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    Iowa State University

    Summary TEE purpose of this study is to investigate how employees'

    judgments of the importance of various aspects of the job can be used to assess job satisfaction. A 61-item attitude survey was administered to 257 engineers at the Whiting installation of the Standard Oil Company of Indiana. Two characteristics were to be tapped by each item: (a) satisfaction of the em- ployee with the content of the item (agreement), and (b) the importance of the item to the employee.

    The Wherry-Winer method for factoring a large number of items (Wherry & Winer, 1953) was attempted, but for three of the four satisfaction item groups the iteration failed to con- verge; thus, a modification of another of Wherry's methods was used to obtain item factor loadings (Wherry, 1949).

    Most of the item variance was explained by two general fac- tors : a General Agreement Factor (Over-all Satisfaction) and a General Importance Factor. The analysis was able to indicate which items measure each of the factors best. The variance in individual responses to any one importance item was invalid for measuring job attitudes; however, it was found that the variance of the group (i.e., the mean of all 257 cases) on a par- ticular item was valid for measuring what items in the agree- ment item groups loaded highest on the General Agreement or Over-all Satisfaction Factor. Items with low satisfaction means

    'A part of Mr. Froehlich's thesis (1958) submitted to the Graduate Faculty in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.

    'The authors wish to express their appreciation to the Standard Oil Com- pany (Indiana) for financial support of this study. They are specifically indebted to the Employee Relations Research Group for technical assistance, and to Dr. William A. Owens (then in their employ) for construction of the questionnaire.

    a Presently at the Naval Air Technical Training Command, Memphis, Ten- nessee.



    and high importance means make the best indexes for the measurement of over-all satisfaction.

    The correlation between the mean importance of an item and the extent to which the agreement part of that item loads on the Over-all Satisfaction Factor was .46. The correlation of the means of the agreement items with the means of the im- portance items was .lo. The correlation of the mean agreement with the factor loadings of the agreement items on the Over-all Satisfaction Factor was -.43. This latter correlation is a sta- tistical artifact, but the relationship between mean importance and the factor loadings has psychological significance.

    Introduction In spite of an insistence on the part of investigators that a re-

    lationship exists between job attitudes and selected external criteria, there is enough evidence to indicate how inconsistent this relationship is (Brayfield & Crockett, 1955; Herzberg, Mausner, Peterson & Capwell, 1957). The consistency we seek and the meaningfulness of interpretation may be awaiting an adequate definition of concepts, proper item and questionnaire construction, relevant criteria, and appropriate statistical tech- niques to bring it to light-as well as other methodological, sta- tistical, and theoretical considerations pointed out by Brayfield and Crockett (1955). This study uses factor analysis as its statistical technique ; it uses another characteristic of attitudes considered neglected in conventional attitude measurement by Krech and Crutchfield (1948).

    Another statistical approach may be pattern analysis (Mc- Quitty, 1957a, 1957b, 1957c), in which the pattern of individ- uals responses is analyzed and by means of which the charac- teristics of individuals in types may be investigated. Krech and Crutchfield (1948) suggest other characteristics of an attitude which should be investigated if we are to understand and pre- dict the behavior of an individual : kind, clarity, salience, speci- ficity, strength, and verifiability.

    The characteristic of importance seems especially relevant to a consideration of job satisfaction. We recognize that satisfac- tion involves need fulfillment: the fulfillment of aspects of the


    job environment important to the employee. For example Ro- sen and Rosen (1955) indicate

    . . . that satisfaction will tend to result when people see occurring what they want to occur in a given situation, and that dissatisfaction will tend to result when they do not.

    An even clearer position is offered by Schaffer (1953) : Overall job satisfaction will vary directly with the extent to which those

    needs of an individual which can be satisfied in a job are actually satisfied; the stronger the need, the more closely will job satisfaction depend on its fulfillment.

    In a study of this nature, Ross and Zander (1957) showed that workers whose personnel needs were being satisfied on the job were more likely to remain on the job than those whose needs were not satisfied. It is such a theoretical approach, the strength of a need and its satisfaction, which has also been sug- gested by Oehler (1948), Fox (1952), Morse (1953), Decker (1955), Clark (1956), and Papanester (1958), and on which this investigation is based.

