The purpose of this paper is to examine the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Core Self-Evaluations Scale (CSES) and the Brief Index of Affective Job Satisfaction (BIAJS) in terms of internal consistency and factor structure and to, subsequently, analyze the influence of a set of dispositional factors (namely, core self-evaluations, CSEs) and situational factors (namely, psychosocial factors) on job satisfaction.
In total, 209 academics from an Argentinian university completed online surveys at two stages, separated in time, to reduce the common method bias.
The Spanish version of the CSES and the BIAJS showed acceptable psychometric properties, which were similar to those previously reported in North-American, European and Asian settings. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that both situational and dispositional factors are significant predictors of job satisfaction.
The CSES and the BIAJS seem to be valid and reliable instruments for assessing CSEs and job satisfaction, respectively, in Latin America. The adoption of an interactionist approach that includes both situational and dispositional factors is crucial in future research examining job satisfaction.
Managers should carefully evaluate the personality traits of candidates during personnel selection, as well as the working conditions they offer to their employees, since both factors seem to affect job satisfaction.
This paper contributes to the validation of two scales that may promote future organizational behavior/psychology research in Latin America. In addition, it provides empirical evidence on the relative influence of a set of situational and dispositional factors on job satisfaction, thus contributing to the resolution of the person-situation debate.
El objetivo de este estudio es examinar las propiedades psicométricas de las versiones en español de la Escala de Autoevaluaciones Esenciales (CSES) y el Índice Breve de Satisfacción Laboral Afectiva (BIAJS) en cuanto a su consistencia interna y estructura factorial y, posteriormente, analizar la influencia relativa de ciertos factores disposicionales (autoevaluaciones esenciales) y situacionales (factores psicosociales) sobre la satisfacción laboral.
209 académicos de una universidad argentina completaron cuestionarios en dos etapas, separadas en el tiempo, para reducir la varianza por uso de método común.
Las versiones en español de la CSES y el BIAJS poseen propiedades psicométricas similares a las reportadas previamente en contextos no hispano-parlantes. Los análisis de regresiones múltiples jerárquicas revelan que tanto los factores situacionales como los disposicionales constituyen predictores significativos de la satisfacción laboral.
Implicancias para la investigación
La CSES y el BIAJS parecen ser instrumentos válidos y confiables para medir las autoevaluaciones esenciales y la satisfacción laboral en el ámbito latinoamericano. La inclusión simultánea tanto de factores situacionales como disposicionales resulta esencial en futuras investigaciones que examinen la satisfacción laboral.
Implicancias para la práctica
Los directivos deberían evaluar cuidadosamente los rasgos de personalidad de los candidatos en los procesos de selección de personal, así como también las condiciones laborales tendientes a reducir los riesgos psicosociales, ya que ambos factores condicionan la satisfacción laboral.
Este artículo contribuye a la validación, en el ámbito latinoamericano, de dos escalas de gran utilidad para la Psicología Laboral y el Comportamiento Organizacional. Además, aporta evidencia empírica sobre la influencia relativa de un conjunto comprehensivo de factores situacionales y disposicionales sobre la satisfacción laboral, contribuyendo a la resolución del controversial debate individuo-situación.
Pujol-Cols, L. and Dabos, G.E. (2020), "Dispositional and situational factors at work: A validation of scales and examination of effects on job satisfaction", Academia Revista Latinoamericana de Administración, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 49-70. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARLA-12-2017-0355
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Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited
Job satisfaction is one of the most studied phenomena of the twentieth century, particularly in organizational behavior/psychology research. In fact, as Judge et al. (2017) pointed out in their recent review, job satisfaction has been mentioned in more than 70 percent of the articles included in the PsycINFO database, remaining one of the most frequently featured keywords in the Journal of Applied Psychology. This sustained interest in job satisfaction partly reflects the managerial and scholarly concerns to improve organizational effectiveness, given the abundant evidence linking job satisfaction with several attitudes and outcomes, such as absenteeism, turnover, organizational citizenship, organizational commitment and performance (e.g. Diestel et al., 2014; Flickinger et al., 2016; Tziner et al., 2008; Ziegler et al., 2012). However, there is also an ethical impetus to improve job satisfaction, as it has been found to be significantly associated with individuals’ psychological and physical well-being (e.g. Grant et al., 2009; Tsaousis et al., 2007).
Job satisfaction has been defined in a variety of ways in the literature, resulting, for instance, in contradictory arguments as to whether this complex construct involves emotional processes, cognitive processes or both (see Pujol-Cols and Dabos, 2018, for a review). Thus, although some authors like Weiss (2002) have defined job satisfaction as a positive or negative evaluative judgement that the individual formulates about the different facets of a job (i.e. cognitive job satisfaction), in this paper we follow Fisher (2000)’s argument that job satisfaction represents an individual’s affective or emotional response towards his job as a whole (i.e. affective job satisfaction).
For over three decades, theories attempting to trace the antecedents of job satisfaction have generated a great deal of controversy (Judge and Zapata, 2015). Indeed, there is still little agreement on whether the person or the situation is more influential in predicting individuals’ job satisfaction (see the concept of person-situation debate in Kenrick and Funder, 1988). On the one hand, situational research has mostly focused on the influence that organizational variables exert on employees’ attitudes and behaviors (Dierdorff and Morgeson, 2013). From this perspective, job design, that is to say, the way work is structured, perceived, experienced and performed (Grant et al., 2011), affects job satisfaction (Bowling et al., 2015), as it exposes individuals to varying degrees of psychosocial risks, which, if not successfully managed, may lead to the experience of strain (Unda et al., 2016). As psychosocial risks, these work-related factors either by excess, defect or combination pose a threat to the physical, social, or psychological integrity of employees (Meliá et al., 2006). It is worth noting that psychosocial risks and their effects on job satisfaction have received a great deal of attention in situational research, mainly as a result of the profound transformations that have affected employment relationships in recent years. Specifically, the so-called Copsoq-Istas model, developed by the Spanish Trade Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health (Moncada et al., 2004), has become one of the most widely used taxonomies of psychosocial risks, mainly as a result of its exhaustiveness and parsimony (Pujol-Cols and Arraigada, 2017; Pujol-Cols and Lazzaro-Salazar, 2018).
