Citation
Work

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Title:
Work an analysis of subjective work experience utilizing Csikszentmihalyi's theory of play
Creator:
Wernick, Ruth Toby
Place of Publication:
Denver, Colo.
Publisher:
University of Colorado Denver
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
[xiii], 192 leaves : illustrations, forms ; 28 cm

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Degree:
Doctorate ( Doctor of Public Administration)
Degree Grantor:
University of Colorado Denver
Degree Divisions:
School of Public Affairs, CU Denver
Degree Disciplines:
Public Administration
Committee Chair:
Overman, E. Sam
Committee Members:
Neugarten, Dail
Pogrebin, Mark
Colwill, Nina L.

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Work -- Psychological aspects ( lcsh )
Work -- Psychological aspects ( fast )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 176-183).
Thesis:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Public Administration
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Ruth Toby Wernick.

Record Information

Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
Holding Location:
|Auraria Library
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
21114835 ( OCLC )
ocm21114835
Classification:
LD1190.P86 1988d .W37 ( lcc )

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Full Text
WORK: AN ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WORK
EXPERIENCE UTILIZING
CSIKSZENTMIHALYI'S THEORY OF PLAY
by
Ruth Toby Wernick
B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1969
M.A., Simmons College, 1974
M.P.A.,.University of Colorado, 1980
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the
University of'Colorado in partial fulfillment
of the requirments for the degree of
Doctor of Public Administration
Graduate School of Public Affairs
1988


Copyright by Ruth Toby Wernick 1989
All Rights Reserved


This thesis for the Doctor of Public Administration
degree by
Ruth Toby Wernick
has been approved for the
Graduate School
of Public Affairs
by
Date
December 12, 1988


Wernick, Ruth Toby (D.P.A., Public Administration)
WORK: AN ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WORK EXPERIENCE
UTILIZING CSIKSZENTMIHALYI1S THEORY OF PLAY
Dissertation directed by Associate Professor
E. Sam Overman
While there have been many studies on job
satisfaction, the preponderance of the job satisfac-
tion literature has not focused on the quintessence of
the work satisfaction experience itself as an internal
set of emotional reactions. The purpose of this study
was: 1) to explore the utility of one theory of
subjective experience, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of
Play, and 2) to learn more about subjective satisfac-
tion. The research provided answers to the following
two research questions: 1) is Csikszentmihalyi1s
Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of
describing subjective experience? and 2) what is the
nature of subjective satisfaction?
Investigative procedures involved utilizing
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play as a framework for
the qualitative investigation of people's perceptions
of what constitutes their work satisfaction
experiences. Specifically, four propositions,


V
developed from Csikszentmihalyi1s theory, were used to
provide a structure for the qualitative data
collection within a sample of men (N = 12) and women
(N = 8) from a variety of nonacademic occupational
categories at the University of Manitoba.
According to the analyses, many pieces of data
substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. It
was also found that people used other constructs
besides those encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's
typologyworry, boredom, anxiety, and flow or
satisfactionto describe their subjective experience
at work. In most of these instances, people were not
using different words to describe the same constructs,
they were describing emotional reactions not
encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's theory. The data
further revealed that people often used the constructs
found in Csikszentmihalyi1s typology but attached
different meanings to them. Based on the analyses,
the major finding of the investigation was that
Csikszentmihalyi's theory was not sufficient for the
purpose of describing the diversity and the complexity
that is inherent to subjective experience at work,


VI
even though many pieces of data supported the
propositions.
In actuality, the research findings revealed

that subjective experience at work differs in many
respects from the formal theoretical framework
developed by Csikszentmihalyi. For this reason, the
study incorporates a theory building set of
conclusions synthesizing the other constructs that
emerged from the data with other theories and
approaches to satisfaction in use.
The form and content of this abstract are approved. I
recommend its '
Signec
Faculty member in charge of dissertation


Dedicated to the memory of my beloved teacher and
friend, Joshua Zim.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
I would like to thank my dissertation advisor,
Sam Overman, and the members of my dissertation
committee, Dail Neugarten, Mark Pogrebin, and Nina
Colwill, for the benefit of their wisdom and
experience. I am especially grateful to my husband,
Gene, and to my mother, Sylvia Lovit, for their
support and encouragement.


CONTENTS
CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION...................................... 1
Purpose of the Study....................... 9
Definition of Terms........................10
Organization of the Document...............12
Summary....................................15
CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW............................ 16
Theoretical Concerns and Approaches to
Job Satisfaction in Use................18
Approaches to Work Satisfaction............28
Need Theory.............................28
Need-fulfillment Theory..............28
Discrepancy Theory...................31
Lawler's Model (1973) of the Causal
Determinants of Satisfaction.....33
Two-factor Theory....................35
Social Reference Theory.................38
Equity Theory........................39
Instrumentality Theory.................3 9
Expectancy Theory...................4 0
Discussion............................. 44
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play.......55


Concluding Remarks......................60
Restatement of the Purpose..................62
Propositions................................63
Contributions of this Study.................64
Summary.....................................65
CHAPTER III
THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES...................67
Design of the Study.........................73
Step 1: Development of Research
Propositions...................73
Step 2: Sample..........................75
Step 3: Research Questions..............78
Step 4: Data Analysis...................80
Step 5: Verification of the Data........84
Limitations and Delimitations...............87
Summary.....................................88
CHAPTER IV
FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION..................90
Constructs of Subjective Experience
Found in the Data......................93
Data that Substantiated Csikszentmihalyi1s
Theory.................................95
Worry...................................95
Boredom.................................99
Anxiety................................102
Flow
104


XI
Data that Do Not Substantiate Csikszentmi-
halyi s Theory.......................106
The Utility of Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory
of Play................................125
Summary....................................131
CHAPTER V
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS..................13 3
The Utility of Csikszentmihalyi's
Theory of Play..........................134
Towards a New Theory of Work
Satisfaction............................143
Other Constructs Found in the Data
as Overlay...........................143
Theories and Approaches to Satisfac-
tion as Overlays.........................147
Need Theories as Overlay................150
Social Reference Theory as Overlay......158
Instrumentality Theory as Overlay.......161
Concluding Remarks on the Meaning and
Centrality of Work for Individuals......166
Summary....................................175
BIBLIOGRAPHY.....................................176
APPENDIX
A. GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS.............184
B. EXPLANATION OF THE STUDY
191


TABLES
Table
1. Major Conceptionalizations of Job
Satisfaction Along with the Primary-
Proponents of Each Approach...............2 7
2. Sample Description (N = 20)...............76
3. Constructs Found in the Data..............94


FIGURES
Figure
1. Model of the determinants of
satisfaction..............................34
2. Model of the flow state....................56
3. Other constructs found in the data
as overlay...............................144
4. Need theories as overlay.................154
5. Social reference theory as overlay.......160
6. Instrumentality theory as overlay........162


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
Without work all life goes rotten. But when work is
soulless, life stifles and dies.
---Albert Camus
As the quote by Camus suggests, work is
something profound and basic in human nature. This
view is widely held even though controversies about
the meaning of work in human life are age-old and
likely to persist. For example, according to Freud,
work provides us with a sense of reality; to Elton
Mayo, work is a bond to community; to Marx, its
function is primarily economic. Theologians are
interested in work's moral dimensions; sociologists
see it as a determinant of status; and some
contemporary critics say that it is simply the best
way of utilizing one's time.
The desire to work is something profound and
basic in human nature because our relationship to work
activity is a fundamental determinant of the way we
live, influencing the food we eat, the goods we buy,


2
our use of leisure time, our mental health, our family
life and our social relationships. In short, our
relation to work has determined the type of society we
have created and perpetuated (Best, 1973). Further,
for most adults in industrial societies, there is no
satisfactory alternative to work; none offers
equivalent prospects for activity, meaning, recogni-
tion, and reward. It follows that the loss or denial
of work is damaging to the individual and hazardous
for the society (Kahn, 1981).
The nature of work has economic, social, and
personal dimensions. Although pay is a primary
motivation to seek and hold employment in most
instances, social interactions in the work place often
shape the broader social context of the worker for
several reasons. The work place has always been a
place to meet people, converse, and form friendships.
In traditional societies, where children are wont to
follow in their parents' footsteps, the assumption of
responsibility by the children for one task and then
another prepares them for their economic and social
roles as adults. In addition, the type of work
performed has always conferred a social status on the
worker and the worker's family. In industrial
America, the father's occupation has been the major


3
determinant of status, which in turn has determined
the family's class standing, where they lived, where
the children went to school, and with whom the family
associatedin short, the life style and economic
opportunities of all the family members. It is
important to note that the emerging new role of women
in our society may cause class standing to be
co-determined by the husband's and wife's occupation.
Far less attention has been paid to the
personal, subjective meaning of work than to the
economic and social meaning of work, yet it is clear
from recent research that work plays a crucial and
perhaps unparalleled psychological role in the
formation of: 1) self-esteem, 2) personal evaluation,
and 3) a sense of order to one's life. Work may
contribute to self-esteem in two ways: by providing
the individual with a sense of mastery, and by
enabling the individual to have a sense of accomplish-
ment. Through the inescapable awareness of one's
ability and competence in dealing with the objects of
work, individuals sense their degree of mastery over
both themselves and their environment. And when
working, one is engaged in activities that produce
something of value to others. Thus, work provides an
essential looking-glass to the individual.


4
The work place generally, then, is one major
focus of personal evaluation. It is where one learns
whether one is "making the grade"; it is where one's
self-esteem is constantly wrought; and where effort is
made to avoid negative self-appraisals. If one's
expectations and situational demands cannot be
attained, then one's self-esteem is likely to be
impaired, and with it, one's relations with others.
Doing well or poorly, being a success or failure at
work, is easily transformed into a measure of value or
worth in a broader social context.
The final component of the personal or
subjective experience of work has to do with the human
desire to impose order, or structure, on the world.
It is in the relation between the desire for order and
its achievement that work provides the sense of
mastery so important to self-esteem. That is, the
closer one's piece of the world conforms with one's
structural plans, the greater the satisfaction of
work. Thus, it can be concluded that the nature of
one's employment conditions constitutes a major source
of most Americans' self-images (Caplan, Cobb, French,
Van Harrison & Pinneau, 1980).
Many people work for personal, subjective
reasons which go far beyond the drive for satisfaction


5
of essential materialistic needs. The advance of
technology in American society, coupled with the
acquisition of material wealth, has fostered a broader
interpretation of "job" and "employment." Throughout
history the most common understanding of work has been
simplemen and women work to survive, and work is an
unquestioned necessity. But technology and affluence
have always enlarged the options of human choice for
some people in the society; i.e., there are people for
whom a job is an activity that they would gladly forgo
if a more acceptable option for putting bread on their
table were available.
Today, for many people, more elaborate needs
have evolved which must be satisfied through the
activity of work. It is for this reason that self-
esteem, identity, and sense of order have become more
important to the individual. Likewise, interpersonal
alienation, repression of individual dignity, and the
absence of growth opportunities have become more
serious problems in the work place.
If work is the major activity of adult life
for most people, whether or not they are satisfied
with their work is important. People's well-being on
the job is just as important as their well-being off
the job. As a consequence, if the job does not


6
provide some satisfaction, a worker may feel
frustration with results that may be costly to the
individual and to the employer.
There may be positive consequences for the
individual which result from job satisfaction. For
example, physical well-being is associated with job
satisfaction and there is evidence showing the
relationship between job satisfaction and mental
health (Kornhouser, 1965). In a series of studies,
French (e.g., 1974) tested a common theme in job
satisfaction researchthat the goodness of fit
between the individual's desires and the environment
is the major determinant of satisfaction. But French
went one step further, showing that dissatisfaction,
as the result of a poor individual-environment fit,
was causally related to depression, physiological
strain, and other indices of poor health.
Further, there is an intimate relationship
between job satisfaction and the quality of work life
(QWL) experienced by employees. In recent years,
particularly since the late 1960s, the manner in which
organizational members have reacted to their work and
work settings has been expressed in QWL terms.
Writers such as Lawler (1982) have increasingly argued
that the QWL should be valued, as are profits, in the


7
assessment of organizational effectiveness. Lawler
went so far as to suggest that improving the QWL
should become an important national priority. More
focus on job satisfaction, it would seem, might very
well work toward the dual goals of organizational
profits and high QWL.
Thus, it can be seen that job satisfaction/
dissatisfaction is an important focus for study in its
own right, given that work has such a psychologically
central place in most people's lives. Interestingly,
the preponderance of job satisfaction literature has
not focused on the psychological centrality of work.
The reason for this lack may be the result, at least
in part, of: 1) the influence of behaviorism on the
field of psychology; and 2) the problems created by
the use of predetermined investigator constructs and
measures.
In regard to the influence of behaviorism on
the field of psychology, Lawler (1973) wrote:
While psychology was under the influence of
behaviorism, psychologists avoided doing
research that depended on introspective self-
reports. Behaviorists strongly felt that if
psychology were to develop as a science, it
had to study observable behavior. (p. 48)
Since job satisfaction of workers has to do
with an internal, subjective state that is best


8
reported by the people experiencing it, the work
satisfaction experience as an internal set of
emotional reactions was not seen as a proper area for
study (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Lawler, 1973).
In regard to the use of predetermined
investigator constructs and measures, Fineman (1983)
argued that the search for a certain type of
scientific sense (nomothetic, generalistic, large
classificatory dimensions) has tended to miss what
initially seems to be the subject of concernhow
individuals construe their work experience. Fineman
(1983) stated:
We appear to have moved a long way from the
idiosyncracies of subjective meaning of work
and the passions of 'being' at work. It is as
if the very essence of the field of inquiry
has been reformed into something else
altogether'experience' and 'meaning' are
reduced to numerical records on relatively
simplistic descriptive items of a high
statistical consistency. (p. 146)
Exceptions to the use of predetermined
investigator constructs and measures are the case and
participant approaches of writers such as Fraser
(1968, 1969) and Frost, Mitchell and Nord (1978,
1982). However, these studies rarely appear in
traditional accounts on overall satisfaction despite
their expressive richness. As a result, the
preponderance of work satisfaction studies may


