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Management and Communication Case: Job Satisfaction in the Correctional Organization

Management and Communication Case: Job Satisfaction in the Correctional Organization

In many of today’s workplaces, an effort is made to enrich jobs. The goal of job enrichment is to design tasks that will help satisfy some of the higher-order needs of workers (that is, needs for self-esteem and self-actualization) through the provision of motivational job factors. According to Frederick Herzberg, included in the category of motivators are responsibility, achievement, recognition, challenging work, and advancement in the organization (Kleinbeck, et al., 2000).

Sociologists find that individuals in occupations that combine high economic, occupational, and educational prestige typically show the greatest satisfaction with their work and the strongest job attachment (Blauner, 1999). However, the prestige factor partly subsumes a number of other elements, including the amount of control and responsibility that goes with an occupation.

The opportunity to exercise discretion, accept challenges, and make decisions has an important bearing on how people feel about their work, says Barry Gruenberg in his study The Happy Worker: An Analysis of Educational and Occupational Differences in Determining Job Satisfaction (Gruenberg, 2000). In turn, the employees’ morale is boosted to levels unlikely in mechanistic offices. An enriched job will have high levels of skill variety, task identity, task significance,

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autonomy, and feedback from the job (Gruenberg, 2000).

Judy Cameron and David Pierce explore the bearing of job satisfaction upon the employees’ motivation. As they define, job satisfaction is the difference between the amounts of rewards workers receive and the amount they believe they should receive (Cameron and Pierce, 2002). The belief that satisfied employees are more productive than dissatisfied employees has been a basic tenet among managers for years. Although much evidence questions that assumed causal relationship, Cameron and Pierce argue that advanced societies should be concerned not only with the quantity of life, that is concerns such as higher productivity and material acquisitions, but also with its quality. The most potent factors in job satisfaction are those that relate to workers’ self-respect, their chance to perform well, their opportunities for achievement and growth, and the chance to contribute something personal and quite unique (Cameron and Pierce, 2002).

These researchers with strong humanistic values additionally argue that satisfaction is a legitimate objective of any organization. Not only is satisfaction negatively related to absenteeism and turnover, but they argue that these organizations have a responsibility to provide employees with jobs that are challenging and intrinsically rewarding (Cameron and Pierce, 2002). A team with members highly driven for productive accomplishments is a solid indication that its leader is effective.

Placing premium on the contribution of the workforce in a company, Jerry Gilley and Ann Maycunich made a distinction between the part a human relations leader plays and the role a human resources leader adopts. According to them, a human relations leader would institute participation to satisfy employee needs for affiliation and esteem and hope that this need satisfaction would lead to higher levels of morale and eventually, productivity.

In recent years, a number of organizational programs have been developed that attempt to enhance organizational productivity and worker satisfaction through the use of human resources principles (Gilley and Maycunich, 2000).

It is indeed interesting to note that the topic Job Satisfaction has been explored by several scholars in more ways than one in an effort to extend our knowledge on this subjective concept and the most important aspect of organizational management. But an important aspect of the research on job satisfaction is the way some scholars look at the concept in a different light, the one from the point of view of the humanistic needs in a correctional institution.

In a correctional institution, leadership is a shared responsibility. But as the adage goes “leaders are born, not made,” there are only a few people who could make a good captain of the ship (Anderson and Wasserman, 2001).

To be a leader is more art than science. The personal styles of superb correctional officers vary. And just as important as the nature of the sea the captain is cruising over, different situations call for different types of supervision. Plenty of people are motivated by external factors such as a big salary or the status that comes from having an impressive title or being part of a prestigious institution. By contrast, those with leadership potential are motivated by a deeply embedded desire to achieve for the sake of achievement (Anderson and Wasserman, 2001).

Even if a correctional officer is simply a member in a team, he could be as driven and immensely important as the leader as his achieve his full potential fulfilling leadership functions. He is confident that he can be all that he can be only the leader has to facilitate the satisfaction of this desire for self-actualization through the provision of opportunities that would allow him to exercise responsibility and creativity in their common endeavor. In the aspect of mutually gaining from the productive experience, their subordinates should be able to trust the motives and integrity of their officers. The officers in a correctional organization are forced and driven to be cautiously appreciative of their people’s contribution that flows from high performance. They are expected to recognize that rewards must be psychological as well as financial, and strive for an atmosphere where each of their people can share the adventure and excitement of working at the company. It is the responsibility of the officers to create a productive environment where the correctional’s values flourish (Wofford, et al., 2001).