On the other hand, dispositional research has mainly focused on the role that personality plays on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors in the workplace. More specifically, dispositionalism claims that individuals have a set of relatively stable, unobservable mental states (which are linked to their personality traits) that affect the job satisfaction they are likely to experience across a wide variety of organizational settings (Judge, Klinger, Simon and Yang, 2008; Ones et al., 2007). Indeed, dispositional literature argues that individuals tend to be consistent in their attitudes towards their job even in the presence of different organizational conditions (Barrick, 2005). Although several personality taxonomies have been proposed so far in the literature (e.g. positive/negative affectivity, Brief et al., 1995; big five personality traits, Goldberg, 1990), a more recent construct, called core self-evaluations (CSEs) (Judge et al., 1997), has also proven to significantly explain job satisfaction in numerous studies (e.g. Judge, Heller, and Klinger, 2008; Judge et al., 2012; Wu and Griffin, 2012). Specifically, CSEs refer to a set of essential and unconscious assessments that individuals make about themselves, others and their environment (Judge et al., 2003).
Since the beginning of the person-situation debate, both dispositional and situational approaches have demonstrated the merit of their arguments (Judge and Zapata, 2015), suggesting that each theoretical perspective is relevant and, therefore, should be considered in studies addressing job satisfaction (Cohrs et al., 2006). However, to date, interactionist studies on job satisfaction are still very limited, as most of them have mainly focused on examining the effects of one set of factors in isolation (see Lent and Brown, 2006; Pujol-Cols and Dabos, 2018 for a detailed review). Moreover, most of this research has concentrated on a relatively narrow set of work factors, which were mainly intrinsic in nature (e.g. Hackman and Oldham, 1976), thus ignoring, to a considerable extent, the influence of other extrinsic work factors that are also relevant to explain job satisfaction (Humphrey et al., 2007). As Staw and Cohen‐Charash (2005) argued, the adoption of an interactionist perspective, that contemplates a more comprehensive set of situational and dispositional factors, is not only vital to better understand job satisfaction, but also to overcome various methodological problems like model misspecification, which occurs when models ignore the influence of relevant predictors. This last point is not trivial, as model misspecification may lead to overestimating the effects of explanatory variables, thus leading to misinterpretations regarding their magnitude and significance (see Bernerth and Aguinis, 2016). In this sense, Staw and Cohen‐Charash (2005) suggested that one way of solving the person-situation debate is to design competitive tests that evaluate and compare the magnitude and significance of the effects of both sets of factors on job satisfaction.
Thus, with the aim of advancing our understanding of the factors that lead to job satisfaction, this paper examines, on the one hand, the psychometric properties of the Spanish version of the Core Self-Evaluations Scale (CSES) (Judge et al., 2003) and the Brief Index of Affective Job Satisfaction (BIAJS) (Thompson and Phua, 2012) for the first time in Latin America, and, on the other hand, the relative influence of a set of situational and dispositional factors on job satisfaction.
Theoretical backgrowd and hypothesis development
The dispositional approach
Personality, that is to say, those personal characteristics of individuals that determine consistent ways of feeling, thinking and behaving (Mayer, 2007; Pervin et al., 2005), has been given considerable attention in the job satisfaction literature, particularly in the last two decades (Judge, Klinger, Simon and Yang, 2008; Ones et al., 2007). From a dispositional perspective, individuals possess a set of unobservable mental states, called dispositions, that are relatively stable over time (Caspi et al., 2005; Dormann et al., 2006) as they have strong genetic (Johnson et al., 2009; Judge et al., 2012) and neuropsychological bases (Pickering and Gray, 1999), that affect their attitudes and behaviors at work (Judge, Klinger, Simon and Yang, 2008). In particular, CSEs, understood as a set of basic, essential and unconscious conclusions that individuals make about their own worthiness, competence and capabilities (Judge et al., 2003), is the most novel personality taxonomy that has proven to significantly explain job satisfaction (Wu and Griffin, 2012).
As a broad, latent and higher order construct, CSEs reflect four personality traits that are well established in psychology research (see Judge et al., 1998). First, there is self-esteem, understood as an overall measure of value that the individual formulates about himself/herself as a person (Harter, 1990). Second, there is self-efficacy, which represents the degree of confidence that individuals have about their competence to perform tasks effectively and attain goals successfully (Bandura, 1997). Third, there is internal locus of control, which reflects the extent to which individuals believe that most of the events that occur in their lives are the result of their own behavior (Rotter, 1966). By feeling that most of these events are under their control, these individuals are also more likely to associate positive events with their own merits and efforts. Finally, emotional stability (or low neuroticism) represents individuals’ tendency to focus on the more positive aspects of themselves, others and their lives (Costa and McCrae, 1988). In this sense, emotionally stable individuals tend to focus on their success, rather than on their failures, as well as on the most favorable aspects of their job.
Numerous studies have reported high correlations (e.g. Judge et al., 2002) and a unidimensional structure (e.g. Judge et al., 2000) underlying the four traits of CSEs. These findings motivated Judge et al. (2003) to develop the CSES, which was specifically designed to examine CSEs as a global phenomenon through 12 items. It is worth noting that the CSES has not only been drawn on an extensive literature review (see Judge et al., 1997, 1998), which is a fundamental indicator of content validity, but has also exhibited satisfactory psychometric properties in several studies (see Pujol-Cols and Dabos, 2018, for a detailed review).