9
reflect little about the respondent's experience of
work, but perhaps a fair amount about the researcher's
constructs and measures. In other words, the studies
may reveal certain manifest reactions to work at a
level of which the individual is generally aware and
is able to translate readily onto the social
scientist's scales, or articulate in response to his
[her] questions.
Purpose of the Study
Thus, due in part to the influence of
behaviorism on the field of psychology and the
problems created by the use of predetermined
investigator constructs and measures, what seems to be
missing from the job satisfaction literature is an
exploration of the quintessence of the work
satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of
emotional reactions. This is a serious omission,
particularly when one attempts to base change efforts
on the research. This problem also increases the
difficulty of developing and testing theories of job
satisfaction.
This study has a two-fold purpose. One
purpose of this study is to explore the utility of one
theory of subjective experience, Csikszentmihalyi's


10
Theory of Play. A second purpose of this study is to
learn more about subjective job satisfaction.
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play will be used
as a framework for the qualitative investigation of
people's perceptions of what constitutes their work
satisfaction experiences. Developed from
Csikszentmihalyi's phenomenological investigations of
play, the goal of phenomenological research in general
is the intuitive understanding of the eidos. or
essence, of perceptions and cognitive experiences.
Specifically, four propositions, based on
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, will be used to
provide a structure for the qualitative data
collection. It is hoped that this research will
provide answers to the following two research
questions: 1) is Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play
sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective
experience? and 2) what is the nature of subjective
satisfaction?
Definitions of Terms
It is important to state clearly at the outset
of the study how the concepts of work, affective
reactions, and job satisfaction will be used through-
out this analysis. Hall's (1986, p. 13) definition


11
of work is followed here. He defined the nature of
work as "the effort or activity of an individual
performed for the purpose of providing goods or
services of value to others; it is also considered to
be work by the individual so involved."
Although the definition of job satisfaction is
not settled in the literature, the consensus is that
job satisfaction is an affective response to work
(Bullock, 1984). "Affective response or orientation"
with respect to job satisfaction means that job
satisfaction is a gut-level reaction, an emotional
response, a feeling of "liking" or "disliking"
(Bullock, 1984). In other words, job satisfaction is
a positive or negative emotional state associated with
one's work. This definition of job satisfaction
conveys the notion of generality. That is, job
satisfaction connotes the lumping together of the
various facets of work, including attitudes toward
co-workers, supervisors, top management, pay, work
environment, and so forth, into one overall summary
response (Bullock, 1984), for example, "I like my
job." It must therefore be distinguished from
satisfaction with specific dimensions of work roles.
To say that job satisfaction is a unitary
concept, however, does not imply that the causes of


12
this overall attitude are unidimensional. Obviously,
a person may be satisfied with one dimension of the
job and dissatisfied with another. The assumption
underlying the present view is that it is possible to
balance these specific satisfactions (pluses) against
the specific dissatisfactions (minuses) and thus
arrive at a composite or unitary satisfaction with the
job as a whole. Thus, for the purpose of this
discussion, the term "job satisfaction" will be
treated on the more general level, i.e., the composite
level as a unitary concept.
The advantage to using the unitary concept of
job satisfaction is that this approach recognizes the
fact that the nature of work is multifaceted, as
previously described, yet is experienced as a whole.
Further, while there may be specific connotations of
the various terms used in the literature on job
satisfaction, the term "job satisfaction" will not be
distinguished in this investigation from "work
satisfaction."
Organization of the Document
This study is divided into five chapters.
Following the Introduction chapter, the second chapter
contains a review of the major theoretical concerns


13
and approaches found in the literature on job
satisfaction. This review will demonstrate that the
present focus in the job satisfaction literature,
while it may illuminate certain practical and
theoretical issues, does not increase one's under-
standing of the construct of job satisfaction per se.
The analysis of the major approaches to job satisfac-
tion is presented in Chapter II in order to gain an
understanding of: 1) the major premises and
conceptual issues that support the understanding of
job satisfaction and some of its implications for
individuals, and 2) the similarities and differences
between the major approaches to job satisfaction found
in the literature. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play
is also presented and discussed in light of the other
approaches to job satisfaction. As previously stated,
this theory will be used as a guide for the explora-
tion of the research propositions, also presented in
Chapter II. Finally, Chapter II contains a restate-
ment of the purpose of the research, and a brief
statement of the contributionof this study.
Chapter III contains an overview of the
origins and specific uses of qualitative research
methods and a description of the specific steps used


14
in this qualitative investigation. The limitations
and delimitations of the study are also presented.
Chapter IV presents the major finding of the
investigation and a discussion which focuses on the
utility of Csikszentmihalyi's theory in relation to
the exploration of subjective work experience.
Specifically, this discussion addresses the first
research question posed in Chapter I: is
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the
purpose of describing subjective experience?
Chapter V contains a theory building set of
conclusions. Before the conclusions are presented,
a discussion of the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's
Theory of Play is presented. In essence, the theory
building set of conclusions synthesize what I have
learned from my research about one theory of
subjective experienceCsikszentmihalyi's Theory of
Play, the other constructs that emerged from the data
as a result of exploring the utility of
Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play, and the other
theories and approaches to satisfaction in use
presented in Chapter II. Chapter V concludes with
remarks about the meaning and centrality of work in
life for individuals. In general, the discussion in
Chapter V summarizes what I have learned from my


15
research about subjective experience. Specifically,
Chapter V basically addresses the second research
question posed in Chapter I: What is the nature of
subjective satisfaction?
Summary
The Introduction chapter described the
multifaceted and complex nature of work. The
centrality of work to most people was emphasized.
Reasons were given to substantiate why subjective
experience is an important focus for study. It was
also emphasized that due to the influence of
behaviorism on the field of psychology and the
problems created by the use of predetermined
investigator constructs and measures, the current job
satisfaction literature does not focus on the
quintessence of the work satisfaction experience
itself as an internal set of emotional reactions. The
twofold purpose of the study and the two research
questions that this study is designed to explore were
presented. Finally, the definitions of the major
concepts used in the analysis and the organization of
the remaining four chapters of the study were
presented.


CHAPTER II
LITERATURE REVIEW
Chapter II contains a review of the major
theoretical concerns and approaches of job satisfac-
tion found in the literature. It should be emphasized
here that the purpose of the following literature
review is not to draw conclusions about, for example,
the direction of the relationship between job
satisfaction and performance, or the direction of the
relationship between job satisfaction and nonwork
spheres of life. Rather, the purpose of the
literature review is to demonstrate that the present
focus in the literature, while it may illuminate
certain practical and theoretical concerns, does not
increase one's understanding of the construct of job
satisfaction per se.
Further, in order to gain an understanding of:
1) the major premises and conceptual issues that
support the understanding of job satisfaction and some
of its implications for individuals, and 2) the
similarities and differences of the major approaches


17
to job satisfaction, an analysis of the major
approaches to job satisfaction is included in the
review. Following the literature review,
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, which may be viewed
as a new approach to job satisfaction, will be
presented and discussed in light of the other
approaches to job satisfaction in use. In the final
sections of Chapter II, the purpose of the present
investigation is restated, the research propositions
are presented, and the specific contribution of this
study is presented.
It is important to state at the outset of the
literature review that some of the major approaches
found in the literature on job satisfaction are also
found in the literature on motivation. In point of
fact, satisfaction and motivation are not the same.
Because of the stated purpose of presenting the
approaches to job satisfaction, however, the
discussion below will not focus on the theoretical and
practical differences between the constructs of
satisfaction and motivation.
It is also important to state that no attempt
will be made to develop a composite list of all of the
components of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction


18
discussed. It will be seen, for example, that the
definitions of job satisfaction vary widely in the
approaches and that job satisfaction and job
dissatisfaction are often not considered on the same
continuum in the literature. Thus, the concepts of
job satisfaction/dissatisfaction are not "neat" nor
are they developed from similar assumptions. Further,
the components of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction in
some approaches are not readily identifiable. For
these reasons, any attempt to develop a composite list
would only result in a list of disparate components of
job satisfaction/dissatisfaction that would not be
useful for the stated purposes of this investigation.
Theoretical Concerns and Approaches to
Satisfaction in Use
The preponderance of the job satisfaction
literature is generally based on studies which have
tended to focus on job satisfaction measures of some
type and their relation to: "...any number of
variables, ranging from age, education, job level,
social status, satisfaction with the neighborhood one
lives in, to one's health" (Bullock, 1984). In
particular, a major focus in the literature has been,
and continues to be, the relationship of job


19
satisfaction to the variables of performance, nonwork
"spheres'1 of life, absenteeism, and turnover.
The literature on the relationship between job
satisfaction and performance has been concerned with
the assertion that satisfied workers would be more
productive. In the human-relations model used in the
1950s, managers and scientists believed that "a happy
worker was a good worker" and attempted to improve
performance by making employees happier. The research
and practical experience in the use of the human-
relations model was not substantiated however, i.e.,
trying to improve performance by making employees
happier was not shown to be successful. The research
evidence indicated a weak and inconsistent relation-
ship between performance and job satisfaction
variables.
More recently, the performance research has
been concerned with the reverse link, namely that job
satisfaction is a function of performance (Bullock,
1984). The performance-satisfaction link does not
easily lend itself to experimentation, however. That
is, performance cannot be directly manipulated to see
if it improves job satisfaction since the performance
is not directly under the control of the experimenter.


20
Thus, researchers have used more complex statistical
techniques for analyzing the relationship between
performance and satisfaction. For example, Bagozzi
(1980) used structural equation models to examine
causal links in performance-satisfaction relationships
and associated variables. He examined relationships
among performance, job satisfaction, achievement
motivation, self-esteem, and verbal intelligence in
salespeople. The results indicated that positive
correlation between performance and job satisfaction
was not due to the influence of the other variables.
Performance was found to lead to job satisfaction, but
the relationship depended on the extent to which
individuals evaluated the outcomes associated with the
job. Bagozzi also observed that since increased job
satisfaction did not lead to increased performance,
programs aimed at increasing job satisfaction should
be undertaken solely for the purpose of increasing job
satisfaction.
Ivancevich (1979) investigated performance-
satisfaction causal relationships using a longitudinal
study of project engineers. He found that the
performance-satisfaction relationship depended on the
type of work. For example, he concluded that a


21
satisfied employee.is a better worker but only on low-
stimulation tasks. The cautious speculation on the
unexpected performance-satisfaction relationship for
high-stimulation tasks was that the employees in those
jobs could have spent more time on the interesting and
challenging aspects of their work to the neglect of
the routine aspects, thus lowering their performance.
Other researchers have struggled with the
empirical relationship between performance and job
satisfaction. This struggle has resulted in a dilemma
for public managers. Specifically, if job satisfac-
tion causes performance, then organizations should try
to see that their employees are satisfied. However,
if performance causes job satisfaction, then high job
satisfaction is not necessarily a goal but rather a
by-product of an effective organization.
As previously stated, researchers have also
struggled with the empirical relationship between
nonwork spheres of life and job satisfaction.
Specifically, the focus in the literature on the
relationship between job satisfaction and nonwork
spheres of life (e.g., leisure and family), has to do
with the belief on the part of some researchers that
because job satisfaction generalizes or "spills over"


22
into other spheres.of life, those who are satisfied
with their work will also tend to be satisfied with
the rest of their lives (Bergermaier, Borg, &
Champoux, 1984). There is a competing hypothesis in
the literature that claims essentially the opposite
that nonwork factors affect work attitudes. This
"compensatory" hypothesis suggests contrasts or a
negative relation or effect between job and life
satisfactions.
Thus, theoretically, it is believed that a
person's job experiences and job satisfaction could
affect his or her life satisfaction positively or
negatively and his or her nonwork or life satisfaction
could affect job satisfaction positively or
negatively. If work satisfaction influences nonwork
attitudes, then programs such as job redesign that
attempt to enhance job satisfaction will improve, not
only the quality of work life, but also the overall
quality of life of workers. On the other hand, if
nonwork activities, experiences, and satisfaction
affect work satisfaction, then attempts at improving
quality of work life through job redesign or other
work innovations, will be less meaningful.


23
In a test of these relationships, Bergermaier
et al. (1984) found some support for the spillover
approach, but no support for the compensatory
approach. They also tested a "no relationship" model
of the relationships between work and nonwork
activities and found some support for this model as
well. They suggested that since the quality of
leisure activities appears to be the key factor in
individuals' general well-being, then improving work
experiences would not produce improvements in general
well-being.
With regard to absenteeism, each year it is
estimated that over 400 million work days are lost in
the United States due to employee absenteeism, or
about 5.1 lost days per year per employee (Yolles,
Carone & Krinsky, 1975). In many industries, daily
blue collar absenteeism runs as high as 10% to 20% of
the work force (Lawler, 1971). A study by Mirvis and
Lawler (1977) estimated the cost of absenteeism among
non-managerial personnel to be about $66 per day per
employee; this estimate included both direct salary
and fringe benefit costs, as well as costs associated
with temporary replacement and estimated loss of
profit. While such figures are admittedly crude,


24
combining the estimated total days lost with the costs
associated with absenteeism yields an estimated annual
cost of absenteeism in the U.S. of $26.4 billion.
Even taking the more conservative minimum wage rate
yields an estimated annual cost of $8.5 billion
(Steers & Rhodes, 1978).
In terms of the relationship between job
satisfaction and absenteeism, it seems reasonable to
predict that more satisfied workers will be absent
less frequently than the less satisfied workers.
However, the relationship between work satisfaction
and absenteeism is obscured in the literature because
absenteeism is caused by a number of factors other
than a person's voluntary choice not to come to work,
for example, illness and accidents. Those studies
that have separated voluntary absences from overall
absences have found that voluntary absence rates are
much more closely related to job satisfaction than are
overall absence rates (Vroom, 1964). This outcome
supports the causal assertion that job satisfaction
influences people's willingness to come to work
(Lawler, 1973).
Another causal assertion in the literature is
that work satisfaction influences turnover. That is,


