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03/01/2012

Dissertation Proposal Job Satisfaction among Substance Abuse Professionals: A Training and Education Perspective


 

Dissertation Proposal

Job Satisfaction among Substance Abuse Professionals: A Training and Education Perspective

 

 

Chapter 1

Introduction

 For over 100 years, psychologists, journalists, educators and sociologists have been studying employee job satisfaction and its effects on job performance. These studies focused on variables such as age, gender, supervision and community involvement (Arikian, 2001), (Grueneberg, 1979). The findings from these studies have helped to develop an environment that is conducive for the general workforce (Hopkins, 1983). However, most of the research focused on workers in industry. Although, it is meaningful data on job satisfaction, it is perhaps misleading to assume that the findings pertaining to the population can be generalized for all the people in all occupations (Newby, 1999). It appears that people differ in the extent to which they report job satisfaction, and explanation for these differences lies in the nature of the job which various employees perform. It is implied that for this reason researchers began to explore other occupations in order to bring more diverse findings to the literature. Starting in the mid –nineteen sixties and ongoing, investigations were being conducted on various positions in the helping professions. Job satisfaction of teachers (Ward, 1977; Villiness, 1987; Freeman,1990;Collins, 1998);school principals (Watson, 1991; Dupree,1989); guidance counselors (Kirk, 1988, Murray, 1995); rehabilitation counselors (McGhee & Satcher, 1995); school psychologists (Anderson & Hohenshil, 1984; Brown, M. B., Hohenshil, T.H., & Brown, D. T., 1998); and substance abuse counselors (Evans & Honhenshil, 1997) were some of the positions studied across the country. Findings from the literature conclude that when results are compared across these various positions, there are similarities as well as differences in how people in the helping professions perceive their jobs.

The topic job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors has received very little attention. This absence is evident by a search using ERIC, Psychological Abstract and the Dissertation Abstract. These sources revealed one published articles on job satisfaction and substance abuse counselors as a separate discipline. Research devoted solely to job satisfaction and substance abuse counseling is scarce and the study of job satisfaction and substance abuse counselors in North Carolina has yet to be published.

Why Job Satisfaction of Substance Abuse Counselors?

Substance abuse counseling is a demanding form of community outreach that requires patience, compassion, and a keen desire to help others who are in crisis. Good portions of the addict population are people who need help in many areas of their lives. Often these people are unaware of the kinds of assistance available, whether they are eligible, or how to go about finding help. Counselors refer patients to a variety of other services that may help provide a stable platform from which they can fight their drug addiction. Counselors are required to keep abreast of substance issues, and they must be trained and educated in family dynamics, dual diagnosis, and gender and cultural issues (Galanter, 1994). Due to their intense contact with people and the fact that solutions for patients’ problems are not always obvious, it is reasonable to think that the job satisfaction rate for counselors would be questioned (Brewer & Clippard, 2002). The Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services conducted a survey of practitioners of substance abuse counseling licensed programs. A turnover rate of frontline substance abuse counselors ranging from 32 % to 60% was found (Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services, 1991). In 1998, Powell stated that staff turnover in substance abuse treatment facilities was high, typically 30 to 50 percent annually (Powell, 1998). This turnover rate may be a result of low job satisfaction.

Is Job Satisfaction Important

The question of the importance of job satisfaction may seem to have an obvious answer. After all, it seems eminently logical that a happy employee is a “better” employee, which is often defined as a “more productive” employee. However, thousands of studies have been carried out seeking to establish positive and unmistakable correlations between high job satisfaction and high productivity, with nothing conclusive being proven (Spector, 1985; Bruce & Blackburn 1992). Researchers have attempted to correlate high job satisfaction with efficiency, absenteeism, turnover, and various other aspects of performance with decidedly mixed results.  Bruce & Blackburn (1992) explained,” that managers and workers alike pursue job satisfaction in the often naïve belief that it leads directly and surely to that other workplace ideal- high performance”. The fact is, however, that sometimes satisfied employees perform better, and sometimes they do not. The unfortunate consequence of this lack of a clear cause and effect relationship, as Smith (1993) notes, is that when management discovers there is no guarantee of a one-to-one correlation between individual satisfaction and individual productivity, interest usually wanes.

More recent research has attempted to look at job satisfaction as an antecedent of less concrete but equally important aspects of job performance. One of the most interesting areas of research in recent years has been in the area of organizational citizenship behavior, which Spector (1997) defines as “behavior by an employee intended to help coworkers or the organization”.  Organizational citizenship behavior- inspired actions are those which are outside the employee’s specific assigned task, or above and beyond the call of duty.  Organ & Konovsky (1989) categorize organizational citizenship behavior into altruistic and compliant behavior; the former involves action which helps others, such as assisting coworkers or making suggestions; while the latter involves doing one’s job without needing constant supervision, such as being punctual and not wasting time. The opposite of organizational citizenship behavior is counterproductive behavior, which includes sabotage, aggression and theft. Research seeking a relationship between job satisfaction and organizational citizenship behavior or counterproductively, is in the early stages; but, as Spector notes, “the few available studies clearly suggest an important role for job satisfactory in these behaviors” (Spector, 1997).  Fisher & Locke (1992), Rosse and Miller (1984) and  others have noted  that the recent trend towards  correlating job satisfaction with multiact criteria such as organizational citizenship behavior has been much more successful than earlier attempts to identify one-to-one relationship between satisfaction and individual behavior such as absenteeism.  Indeed, since job satisfaction is by definition an attitudinal concept, it seems logical that its effects would be more intangible than quantifiable.

Recent trends towards more holistic views of psychology make clear the importance of work in the individual’s overall enjoyment life. However, Powell (1998) states that in the changing work environment of the new millennium, with the impact of manage care and the economic recession, a different pattern is emerging. Job hopping is less of a concern than it was because miserable employees cannot leave dissatisfaction of an unhappy job at the office at the end of the day. Organizations are hold on staff who may not be able to move elsewhere in a recessionary marketplace yet feel trapped by an employment situation where they receive little or no support.  Whether or not satisfaction and performance are directly and strongly correlated is not the issue. The issue is that in order to attract and retain qualified employees in the tight labor market, employers will have to treat people as their most important asset (Bruce & Blackburn, 1992).                                                                 

Statement of the Problem

The problem of this study will be to determine the influence of formal education, formal training and clinical supervision on job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors in North Carolina. Substance abuse counselors have a wide variety of formal educational training. It is not uncommon for substance abuse counselors with a high school diploma to be working alongside counselors with graduate degrees. However, to be a mental health counselor or social worker, one must obtain an approved graduate degree plus post-graduate supervised experience. An approved doctoral degree plus doctoral supervised experience is required to practice as a psychologist. However, these educational requirements are not required for substance abuse counselors. In order to be certified as a substance abuse counselor, formal training (not formal academics), supervised experience and examination are required.  The formal training can be attending workshops, reading approved home-study materials, and taking college level courses, but a college degree is not required  (International Certification Reciprocity Consortium, 2000). The clinical supervision is an important part of training in becoming a substance abuse counselor. Clinical supervision allows counselors to learn about therapeutic techniques and develop their clinical skills. Receiving good clinical supervision has been demonstrated to be a key element in job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors (Evans& Honhenshil, 1997). 

Training of Substance Abuse Counselors

Deciding which skills are necessary for counselors to treat substance abuse clients has been a long standing problem (Krystal & Moore, 1965). There has also been a lack of consensus on what the specific activities of the substance abuse counselor should be (Lawson & Lawson, 1990). Academic programs have had little in the way of guidelines for establishing effective courses and curricula in addiction counseling.

Morgan, Toloczko and Comly (1997) reviewed approved master’s degree programs and found that 30% of surveyed programs required courses in addiction counseling. Another 77% of surveyed programs offered courses in addiction counseling as electives. Practicum and internship options in addiction counseling were offered by 87% of respondents. A total of 52% of respondent program stated that providing training in addiction counseling is very necessary. 