From Judge et al. (1997)’s seminal contributions to this day, CSEs have been studied in a variety of organizational settings and countries (e.g. Stumpp et al., 2010; Dormann et al., 2006; Piccolo et al., 2005; Rode et al., 2012), which has provided evidence of the universality of the construct and the cross-cultural generalizability of its effects on job satisfaction. Despite the interest that the international literature has shown in this line of research, it was not possible to find any previous study that examined the relationship between CSEs and job satisfaction in Latin America. However, the international literature has shown at least three mechanisms through which CSEs are expected to affect job satisfaction. First, individuals with more positive CSEs tend to focus on the more positive aspects of their job, to perceive them in a more favorable way and to react more positively to them, thus experiencing higher job satisfaction (Judge et al., 1998; Cohrs et al., 2006). Second, people with more positive CSEs tend to select more complex and challenging jobs, which affects the kind of experiences they are likely to have in the workplace and, consequently, their job satisfaction (Kristof‐Brown et al., 2005; Sunal et al., 2011; Srivastava et al., 2010). Finally, individuals with higher CSEs tend to perceive the characteristics of their job as less stressful and to experience less strain than those with more negative CSEs (Spector et al., 2000), which is expected to lead to higher levels of job satisfaction (Hsieh and Huang, 2017; Kammeyer-Mueller et al., 2009). Based on the evidence presented in this section, it follows that:
CSEs will be positively and significantly related to job satisfaction.
The situational approach
Situationalism, which originated in the years after the Second World War, argues that organizations represent strong situations (Meyer et al., 2010), as they exert a powerful influence on the behavior and attitudes of employees (Humphrey et al., 2007; Morgeson and Humphrey, 2006). From this perspective, job design, that is to say, the set of processes and results underlying the organization, experimentation and performance of work (Grant et al., 2011), prescribes and/or stimulates the emergence of a set of psychosocial factors, which affect the job satisfaction of employees by exposing them to varying degrees of psychosocial risks. As stated by Meliá et al. (2006), these psychosocial risks either by excess, defect or combination, pose a threat to the physical, social or psychological integrity of individuals. The Copsoq-ISTAS model, developed by the Spanish Trade Union Institute of Work, Environment and Health (ISTAS; Moncada et al., 2004), is one of the most widespread taxonomies of psychosocial risks in the Ibero-American literature. In the 1.5 version of this model, Moncada et al. (2004) proposed six work-related factors that often pose risks to the physical and psychological health of employees.
The first factor, named psychological demands, reflects the volume and intensity of workload (i.e. quantitative psychological demands), as well as those aspects of the job that require a sustained emotional effort (i.e. emotional psychological demands). Regarding quantitative demands, there is evidence that work overload tends to lead to the experience of distress and, as a result, to job dissatisfaction (Klassen and Chiu, 2010). On the other hand, those occupations involving high emotional demands tend to lead to emotional dissonance (i.e. the conflict between expressed and genuinely felt emotions) and, consequently, to lower levels of job satisfaction (Lewig and Dollard, 2003).
The second factor, called work control, reflects the extent to which the job gives the employee opportunities for autonomy and development. The positive effects of autonomy on job satisfaction have been recognized for decades in the management literature (e.g. Ferguson and Cheek, 2011; Humphrey et al., 2007; Morgeson and Humphrey, 2006). Indeed, and drawing on the principles of the self-determination theory, autonomy constitutes a universal psychological need that nourishes the intrinsic motivation of individuals (Gagné and Deci, 2005), which leads them to experience more positive states, such as job satisfaction (Humphrey et al., 2007). Conversely, insufficient levels of autonomy are expected to be associated with reductions in individuals’ intrinsic motivation and job satisfaction (Skaalvik and Skaalvik, 2014).
The third factor, named social support and leadership, refers to the extent to which the individual feels instrumentally and emotionally supported by their superiors and peers. In this regard, there is considerable evidence on the vital role that social support assumes in the job satisfaction and well-being of employees (Häusser et al., 2010), particularly in the face of highly stressful working conditions (Wrzesniewski et al., 2003), as it is expected to mitigate the psychosocial impact of job demands (Kinman et al., 2011). Since social support is not only essential for effective performance (Collins, 2007), but also highly instrumental for fulfilling various emotional (e.g. emotional venting; Carver et al., 1989) and social needs (e.g. sense of belonging; Heaney and Israel, 2008), it is expected that those employees who perceive lower levels of this job resource tend to experience more negative states, such as reductions in their job satisfaction (Harris et al., 2007).
Double presence is the fourth factor of the model and reflects the degree to which the individual experiences incompatible demands between work and family roles, which causes participation in both roles to become more difficult. Increasing levels of competition among organizations worldwide have forced their employees to work under highly demanding conditions (Salanova et al., 2005), which has reduced, therefore, their ability to cope with family demands while also leading a successful career path (Goh et al., 2015). Indeed, work overload increases the likelihood of work-family conflict, as the role pressures coming from both domains tend to become mutually incompatible (Greenhaus and Allen, 2011). In this regard, previous research has demonstrated that work-family conflict is associated with reductions in employees’ job satisfaction (Ilies et al., 2007).
The fifth factor, named job insecurity, represents the employee’s prolonged concern about the continuity of his/her current working conditions. In this regard, there is considerable evidence that job insecurity is a fundamental antecedent of job dissatisfaction (Reisel et al., 2010), especially among part-time employees (Waltman et al., 2012). Thus, since working is highly instrumental for fulfilling a wide range of basic and superior needs (Weir, 2013), perceptions of higher job insecurity are expected to be associated with increasing experienced distress (Mauno et al., 2001) and, consequently, with lower job satisfaction levels (Sverke et al., 2002).
The sixth and last factor of the model, named esteem, refers to the extent to which the employee feels that the rewards and recognition they receive are fair in regards to the contributions they make. In this regard, numerous studies have long demonstrated that a perceived lack of reciprocity between efforts and rewards is a fundamental source of distress (Siegrist, 1996). Moreover, subsequent meta-analytic studies have revealed that the degree to which participants feel that rewards such as pay, recognition and career opportunities are fairly distributed in the organization (i.e. distributive justice) plays an essential role in their job satisfaction levels (Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001). In a similar vein, Gillespie et al. (2001) reported that a perceived imbalance between effort and rewards constitutes one of the greatest sources of occupational distress and job dissatisfaction. Based on the ideas presented in this section, we hypothesize that:
Those psychosocial factors representing job resources (i.e. autonomy, esteem, social support and quality of leadership) will be positively and significantly related to job satisfaction, whereas those representing job demands (i.e. psychological demands, double presence, job insecurity) will be negatively and significantly related to job satisfaction.