25
if a worker is poorly paid and if there are other
opportunities available, a low level of work satis-
faction will contribute to turnover (Staw, 1980).
Studies in this area have consistently shown that
dissatisfied workers are more likely than satisfied
workers to terminate employment; thus, work satis-
faction scores can statistically predict turnover
(Lawler, 1973).
Public managers should be concerned with
turnover based on the strength and endurance of
another assumption: that turnover is a negative
consequence for organizations given several factors.
First, turnover almost always involves some costs for
the organization (e.g., recruitment, selection,
training). These costs may be more salient to
administrators than any benefits which may result from
a change in personnel. Second, from the perspective
of a personnel department, since turnover creates
operating expenses for the organization, a major way
for this department to contribute to the organization
would seem to be through a reduction in turnover
expenses (Staw, 1980).
Clearly there is a need for more studies that
would provide further inference regarding the


26
functional relationship between job satisfaction and
the aforementioned variables. For example, there are
a number of studies that have demonstrated a positive
relationship between productivity and job satisfac-
tion, while other studies have found no evidence of
this relationship. More studies on this subject might
reveal the specific circumstances under which a
positive relationship between productivity and job
satisfaction is actually found. Undoubtedly, this
disparity can be explained at the present time. In
order to be convincing, however, the explanation would
have to be based on a theory of job satisfaction. At
present there is not one but several major theoretical
approaches to job satisfaction in use. An analysis of
these major theoretical approaches to job satisfaction
in use is presented below. As stated previously, the
purpose of the analysis is not to draw conclusions on,
for example, the relationship between job satisfaction
and productivity or performance. The purpose of the
analysis below is to demonstrate that the present
theoretical focus in the literature does not increase
one's understanding of job satisfaction per se. The
other purposes of the analysis are to gain an
understanding of some of the major premises and


conceptual issues related to job satisfaction and to
learn about the similarities and differences between
the approaches. For purposes of the analysis, these
approaches can be thought of in terms of either need
theory, social reference theory, or instrumentality
theory (Table 1).
Table 1. Major Conceptualizations of Job Satisfaction
Along with the Primary Proponents of Each Approach
Approach
Need Theory
Hierarchy of Needs
Discrepancy Theory
Facet Satisfaction Model
Two-factor Theory
Social Reference Theory
Equity Theory
Instrumentality Theory
Expectancy Theory
Proponents
Maslow, 1943
Katzell, 1964; Locke, 1968
Lawler, 1973
Herzberg, et al., 1959
Adams, 1963
Vroom, 1964


28
Approaches to Work Satisfaction
Need Theory
Need theories suggest the kinds of things
people desire from life or work- Some need theories
stress money (e.g., the so-called Scientific
Management theories represented by Taylor, 1911),
others stress the social rewards to be derived from
participation in groups (e.g., Roethlisberger &
Dickson, 1939), and a third need theory category
emphasizes the need for individuals to fulfill
themselves as people. In the discussion below,
Maslow's need-fulfillment theory incorporates from
each of these categories, discrepancy theory,
including Lawler's (1973) model of the causal
determinants of satisfaction, and two-factor theory
are examples of this third category of need theory.
Need-fulfillment theory. The need-fulfillment
approach to job satisfaction is concerned with how
much individual needs are being satisfied. Maslow
(1943, 1954) proposed a theory of the development of
needs. He postulated that all human needs can be
arranged in an ascending hierarchy, and that the
lowest level unsatisfied needs are the main motivators


29
of human beings. The lowest level needs are
physiological, e.g., the needs for food, water,
shelter, and sex. If these needs are satisfied, the
next higher level needs become the motivating factors
of the individual. As long as low level needs are
unsatisfied, man is dominated by them and cannot be
concerned with needs of a higher order.
The next level beyond physiological needs are
the safety needs. These include freedom from bodily
harm or threat of harm, and also security in one's
job. The satisfaction of these needs leads to social
needs which are affection, friendship and interaction
with peers, friends, and one's family. Once social
needs are reasonably met, ego and esteem needs then
demand attention. Most people have a desire for self-
respect, self-confidence and a stable and positive
self-evaluation. They also need respect, recognition
and appreciation from others.
The top need identified in the hierarchy is
the desire for self-actualization or self-fulfillment.
This is the need to realize one's potential for self-
development, to be what one wants to be, to know one
is using all one's talents well and creatively.
Maslow maintained that a satisfied need ceases


30
to motivate behavior. Insufficient satisfaction of a
need can result in increased motivation, but if the
need cannot be satisfied, frustration may result
instead. If a lower need or primary need is not
satisfied, it must be satiated consistently with an
individual's expectations before higher needs become
operable. Once the need is satisfied, it does not
significantly influence behavior any longer.
A number of studies have attempted to test
Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. Most attempts to
establish evidence have failed (Bass & Barrett, 1981).
Some researchers have found that only two or three
levels of hierarchy exist (Alderfer, 1972; Lawler &
Suttle, 1972), while another researcher provided
little support for the assumption that a hierarchy of
needs exists at all (Ivancevich, 1969). In addition,
Maslow's notion that the stronger a need the more
likely a person will act to satisfy it, has not been
confirmed (Wahba & Bridwell, 1976). To date, the
hierarchy* of needs theory remains an interesting
"common sense" theory with an appeal to practitioners
but with little scientific validity (Harpaz, 1983).
Maslow's theory places satisfaction in the
role as "releaser mechanism" signaling the introduc-


31
tion to a new level of need. It also asserts that
each level of need in the hierarchy must be satisfied,
at least in part, before the higher level need becomes
a motivator.
Discrepancy theory. Katzell (1964) and Locke
(1968; 1969) have probably presented the two most
completely developed discrepancy theory approaches to
satisfaction. Like many discrepancy theorists,
Katzell saw satisfaction as the difference between an
actual amount and some desired amount; but unlike most
discrepancy theorists, he assumed that this difference
should be divided by the desired amount of the
outcome. Using Katzell's formula, the more an
individual wants of an outcome the more dissatisfied
one will be with a given discrepancy.
Locke (1969) stated a discrepancy theory that
differed from Katzell1s in several ways. First, Locke
emphasized that the perceived discrepancy, not the
actual discrepancy, is important. He also argued that
satisfaction is determined by the simple difference
between what the person wants and what he/she
perceives that he/she receives. Locke (1969) stated,
"Job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are a function
of the perceived relationship between what one wants


32
from one's job and.what one perceives that the job is
offering." A few researchers have argued that
satisfaction is determined by what one expects to
receive rather than by what one wants or feels one
received. Thus, the literature on job satisfaction
contains three different discrepancy approaches; the
first looks at what people want, the second at what
people feel they should receive, and the third at what
people expect to receive.
With discrepancy theories, it is not clear how
to equate dissatisfaction (or whatever this feeling
might be called) due to over-reward with dissatisfac-
tion due to under-reward. Hence, the following
questions remain unanswered: are they produced in the
same way? Do they have the same results? Do they
both contribute to overall job dissatisfaction? These
are some of the important questions that discrepancy
theories have yet to answer. Equity theory, discussed
later in this chapter, has dealt with some of these
questions-.


33
Lawler's model (1973) of the causal
determinants of satisfaction. An important model in
the job satisfaction literature is Lawler's model of
the determinants of satisfaction (Figure 1) which is
based on discrepancy theory. The model in Figure 1 is
a discrepancy model in the sense that it shows
satisfaction as the difference between a) what one
feels one should receive, and b) what one perceives
that one actually receives. The model indicates that
when one's perception of what one's outcome level is
and one's perception of what one's outcome level
should be are in agreement, one will be satisfied.
When one perceives one's outcome level as falling
below what one feels it should, one will be
dissatisfied. However, when one's perceived outcome
level exceeds what one feels it should be, one will
have feelings of guilt and inequity and perhaps some
discomfort (Adams, 1965). Thus, for any job factor,
the assumption is that satisfaction with the factor
will be determined by the difference between how much
of the factor there is and how much of the factor the
person feels there should be.


Figure 1. Model of the determinants of satisfaction
Note. From E. E. Lawler III, Motivation in Work Organizations. 1973, Monterey,
Calif.: Brooks/Cole.


35
The importance of Lawler's model is that it
represents what most theories of job satisfaction
argue: that overall job satisfaction is determined by
some combination of all facet-satisfaction feelings.
In other words, overall job satisfaction is determined
by the difference between all the things one feels one
receives from one's job and all the things one
actually does receive.
Two-factor Theory. Perhaps one of the most
famous and controversial theories of job satisfaction
is that suggested by Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman
(1959) and variously called the "Two-Factor," "dual,"
or "Motivation-Hygiene" theory. The data for the
original study were gathered through the "critical
incident recall" interview method with over 200
Pittsburgh accountants and engineers. The
interviewees were asked to recall a time when they
felt "exceptionally good" about a job, either their
present job or any other job they had held. This was
then repeated for an incident when the interviewees
felt "exceptionally bad" about a job. A content
analysis of the critical incidents resulted in
dividing the factors into two categoriessatisfiers


36
and dissatisfiers--by determining for each factor
whether it appeared more frequently in descriptions of
satisfying or dissatisfying incidents.
The satisfiers, which are also known as
motivators, intrinsic and job content factors, were
related to the actual content of the job. The
dissatisfiers, which are also known as hygiene,
extrinsic and job context factors, were related to the
context in which an individual performed a job. From
these findings a "two-factor" hypothesis was
developed; it suggested that factors in a job
situation which make people happy are not the same
factors which make them unhappy.
Rather than being opposing poles on a single
continuum of satisfaction, satisfaction and
dissatisfaction are two independent dimensions; i.e.,
the presence of the "motivators": achievement,
recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement,
and possibility of growth, can lead to high job
satisfaction while their absence does not lead to
r
dissatisfaction. The latter can only result,
according to Herzberg et al. (1959), through the
presence of "hygienes": company policy and
administration, technical supervision, relations with


37
superiors, working.conditions, relations with co-
workers, personal life, pay, relations with
subordinates, status, and job security. Their
absence, in turn, does not lead to satisfaction.
Herzberg's et al. formulation has received a
vast amount of attention from academicians and practi-
tioners alike. Results similar to Herzberg's et al.
original study were obtained with many different
occupational groups and in a variety of organizational
settings (e.g., Friedlander & Walter, 1964). However,
a number of studies have failed to support the theory
or parts of it (e.g., Dunnette, Campbell & Hakel,
1967). In general, the two-factor theory has been
criticized for various reasons including: inability
to generalize to other occupations (House & Wigdor,
1967); oversimplification of the nature of job
satisfaction (Dunnette, Campbell & Hakel, 1967); and,
methodological grounds (Korman, 1971). Although there
is a long list of critics, the work of Herzberg et al.
has had a- significant impact on the thought and
research of job satisfaction (Steers & Porter, 1975).


38
Social Reference Theory
Social reference theories, like equity theory,
suggest not only that people need and seek the company
of others, but also indicate why they do so. Two
major propositions form the basis of social reference
theories. The first proposition holds that people
seek others in order to evaluate themselves,
particularly their skills, abilities, ideas, and
opinions. While height, weight, hair color, and other
physiological characteristics can be assessed with
reference to a nonhuman standard, one can only assess
psychological characteristics by reference to other
people. Thus, people may gain some self-knowledge
locating themselves in the larger fabric of their
social contacts. In addition, social reference theory
suggests the importance of having a wide range of
social comparison opportunities as one develops.
The second proposition holds that people will
seek to locate themselves in situations in which their
abilities and opinions are similar to those of others.
According to social reference theory, satisfaction
results when there is a perceived equity between what
an individual contributes and receives, at work for
example, compared to relevant others.


39
Equity theory. Adams (1963; 1965) argued in
his version of equity theory that work satisfaction is
determined by a person's perceived input-outcome
balance in the following manner: the perceived equity
of a reward is determined by an input-outcome balance;
this perceived equity, in turn, determines satisfac-
tion. As previously stated, work satisfaction results
when perceived equity exists, and dissatisfaction
results when perceived inequity exists. Thus, work
satisfaction is determined by the perceived ratio of
what one receives from one's job relative to what one
puts into one's job. According to equity theory,
either under-reward or over-reward can lead to
dissatisfaction, although the feelings are somewhat
different. The theory emphasizes that over-reward
leads to feelings of guilt, while under-reward leads
to feelings of unfair treatment.
Instrumentality Theory
Expectancy theories, variously called
instrumentality, path-goal, performance-reward, or
valence theories, do not specify what people desire;
they show how people's desires motivate the direction
and level of their behavior. Effort, or motivated


40
behavior, is thereby directed at obtaining specific,
manifest, desired "satisfactions," e.g., money,
prestige, early retirement, equity, or whatever the
person desires and perceives he or she can attain.
Further, expectancy theories view people as rational
beings, as thinking humans who are able to make
decisions. A person's desires might be considered
irrational by some standards, yet the theory would
still accurately predict the "irrational" behavior.
Expectancy theory. In its general form,
expectancy theory attempts to explain how behavior is
directed and why individuals choose a particular
behavior in order to reach a goal. For this reason,
it is an important tool for understanding satisfac-
tion. Expectancy theory is based on a number of
specific assumptions about the causes of behavior in
organizations. They are:
Assumption 1: Behavior is determined by a
combination of forces in the individual and forces in
the environment. Neither the individual nor the
environment alone determines behavior. Individuals
come into organizations with certain "psychological
baggage." This influences how individuals respond to
their work environment. The work environment provides


41
structures which influence the behavior of people
(e.g., pay system). Different environments tend to
produce different behavior in similar people just as
dissimilar people tend to behave differently in
similar environments (Nadler & Lawler, 1983).
Assumption 2: People make decisions about
their own behavior in organizations. While there are
many constraints on the behavior of individuals in
organizations, most of the behavior that is observed
is the result of individuals' conscious decisions.
These decisions usually fall into two categories.
First, individuals make decisions about membership
behaviorcoming to work, staying at work, etc.
Second, individuals make decisions about the amount of
effort they will direct toward performing their jobs.
This includes decisions about how hard to work, how
much to produce, at what quality, etc. (Nadler &
Lawler, 1983) .
Assumption 3: Different people have different
types of needs, desires and goals. Individuals differ
on what kinds of outcomes (or rewards) they desire.
Assumption 4: People make decisions among
alternative plans of behavior based on their
perceptions (expectancies) of the degree to which a


42
given behavior will lead to desired outcomes. People
tend to do those things which they see as leading to
outcomes (which can also be called "rewards") they
desire and avoid doing those things they see as
leading to outcomes that are not desired.
Three concepts serve as the key building
blocks of expectancy theory. They are:
Performance-Outcome Expectancy. Every
behavior has associated with it, in an individual's
mind, certain outcomes (rewards or punishments). In
other words, the individual believes or expects that
if he or she behaves in a certain way, he or she will
get certain things (Nadler & Lawler, 1983).
Outcomes may be either intrinsic or extrinsic.
Intrinsic outcomes are seen as occurring directly as a
result of performing the task itself and are outcomes
which the individual thus gives to him or herself
(i.e., feelings of accomplishment, creativity,
satisfaction, etc.). Extrinsic outcomes associated
with performance are provided or mediated by external
factors (the organization, the supervisor, the work
group, etc.).
Valence. Each outcome has a "valence" (value,
worth, attractiveness) to a specific individual.


