Original Research

Exploring relationship between value- and life-orientation and job satisfaction

L. Louw, C. Mayer, J. Baxter
Acta Commercii | Vol 12, No 1 | a131 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ac.v12i1.131 | © 2012 L. Louw, C. Mayer, J. Baxter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 December 2012 | Published: 06 December 2012

About the author(s)

L. Louw, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa
C. Mayer, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa
J. Baxter, Department of Management, Rhodes University, South Africa

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Purpose/objective: The purpose of this article is to investigate the relationship between value- and life-orientation and job satisfaction, as well as determining the influence of gender, age and cultural group within the selected South African organisational context.

Problem investigated: The success of a diverse organisation in a complex globalised world is largely dependent on the values of managers, their life-orientation and their level of job satisfaction. Managers and employees, in a multicultural and diverse South African organisational context, need to be aware of and manage their similarities and differences in these aspects to contribute to overall organisational success.

Design and/or research methodology and/or approach: In this exploratory research, use is made of a quantitative perspective in the positivist research paradigm. Value-orientations of managers (N = 30) at a selected parastatal organisation in the Eastern Cape Province in South Africa were measured by making use of the Schwartz Value Survey (SVS) (Schwartz, 1992,1994); life-orientation, also referred to as Sense of Coherence (SOC), was assessed by using Antonovsky's (1997) Life Orientation Questionnaire as well as job satisfaction (JS) using Smith, Kendall and Hulin's (1969)'s Job Descriptive Index. Data were analysed using the R statistical software package (R Development Core Team, 2010). Each of the three research instruments (SVS, SOC & JS) considered in this study were used to calculate descriptive statistics and univariate statistical methodologies were used to test the various hypotheses.

Findings and/or implementations: In terms of value-orientation, the value of benevolence (preservation and enhancement of the welfare of others) was scored the highest by the managers, and a significant difference was found in the average value scale score of stimulation (excitement, novelty, and challenge in life) and age. The findings with regard to life-orientation indicated that manageability and comprehensibility were more important to managers than meaningfulness. A significant difference was found between meaningfulness and gender. In terms of cultural groups, significant differences between the average African and Indian and White and Indian meaningfulness scale scores were found. With regard to job satisfaction, there was generally a highly satisfied response to co-workers and a moderate satisfaction with work and supervisors. However, respondents were dissatisfied with pay and promotion. Additionally, significant relationships were found between some of the life- and value-orientation scales; the value-orientation and job satisfaction scales; and life-values and job satisfaction scales.

Originality and/or value of research: This paper is based on original research and contributes to a better understanding of the relationship between value- and life-orientation and job satisfaction in a South African organisational context, as well as contributing towards empirical evidence of such relationships. Even though there seems to be a theoretical relationship between value and life-orientation, no empirical evidence to support this assertion has been found, highlighting the importance of this exploratory research. It has also been found that value-orientation is related to job satisfaction, and that life-orientation is related to job satisfaction. However, the theoretical link between life-orientation and job satisfaction has received relatively little research attention in South Africa, and empirical evidence to support this within a South African perspective is required. The findings of this exploratory research will also be of value to the selected organisation, and will provide information that can be used to develop intervention strategies.

Conclusion: Managers in this parastatal highly value socially orientated values, indicating a strong in-group, mutual support and a concern for society, reflecting the vision and nature of the organisation. Referring to life-orientation, a stronger sense of meaningfulness could positively influence organisational meaning and managerial satisfaction. Greater job satisfaction could increase the value of life-orientation for managers. In terms of the relationship between value- and life-orientation, negative and positive linear relationships were found. Negative linear relationships were found between value-orientation and job satisfaction, while a positive linear relationship was found between life-orientation and job satisfaction.


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