The interactionist approach
As argued by Funder et al. (2012), the person-situation debate builds on the false assumption that persons and situations are two competing domains, thus claiming that individuals’ attitudes and behavior are, in fact, the result of the influence of both factors. In this sense, individuals are shaped by the characteristics of job design but they also maintain their individuality. Despite the fact that the arguments supporting interactionism have increased substantially in recent years (Judge and Zapata, 2015), empirical studies examining the joint effects of both personality and situational factors on job satisfaction have not only been limited (Cohrs et al., 2006; Funder et al., 2012; Lent and Brown, 2006) but also inconsistent (Chang et al., 2012; Hsieh and Huang, 2017). To provide an example, Dormann et al. (2006) reported that 62 percent of the variance in job satisfaction is explained by situational variables, whereas only 24.25 percent seems to be explained by a more stable set of factors, like dispositions. Conversely, Thomas et al. (2004) reported that none of the traits included in the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (Myers et al., 1998) were significant predictors of job satisfaction, once a set of intrinsic work characteristics (i.e. autonomy, variety) was entered in the hierarchical regressions. Moreover, a study conducted by Cohrs et al. (2006) revealed that only two situational variables, namely autonomy and participatory leadership, and one dispositional variable, namely occupational self-efficacy, significantly explained job satisfaction once all the variables included in the study were taken into consideration. More recently, Nguyen and Borteyrou (2016) reported that dispositions explained incremental variance in job satisfaction once situational variables such as job demands and autonomy were controlled.
There are several reasons that could explain the inconsistencies discussed above. First, the majority of interactionist studies have favored, more or less subtly, one set of factors over the other (Haney and Zimbardo, 2009). Second, most of interactionist research has avoided examining the relative influence of both dispositional and situational variables on job satisfaction by conducting competitive tests (Staw and Cohen‐Charash, 2005). Third, interactionist studies have mostly analyzed the effects of intrinsic situational factors (i.e. task characteristics), thus ignoring, to a considerable extent, the effects of extrinsic work factors (i.e. those relating to the physical, social and organizational context in which tasks are performed) that have also proven to explain job satisfaction (Humphrey et al., 2007; Hogan, 2009). Fourth, some of these studies have relied on ad hoc scales to assess situational work factors, instead of using generic taxonomies that allow researchers to compare findings across various organizational contexts, occupations and countries (Buss, 2009). In spite of the aforementioned limitations, and drawing on the evidence presented so far, we propose that:
Both dispositional and situational factors will explain incremental variance in job satisfaction.
In total, 209 academics from an Argentinian public university participated in this study. The age of the participants ranged from 23 to 70 years, with an average (standard deviation in parentheses) of 44.40 (11.76). The majority of the participants (69.86 percent) were women. Regarding the participants’ positions, 36.36 percent were professors, 19.62 percent were senior tutors and 44.02 percent were tutors. Moreover, 24.88 percent of the respondents had a full-time contract. Participants’ overall tenure ranged from 1 to 45 years, with an average of 17.49 (10.51). Their tenure in the current position ranged from 1 to 30, with an average of 8.66 (8.41). In regards to the participants’ level of education, 69.38 percent had an undergraduate degree, 19 percent had a Master’s degree and 12 percent had a PhD.
Following approval of the study from the highest academic authorities of the university, an online survey was sent to 414 academics through an online link to a Google Drive™ form that was provided by e-mail. The survey included a description of the aims of the study and an online consent form. It also included an e-mail address in case participants had any concern, query or suggestion. Access to the digital survey was only granted to those academics who had authorized their participation by accepting the consent form. Although invitations were sent from an institutional e-mail address, participants were reminded that responses to the survey were confidential (see Declaration of Helsinki, 1964 and Declaration of Singapore, 2010). Following the procedure in Judge et al. (2005) to reduce the common method bias, data were collected in two stages. First, the participants were invited to answer a questionnaire on CSEs. Second, and two weeks later, they were invited to answer a survey on job satisfaction and psychosocial risks. A total of 209 individuals completed both surveys over a five-month period (response rate=50.48 percent).
Variables and instruments
CSEs were examined with the CSES (Judge et al., 2003). It consisted of 12 items (see the Appendix) and a five-point Likert scale (1=totally disagree, 5=totally agree). The individual scores of the twelve items were averaged to form a single CSE score.
Job satisfaction was measured with the BIAJS (Thompson and Phua, 2012). It consisted of four items (see the Appendix) and a five-point Likert scale (1=totally disagree, 5=totally agree). The individual scores of the four items were averaged to form a single overall job satisfaction score.
Psychosocial factors were examined with the reduced version of the Copsoq-Istas Psychosocial Risk Questionnaire (Moncada et al., 2004; also see Pujol-Cols and Arraigada, 2017). It consisted of 38 items with a response scale ranging from 0 (never/ to a very small extent) to 4 (always/ to a very great extent). It is worth noting that this instrument has been specifically designed to measure employees’ perceived exposure to six major categories of psychosocial risks, namely, psychological demands (six items), work control (ten items), social support and leadership (ten items), double presence (four items), esteem (four items) and job insecurity (four items). The total score for each factor was calculated by averaging the scores of their respective items.