43
Outcomes have different valences for different
individuals because valences result from individual
needs and perceptions. Individual needs and
perceptions differ because they in turn reflect other
factors in the individual's life. For example, some
individuals may value an opportunity for promotion or
advancement because of their needs for achievement or
power (Nadler and Lawler, 1983).
Effort-Performance Expectancy. Each behavior
also has associated with it in the individual's mind a
certain expectancy or probability of success. This
expectancy represents the individual's perception of
how hard it will be to achieve such behavior and the
probability of his or her successful achievement of
this behavior (Nadler & Lawler, 1983).
Putting these concepts together, Nadler and
Lawler (1983) concluded that the attempt to behave in
a certain way is greatest when: a) the individual
believes that the behavior will in probability lead to
outcomes '(performance-outcome expectancy) ; b) the
individual believes that these outcomes have positive
value for him or her (valence); and c) the individual
believes that he or she is able to perform at the
desired level (effort-performance expectancy).


44
Given a number of alternative levels of
behavior, the individual will choose that level of
performance which has the greatest motivational force
associated with it, as indicated by the expectancies,
outcomes, and valences- In other words, when faced
with choices about behavior, the individual goes
through a process of considering such questions as,
"Can I perform at that level if I try?" "If I perform
at that level, what will happen?" "How do I feel
about those things that will happen?" The individual
then decides to behave in that way which seems to have
the best chance of producing positive, desired
outcomes (Nadler & Lawler, 1983), e.g., satisfaction.
In general, expectancy theory views people as
having their own needs and mental maps of what the
world is like. The theory postulates that people use
these maps to make decisions about how they will
behave, behaving in those ways which their mental maps
indicate will lead to satisfaction of their needs.
Discussion
It can be seen that the theories described, to
a greater or lesser degree, are relevant to the study
and explanation of satisfaction and some of its


45
implications for individuals. It can also be seen
that the approaches vary widely. For example, need
theories state that different things energize people
to do something, but the theories do not indicate what
people will do. The same is true, to a lesser extent,
for social reference theories. Expectancy theories do
not postulate the kinds of needs all people have in
general. With respect to satisfaction, expectancy
theories concentrate on the thought processes that
enable people to decide what they must do in order to
obtain the things, whatever they are, that they feel
will satisfy them.
The definitions of satisfaction of each
approach also vary depending upon the theoretical
framework. For example, to Maslow (1954),
satisfaction may mean the number of needs actually
satisfied. To Vroom (1964), satisfaction may mean the
amount of anticipated need satisfaction or the valence
of an outcome. Because the definitions of
satisfaction vary, the measurement of satisfaction
varies depending on which approach is used.
Researchers using the need-fulfillment
approach in relation to satisfaction measure job
satisfaction by finding out how much of a given job


46
facet an individual is receiving such as pay and self-
respect. Some researchers weight these various needs
and outcomes according to how important they are to
the individual, based on the presumption that some
needs are more important than others.
The discrepancy theory approach generally
views job satisfaction as the difference between
desired outcomes and actual outcomes. Researchers
using this approach assess how much of an outcome
individuals think they should get and how much they
are actually getting, and they use subtraction to
indicate the amount of job satisfaction.
It can be seen that perceptions play an
important role in Lawler's model. This process takes
the form of perceived personal job input, perceived
job characteristics and perceived amount received.
Lawler argued that overall job satisfaction could be
determined by the combination of all facet satisfac-
tion feelings of an individual. He believed that
facet satisfaction scores should be weighted according
to their importance to the individual because some
contribute more to satisfaction than others.
Researchers using the conceptualization of
Herzberg et al. look at the sources of job


47
satisfaction as different from the sources of job
dissatisfaction and attempt to assess how many of the
dissatisfaction-producing factors and how many of the
satisfaction-producing factors are present.
Researchers using the equity theory approach
measure the input-outcome ratio (how much individuals
put into their job vs. how much they get out of it)
and then compare this ratio with their perception of
other people's input-outcome ratio. As stated, this
approach uses a social comparison process and suggests
that satisfaction results when there is equity between
an individual's input-outcome balance when compared to
relevant others.
Researchers using the expectancy theory
approach in relation to satisfaction measure the
attitudes individuals have in order to diagnose
motivational problems. The results from this
questionnaire are then used to calculate work-
motivation scores. A score can be calculated for each
individuaT, and scores can be combined for groups of
individuals. The work-motivation score is designed to
help with the diagnosis of why employees are motivated
or not, what the strength of motivation is in


48
different parts of.the organization, and how effective
different rewards are for motivating performance.
While the various approaches of satisfaction
vary widely in terms of definition and measurement of
satisfaction, they are similar in that they
demonstrate little or no concern with the construct of
subjective satisfaction per se. For example, Maslow's
need theory, perhaps the most simplistic of all of the
approaches to satisfaction, does not deal with the
kinds of affective reactions that people experience in
association with or as a result of motivated behavior.
According to his theory, satisfaction is simply a
satisfied need and dissatisfaction is simply
insufficient satisfaction of a need. Further, he
placed satisfaction in the role of a "releasor
mechanism" signaling the introduction to a new level
of need beginning with physiological needs and
continuing with safety needs, social needs, esteem
needs and self-actualization needs. Maslow asserted
that each*level of need in the hierarchy must be
satisfied, at least in part, before the higher level
need becomes motivating. Clearly, Maslow's theory


49
does not illuminate the internal subjective state of
satisfaction/dissatisfaction per se.
Similarly, the same conclusion can be drawn in
regard to discrepancy theory, with the somewhat
limited exception of Lawler's (1973) model of facet
satisfaction; i.e., neither need theory nor
discrepancy theory illuminates the internal subjective
state of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. However,
rather than presenting satisfaction as a satisfied
need, discrepancy theory generally views satisfaction
as either the difference between an actual amount and
some desired amount in relation to what people want,
what people feel they should receive, and/or what
people expect to receive. Thus, in discrepancy
theory, satisfaction may be viewed, not as a hierarchy
of needs, but as a simple equation. The discrepancy
theory equation is: what people want (what people
feel they should receive, what people expect to
receive) minus what people get (felt they should have
received, expected to receive) equals satisfaction/
dissatisfaction (people got what they wanted, felt
they should have received, expected to receive or
people did not get what they wanted, felt they should
have received, expected to receive).


50
Lawler's (1973) discrepancy model of
satisfaction has more to say about subjective
experience than does the discrepancy theory of Katzell
(1964) and Locke (1968, 1969). Like Katzell and
Locke, Lawler's model describes satisfaction/
dissatisfaction as an equation. However, unlike
Katzell and Locke, Lawler's (1973) model of satisfac-
tion illuminates subjective experience not in relation
to satisfaction and not when the perceived outcome
level falls below what one feels it should be (under-
reward) but, as previously stated, only with respect
to over-reward. Specifically, Lawler postulated that
in the case of over-rewardi.e., when a person's
perceived outcome level exceeds what the person feels
it should bethe person will have feelings of guilt,
inequity and perhaps some discomfort. According to
Lawler's model then, there are two types of subjective
experience related to dissatisfaction, and in only one
type of dissatisfaction (over-reward) are the
components of subjective experience delineated.
It is important to note here that with respect
to both need theory and discrepancy theory, it may be
assumed that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are at
opposing ends on a single continuum. The


51
conceptualization of satisfaction of Herzberg et al.
is totally unlike the previous theories discussed in
this regard. Unlike the other theories of
satisfaction presented which place satisfaction/
dissatisfaction as opposing ends on a single
continuum, Herzberg et al. presented satisfaction and
dissatisfaction as two independent continua.
Even though Herzberg placed satisfaction.and
dissatisfaction on two different continua, motivation-
hygiene theory is not unlike, need theory or
discrepancy theory in that the research of Herzberg et
al. did not depend on introspective self-report. Thus
satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not viewed as
internal psychological states and the theory does not
illuminate the construct of satisfaction per se.
Equity theory is similar to discrepancy theory
in the sense that it may be viewed in terms of an
equation. In this case, satisfaction/dissatisfaction
equals the perceived ratio of what one receives from
one's job- relative to what one puts into one's job.
Unlike discrepancy theory, equity theory emphasizes
the importance of other people's input-outcome balance
in determining how one will judge the equity of one's
own input-outcome balance. Equity theory argues that


52
people evaluate the fairness of their own input-
outcome balance by comparing it with their perception
of the input-outcome balance of their "comparison-
other" (the person with whom they compare themselves).
This emphasis does not enter into discrepancy theory.
Although there is an implied reference to "other" in
the discussion of how people develop their feelings
about what their outcomes should be, discrepancy
theory does not explicitly state that this is a
perception of what other people contribute and
receive. This difference underscores a strength of
equity theory relative to discrepancy theory.
Equity theory clearly states how one assesses
one's inputs and outcomes in order to develop one's
perception of the fairness of one's input-outcome
balance. Discrepancy theory, on the other hand, is
vague about how people decide what their outcomes
should be. The theories are thus superficially
similar in that they both stress the importance of
a person's perceived outcomes along with the
relationship of these outcomes to a second perception.
In discrepancy theory, the perception of what the
person wants the outcomes to be is left vague; in
equity theory, this perception is constituted by a


53
person's perception of inputs in relation to the
inputs and outcomes of others (Lawler, 1973).
Like Lawler's (1973) model of facet
satisfaction, equity theory sheds light on the
subjective experience related to dissatisfaction.
According to equity theory, either under-reward or
over-reward can lead to dissatisfaction. Here equity
theory illuminates the subjective experience related
to dissatisfaction more than Lawler's model. In
Lawler's model, dissatisfaction due to under-reward is
not described, and subjective experience related to
over-reward is described as leading to feelings of
guilt and inequity and perhaps some discomfort.
According to equity theory, over-reward leads to
feelings of guilt, while under-reward leads to
feelings of unfair treatment. Hence, equity theory
goes beyond Lawler's (1973) facet model of
satisfaction in terms of describing subjective
experience. Like need theory, discrepancy theory, and
motivation-hygiene theory, equity theory is not
concerned with the kinds of affective reactions that
people experience in association with or as a result
of satisfaction.
The expectancy theory model, like discrepancy


54
theory and equity theory, could be viewed in terms of
an equation. It is unlike these two theories in that:
1) it is a theory of motivation primarily rather than
a theory of satisfaction; and 2) it is a much more
complex equation than either discrepancy theory or
equity theory. The equation involves the critical
perceptions which contribute to motivation. In
simplified terms, the equation expresses that the
strength of a person's motivation to perform
effectively is influenced by 1) the person's belief
that effort can be converted into performance, and 2)
the net attractiveness of the outcomes that are
perceived to stem from good performance.
Expectancy theory goes beyond most of the
psychological research on motivation in the sense that
it deals with subjective experience, e.g., intrinsic
outcomes of motivated behavior. However, the theory
is not well-developed with respect to intrinsic
outcomes and does little to illuminate the subjective
experience of satisfaction/dissatisfaction.
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is one
theory which does attempt to illuminate subjective
experience. It can therefore be considered yet
another approach to satisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi's


55
Theory of Play, the theory to be examined in this
research, is described below.
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play
Csikszentmihalyi's (1975) Theory of Play is
based on an examination and extrapolation of his
phenomenological studies of the psychology of play.
Csikszentmihalyi referred to the experience of play as
"optimal" experience or "flow". The model (Figure 2)
which describes dynamic states of consciousness, is
based on the axiom that, at any given moment, people
are aware of a finite number of opportunities which
challenge them to act; at the same time, they are
aware also of their skillsthat is, of their capacity
to cope with the demands imposed by the environment.
When a person is challenged with demands which he or
she feels unable to meet (i.e., the opportunities for
action are greater than the individual1s
capabilities), a state of worry may ensue. A person
may pass from the state of worry into that of anxiety
if the worry becomes extreme. "Flow" is experienced
when people perceive opportunities for action as being
evenly matched by their capabilities. If, however,


56
ACTION
OPPORTUNITIES
(CHALLENGES)
Figure 2. Model of the flow state.
Note. From M. Csikszentmihalyi, Beyond Boredom and
Anxiety. 1975, San Francisco, Calif.: Jossey-Bass
Inc., Publishers.


57
skills are greater than the opportunities for using
them, boredom will follow^ A person may pass from the
state of boredom into that of anxiety if the boredom
becomes extreme. Thus, a flow activity is one that
provides optimal challenges in relation to the actor's
skills. It is postulated in the research propositions
that flow results in the emotional consequence of
satisfaction and boredom and worry, as well as
anxiety, result in the emotional consequence of
dissatisfaction.
The flow model was tested in Csikszent-
mihalyi's (1975) studies of groups of people who
seemed to spend much time and energy engaged in
activities because of the rewards provided by the
activity itself: e.g., chess masters, rock climbers,
dancers, basketball players. Out of this initial
study, extremely similar descriptions of the
characteristics of flow or optimal experience were
collected*. They included: 1) the merging of action
and awareness; 2) the centering of attention on a
limited stimulus field; 3) the loss of ego; 4) a
feeling of control over the situation; 5) the
situation contains noncontradictory demands for


58
action; and 6) the flow experience is autotelic in
nature (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). These character-
istics are described below.
The primary characteristic of flow is the
merging of action and awareness (Csikszentmihalyi,
1975). Thus, a person in flow has no dualistic
perspective; one is aware of one's actions but not of
the awareness itself. Typically, a person can
maintain a merged awareness with one's actions only
for short periods broken by interludes during which
one adopts an outside perspective. These
interruptions occur 'when guestions flash through the
actor's mind, such as, "Am I doing well?"
This merging of action and awareness is made
possible by a second characteristic of flow
experiencea centering of attention on a limited
stimulus field. To ensure that people will
concentrate on their actions, potentially intruding
stimuli must be kept out of attention. Some writers
have called this process a "narrowing of
consciousness," a "giving up the past and the future"
(Maslow, 1971), which implies a total being in the
present moment.


