Job Satisfaction in Hospitality Industry

Turnover intention The purpose of this study is to investigate the antecedents (i. e. , role ambiguity and con? ct, burnout, socialization, and work autonomy) and consequences (i. e. , affective and continuance commitment, absenteeism, and employee turnover intention) of employee job satisfaction. Data obtained from a sample of 671 respondents drawn from 11 international tourist hotels in Taiwan were analyzed with the LISREL program. According to the results, role con? ict, burnout, socialization, and work autonomy, but not role ambiguity, signi? cantly predicted job satisfaction. In addition, job satisfaction signi? cantly contributed to psychological outcomes in terms of organizational effectiveness (i. . , greater affective and continuance commitment and lower employee turnover intentions). ? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 1. Introduction 1. 1. Background In the competitive and people-oriented business environment characterizing the modern hospitality industry, frontline employee performance represents a crucial component of service. Better employee performance yields greater guest satisfaction and loyalty. Moreover, frontline employees in the hospitality industry seem to be underpaid and to suffer job-related stress (Weatherly and Tansik, 1993; Karatepe and Sokmen, 2006).

An appropriate quality of service includes employee attitudes and behaviors that meet customer expectations. Consequently, employee job satisfaction is a necessary contributor to meeting such expectations (Rust et al. , 1996; Kim et al. , 2005; Karatepe and Sokmen, 2006). The literature on job satisfaction covers an enormous territory with ambiguous boundaries, apparently as a result of the growing interest of academic researchers and managers in three perspectives on this domain. The ? rst views job satisfaction as an antecedent of organizational outcomes, e. g. business performance (Iffaldano and Muchinski, 1985; Schyns and Croon, 2006), employee turnover (Williams and Hazer, 1986; Griffeth et al. , 2000; Lam et al. , 2001a,b; Martin, 2004; Silva, 2006; Schyns and Croon, 2006), and organizational commitment (Chatman, 1989, 1991; Chatman and Barsade, 1995; Harris and Mossholder, 1996; Lowry et al. , 2002; Lam and Zhang, 2003; Martin, 2004; Taris et al. , 2005; Li, 2006; Silva, 2006). The second treats job satisfaction as an outcome of organizational conditions, e. g. , leadership (Williams and Hazer, 1986; Schriesheim et al. 1992; Podsakoff et al. , 1996; Sparks and Schenk, 2001; Schyns and Croon, 2006), social support (Frone, 2000; Liden et al. , 2000; Schirmer and Lopez, 2001; Schyns and Croon, 2006), and task characteristics (Seers and Graen, 1984; Williams and Hazer, 1986; Stepina et al. , 1991; Dodd and Ganster, 1996; Schyns and Croon, 2006). The third examines job satisfaction in terms of the temperament of employees, which is affected by individual traits (Judge et al. , 1998, 2000; Dormann and Zapf, 2001; Judge and Bono, 2001; Schyns and Croon, 2006). 1. 2.