There has been research conducted on the identification of the competencies of the substance abuse counselor (Klutschkowski & Troth, 1995). The two organizations have been at the forefront in identifying the specific core functions that substance abuse counselors must be able to perform. The first is the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium (ICRC) (North Carolina affiliation). The second is the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT).

In 1979 the ICRC developed the 12 core functions of the substance abuse counselors to assess counselor competency. In 1991, there was role delineation study done to update the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to be a competent substance abuse counselor. The 12 core  functions of the ICRC are (a) screening; (b) intake; (c) client orientation; (d) assessment; (e) treatment planning; (f) counseling; (g) case management; (h) crisis intervention; (i) client education; (j) referral; (k) report and record keeping; and (l) consultation with other professionals (International Certification Reciprocity Consortium, 1979).

In order to be certified as a substance abuse counselor by ICRC and North Carolina, an applicant must document 300 hours of receiving supervision in each core function. In North Carolina one must demonstrate competence in the 12 core functions by passing an oral exam that demonstrates how the core functions were applied to an actual client before certification will be granted.

In 1993, the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment established a National Curriculum Committee to define the competencies that are essentials for effective substance abuse counseling. This work was combined with the reviewing of existing literature related to the work of substance abuse counselor. The result of this work was the publication of Addiction Counselor Competencies in 1995. A total of 121 competencies were identified. The National Curriculum Committee then set out to delineate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSA’s) that make up each competency. This led to the 1997 publication, Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice.

These competencies were divided into two sections: (a) transdisciplinary foundations and (b) practice dimensions. Transdisciplinary foundations are defined as the knowledge and attitudes that underlie competent practice. The transdisciplinary foundations are (a) understanding addiction; (b) treatment knowledge; (c) application to practice and (d) professional readiness. Each transdisciplinary foundation has a listing of the knowledge, skills and attitudes deemed necessary for proficient practice of that foundation.  The second part is the practice dimensions. These were defined as the dimensions that substance abuse counselors would need to be proficient in to practice effective substance abuse counseling. These dimensions are: (a) clinical evaluation; (b) treatment planning; (c) referral; (d) service coordination;(e) counseling; (f) education (g) documentation (h) ethical responsibilities (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 1999).

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study will be to investigate the current level and sources of job satisfaction and the relationship between training and education variables and job satisfaction of substance abuse professionals in North Carolina. The following research questions will be answered:

1.      What is the level of job satisfaction expressed by substance abuse professionals using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire?

 

Significance of the Study

As stated previously, a thorough search using ERIC, Psychological Abstract and the Dissertation Abstract revealed only one published article on job satisfaction and substance abuse counselors as a separate discipline, but over two hundred articles on job satisfaction and counseling and over eleven thousand articles on job satisfaction in general. Research devoted to the study of job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors is very scarce and job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors in North Carolina has not yet been published. Therefore, a study to assess the job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire was conducted.

It was anticipated that the results of this study would (a) contribute to a larger body of literature on substance abuse counselor satisfaction; (b) help establish a foundation for the study of substance abuse counselor satisfaction; and (c) assist graduate schools and trainers in identifying strategies for making decisions which affect substance abuse counselors.

Definition of Terms

For the purpose of this study the following operational definitions will be utilized:

1)      Substance Abuse Professionals: certified substance abuse counselors (CSAC), certified clinical addictions specialist (CCAS) - those persons who have certified by the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Certification Board.

2)      job satisfaction- a person’s evaluation of his/her work environment as reflected in the overall job satisfaction score on the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ)

3)      formal education- academic degrees one has received

4)      clinical supervision variables- information that promote the development of skills and competencies.

 

5)      formal training- workshops, reading approved home study materials,  college courses

Limitation of the Study

There appears to be certain limitations in the study. These limitations are the following:

  1. The study will be limited to survey of certified substance abuse counselors in North Carolina who were willing to participate in the study.
  2. The study will be limited to the respondents’ response on the twenty given dimension of the job as measured by the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire.

Summary

The purpose of this study will be to provide information regarding job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors certified by the North Carolina Professional Certification Board.  Chapter I has presented rationale for studying this specific population. The descriptions presented were statement of the problem, training of substance abuse counselors, purpose of the study with the specific research questions, significance of the study, definition of key terms, and limitations of the study.

Chapter II

Review of The Literature

Chapter Two is a review of the research relevant to job satisfaction and substance abuse counselors. The first section in this review of the literature defines the concept of job satisfaction. If a particular theory was found to be referenced by three or more studies, it was considered to be a major theory. The second section covers methodological approaches to measure job satisfaction. The third section covers determinants of job satisfaction. The fourth section covers personal characteristics and job satisfaction.

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction refers to a collection of attitudes that workers have about their jobs. Job satisfaction can be differentiated into at least two aspects: facet satisfaction and overall satisfaction or global approach. Facet satisfaction is the tendency for an employee to be more or less satisfied with the various facets of the job. This approach can provide a more complete picture of a person’s job satisfaction. Facet of a job includes the work itself, pay, promotions, recognition, benefits, working conditions, security, supervision, co-workers, and organizational policy. Overall satisfaction can be considered as a summary indicator of a person’s attitude towards his or her job. Overall satisfaction can be thought of as an average of  a worker’s degree of satisfaction towards all the facets of the job (Ganzach, 1998; Spector, 1997).

Theoretical Framework

Four theoretical frameworks of job satisfaction can be identified in the literature. Framework one is based on content theories of job satisfaction. Framework two is grounded on process theories of job satisfaction. Framework three is rooted in situational models of job satisfaction. Framework four is a combination approach (Thompson & McNamara, 1997).

Framework One: Content Theories

Content theorists assume that fulfillment of needs and attainment of values can lead to job satisfaction (Locke, 1976). Maslow’s (1954) Need Hierarchy Theory, and Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theory (Herzberg, 1966) are examples of content theory.

Maslow’s Need Hierarchy Theory:  According to Maslow’s (1954) view of individual needs, job satisfaction is said to exist when an individual’s needs are met by the job and its environment. The hierarchy of needs focuses on five categories of needs arranged in ascending order of importance. Physiological, safety, belongingness, and love are the lower-level needs in the hierarchy. The higher-level needs are esteem and self actualization. When one need is satisfied, another higher-level need emerges and motivates the person to do something to satisfy it. A satisfied need is no longer a motivator.

Whaba and Bridwell (1976) did an extensive review of the research findings on the need hierarchy concept. The results of their review indicate that there was no clear evidence showing that human needs are classified into five categories, or that these categories are structured in a special hierarchy. However, Kries and Milstein (1985) conducted a study on teachers’ job satisfaction and found that job satisfaction among teachers is likely when their perception of benefits from a job matches what they perceive being needed from the job. Even though hardly any research evidence was discovered in support of the theory, it enjoys wide acceptance.

Herzberg’s Motivator-Hygiene Theories: The study of job satisfaction became more sophisticated with the introduction of Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory (Herzberg, 1966; Herzberg, Mausner, & Synderman, 1959; Pai, 1997). This theory focuses attention upon the work itself as a principle source of job satisfaction. According to Herzberg (1966), people generally have two basic types of needs: (a) the need for psychological growth, or motivating factors, and (b) the need to avoid pain, or hygiene factors. In Herzberg’s point of view, motivating factors, called intrinsic factors or satisfiers such as achievement and advancement, are positive elements that contribute to job satisfaction; and hygiene factors such as company policy and supervision, called extrinsic factors or dissatisfies, are negative elements that contribute to job satisfaction.

