Job satisfaction in social services: The importance of recognition and organizational support
Jessen, Jorunn Theresia
Norwegian Social Research NOVA Oslo, Norway
Job satisfaction in social services: The importance of recognition and organizational support.
Social service workers are subject to systems of managerial control and conflicting demands, aimed to ensure effectiveness and service quality for service uses. Despite this policy rhetoric emphasizing service quality, the front line of social services is characterized by a lack of recognition. This paper presents the results of a study examining job satisfaction among social workers employed in the Norwegian public social services. The purpose is to investigate the influence of job rewards and the importance of external appreciation and organizational support in particular. Since social work are associated with stress and work overload, being valued and receiving rewards are expected to be important aspects of job satisfaction.
A central question is whether job satisfaction is influenced by client recognition and public approval, compared to other rewarding aspects related to the work environment.
The empirical data come from a 2004 quanti¬tative survey among social workers in local welfare agencies. Results show that the main sources of respondents´ job satisfaction are related to intrinsic rewards (e.g. helping others, interesting and developing work task) and the feeling of accomplishment, while organisational job demands were the main sources of dissatisfaction. Findings suggest that public approval and support from colleagues are significant rewards and important aspects of the workers´ job satisfaction. The paper emphasize the responsibility of
the welfare administration to create an organisational climate that recognize and sustain the worth and contribution of the social professionals, supporting them to cope with the emotional demands of their work