Previous studies of job satisfaction in hospitality Previous studies on the antecedents and consequences of job satisfaction in the hotel industry have examined antecedents in terms of individual, organizational, and job-related factors. Much of the literature regarding individual factors in the hospitality industry has identi? ed salary, bene? ts, and marital status as contributors to employee turnover (Iverson and Deery, 1997; Pizam and Thornburg, 2000). For Chinese managers, job satisfaction was affected by the work environment, the nature of the job itself, and the rewards associated ith the job, but not by manager characteristics (Lam et al. , 2001a,b). Rewards, particularly those related to job security, emerged as an in? uential factor relating to job satisfaction. This study also indicated that high levels of job satisfaction resulted in low levels of turnover intentions among managers. Aziz et al. (2007) studied fast food restaurants and found that satisfaction with ? nancial rewards minimized absenteeism and hence turnover rates. Martin (2004) and Silva (2006) applied a psychological perspective to a sample drawn from the hotel industry, using a correlation analysis to identify signi? ant relationships among job satisfaction, organizational commitment, employee turnover, and personality traits. Carbery et al. (2003) applied a hierarchical regression analysis to a sample of 89 hoteliers and showed that individual affective * Tel. : +886 935 927 138; fax: +886 7 238 3553. E-mail address: jenteyang@Mail. Nkhc. Edu. Tw. 0278-4319/$ – see front matter ? 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10. 1016/j. ijhm. 2009. 11. 002 610 J. -T. Yang / International Journal of Hospitality Management 29 (2010) 609–619 commitment accounted for a signi? ant amount of variance in turnover intentions, that job satisfaction did not explain managers’ levels of commitment to a signi? cant extent, and that job satisfaction and affective, but not continuance, commitment were important factors in predicting the turnover intentions of employees. These ? ndings were also echoed by Iverson and Deery (1997). Second, at the organizational level, organizational support and socialization have been identi? ed as crucial factors in? uencing individual behavior. Cho et al. (2009) empirical study demonstrated that perceived organizational support and commitment negatively in? enced individual intentions to leave, but only the former positively affected intentions to stay. Young and Lundberg (1996) proposed that organizational socialization signi? cantly contributed to newcomers’ job performance, job satisfaction, and organizational commitment and hence to their intentions about leaving the organization. The study indicated that role ambiguity, role con? ict, and job burnout could be minimized by wellorganized orientation and training programs during the early stage of employment, and that this approach would increase the level of job satisfaction.

A similar study also showed that socialization dif? culties negatively affected the organizational culture with respect to employee turnover (Iverson and Deery, 1997). Tepeci and Bartlett’s (2002) empirical study went one step further, implying that organizational socialization resulted in increased job satisfaction and intentions to remain in an organization. Subramaniam et al. (2002) empirically showed direct and positive relationships between variables measuring decentralized structures and organizational commitment among managers.

Lam and Zhang (2003) surveyed 203 employees in the Hong Kong fast-food industry about their jobs. A multiple regression model showed that organizational commitment was correlated with and predicted by variables re? ecting training and development, job characteristics (including the extent to which a job is challenging, the sense of accomplishment associated with the job, the meaningfulness of the work, the friendliness of co-workers, and job security) and compensation and fairness. Job satisfaction was correlated with the ? st two factors. Subramaniam et al. (2002) found a direct and positive relationship between variables measuring managers’ needs for achievement and their organizational commitment to and use of a participatory budgeting process. Lowry et al. (2002), drawing on a sample of 454 employees working in registered clubs in Australia, show that job satisfaction signi? cantly affected organizational commitment and that formal training plans as well as empowerment and ? exible work hours were dominant factors in? uencing job satisfaction.

Iverson and Deery (1997) and Silva (2006) presented empirical results showing that organizational commitment was connected with employee turnover, as mediated by job satisfaction. Kim et al. (2005) re? ned the aforementioned statistical relationship by applying structural equation modeling. Manageable levels of job stress should have a certain number of positive effects on individual and/or organizational behaviors. The most signi? cant empirical studies in this regard were conducted by Faulkner and Patiar (1997) and Iverson and Deery (1997).

Zohar (1994) and Brymer et al. (1991) claimed that stress included three aspects of role con? ict and ambiguity: workload, decision latitude, and psychological stress. Faulkner and Patiar (1997) identi? ed ? ve sources of the job stress suffered by front-of? ce employees: ‘‘coping with of? ce politics, dealing with ambiguous situations, inadequate guidance from superiors, under-promotion, and staff shortages’’ (p. 110). This empirical study implied that these ? ve stressors should be eliminated to stimulate individual adaptive behaviors.