Translation of scales
In order to use the CSES and the BIAJS in the Argentinian context, we translated both instruments from English into Spanish by following a simplified version of the procedure in Hambleton et al. (2006). Thus, and taking into consideration that the translated items should capture the linguistic meaning of those included in the original survey (Muñiz et al., 2013), we asked for the assistance of a professional translator who had postdoctoral training in Linguistics, was native in both Spanish and English, and had numerous publications on interculturality (see Acknowledgments section). Both the authors and the bilingual advisor separately translated and back-translated (see Brislin, 1980) the instruments from English (e.g. “I am confident I get the success I deserve in life”) into Spanish (e.g. “Me siento confiado en que obtengo el éxito que merezco en la vida”). These three independent translations and back translations were then compared and differences were solved through mutual agreement. Instead of pretending a literal translation, we intended that the translated items maintained the meaning of those included in the original surveys (i.e. cultural and linguistic equivalence; see Behling and Law, 2000; Muñiz et al., 2013). The Spanish version of both scales is available to the reader in the Appendix.
We analyzed the reliability of the CSES and the BIAJS in terms of internal consistency by calculating Cronbach’s α coefficient. In regards to the factor structure of both scales, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) in two stages. First, we verified that our data was appropriate for using CFA (Hair et al., 1995) by calculating the Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin measure of sample adequacy (KMO) and Bartlett’s sphericity test. Second, we examined the dimensionality of the CSES and the BIAJS through a CFA with structural equations using a maximum likelihood estimation method (Brown, 2006). The data were processed in IBM SPSS AMOS (version 22).
To analyze the relative influence of situational factors (i.e. psychosocial factors) and dispositional factors (i.e. CSEs) on job satisfaction, we conducted hierarchical regression analyses following Aiken et al. (1991). We first verified that our data were appropriate for performing regression analysis, by testing the assumptions of normality (Shapiro–Wilk test), homoscedasticity (Breusch–Pagan test) and non-multicollinearity (Variance Inflation Factor, VIF). Additionally, we tested for common method bias by calculating Harman’s one-factor test. The data were processed in IBM SPSS (version 24).
Descriptive analysis and psychometric properties
Means, standard deviations and correlations among the variables of study are reported in Table I. As can be seen, CSEs exhibited a positive and statistically significant relationship with job satisfaction, indicating that higher CSEs were associated with higher levels of job satisfaction. In addition, CSEs displayed positive correlations with those psychosocial factors representing job resources (i.e. work control, social support and leadership, and esteem) and negative correlations with those factors representing job demands (i.e. psychological demands, double presence, and job insecurity), indicating that those individuals with more positive CSEs tended to perceive a lower level of exposure to psychosocial risks. On the other hand, those psychosocial factors representing job resources exhibited positive and statistically significant correlations with job satisfaction. The opposite relationship was observed for those factors representing job demands.
As shown on the main diagonal of Table I, the Spanish version of the CSES exhibited a satisfactory internal consistency (α=0.80; see Nunnally and Bernstein, 1994), which was similar to that reported in previous research conducted in other countries (e.g. Judge et al., 2003; Stumpp et al., 2010). Regarding the factor structure of the CSES, previous studies (e.g. Judge et al., 2003) have shown that its 12 items should reflect one single latent factor. In order to test the unidimensionality of the CSES, we performed a CFA with structural equations in AMOS (version 22). We followed Byrne (2001)’s recommendations to report and compare different fit indices, such as the chi-square statistic (χ2), the comparative fit index (CFI), the goodness of fit index (GFI) and the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). CFI and GFI values above 0.90 and RMSEA values as high as 0.08 indicate a good fit (Byrne, 2001). The results revealed that the unidimensional model provided an acceptable fit to the data (χ2=112.81, df=54, p<0.01, χ2/df=2.09, CFI=0.88, GFI=0.92, RMSEA=0.07). In addition, these findings were consistent with those reported in Judge et al. (2003)’s validation study (CFI values between 0.87 and 0.95, GFI values between 0.88 and 0.94. and RMSEA values between 0.05 and 0.08). In regards to the Spanish version of BIAJS, the results demonstrated that this instrument also showed a satisfactory internal consistency (α=0.83), which was similar to that reported by Thompson and Phua (2012) for the original scale (α=0.85). Regarding its factor structure, since affective job satisfaction is a unidimensional construct that reflects an employee’s emotional response towards the job as a whole (Fisher, 2000), we hypothesized that the four items of the BIAJS would load into a single latent factor. Consistently with previous research in Anglo-Saxon settings, the results of the CFA revealed that the unidimensional model provided a satisfactory fit to the data (χ2=12.11, df=2, p<0.01, CFI=0.97, GFI=0.97, RFI=0.90, TLI=0.91).
Common method bias
Since perceived exposure to the six psychosocial factors and job satisfaction were measured at the same time, which could cause common method bias, we conducted Harman’s one-factor test, by simultaneously entering these variables into an exploratory factor analysis. The results revealed that the single factor only accounted for 26.01 percent of the total variance, which is lower than the critical level suggested by Podsakoff et al. (2003). These findings indicated that the results of this study were not significantly affected by the common method bias.
Effects of dispositional and situational factors on job satisfaction
To compare the relative influence of dispositional and situational factors on job satisfaction, we performed a series of hierarchical regression analyses. As a preliminary step, we verified that the data complied with the assumptions of normality, homoscedasticity and non-multicollinearity (see Table II).
Following Aiken et al. (1991), we conducted the hierarchical regression analyses in three stages. In model 1, we only computed the control variables. In model 2, we entered the dispositional factors (i.e. CSE) along with the control variables, reflecting a dispositional perspective. In model 3, we computed the situational factors (i.e. psychological demands, work control, social support and leadership, double presence, esteem and job insecurity) along with the control variables, thus adopting a purely situational perspective. Finally, in model 4, we computed the dispositional and situational factors simultaneously, reflecting an interactionist perspective (see Table II).
Only those variables that showed statistically significant correlations with job satisfaction were introduced as control variables in model 1 (see Table I), being these: age, gender (base group=women) and hierarchy (base group=participants without a professorship). As shown in Table II, gender was the only control variable that was statistically significant, meaning that men were, on average, less satisfied with their job than women.