In a recent study conducted in an industrial setting, Tsai (1998) used Herzberg’s motivational-hygiene theory to examine female police employee perceptions of job satisfaction in a large metropolitan police agency and to develop policy implication for the retention of employees. He found that the respondents who were sworn police officers were more likely than the non-sworn personnel to feel dissatisfied with advancement opportunities, department policy and administration and security. On the other hand, sworn officers were more likely than non-sworn personnel to be satisfied with achievement, citizen recognition, and interpersonal relations. Nevertheless, there were no differences in the perception of agency recognition, growth, and supervision between sworn officers and non-sworn (civilian) employees.

Framework Two: Process Theories

Process Theorists assume that job satisfaction can be explained by investigating the interaction of variables such as expectancies, values, and needs (Grueberg, 1979). Vroom’s expectancies theory (1982), Adams’ equity theory (1963) and Lawler’s facet satisfaction theory (1994) are representatives of the second framework.

Vroom’s expectancy theory: Vroom’s expectancy theory (1982) involves three core variables: attractiveness, performance-reward-linkage, and effort-performance-linkage. The characteristic of expectancy theory is that a person’s job satisfaction is influenced by the individual’s cognitive variables during the motivating process. The attractiveness is the degree of how individuals care about the potential outcomes or rewards from a given job. Performance-reward-linkage is the level of how individuals believe that they can really receive the expected reward when they reach a certain standard of performance in their work (Pai, 1997).

Adams’ equity theory: Adams’ equity theory proposes that workers compare their own outcome/input ratio to the outcome/input ratio of another person. Adams called this other person “referent.” The referent is simply another worker or group of workers perceived to be similar to self. Unequal ratios create job dissatisfaction and motivate the worker to restore equity. When ratios are equal, workers experience job satisfaction and are motivated to maintain their current ratio of outcomes and inputs or raise their inputs if they want their outcomes to increase. Outcomes include pay, fringe benefits, status, opportunities for advancement, job security, and anything else that workers desire and receive from an organization. Inputs include special skills training, education, work experience, effort on the job, time, and anything else that workers perceive that they contribute to an organization (Pai, 1997).

Lawler’s facet satisfaction model: Lawler’s facet satisfaction model (1973, 1994) was designed to illustrate the process by which facet satisfaction is determined.  Saal and Knight (1988) labeled  this model as a comparison theory, a comparison between what employees believe they should receive (job outcomes) and their perceptions of the outcomes that are actually received. This facet reflects the cognitive view that people consider their perception of reality to be more salient than reality itself. The model indicated numerous variables which can influence employees’ perceptions of their facet satisfaction, including their perceived job inputs (skills, abilities), perceptions of the job demands (greater demands, the greater the reward perception), and the influences of how other employees’ inputs and outcomes compare with their own. Perception of actual outcomes is believed to be influences by the outcomes themselves in addition to perceptions of the outcomes of referent others (Lawler, 1994).

Lawyer (1994) stated that employees will be satisfied with their jobs if there is an agreement between their perceptions of their outcome level with their perceptions of what the outcome levels should be. However, they will be dissatisfied if they perceive their outcome level to be lower than where they think they should be. Lawler listed additional propositions from the model: (1) those with high perceived inputs will be more dissatisfied with a job  facet than those with lower perceived inputs; (2)  those who perceive their job as demanding  will be more dissatisfied than those who perceived the job as under-demanding; (3) those who receive a low outcome level will be more dissatisfied than those who receive a high outcome; and (4) the more outcomes an employee perceives others receive, the greater the dissatisfaction. In addition, if a person perceives that he is receiving more that is deserved, feelings of inequity, discomfort, and possible guilt will result.

As with equity theory, this issue of feeling overpaid is not adequately addressed in Lawler’s facet model. Another reported problem with the facet model is the assumption that all employees use rational cognitive processes, such as weighing their own inputs/outcomes versus that of others, and utilizing this information to guide subsequent attitudes and behaviors; it seems a little unrealistic to believe that many people are this rational in their cognitive processes (Saal & Knight, 1988).

Framework Three: Situational Models

Situational theorists assume that the interaction of variables such as task characteristics, organizational characteristics, and individual characteristics influence job satisfaction (Hoy & Miskel, 1997). Examples of models are the situations occurrences theory of job satisfaction (Quarstein, McAfee, & Glassman, 1992) and Gilsson and Durick’s (1988) predictors of job satisfaction.

Situational occurrences theory: The situational occurrences theory of job satisfaction was proposed by Quarstein, McAfee and Glassman (1992). The two main components of the theory are situational characteristics and situational occurrences. Examples of situational characteristics are pay, promotional opportunities, working conditions, company policies, and supervision. Individuals tend to evaluate situational characteristics before they accept a job.  Situational occurrences can be positive or negative. Positive occurrence includes, for example, giving employees some time off because of exceptional work or placing a microwave in the workplace. Negative occurrences include, for example, confusing e-mail messages, rude remarks from coworkers, and copiers which seem to break down a great deal. Quartstein et al. (1992) hypothesized that overall job satisfaction is a function of a combination of situational characteristics and situational occurrences. The findings of their study supported the hypothesis. According to the researchers, a combination of situational characteristics and situational occurrences can be a stronger predictor of overall job satisfaction than each factor by itself.

Dispositional theory: The dispositional hypothesis has been proposed in recent years to explain job satisfaction and has received empirical support (Judge, Locke, Durham,& Kluger,1998; Steel & Rentsch,1997). This approach is based on the premise that a person’s character traits influence feelings about job satisfaction apart from the job or environment (Judge,Locke,&Durham,1997). According to Judge et al. (1997), value judgments or “core evaluations” represent the way individuals perceived themselves, other people, and the world. A 1998 study by Judge, Locke, Durham and Kluger studied core evaluations (which included the concepts of self-esteem, self-efficacy, locus of control and non-neuroticism) to see their effects on job and life satisfaction. Judge et al (1998) found that core evaluation of the self had consistent effects on job satisfaction which were independent of the job attributes. Thus, Judge et al. (1998) argue that people with positive core self-evaluations view their lives and jobs in a better light because their internal make-up enables them to do so.

Framework Four: Combination Approach

Locke and Latham’s high performance cycle: Locke & Latham (1990) posited an integrated model they believe can explain broad fundamentals regarding work motivation and job satisfaction, and key interrelationships between these two broad concepts. This theory is a compilation of numerous theories, including equity and expectancy theories. This model is presented in terms of single, interrelated sequence of events, termed the high performance cycle. The sequential stages begin with the demands being made of the employees in the form of specific difficult goals, which is predicted to be a precursor for heightened levels of work motivation, satisfaction and commitment, as predicted by the goal setting theory (Locke & Latham, 1990). 

Locke & Latham (1990) detailed the challenging goals are usually designed in terms of specific standards or levels of performance production, yet alternate forms of challenges provided for the employees include the amount of work, frequency of certain work related behavior, deadlines or a budget to be attained.  Challenging goals have been found to be related not only to performance but high rating of self efficacy, a concept in social cognitive theory, which has been defined as a person’s judgments of how well he can execute the action(s) required by the particular situation or task (Locke & Latham, 1990).  Locke & Latham (1990) believe that those employees, who feel successful at accepting their goals and are rewarded equitably for their high performance via noncontingent rewards, will generally have greater satisfaction with their job. However, those who feel unsuccessful in their goal pursuit, and feel the rewards are inequitable, will generally have a greater dissatisfaction with their job.

The Theory of Work Adjustment

The theory used as the basis for the present investigation is known as work adjustment theory (Lofquist & Dawis, 1969). This theory postulates that there is correspondence between the individual and the environment. It argues that there is a relationship in which the individual and the environment are mutually responsive. According to Lofiquist and Dawis (1969), the person brings to the relationship “his requirement of the environment; the environment likewise has its requirements of the individual. In order to survive in an environment the individual must achieve some degree of correspondence” (p.45). According to this theory, the individual seeks to achieve and maintain correspondence with his environment. Work environment correspondence is considered to be the extent to which the individual fulfills the conditions of the work environment, and the work environment fulfils the prerequisites of the individual. Lofquist and Dawis add that “the continuous and dynamic process by which the individual seeks to achieve and maintain correspondence with his work environment is called work adjustment” (p.46).