Recent research conducted by Karatepe and Uludag (2007) with employees of Northern Cyprus hotels found that work–family con? ict did not signi? cantly contribute to job satisfaction or intentions to leave an organization. Karatepe et al. (2006a,b) and Kim et al. (2009) found that role con? ict and ambiguity were signi? cantly associated with job satisfaction, given sex as a mediating variable. The study conducted by Kim et al. (2007) implied that job burnout might increase rates of employee turnover. Employee turnover constitutes a critical issue for many hoteliers and academics.

Some hoteliers view turnover as a part of the culture of the hospitality industry as a whole (i. e. , a so-called turnover culture). Hotel operations in Taiwan are also characterized by this sort of culture (Yang, 2008). Recent studies of the hotel industry in Taiwan conducted by Yang (2008) demonstrated that organizational socialization contributed to job satisfaction and commitment and minimized newcomer turnover intention. This study, applying a multiple regression analysis, showed that job satisfaction affected affective commitment and hence in? enced turnover intentions. Yang (2009) indicated that newcomers enjoyed observing and reading job-related information to learn how to perform tasks, implying that organizational socialization and job stress were correlated with job satisfaction. 1. 3. Justi? cation for and contribution of the study Although many empirical studies have focused on issues related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and employee turnover, many unanswered questions about the nature of job satisfaction seem to remain.

One such unanswered question concerns the importance of different job factors, such as role stress and job burnout, in determining satisfaction. This empirical study attempts to explore the relationships among several components of the antecedents and consequences of job satisfaction. The main impetus for conducting this comprehensive and holistic study derived from the need to narrow three theoretical gaps. First, although prior studies have revealed the relationship between antecedents (i. e. , role stress, socialization, and burnout) and consequences (i. e. organizational commitment and employee intentions to leave an organization) and job satisfaction, few studies have investigated the interactive effects of these variables within the context of a more inclusive model. Second, a great deal of the literature in the hospitality and tourism ? eld shows a strong relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment, but few studies have examined this relationship by distinguishing affective from continuance commitment. Third, no empirical evidence about whether absenteeism mediates between organizational commitment and intention to leave has been presented.

This study will contribute to a growing body of research on job satisfaction that illustrates the need to adopt a multi-faceted approach to the study of employee turnover intentions. It will also demonstrate the importance of considering not only the effects of job characteristics on job satisfaction, but also the effects of job satisfaction on organizational commitment, absenteeism, and turnover intention. 1. 4. Purpose of the study The study focuses on interactions among employees in hotels in Taiwan and empirically examines the effectiveness of an integrated understanding of applied psychology that includes organizational socialization.

The purpose of this research is to explore (1) the effect of role stress, burnout, socialization, and work autonomy on job satisfaction; and (2) the situational relationships among job satisfaction, individual commitment to organizations, absenteeism, and employee turnover intentions. 2. Hypotheses development This study aims to recast our perspective on job satisfaction by applying organizational theories pertaining to job stress, burnout, J. -T. Yang / International Journal of Hospitality Management 29 (2010) 609–619 611 socialization, and work autonomy.

