Commitment gives well-being at work

February 6, 2012 - 05:00

Employers will benefit more from contributing towards the well-being of the employees rather than keeping the employees as satisfied as possible.

Committed employees perform better. (Photo: Colourbox)

Very many organisations are concerned with promoting the employees’ job satisfaction. This is often measured through regular employee satisfaction surveys.

In brief, job satisfaction concerns the employee’s overall assessment of how satisfied she (or he) is with her/his work situation. Job satisfaction has its positive aspects. It can contribute to good social relations, creativity and a diminished tendency to look for another job.

“But job satisfaction is less suited for predicting good performance and the employees’ dedication to attaining set goals,” claims organisational researcher Karoline M. H. Kopperud.

She believes satisfaction is necessary, but not a sufficient condition for well-being at work. Job commitment, challenges and interest are also crucial factors for a good working life.

When we are at our best

“Satisfaction and commitment at work affects behaviour in different ways,” Kopperud points out.

When we are aiming for job satisfaction, we do not perform to the best of our ability. With an interest in goals and challenges, job commitment will help us succeed in attaining demanding goals. Commitment will also be a driving force in reaching our goals if we experience adversity and make mistakes along the way, according to Kopperud.

“Employers will benefit more from contributing towards the well-being of the employees rather than keeping the employees satisfied. Job commitment contributes to well-being and better performance,” she says.

On track with well-being

In her doctoral project at BI Norwegian Business School, Kopperud has conducted three studies of well-being at work.

Karoline M. H. Kopperud. (Photo: Audun Farbrot/BI)

In one of the studies, Karoline M. H. Kopperud - together with Professor Joar Vittersø at the University of Tromsø - conducted a diary survey among 120 employees. The participants were to discuss five episodes from a normal working day. For each of the episodes the participants had to answer questions linked to well-being.

“The participants in the study experienced commitment, interest and challenges more often than satisfaction when they worked with their core tasks,” Kopperud points out.

And the combination of commitment, interests and challenges is what makes us experience well-being at work.

The study does not show that satisfaction is part of promoting job commitment, interest and challenges.

“Job commitment is more relevant than satisfaction with regard to what we actually experience at work. It is also more relevant for factors that promote performance.”

Kopperud advises companies to include measuring of job commitment in their employee surveys in addition to or instead of measuring the employees’ satisfaction.

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Read this article in Norwegian at forskning.no

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