Based on the concept of correspondence, the concepts of “satisfactoriness and satisfaction” are derived. These two concepts are said to indicate the correspondence between the individual and his or her work environment (Lofquist & Dawis, 1969).  Satisfactoriness is an external indicator of correspondence. It is obtained from sources other than the worker’s own appraisal of his or her fulfillment of the requirements of the work environment. Satisfaction, on the other hand, is an internal indicator of correspondence. It is said to represent the worker’s appraisal of the extent to which the work environment fulfils his or her requirements.

The theory of work adjustment has its roots in learning theory and personality theory of individual differences. It assumes individual differences in personality are the result of a unique genetic inheritance and learning history. It also emphasizes the psychometric measurement of individual differences in personality (Lofquist & Dawis, 1969).

In the theory of work adjustment, personality is conceptualized in terms of a personality structure, a personality style and a personality adjustment style. Personality structure refers to the skill and psychological needs/requirements an individual has developed over time. Personality style refers to the individual’s unique process of responding to and interacting with the environment. Personality adjustment style is more specific and refers to dimensions, which describe individual differences in the process of attaining correspondence. That part of personality structure and style, which is relevant to work, is referred to as the work personality.

Dawis and Lofquist (1984) asserted that personality structure develops as a result of responding to and acting on the environment. From birth, individuals respond to stimulus conditions in their environment and are reinforced for their behaviors. Over time, individuals develop particular response sequences and learn to act upon their environment in addition to responding to stimuli around them. With refinement, response sequences develop into basic skills. Concurrently, reinforcement of behavior allows individuals to develop preference for stimulus conditions.  Over time, preferences for stimulus condition of a given reinforcement strength develop into relatively stable requirements or psychological needs of the individual.

Across individuals, common elements of skills and common elements of psychological needs can be grouped into a smaller and more manageable number of dimensions. Common elements of skills can be factored into ability dimension, and common elements of psychological needs can be factored into value dimensions (Dawis and Lofquist, 1984).

Dawis and Lofquist (1984) further contended that the work environment can be described in terms similar to the work personality. Analogous to employee need/value requirements, employers have ability requirements. Corresponding to the abilities provided by individuals, employers provide reinforcing stimulus conditions such as compensation, working conditions, and job security. The theory of work adjustment assumes the work environment’s ability requirements and reinforcing stimulus conditions also can be measured. 

Again, this theory assumes that the individual and the work environment interact in an attempt to meet their respective requirements. Correspondence refers to the degree to which the requirements of the work personality and or the work environment are met.  When the employer’s minimum ability requirements are met, correspondence is achieved. On the other hand, correspondence is also achieved when the employee’s minimum requirements are met.

Measurement of Job Satisfaction

The first step to improve job satisfaction is to determine its causes and relationships.  In doing this, change agents can use this information to change the job situation to improve job satisfaction while also gaining an understanding of the effects of job satisfaction on certain outcomes (Cranny, Smith, & Stone, 1992). One of the most popular and time-effective method of assessing job satisfaction is through the use of survey questionnaire (Spector, 1997).

Job satisfaction scales are designed to measure either global or facet job satisfaction. This section will describe six job satisfaction scales which can be measured using either single item, general, or facet measures.

Single-Item Job Satisfaction Measure

 Robbins (1998) describes a single-item measure as “How satisfied are you with your job”. Responses can be from “very satisfied” to “very dissatisfied”. Wanous, Reichers, & Hudy (1997) support the use of a single-item measure unless a study’s inquiries or circumstances direct toward selecting a well-constructed scale. (Kelleberg (1977) criticized single-item measures based in the measures’ assumption that job satisfaction is one-dimensional, when in fact, it appears to be multidimensional. Evidence points toward an overestimation of job satisfaction when the construct is measured using single-item measures.

General Job Satisfaction Measure

General job satisfaction scales, like single- item measures, are used to determine the overall level of job satisfaction. The Job in General Scale (JIG) (Ironson, Smith, Brannick, Gibson, & Paul, 1989) was designed to assess overall job satisfaction rather than facets. The JIG is made up of a list of descriptive phrases (i.e.,” Better than most”) or adjectives (i.e., “Rotten”) beside which the respondents are asked to mark ”Y” for “YES,” if it describes their job in general,”N” for “NO,” if it does not describe it, or “?” if they can not decide whether or not the word or phrase describes their job. Negatively worded items are reverse- scored, and the total score is the sum of the response (Spencer, 1997).  The Michigan Organizational Assessment Questionnaire Subscale is another popular general scale (Spencer, 1997). The item is short and there are seven response choices: “Strongly disagree,” ”Disagree,” “Slightly disagree,”  “Neither agree nor disagree,” “Slightly agree,” “ Agree,” “Strongly  agree.” The responses are numbered from 1 to 7, respectively, but the second item is reverse-scored. The items are totaled to yield an overall job satisfaction score. Validity evidence for the scale is provided by research in which it has been correlated with many other work variables (Spencer, 1997).

Facet Specific Job Satisfaction Measure

The facet approach is used to find out which parts of the job produce satisfaction or dissatisfaction. A job satisfaction facet can be concerned with any aspects or parts of a job. Facets frequently assessed include rewards such as pay or fringe benefits, other people, such as coworkers or supervisors, the nature of the work itself, and the organization itself.  The facet approach provides a more complete picture of an employee’s job satisfaction. The facet approach is valuable for organizations wanting to identify areas of dissatisfaction which can potentially be improved.  Below are some facet specific job satisfaction measures:

The Job Satisfaction Survey (JSS) (Spencer, 1997) yields an overall satisfaction score and 9 facet-specific scores. The facet specific scales include pay, promotion, supervision, fringe benefit, contingent rewards, operating conditions, coworkers, nature of work and communication.

The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) (Smith, Kendall, & Hulin, 1969) measures satisfaction levels of work, pay, promotions, supervision, and coworkers.  The entire scale contains 72 items with either 9 or 18 items per subscale. Each item is an evaluation adjective or short phrase that is descriptive of the job. Responses are “Yes,” “Uncertain,” or “No.” For each facet scale, a brief explanation is provided, followed by the items concerning that facet. Either favorable or positively worded and unfavorable or negatively worded items are provided.

Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ)

 This questionnaire is one of the commonly used job satisfaction questionnaires (Brief, 1998; Spector, 1997).  The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) is an instrument that measures various components of satisfaction with several different aspects of the work environment. The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire is a good choice for this study because it appears to embrace some of the same concepts suggested by other theoretical orientations. For instance, Albright (1972) reports that there are similarities between the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire’s(MSQ) intrinsic factors and Herzberg’s hygiene factors.  Baumwart (1994) found that the intrinsic satisfaction items of the MSQ tend to be similar to the items that Locke refers to as “values” (Locke, Fitzpatrick, & White, 1983). Secondly, it appears that instruments to specifically measure career satisfaction among substance abuse counselors and other similar professions are non-existent (Baumwart, 1994). Thirdly, the MSQ has been used, in a slightly modified form, in an investigation that surveyed substance abuse counselors by Evans & Honhenshil (1997) and by Baumwart (1994) in his research on predictors of career satisfaction among mental health professionals. Given this fact, this instrument appears to be the main choice to measure job satisfaction among substance abuse counselors.

