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Job satisfaction and job motivation of Romanian young professors.


Job satisfaction has become one of the most important and researched aspects of organizational psychology. The need to make labor more efficient has contributed to increasing the appreciation of the human factor within organizations, which led to an increase of interest in job satisfaction.

Starting with this perception of social reality, research has focused on the problems related to the job motivation and satisfaction of the professors in the pre-university and university educational system.

The theories and the models regarding work satisfaction have highlighted four of its essential determiners (personality, values, work situation, social influence) and many other specific determinants. The values reflect the convictions of a person regarding the results of his/her work.

The research on Hackman and Oldham's model (1976, 1980) supports the hypothesis of the connection between the job characteristics and the work results. Kim, Price, Mueller and Watson (1996), and Pearson and Chong in 1997 have proven there is a link between job characteristics and work satisfaction, but the causal connection is not totally clarified. It is believed that between the two aspects there is an indirect (mediated) relation.

In what regards the extrinsic conditions, studies show that the wage is a predictor of work commitment (and of the intention to leave (Lum, Kervin, Clark, Reid and Sirola, 1998).

Work satisfaction and the effort made are predictors of occupational stress, of professional performance, and of the tendency to leave the organization (Jamal & Cooper, 1999).

The studies mentioned, on the precedents and consequences of work motivation and on its implication at the individual and organizational level highlight the present nature of the issue within scientific research.

The research objectives:

1. to determine the motivating potential of the job position as professor (pre-university and university assistant);

2. to identify the factors that influence the professional satisfaction of young professors;

3. to identify the connection between the motivation potential of the job position as a professor and the work satisfaction of professors in the university and pre-university educational system.

4. to identify the differences between the professional satisfaction of professors in the university educational system and those in the pre-university educational system.


2.1. Subjects

For the investigations proposed, we have used two groups of subjects. The first one was made of 30 persons (20 male and 10 female), professors (university tutors and assistants) in the polytechnic university educational system of Timisoara (Romania), with seniority between 1-5 years. The average age was 27.5 years, with a minimum age of 24 years and a maximum of 33 years.

The second group was made of 30 subjects, technical subject professors in the pre-university educational system, with an average age of 29 years.

Both groups of subjects have been selected by using simple random sampling, by drawing lots.

2.2. Instruments

In order to study the relation between the motivating potential of the job and work satisfaction (together with its components), we have used the following assessment instruments:

J.D.S (Job Diagnostic Survey). This scale has been elaborated by Hackman and Oldham who wanted to measure the workers' perception of the job, reported to each of its basic dimensions. The scale (in its reduced variant) has 15 items and is used to measure the following 5 dimensions: variety of aptitudes, task identity, task meaning, autonomy, feed-back.

JDI (Job Descriptive Index) and JIG (Job in General) JDI is a questionnaire elaborated by P.C. Smith, Kendall and Hulin (1969) and adapted to the Romanian population by H. Pitariu (1994), which measures work satisfaction by means of 5 of his facades: the work itself, relationship with the boss, wage, promotion, and relationship with work colleagues. In 1985 another JIG scale was added, regarding the job in general.


In order to calculate the motivating potential of the job as a professor, we have started from the following formula, indicated by the authors of the JDS scale: MPS equals the average of the first three characteristics (skills variety--S.V, task identity--T.I., task significance - T.S.) multiplied by autonomy--A and feedback--Fb:

MPS = [(S.V.+T.I.+T.S.)/3] x A x Fb (1)

The average of the JDS answers and the values of the motivating potential of the job for the two groups of subjects (by university and pre-university educational system) are listed in table 1.

By analyzing the average values of the job characteristics we notice that their hierarchy is similar for both groups taking part in the study, and the values of the same characteristics of the job do not differ significantly in the pre-university environment from the university one. In what regards the hierarchy of the job characteristics, the differences between the most appreciated characteristic (task variety) and the least appreciated one (task identity), are also insignificant ([chi square] = 2.37)

The theoretical values of MPS may vary between 1 and 343. In comparison with the average of the theoretical values of MPS (m=172), we notice that the MPS specific to the professor job position (technical subjects) in the pre-university and university educational environment, is below the theoretical MPS average.

In what regards the job satisfaction, Smith, Kendal and Hulin have taken into consideration five aspects: the works itself, relationship with the superior, wage, promotion possibility and relationship with the colleagues. Starting from the maximum theoretical score for each JDI scale (54) and taking into account the average (27) as being the basic satisfaction, we can say that the scores below 13.5 indicate a strong dissatisfaction, the scores below 27 but over 13.5 are representative for a moderate dissatisfaction, and those below 40.5 represent a moderate satisfaction, and those over 40.5 show a strong satisfaction.