These factors contribute to job satisfaction, and hence to organizational effectiveness, in terms of organizational commitment, absenteeism, and employee turnover intentions. 2. 1. Job satisfaction Job satisfaction can be viewed as ‘‘the pleasurable emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job as achieving or facilitating the achievement of one’s job values’’ (Locke, 1969, p. 316). Early comprehensive empirical research conducted by Porter and Steers (1973) and Muchinsky and Tuttle (1979) showed a negative relationship between job satisfaction and employee turnover intentions. Some studies (e. g. , Steers, 1977; Wanous et al. 1984; Lo and Lam, 2002) have found a signi? cant relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Williams and Hazer (1986) demonstrated that job satisfaction could be predicted by pre-employment expectations, perceived job characteristics, leadership considerations, and age. Job satisfaction signi? cantly and positively contributed to the outcomes of organizational commitment, which reduced employees’ intentions to leave and subsequently resulted in decreased turnover. Recent research on the restaurant industry conducted by Lam et al. (2001a,b) reported that the relationship between job satisfaction and job tenure ? a U-shaped model. When people entered an organization and/or job, job satisfaction decreased when job expectations were not met. At times, ‘‘reality shock’’ (Hughes, 1958) occurred. After such an experience, employees adjusted their expectations according to the reality of the job. During the course of this transition, job satisfaction increased when jobrelated expectations were reached. Rayton’s (2006) empirical research revealed that perceived levels of job reutilization and higher levels of work involvement, pay satisfaction, managerial support, and career opportunities were signi? ant determinants of employee job satisfaction. 2. 2. Role stress All employees, from senior managers to frontline personnel, can suffer from job stress (Ross, 1997). Human resources managers face a great challenge in attempting to ameliorate employee job stressors (Ngo et al. , 2005). Ngo et al. (2005) characterized role stressors in terms of role ambiguity, role con? ict, role overload, and work–family con? ict. These stressors can lead to such personal reactions as employee burnout, job dissatisfaction, and intentions to leave an organization.

According to Karatepe and Sokmen (2006), role con? ict refers to situations characterized by incompatible demands in which employees feel obliged to attend to different individuals (e. g. , managers, colleagues, and customers) simultaneously; on the other hand, role ambiguity also refers to the experience of not having (or receiving) the information necessary for pursuing jobrelated tasks in the workplace. Much relevant research (e. g. , Brown and Peterson, 1993; Almer and Kaplan, 2002; Perrewe et al. , 2002; Siu et al. , 2002; Firth et al. , 2004; Ngo et al. 2005; Karatepe and Sokmen, 2006) has empirically con? rmed the association of a variety of work stressors, including role ambiguity and role con? ict, with lower job satisfaction, increased job-associated tension and anxiety, less affective commitment, lower work involvement, and poor job performance (Sohi, 1996; Karatepe and Sokmen, 2006), leading to intentions to resign. Accordingly, the following hypotheses are proposed: Hypothesis 1. Role ambiguity negatively affects job satisfaction. Hypothesis 2. Role con? ict negatively affects job satisfaction. 2. 3. Burnout Gill et al. (2006) de? ed burnout as ‘‘a syndrome or state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion, as well as cynicism towards one’s work in response to chronic organizational stressors’’ (p. 471). Pienaar and Willemse (2008) demonstrated that burnout might be caused by unfair pay systems, imbalance between pay and work-related effort, and lack of organizational support, career advancement, and recognition by superiors. In addition, frontline hospitality employees sometimes encounter dif? cult interactions with demanding customers, and such experiences can also lead to emotional exhaustion and/or psychological burnout. Many empirical studies (e. . , Leiter and Maslach, 1988; Firth and Britton, 1989; Cordes and Dougherty, 1993; Turnipseed, 1994; Wright and Bonett, 1997; Etzion et al. , 1998; Maslach and Goldberg, 1998; Van Dierendonck et al. , 1998; Gillespie et al. , 2001; Hsieh and Chao, 2004; Gill et al. , 2006; Pienaar and Willemse, 2008) have reported that burnout results in additional negative effects on individuals, including reduced satisfaction and lower levels of productivity. Burnout also impacts the organization and management by eliciting employee mistrust and discouraging teamwork. Thus, the following hypothesis is proposed: Hypothesis 3.

Burnout negatively affects job satisfaction. 2. 4. Socialization Louis (1980) de? ned socialization as ‘‘a process by which an individual comes to appreciate the values, abilities, expected behaviors, and social knowledge essential for assuming an organizational role and for participating as an organizational member’’ (pp. 229–230). Socialization aims to alleviate the feeling of emotional vulnerability (e. g. , job uncertainty, ambiguity, anxiety, and stress) by strengthening the social interactions between newcomers and colleagues to accelerate newcomers’ learning and adjustment to a new environment (Kennedy and Berger, 1994).