In model 2 (which accounted for 21 percent of the variance in job satisfaction, see R2 coefficient in Table II), we introduced CSEs along with the control variables (reflecting a dispositional perspective). The results revealed that the dispositional factor explained an additional 14 percent (see the variations in the adjusted R2 coefficient in Table II) in the variability of job satisfaction (i.e. CSEs had a positive effect on satisfaction even after the control variables were taken into consideration), thus supporting H1. In model 3 (which accounted for 30 percent of the variance in job satisfaction, see the R2 coefficient in Table II), we entered the six psychosocial factors along with the control variables (reflecting a situational perspective). The results revealed that the situational factors explained an additional 21 percent in the variability of job satisfaction (see the variations in the adjusted R2 coefficient in Table II), thus providing partial support to H2.
In model 4 (which accounted for 34 percent of the variance in job satisfaction, see the R2 coefficient in Table II), we entered both CSEs and psychosocial factors simultaneously into the regressions to examine their partial effects on job satisfaction (which reflects an interactionist perspective). As shown in Table II, CSEs remained statistically significant, even after the situational factors and control variables were introduced in the regressions, supporting H3. Regarding the psychosocial factors, only two of them (i.e. work control and esteem) were statistically significant, which partially supported H3. Moreover, as shown in Table II, the explained variance in job satisfaction significantly increased when both dispositional and situational factors were taken into account (adjusted R2=0.31, p<0.01; Δ adjusted R2 model 2–model 4=0.12, p<0.01; Δ adjusted R2 model 3–model 4=0.05, p <0.01), which provided empirical support to the importance of using an interactionist approach when addressing job satisfaction.
To examine whether the results of model 4 could vary across age groups, we split our sample in two independent groups (i.e. participants younger or older than 40 years; see Table III). The results were quite similar across groups, although esteem remained statistically significant only in group 1. Furthermore, the effects of CSEs on job satisfaction were found to be weaker in group 1 than in group 2.
Discussion and conclusions
Although over 30 years have passed since the person-situation debate was first introduced in the literature, the controversy between dispositionalism and situationalism seems to be far from ending (Judge and Zapata, 2015). On the one hand, situational literature has argued that most of dispositional research has not adequately controlled for important situational factors that are likely to affect job attitudes (Davis-Blake and Pfeffer, 1989; Funder et al., 2012), claiming that, under strong organizational situations, the effects of personality on job satisfaction are expected to become insignificant (Cooper and Withey, 2009). On the other hand, situational research has been criticized for being excessively focused on the intrinsic aspects of the job (Humphrey et al., 2007), using arbitrary taxonomies and ad hoc scales (Buss, 2009; Reis, 2008), and avoiding the treatment of personality in their models (Staw and Cohen‐Charash, 2005). This paper, then, extended the existing literature by analyzing and comparing the relative influence of a set of dispositional and situational factors on job satisfaction. Situational factors were examined through a set of psychosocial factors that reflected both intrinsic and extrinsic aspects of the job (i.e. psychological demands, work control, social support and leadership, double presence, esteem and job insecurity). Dispositional factors were measured through CSEs, a personality taxonomy that has attracted considerable attention in organizational psychology research in recent years (Judge, Klinger, Simon and Yang, 2008).
In the first place, the results of this study showed that CSEs remained statistically significant across all models, even after the situational factors and control variables were entered into the regressions. These findings provided support to H1 and H3 and were consistent with previous research reporting the existence of a dispositional source of job satisfaction (e.g. Stumpp et al., 2010; Dormann et al., 2006; Wu and Griffin, 2012). There are numerous reasons why CSEs are expected to be positively and significantly related to job satisfaction. As argued by Judge et al. (1998) “core self-evaluations are the base on which situationally specific appraisals occur” (pp. 31), which means that those individuals with more positive CSEs are more likely to see and evaluate the different domains of their lives, including their job, more positively. Indeed, these individuals are more prone to experience job satisfaction as they: have higher self-esteem and, consequently, see themselves as deserving greater happiness; are more self-efficacious, thus being more confident in their abilities to overcome the most challenging and difficult aspects of their job; have an internal locus of control and, as a result, tend to associate the more positive outcomes of their job with their own merits and efforts; have higher emotional stability, thus being less likely to focus on their shortcomings, as well as on the more negative aspects of their job (Srivastava et al., 2010).
The findings of this study also showed that work control and esteem were the only significant situational predictors of job satisfaction, with the first exhibiting the strongest partial effect. Although autonomy and esteem have already been suggested as relevant predictors of job satisfaction in numerous studies conducted from a mainly situational approach (e.g. Dierdorff and Morgeson, 2013; Edwards et al., 2000; Morgeson and Humphrey, 2006), the present study demonstrated that both variables explain incremental variance in job satisfaction, above and beyond dispositional and control variables, which provided partial support to H2 and H3. Thus, when employees feel they can exert more influence on their job or that the rewards they receive are fair in regards to the contributions they make, they are more likely to experience higher job satisfaction, as they become more intrinsically motivated and work engaged (Gagné and Deci, 2005; Humphrey et al., 2007; Cohen-Charash and Spector, 2001; Harris et al., 2007).
We cannot help but wonder why double presence and psychological demands, which showed the highest prevalence in the sample of this study, were not significant predictors of job satisfaction. These findings could possibly be explained by the characteristics of the occupational context in which this research was conducted. For instance, participants may have felt that the high psychological demands they face when performing their work roles (e.g. teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses, grading exams, leading research projects), as well as the double presence that arises as a consequence, are both an inherent part of their profession, thus playing a less relevant role in their job satisfaction. Conversely, participants may have felt that their employers could make a bigger effort in improving their working conditions by providing them with the appropriate autonomy and rewards. Thus, the findings of this study demonstrated that the degree to which participants perceive that they can exert a significant influence on the design and performance of their work roles, as well as the extent to which they feel that they are fairly rewarded, really make a difference in their job satisfaction. These results are consistent with previous research conducted in Argentinian universities, which revealed that most academics feel that the salary, opportunities for career development and recognition they receive are unfair in regards to the contributions they make (e.g. Fernández Lamarra and Marquina, 2013; García de Fanelli and Moguillansky, 2014; Pujol-Cols and Lazzaro-Salazar, 2018; Pujol-Cols and Arraigada, 2017).
