research paper prompts

Employee Satisfaction At ETAP


Chapter 2: Literature Review

Chapter 2 of the research study will explore the current body of literature on employee empowerment, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction. It will use only academic research or peer reviewed articles produced in the past five years. It will explore research studies, and information form credible sources, in its exploration of the study topic. It will exclude blogs and other forms of non-factual media from this definition.

Employee Engagement vs. Employee Satisfaction

The confusion between employee engagement and employee satisfaction began when human resource departments began using employee satisfaction surveys to assess the happiness of their staff. It was assumed that the happy employee would show up for work and be committed to the company. However, this was not always the case. The happy employee may show up to work every day, but that still does not mean that they will not be looking for work elsewhere. Kruse found that employee engagement is related to lower turnover, but that employee satisfaction does not naturally lead lower turnover in the company.

In addition to these differences in definition, a difference was also found between job engagement and organizational engagement. The goal of this research is to improve employee retention through improved employee satisfaction. However, this research indicates that organizational engagement is more important than job engagement in terms of improving the overall retention rate. This research supports the prior research study that indicates that an employee can be satisfied, but still not engaged. This research adds another dimension to this, indicating that a person can be engaged in the job that they do, but not necessarily in the organization that they work for. This means that they could do the same or a similar job in a different organization. Being engaged in the job, but not the organization can lead to the potential that the employee can be attracted away by competition that offers higher pay or the ability to work for a better company. This research indicates that a company needs to create an organization that leads to greater levels of employee engagement on the organizational level if they wish to retain a competent and qualified workforce.

Employee Satisfaction and Employee Empowerment

The purpose of this research study is to develop a way to improve employee retention at ETAP and at other oil and gas companies in Tunisia. Power distance is the perceived level of authority between manager and employees. Countries that have a low power distance have a higher level of employee empowerment those with a low power distance. Employee empowerment is the amount of power and autonomy that the employee has in the performance of their job. One example of a country with high power distance China. In this country the employee feels that there is little that they can do to change the outcome of their work situation. This contrasts with the example of Canada, where employees have the perception that they can have a dramatic effect on their working environment. These conclusions were found to occur both a cultural and psychological level.

Tunisia is a country where employees and those who manage and operate the oil companies have a high power distance. They employees are used to a high level of authority from their superiors. Decision-making is usually top-down and the employees have little influence over the direction of the company. The employee has little input in the performance of their job. This might have an effect on employee empowerment and an effect of employee satisfaction. This is a cultural construct that will have to be addressed in the conclusion of the study to determine the level of influence that it had.

Employee trust was found to play an important role in employee commitment. Trust was found to occur in three major areas: trust of other employees, trust in management, and trust in the organization. It was found that trust had a direction relationship to employee satisfaction. However, in terms of employee commitment, trust in the managerial staff had the greatest impact. Building employee trust will play a significant role in the ability of ETAP to build organizational commitment among their employees. The Middle East has a high level of expatriate employees that come to the country to work in the oil fields. Retaining expatriate employees is a special concern in the oil industry. The need to depend on expatriate employees stems from a shortage of educationally qualified workers in this highly technical field. Employee satisfaction among expatriate employees presents a special circumstance due to cultural and language barriers that might have an effect. Levels of employee trust will have to be considered as they relate to the expatriate population in Tunisia.

Turning Employee Satisfaction into Action

This literature was only a brief sample of the research that exists on employee empowerment, employee engagement, and employee satisfaction. This research explored the major factors briefly. However, the purpose of this research is to produce actionable results. The purpose is to develop a set of policies and programs to increase employee satisfaction at ETAP. Academic literature has already addressed this issue in academic research.

Employee satisfaction is the more commonly used variable in the development of programs designed to improve employee retention. Previously, the literature found that employee engagement is a better predictor of retention than employee satisfaction. Studies often assume that employee satisfaction leads to employee engage, as with a recent study by Dr. Susan Abraham. The study found that satisfied employee might just be working to meet the demand of the job. The study found that the most important actions that management can take to improve employee satisfaction and engagement are to assure that the organization has effective communication, adequate reward schemes, activities to build organizational culture, and team building activities.

It was found the attitude of the employee towards work had an effect on their continuing commitment to the organization. The study found that voluntary turnover increased when employees had a feeling of dissatisfaction with the workplace. This contradicts studies found earlier in the literature review that determined that employee engagement was a better predictor or reduced turnover rates than job satisfaction. The previous study downplayed the importance of employee satisfaction and employee engagement. This study found that job satisfaction was a predictor or employee engagement and that it did have an effect on the willingness to stay with an organization. The reasons for this contradiction might be due to several factors. These include the methods used to measure the parameter, the sample population, or other factors that were not considered in the design of the study.

Summary

The connection between employee engagement, organizational commitment, and employee satisfaction has been explored extensively. The length of this research study only allowed for a short exploration of literature on the research topic. The study found that conflicting evidence exists between studies. This conflict was regarding the connection between employee satisfaction and employee retention. It was found that some studies found a definite connection between employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Others found that employee satisfaction did not necessarily lead to employee engagement and job retention. This gap in the literature forms the basis of this research study.

The gap in the literature concerning the connection between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and retention forms the basis of this research study. The purpose of the study is to help ETAP find a way to improve the commitment and loyalty of their staff so that they can meet the demand of an anticipated increase in oil production in the near future. Employee satisfaction is one of the easier of the parameters to study using a survey methodology. This might be behind its frequent use in research studies. However, as the literature review indicated, employee satisfaction may or may not have a direct link to employee engagement and retention.

This research study will use an employee satisfaction survey to measure the emotional state of the employees towards their employer. The company is a state run institution and this might effects the results that are obtained in the study. In order to explore this further would require a parallel study conducted in a private sector company. This is beyond the scope of this research study. Without a comparative study, it is difficult to determine how much of the survey reflects trends in the industry and how much of it reflects the individual organization involved.

One of the most important factors in employee satisfaction and retention was the level of trust that employees had towards their mangers and the organization in general. Trust will play a major role in the survey used for this study. However, the power distance within the organization could have an effect on the willingness of the employees to provide accurate answers. They might answer in a more positive manner than their feelings would indicate for fear of retaliation by their supervisors. There might be other cultural factors that could affect the results achieved too.

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