Since this kind of correctional officer assumes that people are motivated by higher-level needs for social interaction, achievement, and self-actualization, he tries to make subordinates’ duties challenging. In a sense, he tries to create a situation in which people motivate themselves to some degree because their work is intrinsically rewarding. As a highly democratic correctional officer, he also makes subordinates understand that they are to solve most problems without seeking approval or assistance. But he is careful to create a climate of openness and trust so that if subordinates do need help, they will not be afraid to approach him. To accomplish this, he practices two-way communication and play a developmental and guidance role. He tries to give subordinates insight into correctional problems, provide them with adequate information, and show them how to seek and evaluate alternative courses of action (Levine, 2003).

For this research, which is limited in resources to perform a decisive experimental study, the qualitative research design will be used. It aims to gather data and gain insights about the nature and trend of job satisfaction in the modern correctional institutions. To obtain the necessary information in fulfilling its objectives, the study will involve library research, in-depth personal interviews, and a survey.

For background information on the concept of Job Satisfaction, secondary data will be obtained through academic research obtainable from the like of these books and academic journals: Principles of Human Resource Development, Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win, Supervision: Key Link to Productivity, Worker Satisfaction and Industrial Trends, Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: Resolving the Controversy, Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change: An Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Development, Business: The Ultimate Resource, Motivation, Beliefs, and Organizational Transformation, The Happy Worker: An Analysis of Educational and Occupational Differences in Determining Job Satisfaction, Work Motivation, Management: Skills and Application, Choosing Leaders: A Group Interactional Approach, Follower Motive Patterns as Situational Moderators for Transformational Leadership Effectiveness, and The Power of Followership: How to Create Leaders People Want to Follow and Followers Who Lead Themselves.

Without a doubt, the job satisfaction issues and themes in these references appear relevant in the study taking the humanistic variables in the context of job satisfaction. This research will therefore consider the external validity of laboratory paradigms. If possible and likely there is ample time, it will compare effect sizes obtained in laboratory versus field settings, and will find considerable convergence or divergence across a wide variety of organizational research domain. Past views that have emphasized internal validity as generalizability of relations among conceptual variables will be reviewed and affirmed. If laboratory research is low in external validity, then laboratory studies should fail to detect relations among variables that are correlated with job satisfaction in real world studies.

From the secondary data, tools will be taken. In arriving with these tools, a one-to-one correspondence chart, which will match important matters of the research’s problem to relevant questions concerning them, will be constructed. Additionally, certain helpful test procedures, criteria, and measures on some aspects of job satisfaction will be required. These model methods will be adapted particularly for the survey questionnaire. The in-depth personal interviews will serve to find out about the sample’s nature. Interview schedules, or the list of relevant questions regarding this matter will assist in the in-depth personal interviews. The interview will be conducted almost simultaneously with the survey.

The effectiveness of interview based on realistic mobilization may depend on what information is communicated during the interview and how the interaction occurs. Whatever transpires between the candidate and the interviewer can mold expectations about communication within the Correctional Organization. This kind of interview should be viewed as persuasive communication. This view highlights choices made about message source, message content, and communication medium. This view of realistic conscription also carries risks, however. Some candidates may view negative job characteristics as a challenge and not self-select out of inappropriate positions (Miner, 2002).

From the interviewee’s perspective, the interview provides a glimpse of a possible future shape of the Correctional Organization. The officer’s satisfaction with the interview is a good predictor of the acceptance of second interviews. The ability of the interview to serve this purpose is limited, however, as mot interviewees assume that they should play a relatively passive role in the interview process. Indeed, few interviewees ask any questions during the interview until such questions are requested by the interviewer. The average officer may ask about ten questions in an interview, most of which are succinct and closed ended in form, and focus on single versus multiple topics (Gladwell, 2000).

