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How does appreciation lead to higher job satisfaction?

Isabel Barbara Pfister (Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Nicola Jacobshagen (Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Wolfgang Kälin (Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland)
Norbert Karl Semmer (Department of Psychology, Universität Bern, Bern, Switzerland)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 10 September 2020

Issue publication date: 5 November 2020

3109

Abstract

Purpose

Building on the “Stress-as-Offense-to-Self” theory, this study investigates appreciation as a predictor of job satisfaction over time, mediated by subjective success and feelings of resentment towards one's organization.

Design/methodology/approach

Analyses are based on a three-wave study with two-month time intervals, with a sample of 193 employees from six Swiss organizations.

Findings

Double mediation by subjective success and feelings of resentment was confirmed; no mediation was found in a reversed mediation model. Results highlight the importance of appreciation for employees' feelings of success and job satisfaction, but also for affect related to the organization as a whole.

Practical implications

Organizations should recognize the role of appreciation in satisfaction, affective reactions toward the organization, and information about one's standing. Appreciation can be expressed in multiple ways; it not only increases job satisfaction but also helps employees to validate their judgments about their own performance.

Originality/value

Appreciation is a promising resource for employee well-being. The present study is one of few focusing on appreciation as a resource in its own right, rather than as part of broader constructs, such as social support. Our results not only confirm the importance of appreciation but also shed light on mechanisms through which it may exert its influence. They complement a multilevel analysis based on the same data showing an association of appreciation with different indicators of well-being on the interpersonal as well as the intrapersonal level.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Funding: This research was supported by the Swiss National Foundation Grant 100014_132318/17.

Citation

Pfister, I.B., Jacobshagen, N., Kälin, W. and Semmer, N.K. (2020), "How does appreciation lead to higher job satisfaction?", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 35 No. 6, pp. 465-479. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMP-12-2018-0555

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

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