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An investigation of determinants of job satisfaction for Macau civil servants

English Abstract

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Job satisfaction has been an ongoing interest for both researchers and managers (Bajpai & Srivastava, 2004; Cranny et al., 1992; Locke, 1976; Oshagbemi, 1999). Previous studies suggested that better job satisfaction would lead to higher performance, improved processes, increased productivity and enhanced commitment (Brayfield & Crockett, 1955; Laschinger, 2001; Petty, McGee, & Lavender, 1984), whereas low level of job satisfaction would create counterproductive behaviors, such as withdrawal, burnout or absenteeism, turnover (Muchinsky & Tuttle, 1979; Porter & Steers, 1973; Spector, 1997). Despite its importance, the issue of job satisfaction and its implications for the public sector has received far less research attention (Ellickson, 2002; Pollock et al., 2000; Ibarra & Andrews, 1993). Most researches concerning the subject of job satisfaction have examined the workforce as a whole (e.g. Clark, 1996), or just focused on a specific sector, such as hotel (Sarker et al., 2003) or bank (Bajpai & Srivastava, 2004). In order to fulfill the research gap, this study aimed to investigate the determinants of job satisfaction for the civil servants in Macau. A quantitative study was carried out with a sample size of 189. The target samples included all employees working for the Macau government. Data were obtained through a survey questionnaire. It was hypothesized that there would be a positive relationship between pay satisfaction, benefits satisfaction, training opportunities, promotion opportunities, job security, autonomy, skill variety, departmental pride, social service, satisfaction with supervisors, co-workers and clients, and the dependent variable, overall job satisfaction. Descriptive statistics, reliability analysis and other causal analysis have been carried out. The basic conclusion was that departmental pride was the most powerful determinant of job satisfaction, while social services explained the least amount of variance. Pay satisfaction, training opportunities, autonomy, skill variety, job security and satisfaction with clients were found to be not significant enough to have an impact onto the overall job satisfaction of government workers. However, Macau civil servants were fairly satisfied with their job. This present study offered an important step towards a more complete understanding of what motivates civil servants in Macau by validating a conceptual model about the determinants of job satisfaction and providing policy guidelines to increase their job satisfaction. The research results also showed significant differences when comparing with other related studies in Macau, United States as well as in other private and public sectors. This may imply that job satisfaction is a dynamic concept and different political, cultural and economic conditions may create different impacts onto civil servants' job satisfaction. Further investigations about the underlying reasons would be an important area for future research. Our findings could provide useful knowledge to researchers and policymakers interested in creating a more productive workplace and enhancing the job satisfaction levels of civil servants so as to improve the quality of services provided to citizens.

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Mak, Ka Yee


Faculty of Business Administration


Department of Finance and Business Economics




Job satisfaction

Civil service -- Macau


Hong, Jacky

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