Gokhan Boz, Emilio Huerta-Arribas

Gokhan Boz, Emilio Huerta-Arribas
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain (Boz)
Universidad Pública de Navarra (Huerta-Arribas)
How to Boost Job Satisfaction in Economic Crisis
Many studies suggest that organizations with low level of job satisfaction tends to face with
absenteeism, tardiness, grievances, turnover, strikes, and so on more frequently (Locke, 1976; Carsten
and Spector, 1987; Kemery et al. 1987; Farrell and Stamm, 1988; Barling et al., 1990; Pierce et al.,
1991; Coster, 1992; Tett and Meyer, 1993; Visser et al., 1997; and Eby et al., 1999), which causes large
amount of loss and decrease in company productivity, performance, and profitability. Low job
satisfaction has been an emerging issue in challenging business environment especially during the
current global economic crisis. For instance, several recent articles in Forbes, CNN Money, The New
York Times, USA Today, Fortune, and Money Magazine (Pofeldt, 2012; Adams, 2012; Rich, 2012;
Petrecca, 2011; Pepitone, 2010; Fisher, 2010; and Dickler, 2009) point out the low level of employee
morale and loyalty and also claim that job satisfaction among American employees has decreased
remarkably during the last few years as a consequence of the recession. Therefore, our paper
investigates how to improve job satisfaction in crisis, analyzing a data set obtained from European
Working Conditions Survey (EWCS), conducted in 2010 by the European Foundation for the
Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. As it is indicated in various previous studies, job
satisfaction is determined not only by the financial components like base salary and commissions, but
also the psychological and physical working environment together with other HR policies such as
family and work-life conciliation. The main contribution of our paper linked to this research question is
to provide an easy-to-apply solution for this challenging problem by addressing managers’ role,
quality, and talent perceived by employees in global economic crisis. Our research provides
econometric evidence that management quality as a proxy of participative leadership style has a
significant positive influence in employee job satisfaction through its intermediary determinants such
as psychological working environment, physical working environment, family-friendly company
policies, and job design practices. We obtained two types of psychological working environment
through factor analysis: The first includes employee involvement, autonomy, and support. The second
takes into account discrimination, harassment, and mobbing at workplace. Management quality has a
significant correlation with both types. Therefore, we conclude that participative leadership is a
distinctive management aspect to improve job satisfaction through its intermediary determinants in
crisis. Moreover, this research also offers a European inter-country comparison based on the specified
determinants of job satisfaction and participative leadership to provide answers to why job satisfaction
differs across European countries, which is another significant empirical contribution of our paper. This
comprehensive analysis consists of 34 countries (EU 27, Norway, Turkey, Croatia, FYR Macedonia,
Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo) using EWCS data. It involves a non-stochastic methodology for the
comparison, Data Envelopment Analysis, which is built on the propositions of Farrell (1957). Finally,
our results reveal that job satisfaction differs across Europe, because the production of these
intermediary determinants of job satisfaction by means of participative leadership style has countryspecific efficiency levels.