiration biases on workers levels of job satisfaction; and, (i) we analyse whether workers adapt to conditions shedding light on the relationship existing between aspiration biases and working conditions actually experienced in the job place. These issues are empirically studied using the 2005 European Working Condition Survey (EWCS). We find that aspiration biases exist. On average, divergence between individual working conditions and the upper aspiration bounds has stronger effect in reducing job satisfaction than the distance between the lower aspiration bounds and reality in increasing job satisfaction. Finally, aspiration biases seem to be positively affected by good working conditions and negatively affected by bad working conditions.
In recent years economists have taken an increasing interest in the analysis of the subjective well-being of individuals (Easterlin, 2001 and Frey and Stutzer, 2002 for a review; Clark and Oswald, 1994 and Clark and Oswald, 1996). Next to the economic literature, there are more than 3000 studies which have been carried out over the last 30 years by psychologists and sociologists (Veenhoven, 1994 and Warr, 1999). Many economic studies use micro-data to understand the determinants of answers to questions about satisfaction with life (or aspects of it like work): identifying the factors that raise or depress satisfaction is central to the understanding of well-being. But, the science in this area is relatively young and much needs to be done to establish the key empirical regularities, to understand when they are found, and why, in some cases, they do not hold (Anand & Clark, 2006). Interest in individual well-being and in understanding the determinants of job satisfaction may emerge from the following observations. First, satisfaction may be thought of as an indicator of utility and the study of its determinant may contribute to the development of substantive theories of utility. Second, job satisfaction may be seen as an indicator of quality of work and the latter is often pointed out as the key condition for boosting employment and productivity in Europe (European Commission, 2003 and European Commission (2007) “Improving quality and safety at work”, 2007 and Kok, 2003). Third, according to Sen, 1977, Sen, 1979 and Sen, 1999, it is the opportunity to live a good life, rather than the accumulation of resources, which matters most for well-being, along with the opportunities that result from the capabilities (i.e. a set of alternatives) that people have. Thus, studying satisfaction may provide help in understanding what makes a good life for a human being and to build up from this towards a theory of social good. Fourth, the above arguments are policy relevant. In particular, following the second argument, policies should focus on the determinants of job satisfaction in order to improve satisfaction and, therefore, employment and productivity. People’s evaluation of objective working conditions (job satisfaction) may be only partially explained by the objective working conditions faced by the workers. Individuals differ in personality, as well as emotions and cognitive process (Diener et al., 1999 and Schwarz and Strack, 1999). They can be optimist or pessimist (Groot & Maassen van den Brink, 2007). They are constantly drawing comparisons from their environment, from the past or from their expectations of the future. They have different aspiration levels (Stutzer, 2004). Thus, two workers with jobs of identical objective characteristics may show radically different levels of job satisfaction. For one, the job may entail a decrease in status or a source of frustration if she/he expected to have a better valued job, whereas for the other, who perhaps had very low aspirations owing to a lower level of education or other reasons, the same job may be related with perceptions of good quality. In general, individual satisfaction depends on the existing gap between aspirations and achievement (Fernandez-Macia and Munoz de Bustillo Llorente, 2005, Inglehart, 1990 and Michalos, 1991). There are two main processes that form workers’ aspirations and create the relativity in people’s evaluation (Stutzer, 2004). First, people make social comparisons that drive their positional concerns for working conditions. It is not only the objective working condition that matters, but also one’s position relative to other workers.1 In other words, individuals are constantly drawing comparisons from environment, from the past or from their expectations of the future and they formulate some aspirations about working conditions. These aspirations might create biases in people evaluations of working conditions (levels of job satisfaction). Some authors assume that people look upward when making comparisons and aspirations thus tend to be above the reality (i.e. Stutzer, 2004). In our view, this is not true: individuals look both upward and downwards when making comparisons and aspirations. Looking downward, individuals fix lower aspiration bounds representing minimum acceptable working conditions. Looking upward, workers fix upper aspiration bounds representing the best working conditions they can obtain on the labour market. Reality lies between the lower and the upper aspiration bounds.2 The larger the distances between reality and lower aspiration bounds, the more satisfied workers will feel (positive aspiration biases): their evaluations of quality of work will be revised upward. Instead, the larger the distances between reality and upper aspiration bounds, the more unsatisfied workers will feel (negative aspiration biases): their levels of job satisfaction will be revised downward. The main contribution of this paper is in analysing the impact of both positive and negative aspiration biases on job satisfaction separately. Second, people adapt to the contexts they live in (Clark et al., 2008, Easterlin, 2001, Sen, 1999 and Stutzer, 2004). For example, individuals experiencing bad situations (i.e. bad working conditions) may get used to such contexts and, therefore, they could adjust their perceptions about the reality they live in (i.e. they could revise downward the lower aspiration bounds). Instead, good working conditions may provide satisfaction, but they could also imply upward revisions of the aspiration bounds. These observations imply that the working conditions effectively experienced by individuals could have an impact upon aspiration biases in complex way. In this paper, we study the impact of working conditions on aspiration biases. Resuming, we contribute to the literature by proposing a new approach to how the following