The results of this study also showed that when both situational and dispositional factors are introduced simultaneously their explanatory power on job satisfaction increase significantly, suggesting that both sets of factors should be considered in future research on job satisfaction. These results are consistent with previous studies (although most of them have adopted either a dispositional or a situational standpoint) and, at the same time, provide empirical support to adopting an interactionist perspective when examining job satisfaction (e.g. Funder et al., 2012).
The second contribution of this paper lied in the examination of the psychometric properties of the CSES and the BIAJS for the first time in the Argentinian context. First, the results showed that the Spanish version of the CSES exhibited a satisfactory internal consistency, which was similar to that reported in previous research conducted in other countries (e.g. Stumpp et al., 2010; Judge et al., 2003). Regarding its dimensionality, the results of the CFA provided an adequate support to the one-factor model that has been previously suggested in the literature (e.g. Dormann et al., 2006; Judge et al., 2003; Piccolo et al., 2005). Moreover, the findings demonstrated that CSEs displayed positive and statistically significant correlations with job satisfaction, which was also consistent with previous research (e.g. Wu and Griffin, 2012) and provided evidence of the predictive validity of the CSES. In regards to the Spanish version of the BIAJS, the results revealed that it also exhibited a satisfactory internal consistency, which was similar to that reported in Thompson and Phua (2012). Furthermore, the four items of the BIAJS reflected a unidimensional structure, which was consistent with Fisher (2000)’s propositions regarding affective job satisfaction.
Implications for practice
Our results have strong implications for practice. On the one hand, it is essential that managers do an appropriate assessment of the personality of candidates during personnel selection, as it significantly affects the job satisfaction that individuals are prone to experience. On the other hand, the results of this study also indicated that an effective personnel selection process is not enough to achieve high levels of job satisfaction in the workplace, being vital that organizations carefully design the working conditions they offer to their employees with the aim of mitigating their psychosocial impact on job satisfaction. In particular, the findings of this study suggested that managers should pay special attention to the levels of autonomy and esteem that they provide to their employees, as both factors are relevant predictors of job satisfaction.
Limitations and future research directions
This study has some limitations that should be noted. First, it was drawn on cross-sectional data, which prevents the authors from postulating cause-effect relationships between the examined variables. Instead, future research could use longitudinal designs to further explore the directionality of the relationships proposed in this paper (see Wu and Griffin, 2012). Second, the sample used to conduct this study consisted exclusively of skilled workers, who usually have access to high levels of autonomy and work flexibility, which, in some way, could compromise the generalizability of the results to other organizational contexts or occupations. Future research should draw on more heterogeneous samples of employees, who are exposed to a wider range of working conditions. Third, and though this study contemplated both intrinsic and extrinsic situational factors, it could be argued that there are other work factors (e.g. emotional dissonance, see Lewig and Dollard, 2003; labor differentiation policies, see Rivero and Dabos, 2017) that may also be relevant to explaining job satisfaction and were not considered in the empirical analyses. Future research could examine the influence of other relevant situational factors or decompose the six aggregated dimensions used in this study into more specific categories. Furthermore, future studies could also add objective measures of situational factors, for example, by conducting a more systematic analysis of participants’ working conditions. Fourth, the dispositional and situational effects examined in this study were mainly direct. Future studies should further explore the possible mediating or moderating influence of other variables in the relationships proposed in this paper. Finally, the psychometric properties of the CSES and the BIAJS were examined only in terms of internal consistency and factor structure. Future studies should further test the validity of these instruments in the Latin American context by analyzing their convergent validity, discriminant validity and stability in various samples of employees from different industries and occupations.
This study demonstrated that the Spanish version of the CSES and the BIAJS exhibit adequate psychometric properties, in terms of reliability and dimensionality, in the Latin American context. In addition, the results also revealed that employees’ perceptions regarding their working conditions (especially in terms of autonomy and esteem) are relevant to explaining their job satisfaction, regardless of their personality. Finally, the findings of this study also demonstrated that employees’ dispositional traits, such as their personality, play a fundamental role in their job satisfaction, so that they can maintain a positive attitude towards their job even in the face of psychosocial risks.
Means, standard deviations and correlations among variables
|2. Tenure in the current position||8.66||8.41||0.59||–|
|5. Postgraduate degree||0.31||0.46||0.22||0.00||−0.03||0.32||–|
|7. Psychological demands||1.93||0.57||−0.21||−0.12||0.00||−0.12||0.01||−0.38||0.67|
|8. Work control||3.03||0.57||0.11||−0.11||0.03||0.21||0.18||0.44||−0.28||0.81|
|9. Social support and leadership||2.81||0.65||0.15||0.04||−0.04||0.09||0.03||0.40||−0.27||0.58||0.81|
|10. Double presence||2.14||0.72||−0.24||−0.24||−0.24||−0.08||0.09||−0.19||0.22||−0.29||−0.21||0.60|
|12. Job insecurity||1.33||0.90||−0.16||−0.03||0.06||−0.23||−0.03||−0.35||0.33||−0.36||−0.35||0.22||−0.37||0.75|
|13. Job satisfaction||3.99||0.61||0.16||0.00||−0.18||0.14||0.12||0.40||−0.17||0.46||0.39||−0.03||0.37||−0.21||0.83|
