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Job satisfaction, job performance and effort: a re-examination (RV 2001/01/MKT)

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The objective of this paper is to clarify ambiguities in the literature regarding the relationships among three key constructs of work: effort, job performance and job satisfaction. First, the positive relationship between job performance and job satisfaction is important in organizational psychology. However, empirical research finds that the link between these constructs is, at best, weak. Second, a negative effect of effort on job satisfaction is a basic assumption of agency theory, but there is limited empirical evidence to support this assumption. Moreover, studies in organizational psychology and marketing have found a positive effect of effort on job satisfaction. Using a model that incorporates the main constructs from organizational psychology and agency theory, the authors find a negative direct effect on effort and a positive direct effect of job performance on job satisfaction. They show that conflicting findings in the literature are the result of inconsistencies in both the measurement and definition of constructs across studies that do not fully account for all the relationships between constructs. For example, they highlight the need to clearly distinguish between factors that are employees' inputs in a work relationship (i.e., effort) as opposed to outputs (i.e., job performance). The paper also demonstrates the importance of accounting for omitted variables to eliminate biases that can arise in empirical research on work relationships.

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