    Procedure A sample of employees representing supervisors and non-

    supervisors was interviewed. On the basis of comments coming from these interviews, 61 items to be answered by all employ- ees, plus two items for supervisors, were constructed. These were thought to cover the various areas relevant to the working environment at Standard Oil. Each of the 61 items includes two parts: the first asks each employee to indicate his attitude to- ward an aspect of his job, the second part asks each employee to indicate how important that aspect of the job is to him. In both cases the employee indicates his attitude or judgment of importance by marking 1 for strongly disagree or very unimportant to 5 for strongly agree or very important.

    The data from one of the six installations which had been given the survey, Whiting, were chosen for the analysis since that plant had the most employees. Table 1 gives some of the personal data for the engineers included in the study. These data were also chosen for inclusion as criteria in the factor analysis. Out of a possible 277 subjects, 20 were eliminated be-


    TABLE 1 Number and Percentage of All Emplc

    Items and Categories

    1. Engineering group Engineering Research General Engineering

    Process Special service Utilities Construction Other

    Inspection Design Service

    Refinery Engineering

    2. Age 20-24 25-30 3 1-39 40-50 51 or over

    No degree B.S. M.S. Ph.D.

    3. Educational level attained

    4. Years of professional experience prior to joining Standard Oi

    None Less than 1 1 to 3 3 to 6 6 or more

    5. Type of Job Supervisory Nonsupervisory

    6. Monthly salary 500 to 599 600 to 699 700 to 799 800 to 899 900 to 999

    loo0 or more

    :es in Each of the Personal Data Categories



    30 25 27 17 33

    30 49 17

    22 87 84 41 23

    11 208 27 11

    115 26 46 33 37

    68 189

    67 73 38 29 17 33



    11.6 9.7

    10.8 6.6


    11.6 19.0 6.6

    8.6 33.8 32.7 16.0 8.9

    4.3 80.9 10.5 4.3

    44.8 10.1 17.9 12.8 14.4

    26.5 73.5

    26.1 28.4 14.8 11.3 6.6



    cause they indicated a response to an item that had not been given as one of the choices.

    The Wherry-Winer method (1953) for factoring a large num- ber of items was chosen as a short-cut for the longer complete method. Four attitude factors were guessed : Working Condi- tions and Requirements, Financial Reward, Supervision, and Effective Management and Administration. The items were sorted into these particular categories because these factors were identified in previous studies (Baehr, 1954; Wherry, 1954) and it was not the purpose of this study to discover new fac- tors. There is no indication in the literature to suggest what factors might come out of the importance items, and so the most reasonable (and economical) guess was made ; namely, that the importance factors were the same as the attitude fac- tors.

    The four attitude-guessed factors, the four importance- guessed factors, and the five criteria (age, salary, experience, supervisor-nonsupervisor, education) were intercorrelated. The 122 items-that is, the agreement and importance part of the 61 items, plus the 9 job classifications4 (referred to in Table 1)-were correlated with each of the thirteen measures men- tioned in the previous sentence. This resulted in a 13 by 13 intercorrelation matrix and a 13 by 131 extended matrix of cor- relations.

    The iteration to correct for the spurious overlap of an item with the guessed factor which it contained was attempted, but the process was abandoned because the iteration for three of the four attitude-guessed factors would not converge. It ap- pears that the experts who judged the apparent content of these items were very poor experts indeed, since the probable reason for failure to converge is that one or more of the items included in a subtest correlates negatively with one or another of the other items.

    Since previous research indicated that one general attitude factor would probably account for a large part of the attitude variance, it was decided that the computations (i.e., the corre- These correlations were obtained by making each job classification a sepa-

    rate variable and coding 1 for belonging to a particular classification and 0 for not belonging to that claeaification.


    Agreement Importance

    5 1 2 4 6 8 -__---

    57 68 01 02 09 -05 43 55-09-17-11 -13

    X 57 01 -02 04 04 -04 X -01 01 -01 06

    -01 00 X 47 48 58 -03 00 00 X 40 41

    02-03 -02 00 X 48 03 04 02-08 00 X

    -01 -01 00 00 03 00 -01 -01 00-01 -01 00

    02 00-01 -01 01 01 03 -01 00-01 00 01 00-02 00-01 00 00

    lations) that had been made might be sufficient to assess the efficacy of the importance items. It was hoped that one factor would also explain a large proportion of the importance vari- ance. Fortunately this turned out to be true.