59
Another characteristic of flow experiences has
been variously described as "loss of ego," "self-
forgetfulness," "loss of self-consciousness," and even
"transcendence of individuality" (Csikszentmihalyi,
1975). When an activity involves the person
completely with its demands for action, self-
forgetfulness occurs. Self-forgetfulness does not
mean that in flow one loses touch with one's own
physical reality; rather, one has a heightened
awareness of the present situation.
Yet another characteristic of a person in flow
is his or her control of his/her actions and of the
environment. In an organizational context this
implies that one feels no fear of being overwhelmed by
the job and no fear of underuse of one's skills.
Another characteristic of the flow experience
is that it usually contains coherent, noncontradictory
demands for action and provides clear, unambiguous
feedback to a person's actions. These components of
flow, like the preceding ones, are made possible
because one's awareness is limited to a restricted
field of possibilities. In an organizational context,
unambiguous feedback means that not only are the work
goals logically ordered, but a person is not expected


60
to do incompatible things. Further, the person knows
what the results of various possible actions will be.
Finally, the flow experience is "autotelic" in nature:
it appears to require no goals or rewards external to
itself.
Csikszentmihalyi (1979) replicated his initial
study with people in a variety of occupations:
surgeons, teachers, mathematicians, secretaries, and
workers, ranging from the assembly line to management.
In each case, the descriptions of flow coincided
strongly in the reported subjective dimensions of the
experience. Thus, while people in an organizational
context do ostensibly work for extrinsic rewards like
salary, the "flow" or personal, subjective
characteristics can still be present.
Concluding Remarks
It is clear that Csikszentmihalyi1s
theoretical framework focuses on subjective
experience. His studies graphically make the point
that subjective experience falls into the following
categories: worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow. These
categories are not used in the other approaches to
work satisfaction to describe subjective experience.


61
That is not to say.that Csikszentmihalyi1s theory is
totally unlike the other approaches to satisfaction.
In point of fact, Csikszentmihalyi1s conceptualization
of satisfaction is similar to the conceptualizations
of satisfaction described because it focuses on
behavior, attitudes, choices, on cognitive processes,
performance and on relationships between interpersonal
and external events.
However, unlike the other approaches to
satisfaction described, Csikszentmihalyi1s theory is
primarily concerned with the kinds of affective
reactions that people experience in association with
or as a result of motivated behavior. Also unlike the
other approaches to satisfaction, Csikszentmihalyi1s
theory is the only approach that specifically
delineates the internal psychological state associated
with satisfaction (optimal experience or flow).
Like Lawler's (1973) model of facet satisfac-
tion and equity theory, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of
Play also* sheds light on the subjective experience of
dissatisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi did not view
dissatisfaction in terms of under-reward or over-
reward like Lawler's model and equity theory. Rather,
Csikszentmihalyi viewed dissatisfaction in terms of


62
boredom and worry, and, in the extreme, in terms of
anxiety.
It can be concluded from the preceding
discussion that a great deal of research has been done
on both the relationship between job satisfaction and
other variables such as performance, and on
theoretical approaches to looking at satisfaction.
Despite the research, critics have legitimately
complained that our understanding of job satisfaction
has not substantially increased during the last 30
years. The result is a vast array of often
contradictory facts and theories, and little
understanding of the quintessence of the work
satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of
emotional reactions.
Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play may be
viewed as a new approach to satisfaction, one that
does focus primarily on subjective experience per se.
This theory, which is based on a number of specific
assumptions about the causes of subjective experience,
will now be examined.
Restatement of the Purpose
This study will examine one theory of


63
subjective experience and explore the nature of
subjective satisfaction. The theory chosen to be
examined is Csikszentmihalyi's (1975) Theory of Play.
Developed from Csikszentmihalyi1s phenomenological
investigations of play, the goal of phenomenological
research in general is the intuitive understanding of
the eidos, or essence, of perceptions and cognitive
experiences.
Since this research is exploratory in nature,
qualitative research methods were chosen as the
research methodology. In addition, four propositions,
based on Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play, will be
used to provide a structure for the data collection.
It is hoped that this research will provide answers to
the following two research questions: 1) Is
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play sufficient for the
purpose of describing subjective experience? and 2)
what is the nature of subjective satisfaction?
Propositions
As previously stated, utilization of four
propositions based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of
Play will provide a structure for the qualitative data
collection. They are:


64
1) People experience worry (job dissatisfaction) when
their skills are less than the challenges of the job
regardless of level of skill.
2) People experience boredom (job dissatisfaction)
when their skills are greater than the challenges of
the job regardless of level of skill.
3) People experience anxiety (job dissatisfaction)
when their skills are either much greater or much less
than the challenges of the job regardless of level of
skill.
4) People experience flow (job satisfaction) when
their skills are equal to the challenges of the job
regardless of level of skill.
Contributions of This Study
This research will provide answers to the
following two research questions: 1) is
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play sufficient for the
purpose of describing subjective experience? and
2) what is the nature of subjective satisfaction? In
other words, the findings of this investigation will
determine whether it is possible to confirm one theory
of subjective experience. Irrespective of whether it
is possible to confirm one theory of subjective


65
experience, more will be learned about the nature of
subjective satisfaction. Further, the findings of
this research will provide useful information for
researchers with respect to the theories and
approaches to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter
II, and for further research. Finally, the findings
of this research will also provide useful information
to public managers who wish to build flow into
workers' everyday life.
Summary
In the second chapter, a review of the major
theoretical concerns and approaches to satisfaction in
use found in the literature was presented. The
purpose of the literature review was to demonstrate
that the present focus in the literature does not
increase one's understanding of the construct of
satisfaction per se. Further, in order to gain an
understanding of: 1) the major premises and
conceptual issues that support the understanding of
satisfaction and some of its implications for
individuals; and 2) the similarities and differences
of the major approaches to satisfaction, an analysis
of the major approaches to satisfaction was presented.


66
Following the literature review, Csikszentmihalyi1s
Theory of Play was described and discussed in light of
the other approaches to satisfaction in use. In the
final sections of Chapter II, the purpose of the
present investigation was restated, the research
propositions were presented, and the specific
contribution of this study was presented.


CHAPTER III
THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES
Qualitative research methods were used in the
present research to examine the worry, boredom, flow
and anxiety experiences of selected individuals at
work. Broadly speaking, these methods cover an array
of interpretive techniques which seek to describe,
decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with
the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or
less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world
(Van Maanan, 1983).
Qualitative methods are derived most directly
from the ethnographic and field study traditions in
anthropology (Pelto & Pelto, 1978) and sociology
(Bruyn, 1966). More generally, the holistic-inductive
paradigm of naturalistic inquiry is based on
perspectives developed in phenomenology (Bussis et
al., 1973; Carini, 1975), symbolic interactionism,
naturalistic behaviorism (Denzin, 1978), ethno-
methodology (Garfinkel, 1967), and ecological
psychology (Barker, 1968). Many of the qualitative
research techniques currently in use in organizational
research have their origins in clinical psychology
(see Anderson & Anderson, 1951; Mills, 1969). An


68
integrating theme running through these traditions is
the fundamental notion or doctrine of verstehen
(Patton, 1980).
The verstehen approach assumes that the social
sciences need methods different from those used in
agricultural experimentation and natural science
because human beings are different from plants and
nuclear particles. The verstehen tradition stresses
understanding that focuses on the meaning of human
behavior, the context of social interaction, and
empathetic understanding based on intersubjective
experience, and the connections between subjective
states and behavior. The tradition of verstehen or
understanding places emphasis on the human capacity to
know and understand others through sympathetic
introspection and reflection from detailed case
description and/or observation (Patton, 1980). Thus,
the product of qualitative data collection is depth
and detail (Patton, 1980). Depth and detail emerge
through direct quotation and careful description.
Description, then, is the fundamental act of data
collection in a qualitative study (Van Maanen, 1983).
According to Schutz (1967/1977), both
defenders and critics of the process of verstehen


69
maintain, and with.good reason, that verstehen is
"subjective." Schutz argued that the critics of
understanding call it subjective, because they hold
that understanding the motives of another man's action
depends upon the private, uncontrollable, and
unverifiable intuition of the observer or refers to
his private value system. The social scientists, such
as Max Weber (1949/1977), however, called verstehen
subjective because its goal is to find out what the
actor "means" in his action, in contrast to the
meaning which this action has for the actor's partner
or a neutral observer.
This whole discussion suffers, according to
Schutz (1967/1977), from the failure to distinguish
clearly between verstehen: 1) as the experiential
form of common-sense knowledge of human affairs, 2)
as an epistemological problem, and 3) as a method
peculiar to the social sciences. In reference to the
latter, of particular concern here, Schutz (1967/1977)
wrote:
[I]t appears that the assumption that the
strict adoption of the principles of concept
and theory formation prevailing in the natural
sciences will lead to reliable knowledge of
social reality is inconsistent in itself. If
a theory can be developed on such principles,
say in the form of an ideally refined


70
behaviorismand it is certainly possible to
imagine thisthen it will not tell us
anything about social reality as experienced
by men in everyday life....A theory which aims
at explaining social reality has to develop
particular devices foreign to the natural
sciences in order to agree with the common-
sense experience of the social world. This is
indeed what all theoretical sciences of human
affairseconomics, sociology, the sciences of
law, linguistics, cultural anthropology,
etc.have done. (pp. 232-233)
Thus, the qualitative method of inquiry in no
way suggests that the researcher lacks the ability to
be scientific, i.e., systematic, while collecting
data. On the contrary, it merely specifies that it is
crucial for validity, and for reliability, for the
researcher to try to picture the social world as it
actually exists to those under investigation, rather
than as the researcher imagines it to be (Patton,
1980) Further, any attempt to explain human behavior
which excludes what the actors themselves know, how
they define their actions, remains a partial
explanation that distorts the human situation.
Among sociologists, educators, urban planners,
psychologists, public interest lawyers, welfare
administrators, health care personnel, political
scientists, labor economists, and others, a renewed
interest and felt need for qualitative research has
slowly been emerging. According to Van Maanen (1983),


71
there has come of age the significant realization that
the people we study (and often seek to assist) have a
form of life, a culture that is their own and if we
wish to understand the behavior of these people and
the groups and organizations of which they are a part,
we must first be able to both appreciate and describe
their culture. Van Maanen believed that as a society,
we have become increasingly aware of the fact that
individuals live, work, and play in multicultural
surroundings. Moreover, within this society at least,
it is becoming clear that the origins of many of these
cultures are not coupled conceptually to matters such
as geography, ethnicity, or social class but are
grounded in organizational experience. Thus, Van
Maanen argued that whether we are examining the
organizational worlds of middle managers, tramps,
stockbrokers, high school principals, police officers,
production workers, or professional crooks, we are
certain to uncover special languages, unique and
peculiar problems, and, more generally, distinct
patterns of thought and action.
Several qualitative research tools used in an
organizational setting include ethnography and
ethnomethodology, role playing, participant


72
observation, projective techniques, cartoon
completion, contrived and unobtrusive measures, focus
group interviews, depth interviews, and case studies
(Das, 1983). It is important to emphasize here that
these tools do not necessarily exclude quantification.
Quantification is sometimes used together with
description as part of the data analysis.
With these facts in mind, the qualitative
methods chosen to examine the flow, worry, boredom,
and anxiety experiences of the individual at work are
described below. These methods allowed for the data
to be collected as open-ended narrative without
attempting to fit peoples' experiences into
predetermined standardized categories. This
methodology was chosen over purely quantitative
measurement which relies upon the use of instruments
that provide a standardized framework in order to
limit data collection to certain predetermined
response or analysis categories (cf. Chapter I).
Specifically, the design of the study, including data
analysis and verification procedures, are described.
The limitations and delimitations of the research are
also presented.


