Research on the organizational factors that contribute (positively or negatively) to job satisfaction has suggested that the influence of any given factor may vary significantly across professions. A recent study published in the journal Administration in Social Work examined the relationship between job satisfaction in long-term care (LTC) and four organizational factors that have been studied in other professions—role conflict, workload, centralization (the extent to which decision-making authority is concentrated in upper management), and formalization (the extent to which rules and regulations are formally established and followed in an organization).
The author administered a survey to 363 long-term care staff in a southern state in the United States. The survey included items that asked the participants about their perceptions of role conflict, workload, centralization, formalization, and their job satisfaction. The questionnaire also included demographic items. The author then examined the statistical association between job satisfaction and the four organizational factors, and assessed whether demographic factors had a significant influence on these associations. (They did not.) Job satisfaction was positively associated with formalization and centralization, which contradicted the initial hypothesis that motivated the study. As expected, role conflict and high workload were negatively associated with job satisfaction.
The author notes that the sample consisted of only nine LTC facilities in one region of the United States and was non-randomized, both of which limit generalizability of the findings. Further, the items used to assess “formalization” focused on positive compliance with rules, and did not ask about the potential negative consequences of excessive employee control (such as reduced autonomy and restriction of creativity). Finally, the study looked at employee perceptions of workplace organization, rather than an objective set of organizational criteria. Still, these findings suggest that LTC employees may be amenable to centralized and formalized workplace organization in that it may enable a greater clarity of work roles and more efficiently delegated workloads.