    The method finally used was to factor analyze the 13 by 13 intercorrelation matrix by the Thurstone group centroid tech- nique (Thurstone, 1949) ; the item loadings were then deter-

    9 10 11 12 13

    _ _ _ _ ~ _ _ _ - _ _ _ 25 32 24 35 26 21 37 18 33 22 12 18 13 29 13 28 33 23 37 14

    -03 -04 -02 -03 03 -04 -09 -05 -06 -13

    03 -04 02 -03 -02 02 -04 -02 00 -06

    X 74 51 48 12 04 X 90 75 41

    -04 04 X 24 30 01 03 -03 X 32 01 03 -02 00 X

    TABLE 2 Intercorrelations and Residuals of the Thirteen Variables.

    x -06

    00 01

    -03 02 06


    -03 -01

    01 00 03

    __ 1 3 5 7

    2 4 6 8

    9 10 11 12 13

    1 3 -~

    43' X

    -01 02

    05 -05

    00 00

    -01 02

    -03 -05


    8 Decimal points omitted. Residuals below diagonal. Significance for 255 df a t .01 level = .16. 1 = working conditions and requirements. 3 = financial reward. 5 =: supervision. 7 = effective management and administration.

    2 = working conditions and requirements. 4 = financial reward, 6 = supervision. 8 = effective management and administration.

    9 = age. 10 = salary. 11 = experience. 12 = supervisor-nonsupervisor. 13 = education.


    mined by a method suggested by Wherry (1949). This method was altered to the extent that the spurious correlations were ignored in the computation.

    Correlations between the means of all agreement and all im- portance items were computed. These means, each based on the 257 respondents, were correlated with the factor loadings of all the agreement items. A multiple was computed, predicting the factor loadings of the attitude items with the means of the im- portance items and the means of the attitude items.


    The factor analysis of the 13 by 13 matrix of intercorrelations resulted in three orthogonal factors and four doublets. The fac- tors and doublets are reported in Table 3 along with the com- munalities. The 13 by 13 matrix of intercorrelations and resid- uals are reported in Table 2. These factors and doublets are interpreted as follows :

    Factor A. Over-all attitude toward the company and the job. All four agreement item clusters load on this factor. Other loadings on this factor indicate that the best attitudes are held by men who are super- visors, relatively well paid, relatively well edu- cated, experienced, and older.

    TABLE 3 Factor Loadings of the Thirteen Variables8

    1 3 5 7 2 4 6 8 9

    10 11 12 13


    79 62 72 85 03 00 03 02 30 40 26 45 25


    01 - 20

    00 -01

    76 63 64 70

    - 02 - 09 -04 -08 - 04


    01 03

    - 12 - 02

    02 - 11

    01 00 70 76 64 47 38


    00 10

    -01 04 00 10 00 07 04 30 00 65 00


    05 00 00

    - 10 10

    - 10 00

    - 06 - 46 - 02

    02 04 50


    03 - 01

    00 05 00 03 00 00 00 05 40

    -39 00


    00 05 00 00 00 07 00 00 05 41 60 00 00

    63 44 53 74 59 43 41 50 80

    100 100 100 46

    (L Decimal points omitted.


    Factor I. General Importance. Only the four importance item clusters load on this factor.

    Factor C. All the criteria load on this factor.

    The remaining 4 factors are doublets and indicate by their load- ings that:

    Factor S. Supervisors generally have higher salaries than nonsupervisors.

    Factor AE. Older men have less education than younger ones.

    Factor PE. Supervisors have little prior experience before coming to Standard Oil.

    Factor SE. Men with more prior experience have higher salaries.

    These four factors seem reasonable since (a) good men are made supervisors and given pay increases; (b) education was not stressed in former years as it is today; (c) supervisors prob- ably have worked their way up in the organization, and (d) it seems true that men with previous experience would join the company only at substantial salaries.

    Before considering the item factor loadings, it should again be pointed out that each statement included an agreement (satisfaction) part, and an importance part. For example:

    44. The company recognizes merit and rewards it. Agreement 5.Strong- 4. Agree 3. Neither Agree 2. Disagree 1. Strongly

    1Y Nor Disagree Disagree Agree

    Importance 5. Very 4. Impor- 3. Neither Impor- 2. Unimpor- 1. Very Un-

    Im- tant tant Nor Unim- tant impor- por- tant

    portant tant

    For purposes of exposition the agreement aspect has been la- beled a and the importance aspect b. One would thus ex- pect part a to have a higher loading on the Over-all Attitude Factor than on the Importance Factor, and part b to load inore heavily on the Importance Factor than on the Over-all Satisfaction Factor. In light of this example it is hoped that the


    item factor loadings on the factors reported above might be understood without too much difficulty.