issues are studied. First, we analyse the existence and the impact of both positive and negative aspiration biases on workers levels of job satisfaction. Second, we analyse whether workers adapt to conditions, which sheds light on the existing relationship between aspiration biases and working conditions actually experienced in the job place. The issues discussed above are empirically studied using the 2005 European Working Condition Survey (EWCS), a cross-sectional dataset providing unique and very detailed information on quality of work in Europe (i.e. working time, work organization, pay, work-related health risks and health outcomes, and access to training). Unfortunately, the survey does not contain data on people’s aspirations. Therefore, we consider aspiration biases about working conditions as unobservable, and we assume explicit distributions for these as being unobservable. We estimate a two-tiered stochastic frontier model (Groot and Oosterbeek, 1994, Polachek and Yoon, 1987 and Groot and Maassen van den Brink, 2007).3 In this model, differences between observed levels of job satisfaction and realistic perceptions of quality of work (that are, the objective evaluations of working conditions) can be due to two sources of variation. First, self-reported worker levels of satisfaction might be subject to measurement error or other random factors which may cause unusually high or lower than expected levels of satisfaction. Second, a given individual might be subject to idiosyncratic, albeit unobservable aspirations biases (due to the distance existing between aspiration bounds and reality) and, therefore, observed levels of job satisfaction may differ from the realistic ones. Our approach has three main advantages. First, we do not need data on aspiration levels. Without data on aspiration levels, we are not able to use standard methods, i.e. standard statistic and/or econometric models to study the correlation between survey questions on aspirations and satisfaction levels (i.e. Chang and Sanna, 2001, Cummins and Nistico, 2002 and Stutzer, 2004); our approach, that assumes aspiration biases as unobservable, permits us to overcome the problem by studying the effects of aspirations biases on job satisfaction. Second, we are able to test the effects of both lower and upper aspiration bounds on job satisfaction. As far as we know, no previous studies estimate both effects separately. Third, the stochastic frontier model can be estimated using cross-section data and does not require panel data.4 Without panel data, we are not able to consider the psychological elements in the evaluation of satisfaction, as individual specifics effects and estimate fixed effects models account for these (i.e. Ferrer-i-Carbonell & Frijters, 2004); our approach therefore represents a possible solution in all cases where panel data are not available; and, it represents an alternative approach to fixed effects model in cases in which panel data are available. The rest of the paper is structured as follows. In section two, we illustrate the data and the constructions of each of the relevant job satisfaction and working conditions indicators. In Section 3, we outline the empirical methodology we use. Section 4 presents the empirical findings. Section 5 concludes.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Analyses of the subjective well-being of individuals are increasing in economic literature. Interest about the determinants of job satisfaction is also increasing. It is widely recognized that individual perceptions about quality of work (job satisfaction) do not depend from objective working conditions only. Personality, emotions, cognitive process and comparisons from environment, from the past or from expectations of the future, create aspirations about working conditions. Workers look both upward and downward when making comparisons and aspirations about working conditions. They fix both lower aspiration bounds (that are, minimum acceptable working conditions) and upper aspiration bounds (representing the best working conditions they can obtain on the labour market). Reality lies between the upper and the lower bounds. The distance between aspiration bounds and reality might create biases in the evaluations of job satisfaction. In this paper, we propose a new approach for studying the following issues: (i) we analyse the existence and the impact of aspiration biases on workers levels of job satisfaction; and, (i) we analyse whether workers adapt to conditions shedding light on the relationship existing between aspiration biases and working conditions actually experienced in the job place. Our main findings are the following. First, objective working conditions directly impact on the evaluation of job satisfaction as expected. Second, we find that observed levels of job satisfaction are 16% (=1–0.84) lower than the realistic perceptions of satisfaction due to the divergence between upper aspirations and the reality; we also find that self-reported levels of satisfaction are 4% (=1.04–1) higher than the realistic levels of satisfaction which is an effect of the existing distance between both lower aspiration bounds and the reality; thus, mean observed self-reported levels of job satisfaction deviate downward from the realistic perceptions of quality of work: observed levels of job satisfaction are, on average, 13% lower than the realistic perceptions of satisfaction due to the existence of aspirations. Third, aspiration biases adapt to conditions. Our findings have important policy implications. On an EU level, there is a wide debate which addresses the necessity of policies which are aimed at improving working conditions in order to increase satisfaction and, therefore, employment and productivity. To be able to design optimal policies, we need to know what exactly impact improving certain working conditions will have (i.e. training) on satisfaction and, therefore, productivity and employment. Our findings contribute towards shedding some light on the relationship existing between working conditions and job satisfaction. In particular, our results underline that working conditions affect job satisfactions in a complex way. First, working conditions affect job satisfaction directly: bad working conditions reduce directly satisfaction, while good working conditions increase satisfaction directly. Second, working conditions affect job satisfaction indirectly by modifying the aspiration biases. Both the direct and the indirect effects of working conditions on the levels of job satisfaction need to be considered for designing socially robust policies.