Comparing levels of job satisfaction in the countries of Western and Eastern Europe
Vani K. Borooah
Purpose – This paper aims to provide a comparison of job satisfaction levels between countries of Western and Eastern Europe by first examining the extent of difference between the two sets of countries and then explaining these differences in terms of differences in job characteristics between the countries. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology employed is to use the estimates from an ordered logit model to decompose the probability of being at a particular level of satisfaction into its “attributes” and “coefficients” parts. The empirical foundation for the study is provided by data for over 20,000 employed respondents, pertaining to the year 2000, obtained from the 1999-2002 Values Survey Integrated Data File. Findings – Compared to East European countries, job satisfaction levels were considerably higher in West European countries. Moreover, there was considerably greater inequality in the distribution of job satisfaction in East European, compared to West European, countries. Job satisfaction depended critically on the constellation of job-related attributes that employees regarded as being “important”. The greater the weight that one placed on the external aspects of a job – pay, holidays, promotion chances etc. – the more likely one was to be dissatisfied. The greater the weight one placed on the internal aspects of a job – responsibility, usefulness, social interaction – the more likely one was to be satisfied. Practical implications – The methodology and conclusions will be useful to labour economists and to human resource managers. Originality/value – The reason that West European countries have higher levels of job satisfaction, compared to East European countries could, in part, be because they are better endowed with the “attributes” that promote job satisfaction; it could also, in part, be due to the “coefficient responses” of workers in West European countries, to a given set of attributes, being more conducive to job satisfaction than the corresponding responses of workers in East European countries. This paper estimates the relative importance of attributes and coefficients in determining differences in levels of job satisfaction between the two sets of countries.
Eastern Europe, Equal opportunities, Job satisfaction, Job specification, Western Europe
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