Perceptions of Organizational Support and Affectivity as Predictors of Job Satisfaction
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Perceptions of Organizational Support and Affectivity as Predictors of Job Satisfaction

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      Staw, Bell, and Clausen (1986) have suggested that employees "bring a positive or negative disposition to the work setting, process information about the job in a way that is consistent with that disposition, and then experience job satisfaction or dissatisfaction as a result." Although this is not a universally held viewpoint, given such endeavors as the FAA Job Satisfaction Survey and managerial efforts to improve overall job satisfaction, the issue of employee disposition is important. Agency attempts to alter the work situation for the purposes of increasing job satisfaction could have limited potential for success to the extent that job satisfaction is a function of disposition.

      The present study tested several hypotheses examining both the main and interactive effects on job satisfaction of variables assessing the person (disposition) and situation (organizational climate) across several organizations. Disposition in this study refers to employee descriptions of how they generally feel in response to the PANAS Affectivity scale developed by Watson and Clark. The PANAS is comprised of 20 adjectives that describe both positive (PA) and negative (NA) affect. Data were accumulated by meta analysis from 1,491 employees in 35 different organizational systems. This included survey data from employees at the FAA Aeronautical Center (N=1,029) in Oklahoma City, Air Traffic Control Specialist trainees from the FAA Academy Nonradar Screen Program (N= 397) in Oklahoma City, and teachers from a rural public school system (N=65) in Illinois. Employees in each of those groups were participants in larger surveys of job satisfaction and other attitudinal factors that influence job satisfaction.

      Results indicated that perceptions of organizational support were more strongly related to job satisfaction than was disposition [positive affectivity (PA) or negative affectivity (NA)]. NA had a larger moderating effect than PA on the perceived support job satisfaction relationship. These results suggest that NA may have influenced the extent to which perceptions of organizational support impact employee job satisfaction. Considered together with longitudinal studies in this area, these findings suggest that dispositional differences in affectivity should be considered in interventions designed to have an impact on the attitudes of agency employees.

      Organizational development specialists and managers should give some consideration to how individual differences in affectivity can influence responses to the existing organizational climate and culture as attempts are made to promote organizational change and improve overall job satisfaction.

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