Le but de cet article est d'examiner l’influence modératrice des besoins dits supérieurs ou intrinsèques (besoin d'accomplissement, de développement personnel, de compétence) sur la relation entre les caractéristiques du travail normalement associées à l'enrichissement des tâches (e.g. complexité, autonomie, variété) d'une part et la satisfaction et la motivation de l'employé d'autre part. À la suite d'une revue de la littérature pertinente, les auteurs présentent et discutent les résultats d'une recherche effectuée auprès de 176 employés d'un hôpital du Québec. La conclusion résume les implications de ces résultats pour les chercheurs et pour les administrateurs.
The purpose of this article is to examine the moderating influence of superior (higher order) needs on the relationship between certain task characteristics normally associated with job enrichment and the employee's satisfaction and motivation. A review of the literature indicates that while the "main effects" of these characteristics are generally supported, studies dealing with the moderating influence of superior needs have produced conflicting or ambiguous results. One source of difficulty may be that most authors have adopted a ready-made questionnaire to measure four or five characteristics of the task, without determining the dimensions actually perceived by their particular sample group.
In this study, a factor analysis of 31 items borrowed from the literature or created by the authors produced four dimensions with adequate reliability: complexity and use of abilities, autonomy and influence, feedback and personal development, variety. The following hypotheses were verified with a sample of 176 hospital employees: 1. the four dimensions are related separately and jointly to job satisfaction and job motivation. 2. the relationships are stronger in the case of employees with higher intrinsic or superior needs.
In general, the hypotheses are well supported. With regard to main effects, there is one exception: variety does not correlate with motivation. The moderating influence of superior needs is usually strong. For instance, the correlations between "complexity and use of abilities" and job satisfaction are .03, .41 and .60 respectively for low, medium and high levels of superior needs. With motivation as the dependent variable, these correlations become .10, .26 and .48. Contrary to the hypotheses, however, the relationships between "autonomy and influence" and both satisfaction and motivation are not influenced significantly by the level of superior needs.
The discussion of these results bear on the following points: the usefulness of factor analysis for studies of this kind, the ambiguous role of "variety" as a potential determinant of satisfaction and motivaton, the choice of superior (or higher-order) needs as possibly the most appropriate moderating variable, the unexpected findings with "autonomy and influence" as the independent variable.
The conclusion points out that a distinction should be made between the process of job enrichment and the simple presence or absence of characteristics associated with an enriched job. The theoretical and practical importance of the results obtained is also discussed at some length. Readers are reminded that several other studies have produced different results and that very few studies have shown a negative moderating influence on the relationships between such job characteristics and employees' reactions. This would seem to indicate that administrators do not stand to lose much by attempting to enrich all jobs, provided the process itself is carried out with some caution.
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