The MSQ generates satisfaction scores for twenty facets. The facets are ability, achievement, activity, advancement, authority, company policies and practices, compensation, co-workers, creativity, independence, moral values, recognition, responsibilities, security, social services, supervision-human relations, supervision-technical, variety, and working conditions. Various combinations of facets generate intrinsic, extrinsic, and general job satisfaction scores.  There are three forms of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), (a) short -form (b) original long-form and (c) the 1977 revised long-form. The long forms includes 100 items and the short form contains 20 items (Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist, 1967, 1977). The 1977 version was originally copyrighted in 1963. The authors utilized the instrument to collect normative data for 21 MSQ scales for 25 representative occupations including bookkeepers, laborers, typists, engineers, managers, and teachers. A “ ceiling effect” obtained with the rating scale used on the 1977 version tends to result in most scale score distributions being markedly negatively skewed--most responses ranged between “Satisfied” and “Very Satisfied.” Therefore, a 1967 version was developed that adjusted for the ceiling effect by using the following five response categories: “Not Satisfied”, “Slightly Satisfied”, “Very Satisfied”, and “Extremely Satisfied”. The revised rating scale resulting in distributions that tends to be more symmetrically distributed around the “Satisfied” category.   The short form consists of 20 items from the long-form MSQ that best represent each of the 20 scales. Factor analysis of the 20 items resulted in two factors--intrinsic and extrinsic satisfaction. Scores on these two factors plus a general satisfaction score may be obtained. The short-form MSQ uses the same response categories used in the 1977 long form (Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist, 1967).

Job satisfaction survey questionnaires, like those above, have been used in hundreds of studies in the hope of determining the causes and relationship of job satisfaction and in aiding in the prediction of job satisfaction. Knowing what variables relate to job satisfaction can allow change agents to make predictions about what types of people will be more or less satisfied, as well as the effect of particular working conditions or characteristics on an employee’s level of satisfaction (Saal & Knight, 1988).

Training and Education

In the last generation, the United States has created more jobs than Western Europe and Japan combined (Levine, 1998). At the same time, productivity growth has been much lower in the United States, and wage growth -- especially for the bottom half of wage earners -- has been far worse (Levine, 1998).

The quality of the U.S. workforce matters now more than ever. Well-trained, motivated workers who can produce high quality goods and services at low cost help enhance industrial productivity and competitiveness and keep American living standards high (Eck, 1993). In today’s international economy, workers must be prepared to change the way they do their jobs in order to capture the benefits from rapidly evolving technology. Training goes hand-in-hand with productivity, quality, flexibility, and automation in the best performing firms Office of Technology Assessment, September 1990).

However, this does not imply that the general job satisfaction and training of the workers are adequate. First, all measures of income show much slower growth since 1973 than during the previous twenty-five years (Levine, 1998). Second, all measures of income and living standards show growing inequality since 1973, in contrast to the stable or slight equalization of growth during the preceding generation (Levine, 1998).

The external challenges include an environment that has become more challenging, with rapid innovation, deregulated markets, and more foreign trade (Levine, 1998). Although numerous barriers exist to these high-skill workplaces, current evidence (surveyed below) suggests they can increase profits and stock market value, as well as productivity and quality (Levine, 1998).

The low levels of educational attainment of low-income students (caused both by borrowing constraints and by other risk factors) are costly in terms of lost future productivity (Levine, 1998). For poor children, rates of school completion and advancement to postsecondary education are much lower than for other children.

Moreover, American schools, businesses, and governments all worked more or less the same way: they were rigidly controlled hierarchies. Most Americans attended boring and rigid schools that prepared them to work at boring and rigid jobs (Levine, 1998). Schools, businesses, and governments all operated in a machinelike fashion to produce a standard output -whether the "output" was a washing machine from a factory, a semiskilled employee from a school, or a Social Security check from the government (Levine, 1998).

This production method -- essentially an extension of Henry Ford's assembly line -- helped raise productivity and standards of living. Schools taught what businesses wanted: punctuality, reliability, and obedience -- he virtues of a machine. Businesses put those qualities to work (Levine, 1998). And government followed suit. Today, however, the major economic challenge is no longer how to produce large quantities of highly standardized goods. Today's trend is away from standard products and toward both high-quality services and customized products. In today's economy, semiskilled and unskilled labor are less valuable (Levine, 1998). Furthermore, businesses aren't very happy with the quality of employees that they get, and employees aren't very happy with the businesses that they work for (Levine, 1998).

 

As a result, the American labor market has undergone dramatic changes in the past 15 years, and has worsened particularly for low-skill workers. The wages of many groups of workers have declined (Heckman, Roselius, and Smith, 1994). The ratios of the wages of college graduates to those of high school graduates and high school dropouts have increased, and participation in the market by low-skill workers has fallen (Heckman, Roselius, and Smith, 1994).

Policy analysts have been quick to recognize these changes and to recommend policies designed to reverse them. Most of the proposed solutions entail increased investment in "human capital," that is, training and education, to upgrade the skill level of the workforce and to transform the American workplace (Heckman, Roselius, and Smith, 1994). A new consensus has emerged in influential policy circles that the American labor market and educational system are unable to equip workers with sufficient skills. American youth are said to experience a disorderly transition from school-to-work characterized by too much job turnover and too little training on the job (Heckman, Roselius, and Smith, 1994). In contrast, the German apprenticeship system has been held up as a model of order that produces smooth school-to-work transitions and provides workers with human capital directly related to their career interests in a format especially helpful (Heckman, Roselius, and Smith, 1994).

Education and Training Challenges: Advancing the Workers’ Satisfaction

High on the list of oft-heard prescriptions to cure America's economic ills is better training for the nation's workers (Hansen, 1993). Concern over the state of worker training has grown as post-World War II prosperity has been replaced by more disturbing developments: nearly two decades of low productivity increases, falling real wages for much of the population, and growing income inequality between the college-educated and those with only a high school education (Hansen, 1993).

It is increasingly apparent that the United States, though possessing the most extensive array of colleges and universities in the world, has focused comparatively little attention on the education and training needs of the three-quarters of the population who will never receive baccalaureate degrees (Hansen, 1993).

A recent National Research Council committee examined postsecondary training for the workplace in the United States and found that it is indeed a troubled enterprise. There is no such thing as a postsecondary training system addressing the needs of people who don't graduate from college (Hansen, 1993). Instead, thousands of individual providers--community colleges, proprietary trade schools, employers, trade unions, community nonprofit agencies, and others--offer training opportunities of widely varying quality and uncertain ties to the world of work. Access to these opportunities is uneven, and the babel of programs and providers is often confusing to would-be trainees and employers alike (Hansen, 1993). This state of affairs is often contrasted with what appears to be much more coherent, high-quality, and extensive training systems in economic competitors such as Germany and Japan (Hansen, 1993).

Nevertheless, strong reasons exist for improving the quality and coherence of training for the workplace. Hundreds of billions of dollars (no one really knows how much for sure) are spent annually by government agencies, business firms, and trainees themselves; it is important that these funds be used as wisely as possible and that individuals not spend their own time and money on training courses of uncertain value (Hansen, 1993). Moreover, an inadequate training system could potentially impede efforts by firms to adopt advanced technologies and undertake the workplace restructuring that will enable them to use these technologies most effectively (Hansen, 1993).

Workers in a modern economy need more than one kind of training. Young people (and individuals reentering the work force after extended absences) require training that qualifies them for entry-level jobs (Hansen, 1993). Once on the job, workers are more and more likely to need skills-improvement training throughout their working lives to keep up with rapid technological changes (Hansen, 1993).  Inevitably, as the economy evolves to keep up with increasing global competition and changing world circumstances, some workers will find their old jobs becoming obsolete and will need to be retrained for new ones. Finally, there will always be some individuals who, because of economic and social disadvantage, will require second-chance training to improve basic as well as job-related skills (Hansen, 1993).

Qualifying training, to the extent that it occurs formally rather than informally on the job, is largely carried out in schools. Thus, because education has historically been decentralized in the United States, qualifying training, too, is largely in the hands of state and local governments or of private nonprofit or profit-making colleges and schools (Hansen, 1993). The major way that the federal government supports qualifying training is through grants and loans to postsecondary students and, to a much lesser degree, through grants to the states that support vocational education in high schools and colleges. Work-based qualifying training opportunities, which figure prominently in the training system in Germany, are comparatively scarce in the US (Hansen, 1993). Apprenticeships, for example, are small in number (roughly 400,000 in 1990) and not a source of training for the young; the average age of apprentices is 29. Skills-improvement training is carried out primarily by employers (Hansen, 1993).

