, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 241-266

The impact of unions on job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and turnover

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Abstract

Conclusion The research on the exit-voice hypothesis, both in the United States and abroad, shows convincingly that most of the variance in the negative union effect on job satisfaction can be accounted for by job quality, industrial relation climate, and wages. Union members see their jobs as less attractive than do nonunion workers in terms of skill requirements, task complexity, the amount of autonomy or discretion available, and opportunities for promotion. Union members also perceive the supervision they receive and the labor-management relations they experience as less satisfactory. They are, however, clearly better off with respect to wages, benefits, and pensions. But when it comes to job satisfaction, the economic advantages of union jobs are not sufficient to compensate for job content and work environment factors. It comes as no surprise to the job satisfaction researcher that job content — the nature of the tasks people are given to do — weighs heavily in overall job satisfaction scores. While there are individual differences in the degree to which people prefer intrinsically interesting jobs, there is ample empirical evidence showing that autonomy, skill variety, complexity, challenge, and advancement are important determinants of people's affective reactions to their jobs (Deci, 1975; Hackman and Oldham, 1980; Kanfer, 1990). The relative importance of job content factors to overall job satisfaction is also mirrored in the most commonly used measures of job satisfaction (Weiss et al., 1967).