    Factor A. Over-all Attitude toward the Company and the Job. The factor is identified by the high loadings of the follow- ing items:

    A .75 .67 .66




    44a The company recognizes merit and rewards i t 27a I am well satisfied with my progress in the company la Statements made at the time of hiring and subsequent job experi-

    ence are in good accord 48a I am satisfied with my prospects for promotion 28a I feel confident that I will be considered for any position for which

    37a I am satisfied that my job utilizes my training and capabilities I am qualified

    very well

    These items, especially item 44a, indicate by their high factor loadings that people who are satisfied with any one of these are also satisfied, in general, with the others. They are the best items for measuring the factor of over-all attitude. Almost all other attitude items load on this factor, but less than those re- ported above. The only other measures that load high on this factor are:


    - .21 .21


    ER Engineering research .35 42b Much of the engineering work which would be really satisfying

    54b I am proud of the products and services that this company sells 20b The salaries of senior employees are too low relative to those

    is done on contract with outside firms

    of new hires

    It appears that research people have the best attitude toward the company. In addition, it seems that highly satisfied people believe it is important to be proud of the company and that it is not important if senior employees get relatively low salaries or that the company subcontracts interesting work.

    Examples of attitude items that fail to load high on the at- titude factor are forced-choice items such as:

    A 10a My supervisor defends and explains the position of management .18

    18a Pay rather than C time should be given for scheduled overtime .17 24a It would be better for the company to sponsor increased attend- .13

    ance a t technical meetings than to put the same amount of money into merit increases

    even when he may not know all the antecedents


    and items dealing with very specific things or items asking should. . . or would . . . of the employees. These latter types of items fail to load on this factor because one cannot express attitude toward a condition that does not exist. For ex- ample, one can contend that a management manual is im- portant or unimportant but one can not evaluate how satis- factory a non-existent management manual is. Examples of such i t e m are:

    A .18



    29a As engineers, we are professional people and should6 consistently be treated as such.

    52a The company should be able to substantially improve its com- petitive position in the oil industry.

    57a SOCo. should have a management manual in which the au- thority of individuals at various levels in the organization is clearly set forth.

    68a Engineering standards shouZd be revised and published. - .05 Characteristics of items loading high are generality and posi-

    tive orientation with respect to the job or the company. An item such as 27a allows an employee to respond to various as- pects of his progress. Specific items do not permit flexibility of interpretation. If the experimenter wishes to measure general over-all attitude toward the job, then he would do well to in- clude many items that describe the job in general terms. Studies have suggested that specific-type items are better measures of specific attitudes than general-type items (Wherry, 1954). Since the methodology which this study employed did not per- mit the identification of any other attitude factor than the general over-all attitude factor, we cannot recommend the in- clusion of many of the general-type items in a survey intending to measure more specific areas.

    Factor I. General Importance. The meaning of a high loading for an item on this factor is that people who regard other items as important also regard it as important and vice versa. This factor is identified by high loadings on the following items:

    I .59 .52

    44b The Standard Oil Company recognizes merit and rewards i t 40b The Company provides a thorough and well organized orientation

    program for new employees

    These shouZds were not underlined in the original questionnaire.


    35b Frictions and rivalries markedly reduce our efficiency 48b I am satisfied with my prospects for promotion 51b I believe the welfare of the employee is carefully considered before

    37b I am satisfied that my job utilizes my training and capabilities

    26b The company gives me sufficient opportunity to broaden my

    4b Management keeps me informed about things that affect my wel-

    changes are made here

    very well

    knowledge and experience in my professional specialty

    fare 49b As long as I do good work, I can feel secure in my job 54b I am proud of the products and services this company sells









    These items would also provide the best measurement of the importance dimension.

