Using social identity theory to explain the job satisfaction of public sector employees

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Publication details

Brunetto, Y & Farr-Wharton, R 2002, 'Using social identity theory to explain the job satisfaction of public sector employees', International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 15, no. 7, pp. 534-551.

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This study first reports findings about what factors affect the job satisfaction of one group of public sector employees and second, uses social identity theory to explain the results. The results indicated that working with fellow employees enhances job satisfaction. In contrast, dealing with the clientele (possibly without appropriate training) and organisational management polices compromise the job satisfaction of early career Australian police officers. These findings challenge existing managerialist beliefs that suggest that significant attempts to reform organisational processes within the public sector organisations of a number of Western democracies have improved the effectiveness of employees. These reforms have changed the organisational context within which policing takes place and consequently, the work practices of police officers have changed. Some of these changes have reduced the satisfaction of employees. The implications of the findings are that when employees are dissatisfied with a number of the working conditions, it is likely that their workplace effectiveness may be jeopardised and in turn, the efficiency and effectiveness of scarce public resources may also be compromised.

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