Job Satisfaction and Quality Management - An Empirical Analysis

This study investigates the link between quality management and employee job satisfaction and addresses the role of human resource management practices that target direct employee participation (job enrichment and high involvement management) in this relationship.

Quality management is a philosophy aimed at achieving or exceeding customer expectations through an emphasis on employee involvement and continuous improvements in quality. The association between quality management and organisational performance has been the subject of many studies. In spite of the diversity in implementations and measures that were considered, most of the empirical evidence supports some positive association. The overall expectation is that quality management reduces cost, achieves customer satisfaction, generates increased revenues and leads to market advantage. Yet some authors have argued that performance gains may be achieved at the expense of employee well-being, and some associate quality management with high pressure working environments. Hence, the impact of quality management on well-being and, more specifically, whether it is associated with employee job satisfaction remains a research question.

Job satisfaction is an important measure of employee well-being in its own right but is also a desired indicator of organisational success. Several studies of quality management in services found strong positive associations between customer satisfaction and employee job satisfaction. Consequently, customer satisfaction, a goal of quality management, may be achieved via employee job satisfaction.

In this context, our study aims to investigate the association between quality management and job satisfaction using secondary data from a large economy-wide sample of workplaces and their employees, the UK Workplace Employment Relations Survey of 2004 (WERS2004). It assumes that the uses of management practices are indicators of managerial approaches at the workplace and develops measures of such approaches. The specific quality management practices in the data are: training in quality, training in problem solving, self-inspection of quality, the keeping of records of faults or complaints, the keeping of records on quality, customer surveying, quality targets, customer service targets, team briefings that involve quality, and just-in-time procedures. In addition, a range of human resource management (HRM) practices that target direct employee participation and have been linked to the human aspects of quality management are included. These are: task variety, method control, timing control teamwork, functional flexibility, quality circles, suggestion schemes, team briefing, induction, training in human relations skills, information disclosure, and appraisal.

The study goes on to review related literature on the potential effects of job satisfaction and the hypotheses that follow. Given job satisfaction's scope for impact, previous research on the link between quality management and job satisfaction is also considered. Next, the empirical part of the study is described: the data, the derived measures and analyses are summarised and the results reported. Finally, conclusions, limitations and further implications of the study are drawn.

The full research paper can be downloaded at the link below. This research was originally published on Emerald.


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