73
Design of the Study
Step 1: Development of Research Propositions
The first step in this study was the
development of research propositions based on
Csikszentmihalyi1s Theory of Play to serve as a guide
for the data collection. It should be emphasized here
that irrespective of the qualitative tool employed,
the theoretical frameworkin this case, Csikszent-
mihalyi's Theory of Playis one useful format for
organizing field study data in a coherent way (Miles
and Huberman, 1984). It also provides basic direction
to the research.
Of the two general approaches to building
theoretical frameworks, which can be loosely labeled
"inductive" and "deductive" (Miles and Huberman,
1984), a deductive strategy, also called "enumerative"
or "conceptual" (Kaplan, 1964; Popper, 1968) strategy,
was used in this research. In the deductive strategy,
the researcher has some orienting constructs and
propositions to test or observe in the field. These
analytic units are operationalized, then matched to a
body of field data (Miles & Huberman, 1984). This
general approach was recommended by Miles and Huberman


74
(1984) over the inductive strategy to qualitative
research.
In the inductive approach, also called
"constructive" or "generative" (Goetz & LeCompte,
1981; Becker, 1958; Zelditch, 1962), the researcher
discovers recurrent phenomena in the stream of local
experience and finds recurrent relations among them.
These constants become working typologies and
hypotheses that in turn are progressively modified and
refined. In other words, the theoretical framework
emerges piecemeal and inductively. In reference to
their own research using inductive strategy, Miles and
Huberman (1984) stated:
...[Wjithout clear initial conceptualizing, we
were drowned in tidal waves of shapeless data
that would have taken years to analyze well.
We learnedinductivelythat a more deductive
approach would have reduced and focused our
data set without losing juice or meaning, and
helped us find causal relationships faster.
(p. 134)
For this reason, a deductive approach was used in this
research.
In addition to the generation of an initial
conceptual framework and the operationalizing of the
framework with propositions, research questions
(Step 3), and start-up codes (Step 4) were also
utilized. A code is an abbreviation or symbol applied


75
to a segment of wordsmost often a sentence or
paragraph of transcribed field notesin order to
classify the words. Codes are categories. They
usually derive from research questions, propositions,
key concepts, or important themes, e.g., "B" for
boredom. [For more discussion of types of codes, see
Miles and Huberman, 1984, pp. 56-65.]
In general, as the qualitative research
progresses, the codes are enriched and reconfigured,
and the research questions and propositions are
answered or reframed. Most important, the theoretical
framework is gradually rehashed and refined into the
ultimate causal network (Miles and Huberman, 1984)
through content analysis.
Step 2: Sample
Like Csikszentmihalyi's (1979) study, the data
for this investigation were obtained from people in a
variety of jobs (see Table 2). The age range of the
sample was 23 to 67. There were 12 men and 8 women in
the sample. The sample was selected from a public
university, the University of Manitoba, since the


Table 2. Sample Description (N=20)
Job Title Sex
Director, University Relations M
Assistant to the President M
Associate Dean M
Staff Relations Officer M
Dir. of Financial Aid & Awards M
Director of Employee Relations M
Associate Vice President M
Director of Student Affairs M
President and Vice Chancellor M
Associate Vice President F
Office Assistant IV F
Office Assistant II F
Office Assistant III F
Age G T P
42 B.Sci. 19 14
45 M. A. 10 3 1/2
- - 5 5
39 15 14 8
67 B. Ed. 25 23
43 - 19 8
53 Ph.D. 10 10
42 Ph.D. 18 5
52 M.D. 20 5
38 Ph.D. 17 4
28 12 7 1
43 12 24 2
32 13 3 1


Table 2 (Continued)
Job Title Sex Age G. T P
Department Secretary F 23 12 5 1 1/2
Secretary F 31 12 4 1
Receptionist F 42 12 2 1/2 2 1/2
Bookkeeper F 35 12 13 2
Custodian M 54 10 6 1/2 4 1/2
Custodian M 23 11 4 2 1/2
Caretaker 1 M 49 9 17 14
Note. G = last grade of degree completed; T = length of time in this type of work;
P = length of time in present job. Length of time responses reported in years. Levels
of Office Assistant are I V; V is the highest level.


78
focus of the research was on the public sector.
Sampling was carried out using a random number
sequence with the university nonacademic employee
listings of jobs including the highest administrative
levels. Once the names were selected, people were
invited to participate in the study. An explanation
of the study and a statement of confidentiality
(Appendix B) was distributed in order to encourage
participation. If someone refused to participate, the
person whose name followed on the employee list was
asked to participate.
Qualitative research focuses on a much smaller
number of people and cases than does quantitative
research because of the time-consuming, in-depth
nature of the research being conducted. In the
interests of practicality, the sample was limited to
20 respondents at one site;
Step 3: Research Questions
The development of research questions, the
third major step of the study, involved the
development of a "general interview guide" (Patton,
1980). Based on the research propositions, this guide
was used to obtain verbal reports from the sample


79
concerning their flow, worry, boredom, and anxiety
experiences, their past and present coping strategies
for worry, boredom, and anxiety, and demographic
variables. The general interview guide approach
involves outlining a set of issues to be explored with
each respondent before the interviewing begins. Thus,
the interview guide (Appendix A) served as a basic
checklist which was used during the interviews to
ensure that all topics related to the propositions
were covered.
It is important to emphasize here that one
advantage of using the general interview guide
approach is its allowance for easy conversational
style, while at the same time ensuring that
conversations are built within a particular subject
area. Further, the interview guide helps make
interviewing across a number of different people more
systematic and comprehensive by delimiting the issues
to be discussed while, at the same time, adhering to
the fundamental principle of qualitative interviewing
which, according to Patton (1980, p.205), is "to
provide a framework within which respondents can
express their own understandings in their own terms."
Thus, the wording of questions was very general.


80
A weakness.of the interview guide approach is
that important and salient topics may be inadvertently
omitted. Further, interviewer flexibility in
sequencing and wording questions can result in
substantially different responses, thus reducing the
comparability of responses (Patton, 1980). To guard
against these weaknesses, every effort was made to
have respondents answer the same questions in the same
order. This was not difficult, because there was only
one interviewer.
Since the raw data of interviews are
quotations, interviews were transcribed and brief
notes were taken simultaneously of key phrases and
major points. Perhaps because a statement of
confidentiality was given to each interviewee
(Appendix B), no interviewee withheld permission to be
taped. In only one instance, the tape recorder
malfunctioned for a portion of the interview.
Thorough and comprehensive notes were taken for this
portion. *
Step 4: Data Analysis
Step 4 involved the analysis of the data.
First, all notes taken during the interviews were


81
elaborated upon immediately following the interviews.
That is, codes, reflective remarks, and marginal
remarks were added while the responses were still
fresh in the interviewer's mind. Reflective remarks
are reflections and commentary on issues that emerge
during the process of elaborating the raw field notes
(Miles and Huberman, 1984). Marginal remarks, like
reflective remarks, add meaning and clarity to field
notes. They also point to important issues that a
given code may be missing or blurring. As such, they
may suggest needs for revision in codes (Miles and
Huberman, 1984). In short, the period after the
interview was a time of "quality control" to guarantee
that the data obtained was useful, reliable, and valid
(Patton, 1980). After the interviews were typed,
codes, reflective remarks and marginal remarks were
also added to the transcripts. During this
elaboration process, several individuals were
re-interviewed for the purpose of gaining additional
information and/or further clarification.
It is useful to emphasize here that the
process of qualitative data analysis is largely
intuitive (Mintzberg, 1979). Therefore it is a
creative process. There are no formal, universal


82
rules to follow in analyzing and interpreting
qualitative data (Patton, 1980). Thus, the analyst
does not seek some ultimate truth. Rather, the
generation of useful theory based on qualitative data
analysis involves the process of bringing order to the
data by organizing the data into patterns, categories,
and basic descriptive units. Towards this end, the
analysis of the data involves explaining descriptive
patterns and looking for relationships and linkages
among descriptive dimensions (Patton, 1980).
Once all the data were organized, Step 4
involved elaborating even further. That is, Step 4
also involved "working" the data around each of the
propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory
of Play.
During this process, the goal was to retain,
rather than to reduce, sufficient richness to
communicate the nature of the phenomenon under
investigation, while also abstracting and classifying
elements of it to develop the theoretical themes of
interest. Further, the goal was not to determine all
similarities and differences, but to determine only
the most pervasive ones by careful and repeated
exploration for variation in the set of descriptions.


83
One of the points of interest in an analysis of this
kind of data is that it is possible to locate ideas,
thoughts, assumptions and feelings that seem to arise
in a stream of consciousness from no obvious source in
perception, memory, reasoning, and which can be
interpreted as the outcome of some unconscious process
(Burgoyne and Hodgson, 1983).
As part of the analysis process, several
"rules of thumb" were consistently applied, since, as
previously stated, there are no formal universal rules
to follow in analyzing and interpreting qualitative
data (Patton, 1980). These rules of thumb included
such items as (Miles, 1979, p. 127):
- Consider the validity of any particular generali-
zation. Is there supporting evidence from elsewhere in
the data? Does it hold true for several different
people? Is there any negative evidence? [Generaliza-
tions are closely related to theory, the difference
being that theory specifies the relationship among a
set of variables while generalizations concern the
extent to which whatever relationships are uncovered
in a particular situation can be expected to hold true
for every situation (Patton, 1980).]
Given a generalization, make a prediction. What


84
else would be true.if this generalization were true?
Then go look at the "else" to see if it is there or
not.
Test the hypotheses [propositions]: does Y always
go with Z, and is it reasonable to think that it
causes Z? Are certain conditions necessary for Y to
cause Z? Sufficient?
- Look at extreme-bias cases: if even the most self-
interested role or group gives an explanation which
fits yours, although it's against their interest or
bias, then the conclusion is stronger.
These "rules of thumb" also served to address many of
the validity issues described in Step 5.
Step 5: Verification of the Data
It has already been stated that the
qualitative analyst does not search for some ultimate
truth. On the subject of speculation about causes,
consequences, and relationships in the field study, in
the end, all that can be provided is perspective
perspective gained through careful qualitative
analysis. In the words of Michael Patton (1980,
p.327), "The perspective gained through careful
qualitative analysis is not arbitrary, nor is it
predetermined, but it does fall short of being Truth."


85
Perspective then is what the qualitative analyst
verifies and validates.
The thread that runs through the verification
procedures, the fifth major step in the study, is the
dependence on the qualitative analyst going over the
data again and again to see if the constructs,
categories, explanations, interpretations and numbers
make sense, if they really reflect the nature of the
phenomena (Patton, 1980). In other words, in
qualitative analysis, creativity and intellectual
rigor go beyond the routine application of the
scientific procedures (Patton, 1980). This is an
important point.
Further, it is important for the analyst to be
aware of common sources of bias such as: interpreting
events as more patterned and congruent than they
really are; overweighting data from articulate, well-
informed, particularly high-status informants and
under-representing data from intractable, less
articulate, lower-status ones (Miles & Huberman,
1984). To prevent these sources of bias, two major
strategies for verifying and validating the results of


86
the analysis were chosen: 1) checking for rival
explanations; and 2) searching for negative cases.
Once the "final" patterns emerged from the
analysis, rival or competing themes and explanations
to these patterns were sought. According to Patton
(1980) this can be done both inductively and
logically. Inductively, it involves seeking other
ways of organizing the data that might lead to
different findings. Logically, it means thinking
about other logical possibilities and then seeing if
those possibilities can be supported by the data. In
other words, the analyst seeks data that support
alternative explanations. Failure to find strong
supporting evidence for alternative explanations helps
increase confidence in the original, principal
explanations generated.
Closely related to the testing of alternative
explanations is the search for negative cases. Where
patterns and trends were identified, understanding of
those patterns and trends was increased by considering
the instances and cases that did not fit within the
pattern. This tactic not only tested the generality
of the finding, but protected against self-selecting
biases (Miles & Huberman, 1984).


87
Limitations and Delimitations
The major limitation of conducting
investigations amongst individuals who are directly
experiencing the phenomena (in this case, worry,
boredom, flow, and anxiety experiences) is that
personal descriptions of experience are obviously
confined to the order of things of which individuals
are readily aware. According to Fineman (1983, p.
143), "Taken-for-granted, or 'latent' meanings cannot
be easily expressed because they are locked into
patterns of feeling and behavior in an unquestioned,
tacit form."
Further, concrete "solutions" to the causes of
negative work experience are not possible when one
views affective reactions at work as a rather
mysterious personal phenomenon which may fluctuate
considerably over any period of time, and relate to a
host of work and non-work factors. Fineman stated:
...causes of 'sick' responses at work may
transcend the work structure and pattern of
manifest 'need satisfactions.' If Fromm is
right, then no amount of tinkering with work
will get to addressing the deeper insecurities
that we all carry with us. (p. 154)


Full Text

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,, I I' 'J l .J' WORK: AN ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WORK EXPERIENCE UTILIZING CSIKSZENTMIHALYI'S THEORY OF PLAY by 'Ruth Toby Wernick B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 1969 M.A., Simmons College, 1974 M.P.A., University of Colorado, 1980 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the University of:Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirments for the degree of Doctor of Public Administration Graduate School of Public Affairs 1988

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Copyright by Ruth Toby Wernick 1989 All Rights Reserved

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This thesis for the Doctor of Public Administration degree by Ruth Toby Wernick has been approved for the Graduate School of Public Affairs by Date. ___ De __ ______ l_2_,_1_9_8_8 __

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Wernick, Ruth Toby (D.P.A., Public Administration) WORK: AN ANALYSIS OF SUBJECTIVE WORK EXPERIENCE UTILIZING CSIKSZENTMIHALYI'S THEORY OF PLAY Dissertation directed by Associate Professor E. Sam Overman While there have been many studies on job satisfaction, the preponderance of the job satisfaction literature has not focused on the quintessence of the work satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of emotional reactions. The purpose of this study was: 1) to explore the utility of one theory of subjective experience, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, and 2) to learn more about subjective satisfaction. The research provided answers to the following two research questions: 1) is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? and 2) what is the nature of subjective satisfaction? Investigative procedures involved utilizing Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play as a framework for the qualitative investigation of people's perceptions of what constitutes their work satisfaction experiences. Specifically, four propositions,

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v developed from Csikszentmihalyi's theory, were used to provide a structure for the qualitative data collection within a sample of men (N = 12) and women (N = 8) from a variety of nonacademic occupational categories at the University of Manitoba. According to the analyses, many pieces of data substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. It was also found that people used other constructs besides those encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's typology--worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow or satisfaction--to describe their subjective experience at work. In most of these instances, people were not using different words to describe the same constructs, they were describing emotional reactions not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's theory. The data further revealed that people often used the constructs found in Csikszentmihalyi's typology but attached different meanings to them. Based on the analyses, the major finding of the investigation was that Csikszentmihalyi's theory was not sufficient for the purpose of describing the diversity and the complexity that is inherent to subjective experience at work,

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even though many pieces of data supported the propositions. In actuality, the research findings revealed that subjective experience at work differs in many respects from the formal theoretical framework developed by Csikszentmihalyi. For this reason, the study incorporates a theory building set of conclusions synthesizing the other constructs that emerged from the data with other theories and approaches to satisfaction in use. The form and content recommend its publ Si abstract are approved. I vi

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Dedicated to the memory of my beloved teacher and friend, Joshua Zim.

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank my dissertation advisor, Sam Overman, and the members of my dissertation committee, Dail Neugarten, Mark Pogrebin, and Nina Colwill, for the benefit of their wisdom and experience. I am especially grateful to my husband, Gene, and to my mother, Sylvia Levit, for their support and encouragement.