    Various items loading on the Importance Factor load on the agreement (satisfaction) dimension as well as on the impor- tance dimension. One group of such items are of the should- would type. For reference, the loading on both Factor A and I is shown:

    A 1 29 As engineers, we are professional people and should con- a .18 .33

    sistently be treated as such b .02 .42 52 The Company should be able to substantially improve its a .02 .20

    competitive position in the oil industry b .08 .29 55 Management would not conduct a survey like this unless a .39 .25

    they were interested in our opinions b .18 .38 56 Surveys like this provide guidance for management ac- a .33 .26

    tion b .15 .39 57 SOCo. should have a management manual in which a .OO .32

    the authority of individuals a t various levels in the or- b .OO .29 ganization is clearly set forth

    58 Engineering standards should be revised and published a - .05 .19

    59 A number of standardized sheets covering design pro- a -.07 .22 cedures should be developed for common and routine b - .02 .20 operations

    61 The Company should have a sort of users guide on a - .06 .15

    b -.05 .35

    common materials and equipment b -.11 .16

    These items indicate that people having a good attitude toward the item generally find the scale important. Items 52, 57, 58, 59, and 61, because of their low loading on the Over-all Satis- faction Factor, are mainly measuring importance: that is, of course, also considering that their agreement and importance parts load on the Importance Factor. The other items loading on the agreement scale for both factors are tapping two di-


    mensions. This might be due to the fact that the respondees are responding to different elements in the item. For instance, item 29: some employees may indicate by their response that it is important-they should be treated as professional people ; others respond primarily in the light of their being satisfied that they are being treated as professionals.

    Another characteristic of these data is that most of the items whose agreement part loads substantially negatively on Factor I have their agreement part loading high on Factor A, and their importance part loading high on Factor I, indicating that (a) people who are satisfied with the item are satisfied with the items in the survey, and (b) people who find these items im- portant find the other items important.

    A 1 48 I am satisfied with my prospects for promotion a .65 -.21

    16 Increases in pay a t SOCo have kept pace with those in a .38 - .20 the industry b .OO .40

    20 The salaries of senior employees are too low relative a .33 - .20 to those of new hires b .20 .30

    23 I think the length of time between pay increases is a .38 -.20 about right b .OO .44

    51 I believe the welfare of the employee is carefully con- a .58 - .18 sidered before changes are made here b .03 .50

    28 I feel confident that I will be considered for any posi- a .63 - .15 tion for which I am qualified b .08 .36

    44 The Standard Oil Company recognizes merit and re- a .75 - .14 wards i t b .03 .59

    4 Management keeps me informed about things that a .57 -.13

    27 I am well satisfied with my progress in the company a .67 - .13

    b -.12 .50

    affect my welfare b -.04 .45

    b -.03 .43

    The contents of these items are such that they might be classi- fied as personal reference items, i.e., items dealing with a persons welfare, progress and promotion, and recognition. Items 16, 20, and 23 concern themselves with pay and have a lower loading on Factor A than the others, but they have a greater negative loading on Factor I for the agreement scale. This negative loading indicates that people who are not satis- fied with the item find the topics of the items in the survey im- portan t .

    Of more immediate interest are the results from comparisons of the means of the importance and agreement items with the


    factor loadings. This is of more immediate interest because evidence is presented that provides empirical evidence for se- lecting agreement items on the basis of the importance items. Correlations between mean agreement ( M A ) , mean importance ( M I ) , and the factor loading on the attitude factor ( A ) were computed. Each of the 61 agreement or importance means, on which the correlation calculations are made, were based on 257 employees :

    M I M A A

    MI .10 .46

    M A - .43 This suggests that the best measures of job satisfaction are those items dealing with topics that are considered most im- portant and least satisfactory by the group. The contention that items whose topics are considered important are good indices of job satisfaction makes sense and is suggested by the present authors as basis for selecting aspects of the job that need attention. The correlation of the mean agreements with the factor loadings appears to be a statistical artifact rather than indicating that items which deal with relatively unsatis- factory aspects of the job are better indices of job satisfaction than items which deal with relatively more satisfactory job aspects. The basis of this statement is that M A correlates -57 with the standard deviation of the agreement items. This indi- cates that M A correlates with the attitude factor loadings be- cause both indices reflect differences in variability of the items. Therefore, M A is not suggested by the present authors as an in- dex to be used for selecting items or job aspects that need atten- tion.

    The other five factors, four of which are doublets, are not relevant to the present discussion and may be examined in the original study (Froehlich, 1958) ; the items generally have lower loadings on these factors and their interpretation is rather specific to Standard Oil.

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