The interviewer also holds the responsibility of telling the aspirant of the explanation of the Correctional Organization’s operations and levels of authority and of these relate to each other, rules, regulations, policies, and procedures, conditions of employment, punctuality, attendance, conduct, hours of work, overtime, and termination, and job functions and responsibilities in the Correctional Organization.

Every Correctional Organization has a continuous need to evaluate its personnel in order to make administrative decisions regarding promotion, transfer, or termination. Performance appraisal is also needed to provide people with information about their relative level of performance. When done correctly, the individual will learn not only whether his or her performance is acceptable, but also specifically what strengths and weaknesses he or she has and which areas could be improved (Rue and Byars, 1990).

By identifying strong performers, the officers’ cluster is able to reward them fairly with praise, pay, and promotion. Consistent, positive reinforcement for behavior associated with high performance should lead to similar behavior in the future should there be new departments to be formed.

After the correctional officer is adequately socialized and has received the necessary training to perform job effectively, the next step in developing robust roster of correctional officers is to determine how effectively people are performing at present. This is the purpose of performance appraisal, which can be thought of as an extension of the control function. In theory, the control process involves setting standards, measurement of results to determine deviation from standards, and corrective action, if needed (Rue and Byars, 1990).

Similarly, performance appraisal requires supervisors to gather information on how effective each individual is at accomplishing delegated duties. Communicating this information to subordinates enables them to know how well they are doing and to correct less than acceptable behavior. Performance appraisal also permits management to identify the outstanding performers and in effect raise their performance standards by promoting them to more challenging positions especially in newly-formed special units in the Correctional Organization.

Furthermore, within the past five years, several dominant trends have become apparent in the literature, which indicate that methodology in job satisfaction research is undergoing a metamorphosis. There are more naturalistic test paradigms developed. Recent research, through the application of this methodology, is then hoped to highlight the fallibility of some established facts in job satisfaction literature.

Four routes through which realistic conscription could work to enhance departmental adaptation and reduce voluntary turnover. First, realistic conscription should enhance the likelihood of expectations being congruent with actual job conditions in the Correctional Organization. Second, such mobilization should increase the correctional officer’s ability to cope with difficult job demands. Third, a department that is realistic communicates an air of honesty to correctional personnel, and this should enhance commitment to the Correctional Organization. Finally, realistic mobilization should allow individuals who are not interested in the described job to self-select out of the officers’ pool (Miner, 2002).


Anderson, Donald F., and Donna Pritchard Wasserman. (2001). “Choosing Leaders: A Group Interactional Approach.” Journal of Leadership Studies.

Blauner, Robert. (1999). “Worker Satisfaction and Industrial Trends.” A Sociological Reader on Complex Organizations. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Cameron, Judy, and David Pierce. (2002). Rewards and Intrinsic Motivation: Resolving the Controversy. Bergin & Garvey.

Gilley, Jerry W., and Ann Maycunich. (2000). Organizational Learning, Performance, and Change: An Introduction to Strategic Human Resource Development. Perseus Books.

Gladwell, Malcolm. (2000). “The New-Boy Network: What Do Job Interview Really Tell Us?” Readings in Social Psychology: General, Classic & Contemporary Selections, 5th ed.

Gruenberg, Barry. (2000). “The Happy Worker: An Analysis of Educational and Occupational Differences in Determining Job Satisfaction.” American Journal of Sociology.

Kleinbeck, Uwe,  Hans-Henning Quast, Henk Thierry, and Hartmut Häcker. (2000). Work Motivation. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Levine, David I. (2003). Reinventing the Workplace: How Business and Employees Can Both Win. Brookings Institution.

Miner, John B. (2002). Organizational Behavior: Foundations, Theories, and Analyses. Oxford University Press.

Rue, Leslie W., Lloyd L. Byars, and John R. Brooks. (2004). Management: Skills and Application. McGraw-Hill College.

Wofford, Jerry C., J. Lee Whittington, and Vicki L. Goodwin. (2001). “Follower Motive Patterns as Situational Moderators for Transformational Leadership Effectiveness.” Journal of Managerial Issues.

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