Careers: Study sheds new light on job satisfaction: Managers who put fair treatment before pay and status

BUSY as they are, struggling to find a route out of recession, Britain's managers probably do not feel particularly powerful. However, research suggests their day may yet come.

A new study by Peter Herriot, director of research at Sundridge Park management centre, and his assistant, Carole Pemberton, confounds the received wisdom about executive motivation. The report says that when it comes to job satisfaction, salary and seniority pale in comparison with being treated fairly.

Professor Herriot claims the research has produced two overall messages. First, the type of organisation affects how careers are managed; secondly, the way in which careers are managed affects satisfaction and therefore the numbers who leave an organisation.

Among other findings is that, while more than three-of those surveyed felt themselves to be on target or ahead of their companies' 'career timetable', a significant minority felt left behind.

Moreover, managers in larger organisations had generally reached lower levels and earned lower salaries than their counterparts in small companies.

Less surprisingly, older managers - although higher up the ladder and better paid than younger colleagues - felt further behind in the career timetable. Managers who changed jobs more frequently within their organisations reached higher levels and earned more.

None of this is particularly cheering for those involved in human resources - as personnel is now known - who have put a lot of effort into setting up systems for assessing and motivating managers.

According to Prof Herriot and Ms Pemberton, such organisational structures have an important effect on a company's career management, particularly in larger ones, where greater emphasis is placed on training and development. But there is a perception that the practices of bigger concerns are less fair, valuing specialist experience less, taking less responsibility for careers and providing career opportunities for fewer people than do their smaller counterparts.

'Fair dealing by the organisation is easily the most powerful predictor of career satisfaction. It is a much more powerful predictor than the managerial or salary level attained. Fair dealing is even a better predictor than career satisfaction of intention to leave the organisation,' Prof Herriot says.

This finding in based on responses to two questions contained in a questionnaire completed by 200 managers recently attending courses at the centre in Bromley, south London.

The questions were: How fairly do you think promotion decisions are made in your organisation? How often have agreements about your own career been honoured by your organisation?

The managers' average age was nearly 36, their average salary pounds 32,400 and they were predominantly from the energy and process sector (35 per cent), manufacturing (26.5 per cent) and finance (12 per cent).

Although older managers were less likely to have degrees, 128 of those questioned were graduates. There were 35 women in the sample.

Prof Herriot and his team were primarily concerned to test a theoretical model of managerial careers, assessing the significance of an organisation's career management structure. Analysis indicated general support for the model.

It was suggested that an organisation's structure was a powerful predictor of its career management practices, which in turn were more powerful influences on career satisfaction than career progress, with perceived fairness particularly important.

Using such an organisational model is likely to be more effective than an approach based on what Prof Herriot calls 'the prescriptions of human resource management ideology', such as profit-related pay and the perks that in the Eighties came to be a part of the modern manager's salary package.

(Photographs omitted)

Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
Robyn Lawley
people
News
people
News
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
News
people
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Life and Style
lifeDon't get caught up on climaxing
Life and Style
tech
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

1st Line Support Technician / Application Support

£20000 - £24000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider of web based m...

Team Secretary - (Client Development/Sales Team) - Wimbledon

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...

Accountant / Assistant Management Accountant

Competitive (DOE): Guru Careers: We are looking for an Assistant Management Ac...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star