Student aid programs (along with large subsidies that underwrite tuition at state-supported colleges) put postsecondary school-based training within the reach of almost everyone who wants it (Hansen, 1993). Increasingly, though, student aid comes in the form of loans, not grants (Hansen, 1993). Since many students drop out before completing training programs, and others may not end up getting jobs that noticeably improve their economic circumstances, paying back loans can become a problem.. Women, minorities, young people, employees of smaller firms, lower-level workers, and workers with lower levels of formal education tend measures to help them assess program performance.

 

One statistic that is used to measure trends in education is the educational attainment of workers. Clearly, there was a pronounced increase in the educational attainment of U.S. workers during the 1970's and 1980's. Public and private colleges and universities, junior and community colleges, and vocational schools provide a vast amount of postsecondary training. Individuals received nearly 2.9 million awards and degrees during the 1989-90 academic year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics (Occupational Projections and Training Data, 1992). In turn, the training categories can be matched with an occupation or with an occupation group comprised of a few to several detailed occupations in the employment data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

 

Despite the widely held view that the quality of U.S. education and training is poor, the Nation is increasingly committed to education (Eck, 1993). Educational attainment has increased significantly in the past two decades, as the proportion of students attending and completing college has increased (Eck, 1993). Fewer students are now dropping out of school before completing high school than in the past. While many high school graduates are cited as having inadequate reading, mathematics, and science skills, and high school students are identified as having skills inferior to those of their counterparts in many other countries, standardized tests of reading, mathematics, and science skills show that these have remained the same or increased slightly over the past decade (Eck, 1993).

 

There may be a need for a better match between educational programs and the requirements of the workplace (Eck, 1993). Clearly, educational attainment, as measured by years of school completed, is related positively to earnings: workers having higher educational attainment have higher average earnings. However, education by itself does not guarantee high income (Eck, 1993).  Consequently, the skill and educational requirements of a job have a major impact on earnings. Thus, it is apparent that, to have a great effect on earnings, the educational and skill requirements of jobs, as well as the education and skills of workers, must be increased (Eck, 1993).

 

There has of late been much hand wringing over what to do about the emerging new labor market, in which the real wages of high-skilled, well-educated workers have increased, while the real wages of low-skilled and poorly educated workers have decreased (Heckman, 1999).

Postschool learning, which includes learning by doing and workplace education, is an important source of skill formation that accounts for as much as one-third to one-half of all skill formation in a modern economy (Heckman, 1999). However, because much of this learning takes place in informal settings outside of educational institutions, educational technocrats and the politicians who commonly equate skill formation with classroom learning neglect it.

Education, Training and Productivity

One of the most compelling economic reasons for investing in training is because of the positive effects it has on productivity and performance (New Statesman, 2003). There are a number of factors that influence labor productivity, including investment in physical capital, innovation and technological progress. But skills are also important (New Statesman, 2003). Increases in training are associated with increases in productivity. Research shows that firms investing in training are more productive, have higher capital intensity conduct more R&D and have a more highly qualified workforce (New Statesman, 2003). Indeed, nearly a fifth of productivity and profitability differences between companies are associated with differences in HR practices. Furthermore, a 2002 survey conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses shows that "there is an important and direct relationship between training and firm performance (New Statesman, 2003)."

There is already evidence that the existence of skills deficiencies has a negative impact on company performance - for example, one-third of establishments with skill shortages say that these shortages have led to a loss of business or orders (New Statesman, 2003). By impacting on individual staff, they accumulate to provide wider improvements in organizational performance. Better trained and skilled workers can adapt faster and more efficiently to change and are better at implementing new work practices and products (New Statesman, 2003). They can help a firm to update its practices and products at the rate demanded by rapidly changing markets and technical advances, making the firm more flexible and productive. Similarly, people are also found to be more effective if they are trained to understand what they are doing and why, and how they can contribute to their organization’s objectives (New Statesman, 2003). A recent survey by the chartered Institute of Professional Development showed that "over 90% of those receiving training thought that it had been 'very successful' or 'quite successful' in helping them do their job better (New Statesman, 2003)."

Deming (1986) and other advocates of total quality have downplayed the importance of performance appraisal or even recommended discontinuing it in the interests of pursuing total quality. They point to the many downsides of traditional performance appraisal and stress that systems factor, rather than differences in skill or individual worker's efforts, are mostly responsible for outstanding quality and productivity. We believe that performance appraisal, used properly, has a valuable role to play in total quality organizations. However, it must be treated as an opportunity to open dialogue between workers and managers as to what is working and is not working to produce quality performance (Fine and Cronshaw, 1999).

Presently, the economy has a large group of unskilled workers who have lost their jobs because of the rapid shift in demand toward more skilled workers, and because of the floor on wages in the markets for unskilled labor (Heckman, 1999). One dangerous myth that motivates welfare reform and training policy is that it is relatively easy to adapt adult unskilled workers to the modern economy. According to this view, most low-skilled labor can be easily retrained to become skilled labor. In fact, the costs of doing so are high (Heckman, 1999). Resources are diverted away from the young and the more trainable for whom a human-capital-investment strategy is likely to be more effective. In an era of tight budgets, it is far from obvious that investments in such low-skilled workers are justified on any but political grounds (Heckman, 1999).

As a benchmark, the annual supply of high-skilled equivalents to the U.S. economy in the early 1990s is approximately 1.8 million persons. Maintenance of existing skill gaps alone would require that the percentage of persons acquiring post-secondary skills rise by 55 percent (Heckman, 1999). To phase in the additional 5.4 million people required to restore wage parities to their 1979 levels over a 10-year period would require a total annual expansion of 70 to 80 percent in the supply of high-skilled persons (Heckman, 1999).

Competency-based Training

The political decision to implement competency-based training widely throughout vocational education systems, before rigorous evaluation through adequate pilot programs, was made because it was viewed as essential for increasing skill levels and work productivity (Cornford, 2000). This and other commissioned studies indicate some major problems with competency-based training which has not achieved stated objectives of increasing skill levels. Research also indicates that competency-based training has not been adopted widely by business and industry (Cornford, 2000).

Competency-based training was viewed as the foundation for reform in vocational and post compulsory education (Beevers, 1993; Smith & Keating, 1997), and the means of increasing skill levels and productivity. Beevers (1993) considers that the particular form of competency-based training adopted was seen as a universal truth and cure-all for problematic issues such as economic deterioration and workplace restructuring in addition to providing equitable access to vocational education and employment as well as the means of constructing the clever country.

Almost a decade after the commencement of efforts for wider implementation of competency-based training, there is now a greater opportunity for gaining some perspective of what has resulted from its introduction (Cornford, 2000). Competency-based training was introduced on the basis of apparent advantage, as perceived by a number of influential groups, in the absence of any substantial empirical evidence as to its effectiveness in attaining desired goals. More recent studies, involving practical implementation, enable assessments about the effectiveness of competency-based training, and whether the demands of policy makers are actually workable on the ground (Collins, 1993, p. 12).

Although it has been argued that it is very difficult to measure competency-based training effectiveness because of differing views about what it involves (Smith & Keating, 1997, p. 111), it is argued by Cornford (2000) that improved skill performance in teaching-learning contexts operating under competency-based training and adoption of competency-based training by industry is the key elements. Both these elements relate directly to improved productivity and work performance. It is considered by that ultimately the success or failure of competency-based training rests upon pragmatic considerations, particularly whether it has been comprehensively implemented and whether it meets stakeholder needs (Cornford, 2000).