Notes: n=209. The table displays the means (M), standard deviations (SD) and correlations among the variables of study (columns 1 to 13). “Male” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant is a man. “Professor” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant has a professorship. “Postgraduate degree” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant has either a Master’s or a PhD Degree. CSE stands for core-self evaluations. Correlations above 0.13 are statistically significant at the p<0.05 level (two tailed). Correlations above 0.18 are statistically significant at the p<0.01 level (two tailed). The internal consistency of each scale (Cronbach’s α) is reported on the main diagonal in italics
Hierarchical regression analysis results
|Dependent variable: job satisfaction||Model 1: control variables||Model 2: dispositional approach||Model 3: situational approach||Model 4: interactionist approach|
|Intercept||3.8015*** (0.1788)||3.9289*** (0.1645)||3.7661*** (0.1697)||3.7923*** (0.1704)|
|Age||0.0050 (0.0042)||0.0028 (0.0038)||0.0068 (0.0040)||0.0065 (0.0039)|
|Male||−0.2382*** (0.0905)||−0.2715*** (0.0813)||−0.2265*** (0.0841)||−0.2542*** (0.0799)|
|Professor||0.1131 (0.1024)||0.0539 (0.0935)||−0.0253 (0.0946)||−0.0405 (0.0915)|
|Core self-evaluations||0.4679*** (0.0907)||0.3026*** (0.1043)|
|Psychological demands||0.0063 (0.0734)||0.0727 (0.0780)|
|Work control||0.3820*** (0.0853)||0.3188*** (0.0958)|
|Social support and leadership||0.0605 (0.0895)||0.0050 (0.1013)|
|Double presence||0.0940 (0.0576)||0.0899 (0.0553)|
|Esteem||0.1238* (0.0699)||0.1420** (0.0651)|
|Job insecurity||0.0039 (0.0465)||0.0267 (0.0494)|
|Shapiro-Wilk test (z-score)||0.00 (0.0052)||1.73 (0.0424)||0.00 (0.5007)||0.32 (0.3755)|
|Breusch-Pagan test (χ2 statistic)||2.24 (0.1347)||8.04 (0.0046)||1.24 (0.2374)||3.37 (0.0663)|
|Δ Adjusted R2 (M1 – M2 – M4)||0.14***||0.12***|
|Δ Adjusted R2 (M1 – M3 – M4)||0.21***||0.05***|
Notes: The table reports the results from the hierarchical regression analyses (HRA). HRA is a model-building technique that shows if a set of variables of interest explain a statistically significant amount of variance in the dependent variable after accounting for all other variables. This is a framework for model comparison, rather than a statistical method, in which predictors are added or removed in multiple steps to see how the R2 coefficient varies as we increase the complexity of the models. In model 1, we only computed the control variables (i.e. age, gender and hierarchy). In models 2 and 3, we entered the dispositional (i.e. CSE) and situational factors (i.e. psychological demands, work control, social support and leadership, double presence, esteem and job insecurity), respectively. In model 4, we computed both dispositional and situational factors simultaneously, reflecting an interactionist perspective. “Male” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant is a man. “Professor” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant has a professorship. Shapiro-Wilk tests the null hypothesis that the residuals are normally distributed. Breusch-Pagan tests the null hypothesis that the error variances are all equal (homoscedasticity). VIF is the mean of the variance inflation factor, with indices smaller than 10 indicating that the collinearity among the variables of study is not severe. For those models in which some level of heteroskedasticity was detected, we estimated robust standard errors (i.e. models 2 and 4). ΔAdjusted R2 indicates how the adjusted R2 coefficient changes when moving from model 1 to model 4. Standard errors and robust standard errors are reported in parentheses. p-values are reported in brackets. *p<0.10; **p<0.05; ***p<0.01
Regression analysis results based on age group
|Dependent variable: job satisfaction||Group 1 (younger than 40 years)||Group 2 (40 years or older)|
|Intercept||4.0598** (0.0806)||4.0776** (0.0726)|
|Male||−0.2930* (0.1332)||−0.2184* (0.1052)|
|Professor||−0.2919 (0.2100)||0.0574 (0.0934)|
|Core self-evaluations||0.4522** (0.1561)||0.2629* (0.1014)|
|Psychological demands||0.0280 (0.1261)||0.0908 (0.0939)|
|Work control||0.3753* (0.1595)||0.2841** (0.1003)|
|Social support and leadership||−0.0131 (0.1549)||0.0365 (0.1093)|
|Double presence||0.0559 (0.0904)||0.0507 (0.0754)|
|Esteem||0.2865* (0.1209)||0.0532 (0.0809)|
|Job insecurity||0.1114 (0.0904)||0.0031 (0.0538)|
|Shapiro-Wilk test (z-score)||1.29 (0.0983)||1.24 (0.1083)|
|Breusch-Pagan test (χ2 statistic)||0.07 (0.7962)||0.67 (0.4120)|
Notes: N Group 1=83, N Group 2=126. “Male” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant is a man. “Professor” is a dummy variable that equals 1 if the participant has a professorship. Shapiro–Wilk tests the null hypothesis that the residuals are normally distributed. Breusch–Pagan tests the null hypothesis that the error variances are all equal (homoscedasticity). VIF is the mean of the variance inflation factor, with indices smaller than 10 indicating that the collinearity among the variables of study is not severe. Standard errors are reported in parentheses. p-values are reported in brackets. *p<0.05; **p<0.01
Spanish version of the CSES:
Me siento confiado en que obtengo el éxito que merezco en la vida.
En ocasiones me siento deprimido/a (puntaje inverso).
Cuando lo intento, generalmente lo logro.
A veces cuando fracaso siento que no sirvo (puntaje inverso).
Desarrollo las tareas exitosamente.
A veces siento que no controlo mi trabajo (puntaje inverso).
En general, me encuentro satisfecho/a conmigo mismo.
Me encuentro lleno/a de dudas acerca de mis capacidades (puntaje inverso).
Yo determino qué pasará en mi vida.
No me siento en control del éxito de mi carrera (puntaje inverso).
Soy capaz de enfrentar la mayoría de mis problemas.
Existen momentos en los que todo me parece bastante desalentador e inútil (puntaje inverso).
Spanish version of the BIAJS:
Disfruto mucho mi trabajo.
Me gusta mi trabajo más que a la persona promedio.
En la mayoría de los días, me siento entusiasmado por mi trabajo.
Me siento muy satisfecho con mi trabajo.
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The authors would like to thank the academics who participated in this study and Dr Mariana Lazzaro-Salazar (Universidad Católica del Maule, Chile and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand) for her assistance in the translation of the CSES and the BIAJS.