Original Research

How do small business managers influence employee satisfaction and commitment?

Janine Kruger, Chantal Rootman
Acta Commercii | Vol 10, No 1 | a114 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v10i1.114 | © 2010 Janine Kruger, Chantal Rootman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2010 | Published: 06 December 2010

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Janine Kruger, Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Chantal Rootman, Department of Business Management, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa

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Abstract

Purpose : The purpose of this research is to scrutinise motivational factors that may influence the levels of satisfaction and commitment of small business employees. Problem investigated : An unmotivated workforce leads to dissatisfaction and low commitment levels among employees. Possible consequences of these unproductive trends include higher costs, business closures and a negative effect on a country's economy. Employee satisfaction and employee commitment are thus vital for the success of any business. It is essential for business managers to keep their employees satisfied and committed to the business. In order for business managers to motivate their employees to keep them satisfied and committed, they need to know how to motivate employees. A number of factors influence employee satisfaction and employee commitment, which include working conditions, managerial abilities, employee participation, company policies, recognition and feedback, as well as job interest and job importance. Managers should know how to apply each of these factors to ensure that employees are satisfied and committed. Methodology : A quantitative research approach was followed using a self-administered questionnaire. This measuring instrument consisted of three sections covering the biographical information of respondents, statements on motivational factors, and statements about satisfaction and commitment. A five-point Likert-type scale, ranging from strongly disagree to strongly agree, was applied. Simple random sampling was used to elicit the responses of 444 respondents from small businesses in the Nelson Mandela Metropole in South Africa. Cronbach Alpha coefficients were calculated to measure the internal consistency and reliability of the measuring instrument. Descriptive statistics, Pearson correlation coefficients and simple linear regression analyses were used to analyse the data. Findings and implications : The research revealed that significant positive relationships exist between all the motivational factors and satisfaction, as well as with commitment. The strongest positive relationships exist between the independent variable job interest and importance and both the dependent variables. The weakest relationships exist between the independent variable rewards and both the dependent variables. Levels of satisfaction and commitment should continually be developed and improved through management training about the application of motivational factors. Small businesses should implement the motivational factors discussed in this research in creative ways, in order to have a positive effect on the satisfaction and commitment levels of employees.
Originality and value of the research : This research focused on what small business managers should concentrate on when motivating their employees. Small business managers should also realise that motivation cannot be separated from employee satisfaction and commitment. The value of the research is that when small business managers pay more attention to these factors as identified in this study, it may lead to better business performance in the long run. With regard to the originality of this research, previous research has focused mainly on motivational theories without reaching a conclusion or highlighting possible strategies that could be used by small businesses to motivate employees.

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