In the United Kingdom, whence Australian politicians' and bureaucrats' enthusiasm for competency-based training originated after implementation by Margaret Thatcher's New Right, there is increasing interest in explaining the resurgence of enthusiasm for a previously discarded approach and how a deeply flawed set of policies was conceived and implemented (Raggatt, 1997). In Australia, there is growing recognition that competency-based training has been ineffective, although this acknowledgement has not come from official bodies. Foyster (1997a, p. 32) reported that, at the final meeting of the Australian National Training Authority Research Council conference in October-November, 1996 in a straw vote on competency-based training, the balance of votes was `clearly against CBT'. He raised a number of possible reasons for the problems and controversy including: (a) lack of understanding of how competency-based training operates; (b) the experiencing of inadequate implementations of competency-based training; (c) suitability of competency-based training for some areas but not others; and (d) the suitability for some subgroups in the community but not others.

Examination of the effectiveness of implementation of competency-based training for convenience can be divided into two distinct categories. The first of these comprises the issues confronting teachers and teachers' judgments concerning the effectiveness of competency-based training in developing superior skills in specific trades and professions (Cornford, 2000). The second is the degree of implementation of competency-based training in the training community generally and its adoption by business and industry (Cornford, 2000).

Many similar findings emerged from both the more and less experienced teaching groups (Cornford, 1996, 1997). Perhaps the most striking finding was that 63.9 per cent of experienced teachers considered that the introduction of competency-based training had hindered or severely hindered students' attainment of skilled performance levels with a further 25 per cent considering that performance levels had not changed (Cornford, 1996, 1997). The less experienced teachers held very similar views with 61.7 per cent considering that the introduction of competency-based training had hindered or severely hindered the attainment of skill performance levels by students and 20.6 per cent indicated that levels had not changed (Cornford, 1996, 1997). Results from these two studies indicate that, in Foyster's (1997a) terms, competency-based training is not suitable for all occupational or skill areas, but that some respondents considered that some specialized areas had benefited, although this was not verified empirically.

Job Evaluation

Most formal job evaluation plans entail the measurement of job worth by ranking or rating jobs on a set of "compensable" factors (Henderson, 1989; Milkovich & Newman, 1987). Attributes of job worth measured by these factors typically fall into the categories of skill, responsibility, effort, and working conditions (Davis and Sauser, 1993). (In fact, these 4 criteria are specified in the Equal Pay Act of 1963.) When combining the separate factor scores to form a composite, or when using the individual factors as variables in a prediction model, a decision must be made concerning the weighting of each factor (Davis and Sauser, 1993). The determination of job evaluation factor weights is usually done in one of three ways: (1) a priori weights may be chosen and applied to the factors reflecting a subjective notion about worth; (2) weights may be derived empirically, from a statistical regression analysis of the relationship between job evaluation scores and criterion wage rates; or (3) job evaluation factors may be deemed equivalent in value and thus receive "equal" weights (Milkovich & Newman, 1987; Treiman, 1984).

Another important consideration in choosing among different weighting approaches is the interpretability of the resulting wage structure; that is, the face validity of the structure in terms of participant understanding and acceptance (Milkovich & Newman, 1987; Tompkins, Brown, & McEwen, 1990). With regard to the issue of acceptance, job evaluation consultants and researchers have noted a trend toward increasing employee demands for participation in compensation design and for greater communication about the technical aspects of compensation methodology, such as job evaluation and market surveying (Mulcahey & Anderson, 1986).

Benefits of Training and Education in the Workplace

There is obviously a clear economic and business case for workforce development. Investing in skills benefits organizational performance directly and indirectly. However, the benefits from training are multi-faceted, and training cannot be thought of as an end in itself, or as a stand-alone policy. While research has shown that 'training works' this should not be a one-size fits all solution, as training needs differ between organizations, and between individuals.

Individual benefits also provide benefits for the employer. Evidence suggests that training fosters a common culture within firms and helps to keep staff motivated, especially when linked to other progressive HR practices (New Statesman, 2003). Highly motivated staff performs better. Better workplace well-being and motivation is also associated with decreased employee mobility (New Statesman, 2003). Research points to links between increased employee training and better commitment from workers. This lowers recruitment costs as well as reducing 'probation' periods, where staffs are likely to be less productive (New Statesman, 2003). As individuals prosper these impacts on their satisfaction and commitment, providing benefits to the employer too. There is a link between training, qualifications, employment and wages, with higher levels of training and qualifications associated with higher earnings and greater employability (New Statesman, 2003). Further a range of generic and basic skills are also associated with higher earnings in the labor market.

Pay directly affects what individuals can do off the job, their family's standard of living, the extent to which they can travel, and the leisure time activities in which they can indulge (Fine and Cronshaw, 1999). Pay indirectly conveys to workers the value an organization places on them and the status they have achieved (Fine and Cronshaw, 1999). When workers are paid less than they think they are worth, they are likely to reduce their efforts in order to restore a sense of equity in their relationship with the employer, a fact well demonstrated by psychologists in their studies of equity theory (Walster, Walster, & Berscheid, 1978). Conversely, there is evidence that paying workers bonuses based on organizational performance can markedly increase their effort and performance (Lawler, 1990). Pay can thus be a powerful motivator in encouraging many workers to higher performance and greater growth (Fine and Cronshaw, 1999). Nevertheless, effective pay systems--satisfactory for the worker as well as productive for the employer--are more the exception than the rule.

 

The concept of pay equity is important not only from the standpoint of employee morale, commitment, and performance (Lawler, 1981), but for compliance with equal employment opportunity laws such as the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In addition to legal considerations, important reasons for the use of job evaluation in compensation management are (1) having a rational and communicable basis for explaining different wage rates, (2) maintaining job satisfaction and minimizing grievances, (3) having a flexible basis for revising pay rates and establishing rates for new jobs, and (4) containing the administrative costs of employee compensation (Henderson, 1989; Milkovich & Newman, 1987).

Research on Job Satisfaction among Counselors

            Members of the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision were asked to rate on a questionnaire their overall level of job satisfaction; a majority of the respondents (89%) rated their job in the “satisfied range”. When asked questions about their stress level, more than half of the respondents rated their job stress as no more than “moderate”. When the same respondents were asked, “If you had to do it again, would you choose counseling as a career?” The majority replied, “yes” (Parr, Bradley, Lan, & Gould, 1996).

            Baumwart (1994) completed a comprehensive study of job satisfaction on nine hundred thirty-three mental health professionals. The authors found that there were few differences between all master’s level or higher clinicians in terms of their job satisfaction. The study also found that pastoral counselors appeared to have a higher proportion of satisfied practitioners. Job satisfaction was found to be a function of employment setting. Practitioners in private practice had a significantly higher satisfaction rating than persons employed in hospitals or clinics. Those in church settings, pastoral counseling centers and teachers also had significantly greater levels of satisfaction than those on clinic settings. The level of satisfaction of those in church setting was lower than, but close to, the level of satisfaction of private practioners. The lowest general satisfaction was reported among those who were employed in clinics. No significant difference was found in the general satisfaction among those in church, pastoral counseling, private practice, or teaching settings.

            Baumwart’s findings corroborated earlier findings by Raquepaw and Miller (1989). In their research, Raquepaw and Miller found that therapists who worked for agencies had more symptoms of burnout than did therapists in private practice. These findings were directly related to their satisfaction with size of case load. The respondents who indicated that their ideal case load would be smaller were more burned out than those who were satisfied with their caseload. The study also found that burnout was predictive for the therapists who reported intentions to leave counseling for a different kind of occupation.

Summary

The study of job satisfaction has been a research interest of students and professional researchers alike for years. Many theories have been established to explain job satisfaction and its relationship to employee happiness.  Although the study of job satisfaction has been conducted among many occupational groups, the majority of the studies have been of workers in disciplines other than counseling. Few studies have been focused on job satisfaction and substance abuse counselors. In 1997, Evans & Honhenshil investigated the job satisfaction level of substance abuse counselors in Virginia. A search reveals no other job satisfaction studies of substance abuse counselors since then.

