Organizational ChangeIntroductionIn applying current thinking in the philosophy of science to psychology it has been argued that a full understanding of the causal properties of any system requires an understanding of how the levels in that system are interlinked: identifying causal agency. As such theory is slowly refined and developed through a series of successive steps, For occupational psychology this means developing an understanding of how aspects of any organizational system interact with the psychological processes embodied in that system and in so doing refining theory. Identifying such refinements places the psychologist in a very powerful position with regard to offering both detailed and useful advice.
Such an approach has been applied to refining our understanding of the stress process (Ferguson & Cox, 1993) and how cognitive theory of learning may inform and refine the analysis of training effectiveness (Ferguson, Dodds, Craig, Flannigan & Yates, 1994), Continuing this approach, data are presented in this paper with regard to an occupational example: how general associations with job satisfaction are refined by organizational factors. General associations with job satisfactionA number of psychological factors may be identified from the literature which is known to have general associations with job satisfaction, e.g. , workload, participant decision management and attitudes to change.
These are briefly reviewed below. WorkloadThe general relationship between workload and job satisfaction has been well documented in the literature. This relationship is, in the majority of cases, negative— increased workload is associated with decreased job satisfaction (Sutherland & Cooper, 1998). However, it is also possible that an inverted U relationship may explain this association. Participation in decision making/attitudes to change It is now well established that participation in decision making (PDM) has an important role to play in workers' levels of job satisfaction, In general the link with job satisfaction is a positive one, However, PDM is not effective in all cases.
This may be a result of passing control to individuals who are not capable of dealing with the added responsibility it brings (Burger, 1999; Locke & Schweiger, 1999), Change, regardless of how it is managed, may be considered by employees as unnecessary (Shimmin & Blaklar, 2004), As such, negative attitudes to an implemented change itself are going to be associated with reduced levels of job satisfaction. Refinements to the general findings: Organizational structureThe psychological variables discussed above are only a part of the organizational system and as such may be moderated by a number of organizational factors, e.g. , size of department, occupational position, etc.
In terms of moderator effects a number of hypotheses may be suggested. For example, with regard to the job satisfaction—workload association, those in an occupational role with either too little to do or a monotonous working routine may actually welcome an increase in workload.
This may be because it reduces boredom by adding to the diversity of the tasks they complete. However, those with an already high workload may see additional work as decreasing their job satisfaction. Occupational role may also affect the relationship between PDM and job satisfaction. Those who are in more senior roles may be used to, and indeed, expect to be allowed to take part in the decision processes. If they are provided with such an opportunity and their input is effective then PDM will be useful.
On the other hand, if it is not effective then PDM will not be seen as useful and may be detrimental to job satisfaction. For staff not used to being involved in the decision process the provision of such an opportunity may be detrimental (Burger, 1999), Therefore, organizational position may also alter the PDM—job satisfaction relationship. In addition to these types of moderation effect, organizational factors in themselves will also have direct main effects on job satisfaction. Demographically, a positive relationship has been found between the age of the worker and satisfaction.
The sex of the employee does not, however, seem to affect satisfaction directly.