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CONTENTS CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Purpose of the Study. . . . . . . . . . . 9 Definition of Terms ........................ 10 Organization of the Document ............... 12 Summary .................................... 15 CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW ............................ 16 Theoretical Concerns and Approaches to Job Satisfaction in Use ................ 18 Approaches to Work Satisfaction ............ 28 Need Theory ............................. 2 8 Need-fulfillment Theory .............. 28 Discrepancy Theory ................... 31 Lawler's Model (1973) of the Causal Determinants of Satisfaction ..... 33 Two-factor Theory .................... 35 Social Reference Theory ................. 38 Equity Theory ........................ 39 Instrumentality Theory .................. 39 Expectancy Theory .................... 40 Discussion ............................... 44 Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play ....... 55

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X Concluding Remarks ...................... 60 Restatement of the Purpose ................. 62 Propositions .............................. 6 3 Contributions of this study ................ 64 Summary .................................... 65 CHAPTER III THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES .................. 67 Design of the Study ........................ 73 Step 1: Development of Research Propositions ................... 73 Step 2: Sample ......................... 75 Step 3: Research Questions .. .......... 78 Step 4: Data Analysis .................. 80 Step 5: Verification of the Data ....... 84 Limitations and Delimitations .............. 87 Summary .................................... 8 8 CHAPTER IV FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION ................. 90 Constructs of Subjective Experience Found in the Data ...................... 93 Data that Substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory ................................. 9 5 Worry ................................... 95 Boredom ................................. 9 9 Anxiety ................................ 102 Flow ................................... 104

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xi Data that Do Not Substantiate Csikszentmi-halyi' s Theory ......................... 106 The.Utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play ................................ 125 Summary .................................... 131 CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS .................. 133 The Utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play .......................... 134 Towards a New Theory of Work Satisfaction ........................... 143 Other Constructs Found in the Data as Overlay ........................... 14 3 Theories and Approaches to Satisfaction as Overlays ..................... 147 Need Theories as Overlay ............... 150 Social Reference Theory as Overlay ...... 158 Instrumentality Theory as Overlay ....... 161 Concluding Remarks on the Meaning and Centrality of Work for Individuals ...... 166 Summary .................................... 175 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..................................... 17 6 APPENDIX A. GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS ............... 184 B. EXPLANATION OF THE STUDY .................. 191

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TABLES Table 1. Major Conceptionalizations of Job Satisfaction Along with the Primary Proponents of Each Approach .............. 27 2. Sample Description (N = 20) .............. 76 3. Constructs Found in the Data ............. 94

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FIGURES Figure 1. Model of the determinants of satisfaction ............................. 34 2. Model of the flow state ................... 56 3. Other constructs found in the data as overlay ............................ 144 4. Need theories as overlay ................. 154 5. Social reference theory as overlay ....... 160 6. Instrumentality theory as overlay ........ 162

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Without work all life goes rotten. But when work is soulless, life stifles and dies. ---Albert Camus As the quote by Camus suggests, work is something profound and basic in human nature. This view is widely held even though controversies about the meaning of work in human life are age-old and likely to persist. For example, according to Freud, work provides us with a sense of reality; to Elton Mayo, work is a bond to community; to Marx, its function is primarily economic. Theologians are interested in work's moral dimensions; sociologists see it as a determinant of status; and some contemporary critics say that it is simply the best way of utilizing one's time. The desire to work is something profound and basic in human nature because our relationship to work activity is a fundamental determinant of the way we live, influencing the food we eat, the goods we buy,

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2 our use of leisure .time, our mental health, our family life and our social relationships. In short, our relation to work has determined the type of society we have created and perpetuated (Best, 1973). Further, for most adults in industrial societies, there is no satisfactory alternative to work; none offers equivalent prospects for activity, meaning, recognition, and reward. It follows that the loss or denial of work is damaging to the individual and hazardous for the society (Kahn, 1981). The nature of work has economic, social, and personal dimensions. Although pay is a primary motivation to seek and hold employment in most instances, social interactions in the work place often shape the broader social context of the worker for several reasons. The work place has always been a place to meet people, converse, and form friendships. In traditional societies, where children are wont to follow in their parents' footsteps, the assumption of responsibility by the children for one task and then another prepares them for their economic and social roles as adults. In addition, the type of work performed has always conferred a social status on the worker and the worker's family. In industrial America, the father's occupation has been the major

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determinant of status, which in turn has determined the family's class standing, where they lived, where the children went to school, and with whom the family associated--in short, the life style and economic opportunities of all the family members. It is important to note that the emerging new role of women in our society may cause class standing to be co-determined by the husband's and wife's occupation. 3 Far less attention has been paid to the personal, subjective meaning of work than to the economic and social meaning of work, yet it is clear from recent research that work plays a crucial and perhaps unparalleled psychological role in the formation of: 1) self-esteem, 2) personal evaluation, and 3) a sense of order to one's life. Work may contribute to self-esteem in two ways: by providing the individual with a sense of mastery, and by enabling the individual to have a sense of accomplishment. Through the inescapable awareness of one's ability and competence in dealing with the objects of work, individuals sense their degree of mastery over both themselves and their environment. And when working, one is engaged in activities that produce something of value to others. Thus, work provides an essential looking-glass to the individual.

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4 The work place generally, then, is one major focus of personal evaluation. It is where one learns whether one is "making the grade"; it is where one's self-esteem is constantly wrought; and where effort is made to avoid negative self-appraisals. If one's expectations and situational demands cannot be attained, then one's self-esteem is likely to be impaired, and with it, one's relations with others. Doing well or poorly, being a success or failure at work, is easily transformed into a measure of value or worth in a broader social context. The final component of the personal or subjective experience of work has to do with the human desire to impose order, or structure, on the world. It is in the relation between the desire for order and its achievement that work provides the sense of mastery so important to self-esteem. That is, the closer one's piece of the world conforms with one's structural plans, the greater the satisfaction of work. Thus, it can be concluded that the nature of one's employment conditions constitutes a major source of most Americans' self-images (Caplan, Cobb, French, Van Harrison & Pinneau, 1980). Many people work for personal, subjective reasons which go far beyond the drive for satisfaction

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5 of essential materialistic needs. The advance of technology in American society, coupled with the acquisition of material wealth, has fostered a broader interpretation of "job" and "employment." Throughout history the most common understanding of work has been simple--men and women work to survive, and work is an unquestioned necessity. But technology and affluence have always enlarged the options of human choice for some people in the society; i.e., there are people for whom a job is an activity that they would gladly forgo if a more acceptable option for putting bread on their table were available. Today, for many people, more elaborate needs have evolved which must be satisfied through the activity of work. It is for this reason that selfesteem, identity, and sense of order have become more important to the individual. Likewise, interpersonal alienation, repression of individual dignity, and the absence of growth opportunities have become more serious problems in the work place. If work is the major activity of adult life for most people, whether or not they are satisfied with their work is important. People's well-being on the job is just as important as their well-being off the job. As a consequence, if the job does not

PAGE 19

provide some satisfaction, a worker may feel frustration with results that may be costly to the individual and to the employer. There may be positive consequences for the individual which result from job satisfaction. For example, physical well-being is associated with job satisfaction and there is evidence showing the relationship between job satisfaction and mental health (Kornhauser, 1965). In a series of studies, French (e.g., 1974) tested a common theme in job satisfaction research--that the goodness of fit between the individual's desires and the environment is the major determinant of satisfaction. But French went one step further, showing that dissatisfaction, as the result of a poor individual-environment fit, was causally related to depression, physiological strain, and other indices of poor health. 6 Further, there is an intimate relationship between job satisfaction and the quality of work life (QWL) experienced by employees. In recent years, particularly since the late 1960s, the manner in which organizational members have reacted to their work and work settings has been expressed in QWL terms. Writers such as Lawler (1982) have increasingly argued that the QWL should be valued, as are profits, in the

PAGE 20

7 assessment of organizational effectiveness. Lawler went so far as to suggest that improving the QWL should become an important national priority. More focus on job satisfaction, it would seem, might very well work toward the dual goals of organizational profits and high QWL. Thus, it can be seen that job satisfaction; dissatisfaction is an important focus for study in its own right, given that work has such a psychologically central place in most people's lives. Interestingly, the preponderance of job satisfaction literature has not focused on the psychological centrality of work. The reason for this lack may be the result, at least in part, of: 1} the influence of behaviorism on the field of psychology; and 2) the problems created by the use of predetermined investigator constructs and measures. In regard to the influence of behaviorism on the field of psychology, Lawler (1973) wrote: While psychology was under the influence of behaviorism, psychologists avoided doing research that depended on introspective selfreports. Behaviorists strongly felt that if psychology were to develop as a science, it had to study observable behavior. (p. 48) Since job satisfaction of workers has to do with an internal, subjective state that is best

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reported by the people experiencing it, the work satisfaction experience as an internal set of emotional reactions was not seen as a proper area for study (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975; Lawler, 1973). In regard to the use of predetermined investigator constructs and measures, Fineman (1983) argued that the search for a certain type of scientific sense (nomothetic, generalistic, large classificatory dimensions) has tended to miss what initially seems to be the subject of concern--how individuals construe their work experience. Fineman (1983) stated: We appear to have moved a long way from the idiosyncracies of subjective meaning of work and the passions of 'being' at work. It is as if the very essence of the field of inquiry has been reformed into something else altogether--experience' and 'meaning' are reduced to numerical records on relatively simplistic descriptive items of a high statistical consistency. (p. 146) Exceptions to the use of predetermined 8 investigator constructs and measures are the case and participant approaches of writers such as Fraser (1968, 1969) and Frost, Mitchell and Nord (1978, 1982). However, these studies rarely appear in traditional accounts on overall satisfaction despite their expressive richness. As a result, the preponderance of work satisfaction studies may

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9 reflect little about the respondents experience of work, but perhaps a fair amount about the researchers constructs and measures. In other words, the studies may reveal certain manifest reactions to work at a level of which the individual is generally aware and is able to translate readily onto the social scientists scales, or articulate in response to his [her] questions. Purpose of the Study Thus, due in part to the influence of behaviorism on the field of psychology and the problems created by the use of predetermined investigator constructs and measures, what seems to be missing from the job satisfaction literature is an exploration of the quintessence of the work satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of emotional reactions. This is a serious omission, particularly when one attempts to base change efforts on the research. This problem also increases the difficulty of developing and testing theories of job satisfaction. This study has a two-fold purpose. One purpose of this study is to explore the utility of one theory of subjective experience, Csikszentmihalyis

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10 Theory of Play. A second purpose of this study is to learn more about subjective job satisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play will be used as a framework for the qualitative investigation of people's perceptions of what constitutes their work satisfaction experiences. Developed from Csikszentmihalyi's phenomenological investigations of play, the goal of phenomenological research in general is the intuitive understanding of the eidos, or essence, of perceptions and cognitive experiences. Specifically, four propositions, based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, will be used to provide a structure for the qualitative data collection. It is hoped that this research will provide answers to the following two research questions: 1) is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? and 2) what is the nature of subjective satisfaction? Definitions of Terms It is important to state clearly at the outset of the study how the concepts of work, affective reactions, and job satisfaction will be used throughout this analysis. Hall's (1986, p. 13) definition

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11 of work is followed here. He defined the nature of work as "the effort or activity of an individual performed for the purpose of providing goods or services of value to others; it is also considered to be work by the individual so involved." Although the definition of job satisfaction is not settled in the literature, the consensus is that job satisfaction is an affective response to work (Bullock, 1984). "Affective response or orientation" with respect to job satisfaction means that job satisfaction is a gut-level reaction, an emotional response, a feeling of "liking" or "disliking" (Bullock, 1984). In other words, job satisfaction is a positive or negative emotional state associated with one's work. This definition of job satisfaction conveys the notion of generality. That is, job satisfaction connotes the lumping together of the various facets of work, including attitudes toward co-workers, supervisors, top management, pay, work environment, and so forth, into one overall summary response (Bullock, 1984), for example, "I like my job." It must therefore be distinguished from satisfaction with specific dimensions of work roles. To say that job satisfaction is a unitary concept, however, does not imply that the causes of

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12 this overall attitude are unidimensional. Obviously, a person may be satisfied with one dimension of the job and dissatisfied with another. The assumption underlying the present view is that it possible to balance these specific satisfactions (pluses) against the specific dissatisfactions (minuses) and thus arrive at a composite or unitary satisfaction with the job as a whole. Thus, for the purpose of this discussion, the term "job satisfaction" will be treated on the more general level, i.e., the composite level as a unitary concept. The advantage to using the unitary concept of job satisfaction is that this approach recognizes the fact that the nature of work is multifaceted, as previously described, yet is experienced as a whole. Further; while there may be specific connotations of the various terms used in the literature on job satisfaction, the term "job satisfaction" will not be distinguished in this investigation from "work satisfaction." Organization of the Document This study is divided into five chapters. Following the Introduction chapter, the second chapter contains a review of the major theoretical concerns

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13 and approaches found in the literature on job satisfaction. This review will demonstrate that the present focus in the job satisfaction literature, while it may illuminate certain practical and theoretical issues, does not increase one's understanding of the construct of job satisfaction per se. The analysis of the major approaches to job satisfaction is presented in Chapter II in order to gain an understanding of: 1) the major premises and conceptual issues that support the understanding of job satisfaction and some of its implications for individuals, and 2) the similarities and differences between the major approaches to job satisfaction found in the literature. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is also presented and discussed in light of the other approaches to job satisfaction. As previously stated, this theory will be used as a guide for the exploration of the research propositions, also presented in Chapter II. Finally, Chapter II contains a restatement of the purpose of the research, and a brief statement of the contribution ''of this study. Chapter III contains an overview of the origins and specific uses of qualitative research methods and a description of the specific steps used

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in this qualitative investigation. The limitations and delimitations of the study are also presented. Chapter IV presents the major finding of the investigation and a discussion which focuses on the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's theory in relation to the exploration of subjective work experience. Specifically, this discussion addresses the first research question posed in Chapter I: is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? Chapter V contains a theory building set of conclusions. Before the conclusions are presented, 14 a discussion of the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is presented. In essence, the theory building set of conclusions synthesize what I have learned from my research about one theory of subjective experience--Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, the other constructs that emerged from the data as a result of exploring the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, and the other theories and approaches to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II. Chapter V concludes with remarks about the meaning and centrality of work in life for individuals. In general, the discussion in Chapter V summarizes what I have learned from my

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research about subjective experience. Specifically, Chapter V basically addresses the second research question posed in Chapter I: What is the nature of subjective satisfaction? Summary The Introduction chapter described the multifaceted and complex nature of work. The centrality of work to most people was emphasized. Reasons were given to substantiate why subjective experience is an important focus for study. It was also emphasized that due to the influence of behaviorism on the field of psychology and the problems created by the use of predetermined 15 investigator constructs and measures, the current job satisfaction literature does not focus on the quintessence of the work satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of emotional reactions. The twofold purpose of the study and the two research questions that this study is designed to explore were presented. Finally, the definitions of the major concepts used in the analysis and the organization of the remaining four chapters of the study were presented.