Chapter Three

Methodology

Chapter Three contains the methods and procedures that will be utilized to identify job satisfaction of substance abuse counselors in North Carolina. This chapter contains:

·         a description of the population;

·         a description of the research instrument;

·         a discussion of the data collection;

·         a restatement of the research questions; and

·         the methods that will be used to collect and analyze data

Participants

The participants in this study will be the entire population of certified substance abuse counselors certified by the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Certification Board. A list of all certified substance abuse professionals was obtained from the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Certification Board. 

Instrumentation

 

Instruments used to collect data for this study will be an Individual Information Form (IIF) and the short-form of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) (Weiss, Dawis, England, & Lofquist, 1967).

The Individual Information Form (IIF) gathered demographic information on participants’ age, gender, ethnicity, and marital status. Participants were also asked to provide degree status, amount of training and supervision received, certifications held, years employed as a counselor, plans to remain in current position, and plans to remain as substance abuse counselor.

The Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ) (Weiss, et al., 1967) is one of the most popular and widely researched instrument available (Evans& Honhenshil, 1997; Bollinger, 2001; Spector, 1997). The observable work adjustment outcomes of this relationship between the individual and the work environment are satisfaction, satisfactoriness, and tenure. Satisfaction is defined as the satisfaction of the individual with the work environment. Satisfactoriness is defined as the satisfaction of the work environment with the individual. Tenure, which Dawis and Lofquist (1984) consider to be the principle indicator of work adjustment, is defined as the time the individual remains on the job. Work adjustment, then, depends on how well an individual’s abilities correspond to the ability requirements in the work and how well the worker’s needs correspond to the reinforcers available in the work environment.

This research used the short form of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (short form MSQ); (Weiss et al., 1967) as its self- reported measure of job satisfaction. This 20 item instrument is one of the most widely used measures of job satisfaction and has several qualities that makes it desirable for research. Specifically, the short form MSQ can be completed in less than 5-10 minutes, it is easy to administer and score, and has clear directions. . Respondents are asked to indicate on 5 point Likert type scale ( ie., 1=Very dissatisfied” to 5=”very satisfied “) how satisfied they are with different aspects of their job.

Numerous factor analytic studies have supported a three factor simple structure of the MSQ (Weiss et al., 1967). These three factors represent the three subscale of the MSQ: (1) General Satisfaction scale, which provides an index of respondents’ overall level of job satisfaction ;(2) Intrinsic Satisfaction, which provides a measure of individual’s internal satisfaction with the work environment; and (3) Extrinsic Satisfaction, which measures satisfactoriness, which is an external appraisal of the individual’s fulfillment of the requirements of the work environment (Lofquist &  Dawis, 1969: Weiss et al., 1967). The raw score for each of these scales are determined by summing the weights for the responses chosen for the items in each scale. Total score are determined by summing scale value for all 20 items. High scores are indicative of greater job satisfaction. The raw score for each short form MSQ scale can be converted to percentile score by using the test manual norms for the appropriate occupation. However, because no norms have been developed substance abuse counselors, the author of the test recommend using norms or careers that are similar or using the general Employed Non Disabled norms. They also recommend using raw score for all scales by ranking them. These rankings indicate areas of relatively greater or lesser satisfaction. 

Each of the item on the Short Form MSQ is representative of subscales resulting in the measure of 20 different unique dimensions. The single item subscale were the result of how the short form was created. The short form was created by choosing 20 representative items, one from each of 20 Long Form MSQ subscales, from the Long Form of the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire , which contains of 100 items. The items chosen for the Short Form MSQ were those correlated the highest with their respective scales (Weiss et al., 1967). Those dimensions in which job satisfaction is measured are as follows:

1.      Ability utilization – the chance to use one’s abilities

  1. Achievement – feelings of accomplishment
  2. Activity – being able to stay busy on the job
  3. Advancement – the opportunity to advance
  4. Authority – the chance to direct others
  5. Company – satisfaction with company policies
  6. Compensation – pay for the work done
  7. Co-workers – relationships with co-workers
  8. Creativity – the chance to try own work methods
  9. Independence – the opportunity to work alone
  10. Moral values – not having violate conscience at work
  11. Recognition – praise received from work done
  12. Responsibility – freedom to use own judgment
  13. Security – steady employment of the job
  14. Social service – the chance to do things for others
  15. Social status – the opportunity to be “somebody”
  16. Supervision (Human Relation) – the way the boss handles employees
  17. Supervision (technical) – competence of supervisor
  18. Variety – the chance to do different things occasionally
  19. Working conditions – all facets of the work environment (Weiss, et al., 1967, 1977).

The psychometric properties of the Short Form MSQ are favorable. Hoyt internal consistency reliability coefficients across various studies have indicated that, for the Intrinsic Satisfaction Scale, coefficients ranged between .84 to.91. For the Extrinsic Satisfaction scale, coefficients ranged from .77 to .82. On the General Satisfaction scale, the coefficients ranged from .87 to .92. Median reliability coefficients were .86 for Intrinsic Satisfaction,.80 for Extrinsic Satisfaction, and .90 for General Satisfaction (Weiss et al., 1967). Although less data are available regarding the stability of this measure, the reports thus far have been favorable. Test-retest coefficients for the General Satisfaction scale have been reported  as.89 over a 1 week time period and .70 over 1 year time span (Weiss et al., 1967).

      The validity of the MSQ as a measure of general job satisfaction is evidenced by the other construct validation studies that have been based on the Theory of Work adjustment. The studies have indicated that the MSQ measures satisfaction in accordance with the expectation from the Theory of Work Adjustment. The short form MSQ is based on the on a subset of the long form items, the validity for the short form may be partly inferred from the validity from the long form MSQ (Weiss et al, 1967).

Data Collection

The Certified Substance Abuse Professional was randomly selected from the database of Certified Substance Abuse Professionals from the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Certification Board.  The data collection followed a four-step process. The steps will be (1) initial survey, (2) postcard reminders, (3) follow-up reminders, and (4) second follow-up reminders.

Initial Mailing: The initial mailing included a letter explaining the survey’s purpose and requesting voluntary participation in the survey. A stamped self-addressed envelope will be enclosed. Survey forms and the return self-addressed stamped envelopes will be coded to identify who had responded.

Postcard reminders: A postcard reminder will be sent to all participants one week after the initial survey mailing. The reminders will thank participants for their cooperation in completing the survey.

First Follow up: Two weeks after the initial mailing, a second mailing of materials will be sent to those who had not responded. A letter urging participants to complete the surveys and assuring confidentiality will be included in the mailing.

Second Follow up: Four weeks after the initial mailing another letter stressing the importance of the survey and encouraging participation will be sent to non- respondents.

Data Analysis

Specific statistical techniques will be employed to answer each research questions in this study:

Research Question One: What is the level of job satisfaction expressed by substance abuse counselors in North Carolina using the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire?

Data Analysis: The overall level job satisfaction for the sample will be obtained by summing the general satisfaction scale score of all respondents and dividing the sum by the number of respondents. The resulting average will represent the general job satisfaction level of substance abuse professionals.

Research Question Two:

Data Analysis:.

Research Question Three:

Data Analysis

Research Question Four:

Data Analysis:

Summary

Chapter Three is concerned with the methods and procedures that will be used for this study. The chapter includes:

·         a description of the population;

·         a description of the research instrument;

·         a discussion of the data collection;

·         a restatement of the research questions; and

·         the methods that will be used to collect and analyze data

This chapter establishes the essential methodology used in the study and explains the statistical procedures to be used to answer the research questions. Chapter Three sets the stage for the presentation of the research findings in Chapter Four.

 

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Appendix A.

Individual Demographic Form      (IDF) 

                                                                                                            N0____

 

No

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