Table 2 shows the values of the five aspects studied both in the university and pre-university educational system.

By analyzing the data we notice that the satisfaction of the job in general has the highest values, the job as a professor being considered very satisfactory by both groups of professors. Except for one difference, (the satisfaction of the possibility of being promoted) the differences between the university and the pre-university environment are insignificant.

In what regards promotion, the university assistants are more satisfied by the perspective of having access to a university hierarchy than the young professors in the pre-university educational system, the differences between the two groups being statistically significant ([chi square] = 5.45; p < 0.05).

For the entire group of professors taking part in the survey (N=60), the wage is the factor indicating a strong dissatisfaction, while for the professors in the pre-university environment, the lack of promotion possibility is the second dissatisfactory factor. Otherwise, the factors taken into account are considered moderately or very satisfactory.

By studying the correlations between the motivation potential of the job as a professor and the satisfaction given by work itself and by the job as a professor in general, we elaborated table 3 - significant correlations from the statistical point of view and the thresholds of significance corresponding to these correlations.


This research aims, mainly, at identifying the work characteristics with a high motivating potential and which influence the job satisfaction of young professors in the Romanian pre-university and university educational system.

In conclusion, for young professors, "task variety" is the most valuated characteristic of the job and it refers to the multitude of tasks entailed by a professor's activity: designing didactic activities, transferring knowledge, management of a pupils/students group, assessing competences, research activities, project elaboration etc. For the group studied, the motivating score of the job as a professor is below the theoretical averages.

In what regards the connection between MPS and the job satisfaction felt by the group of professors taking part in this study, we notice a difference between the university and high school professors. While for the young university professors the MPS is correlated with the satisfaction of work itself and the satisfaction of the job as a professor in general, for the high school professors, neither one of these correlations are significant.

In what regards the factors influencing the job satisfaction of the professors, we list, according to their importance: "the work itself", "the relationship with the superior" and "the relationship with the colleagues", and for the university assistants "the possibility to be promoted" as well. The wage is the factor that produces the strongest dissatisfaction, both for high school professors, as well as for the university assistants.

This study may be continued and completed with a study of job's stressors and the results of both may set the foundation of a program regarding the increase of attractiveness of the job as a professor in Romania, thus putting to good use the information regarding professional motivation and satisfaction of young professors. Being part of the poor countries which contribute to the forming of the elite in the rich countries can only draw our attention to the importance we should grant to the needs of young people, in general, and their professional needs in particular.


Hackman, J.R. & Oldham, G.R. (1976). Motivation through the design of work: Test of a theory, Organisational Behavior and Human Performance, 16, 250-279

Hackman, J.R. & Oldham, G.R. (1980). Work Redesign, Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, 8, 121-124

Jamal, M. & Cooper, C.L. (1999). Job Stress, Type-A Behavior, and Well-Being: A Cross-Cultural Examination in International Journal of Stress Management, 6, 57-67

Kim, S.W.; Price, J.L.; Mueller, C.W & Watson, T.W. (1996). The determinants of career intent, Human Relations, 49, 947-976

Lum L.; Kervin J.; Clark K.; Reid F. & Sirola, W. (1998). Explaining nurse turnover intent: job satisfaction, pay satisfaction or organisational commitment, Journal of Organisational Behavior, 19, 305-320

Pearson, C.A.L, Chong, J. (1997). Contributions of job content and social information on organizational commitment and job satisfaction, Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology Vol. 70, nr 4, 357-74.
Tab. 1. The average values of the characteristics of a professor
job position of technical subjects (university and pre-university
educational system)

Educational skills task task
systems variety identity significance

pre-university 5,32 4,55 4,73
university 6,30 4,31 4,91

Educational Auto nomie Feed back MPS

pre-university 5,24 5,24 131,5
university 5,54 5,55 157,7

Tab. 2. Comparative presentation of the factors involved in
assessing professional satisfaction within JIG and JDI scales

Educational Work Wage Promotion Superior

pre-university 42,03 7,67 19,33 38,80
university 39,80 7,86 36,83 37,17

Educational Collegues Job in
systems general

pre-university 37,53 41,67
university 33,93 41,07

Tab. 3. Correlations between MPS (university and/or pre-
university) and the satisfaction given by job itself and by job in

 MPS Work Job in general

pre-university r = .445 p=0.05 r = .422 p=0.05
university n.s. n.s.
MPS r = .293 p=0.05 n.s.
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Author:Mazilescu, Crisanta Alina; Mihartescu, Ana Andreea; Popescu-Mitroi, Maria Monica
Publication:Annals of DAAAM & Proceedings
Date:Jan 1, 2008
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