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CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW Chapter II contains a review of the major theoretical concerns and approaches of job satisfaction found in the literature. It should be emphasized here that the purpose of the following literature review is not to draw conclusions about, for example, the direction of the relationship between job satisfaction and performance, or the direction of the relationship between job satisfaction and nonwork spheres of life. Rather, the purpose of the literature review is to demonstrate that the present focus in the literature, while it may illuminate certain practical and theoretical concerns, does not increase one's understanding of the construct of job satisfaction per se. Further, in order to gain an under' s tanding of: 1) the major premises and conceptual issues that support the understanding of job satisfaction and some of its implications for individuals, and 2) the similarities and differences of the major approaches

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17 to job satisfaction, an analysis of the major approaches to job satisfaction is included in the review. Following the literature review, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, which may be viewed as a new approach to job satisfaction, will be presented and discussed in light of the other approaches to job satisfaction in use. In the final sections of Chapter II, the purpose of the present investigation is restated, the research propositions are presented, and the specific contribution of this study is presented. It is important to state at the outset of the literature review that some of the major approaches found in the literature on j6b satisfaction are also found in the literature on motivation. In point of fact, satisfaction and motivation are not the same. Because of the stated purpose of presenting the approaches to job satisfaction, however, the discussion below will not focus on the theoretical and practical differences between the constructs of satisfaction and motivation. It is also important to state that no attempt will be made to develop a composite list of all of the components of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction

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18 discussed. It will be seen, for example, that the .definitions of job satisfaction vary widely in the approaches and that job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction are often not considered on the same continuum in the literature. Thus, the concepts of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction are not "neat" nor are they developed from similar assumptions. Further, the components of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction in some approaches are not readily identifiable. For these reasons, any attempt to develop a composite list would only result in a list of disparate components of job satisfaction/dissatisfaction that would not be useful for the stated purposes of this investigation. Theoretical Concerns and Approaches to Satisfaction in Use The preponderance of the job satisfaction literature is generally based on studies which have tended to focus on job satisfaction measures of some type and their relation to: ... any number of variables, ranging from age, education, job level, social status, satisfaction with the neighborhood one lives in, to one's health" (Bullock, 1984). In particular, a major focus in the literature has been, and continues to be, the relationship of job

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19 satisfaction to the variables of performance, nonwork "spheres" of life, absenteeism, and turnover. The literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and performance has been concerned with the assertion that satisfied workers would be more productive. In the human-relations model used in the 1950s, managers and scientists believed that "a happy worker was a good worker" and attempted to improve performance by making employees happier. The research and practical experience in the use of the humanrelations model was not substantiated however, i.e., trying to improve performance by making employees happier was not shown to be successful. The research evidence indicated a weak and inconsistent relationship between performance and job satisfaction variables. More recently, the performance research has been concerned with the reverse link, namely that job satisfaction is a function of performance (Bullock, 1984). The performance-satisfaction link does not easily lend itself to experimentation, however. That is, performance cannot be directly manipulated to see if it improves job satisfaction since the performance is not directly under the control of the experimenter.

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Thus, researchers have used more complex statistical techniques for analyzing the relationship between performance and satisfaction. For example, Bagozzi (1980) used structural equation models to examine 20 causal links in performance-satisfaction relationships and associated.variables. He examined relationships among performance, job satisfaction, achievement motivation, self-esteem, and verbal intelligence in salespeople. The results indicated that positive correlation between performance and job satisfaction was not due to the influence of the other variables. Performance was found to lead to job satisfaction, but the relationship depended on the extent to which individuals evaluated the outcomes associated with the job. Bagozzi also observed that since increased job satisfaction did not lead to increased performance, programs aimed at increasing job satisfaction should be undertaken solely for the purpose of increasing job satisfaction. Ivancevich (1979) investigated performancesatisfaction causal relationships using a longitudinal study of project engineers. He found that the performance-satisfaction relationship depended on the type of work. For example, he concluded that a

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21 satisfied employee.is a better worker but only on lowstimulation tasks. The cautious speculation on the unexpected performance-satisfaction relationship for high-stimulation tasks was that the employees in those jobs could have spent more time on the interesting and challenging aspects of their work to the neglect of the routine aspects, thus lowering their performance. Other researchers have struggled with the empirical relationship between performance and job satisfaction. This struggle has resulted in a dilemma for public managers. Specifically, if job satisfaction causes performance, then organizations should try to see that their employees are satisfied. However, if performance causes job satisfaction, then high job satisfaction is not necessarily a goal but rather a by-product of an effective organization. As previously stated, researchers have also struggled with the empirical relationship between nonwork spheres of life and job satisfaction. Specifically, the focus in the literature on the relationship between job satisfaction and nonwork spheres of life (e.g., leisure and family), has to do with the belief on the part of some researchers that because job satisfaction generalizes or ''spills over"

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22 into other spheres.of life, those who are satisfied with their work will also tend to be satisfied with the rest of their lives (Bergermaier, Borg, & Champoux, 1984). There is a competing hypothesis in the literature that claims essentially the opposite-that nonwork factors affect work attitudes. This "compensatory" hypothesis suggests contrasts or a negative relation or effect between job and life satisfactions. Thus, theoretically, it is believed that a person's job experiences and job satisfaction could affect his or her life satisfaction positively or negatively and his or her nonwork or life satisfaction could affect job satisfaction positively or negatively. If work satisfaction influences nonwork attitudes, then programs such as job redesign that attempt to enhance job satisfaction will improve, not only the quality of work life, but also the overall quality of life of workers. On the other hand, if nonwork activities, experiences, and satisfaction affect work satisfaction, then attempts at improving quality of work life through job redesign or other work innovations, will be less meaningful.

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23 In a test of these relationships, Bergermaier et al. (1984) found some support for the spillover approach, but no support for the compensatory approach. They also tested a ''no relationship" model of the relationships between work and nonwork activities and found some support for this model as well. They suggested that since the quality of leisure activities appears to be the key factor in individuals' general well-being, then improving work experiences would not produce improvements in general well-being. With regard to absenteeism, each year it is estimated that over 400 million work days are lost in the United States due to employee absenteeism, or about 5.1 lost days per year per employee (Yolles, Carone & Krinsky, 1975). In many industries, daily blue collar absenteeism runs as high as 10% to 20% of the work force (Lawler, 1971). A study by Mirvis and Lawler (1977) estimated the cost of absenteeism among non-managerial personnel to be about $66 per day per employee; this estimate included both direct salary and fringe benefit costs, as well as costs associated with temporary replacement and estimated loss of profit. While such figures are admittedly crude,

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24 combining the estimated total days lost with the costs associated with absenteeism yields an estimated annual cost of absenteeism in the U.S. of $26.4 billion. Even taking the more conservative minimum wage rate yields an estimated annual cost of $8.5 billion (Steers & Rhodes, 1978). In terms of the relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism, it seems reasonable to predict that more satisfied workers will be absent less frequently than the less satisfied workers. However, the relationship between work satisfaction and absenteeism is obscured in the literature because absenteeism is caused by a number of factors other than a person's voluntary choice not to come to work, for example, illness and accidents. Those studies that have separated voluntary absences from overall absences have found that voluntary absence rates are much more closely related to job satisfaction than are overall absence rates (Vroom, 1964). This outcome supports the causal assertion that job satisfaction influences people's willingness to come to work (Lawler, 1973). Another causal assertion in the literature is that work satisfaction influences turnover. That is,

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if a worker is poorly paid and if there are other opportunities available, a low level of work satisfaction will contribute to turnover (Staw, 1980). studies in this area have consistently shown that dissatisfied workers are more likely than satisfied workers to terminate employment; thus, work satisfaction scores can statistically predict turnover (Lawler, 1973). 25 Public managers should be concerned with turnover based on the strength and endurance of another assumption: that turnover is a negative consequence for organizations given several factors. First, turnover almost always involves some costs for the organization (e.g., recruitment, selection, training) These costs may be more salient to administrators than any benefits which may result from a change in personnel. Second, from the perspective of a personnel department, since turnover creates operating expenses for the organization, a major way for this department to contribute to the organization would seem to be through a reduction in turnover expenses (Staw, 1980). Clearly there is a need for more studies that would provide further inference regarding the

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26 functional relationship between job satisfaction and the aforementioned variables. For example, there are a number of studies that have demonstrated a positive relationship between productivity and job satisfaction, while other studies have found no evidence of this relationship. More studies on this subject might reveal the specific circumstances under which a positive relationship between productivity and job satisfaction is actually found. Undoubtedly, this disparity can be explained at the present time. In order to be convincing, however, the explanation would have to be based on a theory of job satisfaction. At present there is not one but several major theoretical approaches to job satisfaction in use. An analysis of these major theoretical approaches to job satisfaction in use is presented below. As stated previously, the purpose of the analysis is not to draw conclusions on, for example, the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity or performance. The purpose of the analysis below is to demonstrate that the present theoretical focus in the literature does not increase one's understanding of job satisfaction per se. The other purposes of the analysis are to gain an understanding of some of the major premises and

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27 conceptual issues to job satisfaction and to learn about the similarities and differences between the approaches. For purposes of the analysis, these approaches can be thought of in terms of either need theory, social reference theory, or instrumentality theory (Table 1). Table 1. Major Conceptualizations of Job Satisfaction Along with the Primary Proponents of Each Approach Approach Proponents Need Theory Hierarchy of Needs 1943 Discrepancy Theory Katzell, 1964; Locke, 1968 Facet Satisfaction Model Lawler, 1973 Two-factor Theory Herzberg, et al., 1959 Social Reference Theory Equity Theory Adams, 1963 Instrumentality Theory Expectancy Theory Vroom, 1964

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Approaches to Work Satisfaction Need Theory Need theories suggest the kinds of things people desire from life or work. Some need theories stress money (e.g., the so-called Scientific Management theories represented by Taylor, 1911), others stress the social rewards to be derived from participation in groups (e.g., Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939), and a third need theory category emphasizes the need for individuals to fulfill themselves as people. In the discussion below, Maslow's need-fulfillment theory incorporates from each of these categories, discrepancy theory, including Lawler's (1973) model of the causal determinants of satisfaction, and two-factor theory are examples of this third category of need theory. 28 Need-fulfillment theory. The need-fulfillment approach to job satisfaction is concerned with how much individual needs are being satisfied. Maslow (1943, 1954) proposed a theory of the development of needs. He postulated that all human needs can be arranged in an ascending hierarchy, and that the lowest level unsatisfied needs are the main motivators

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29 of human beings. The lowest level needs physiological, e.g., the needs for food, water, shelter, and sex. If these needs are satisfied, the next higher level needs become the motivating factors of the individual. As long as low level needs are unsatisfied, man is dominated by them and cannot be concerned with needs of a higher order. The next level beyond physiological needs are the safety needs. These include freedom from bodily harm or threat of harm, and also security in one's job. The satisfaction of these needs leads to social needs which are affection, friendship and interaction with peers, friends, and one's family. Once social needs are reasonably met, ego and needs then demand attention. Most people have a desire for selfrespect, self-confidence and a stable and positive self-evaluation. They also need respect, recognition and appreciation from others. The top need identified in the hierarchy is the desire for self-actualization or self-fulfillment. This is the need to realize one's potential for selfdevelopment, to be what one wants to be, to know one is using all one's talents well and creatively. Maslow maintained that a satisfied need ceases

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30 to motivate behavior. Insufficient satisfaction of a need can result in increased motivation, but if the need cannot be satisfied, frustration may result instead. If a lower need or primary need is not satisfied, it must be satiated consistently with an individual's expectations before higher needs become operable. Once the need is satisfied, it does not significantly influence behavior any longer. A number of studies have attempted to test Maslow's hierarchy of needs theory. Most attempts to establish evidence have failed (Bass & Barrett, 1981). Some researchers have found that only two or three levels of hierarchy exist (Alderfer, 1972; Lawler & Suttle, 1972), while another researcher provided little support for the assumption that a hierarchy of needs exists at all (Ivancevich, 1969). In addition, Maslow's notion that the stronger a need the more likely a person will act to satisfy it, has not been confirmed (Wahba & Bridwell, 1976). To date, the hierarchyof needs theory remains an interesting "common sense" theory with an appeal to practitioners but with little scientific validity (Harpaz, 1983). Maslow's theory places satisfaction in the role as "releaser mechanism" signaling the introduc-

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31 tion to a new level of need. It also asserts that each level of need in the hierarchy must be satisfied, at least in part, before the higher level need becomes a motivator. Discrepancy theory. Katzell (1964) and Locke (1968; 1969) have probably presented the two most completely developed discrepancy theory approaches to satisfaction. Like many discrepancy theorists, Katzell saw satisfaction as the difference between an actual amount and some desired amount; but unlike most discrepancy theorists, he assumed that this difference should be divided by the desired amount of the outcome. Using Katzell's formula, the more an individual wants of an outcome the more dissatisfied one will be with a given discrepancy. Locke (1969) stated a discrepancy theory that differed from Katzell's in several ways. First, Locke emphasized that the perceived discrepancy, not the actual discrepancy, is important. He also argued that satisfaction is determined by the simple difference between what the person wants and what hejshe perceives that hejshe receives. Locke (1969) stated, "Job satisfaction and dissatisfaction are a function of the perceived relationship between what one wants

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32 from one's job and.what one perceives that the job is offering." A few researchers have argued that satisfaction is determined by what one expects to receive rather than by what one wants or feels one received. Thus, the literature on job satisfaction contains three different discrepancy approaches; the first looks at what people want, the second at what people feel they should receive, and the third at what people expect to receive. With discrepancy theories, it is not clear how to equate dissatisfaction (or whatever this feeling might be called) due to over-reward with dissatisfaction due to under-reward. Hence, the following questions remain unanswered: are they produced in the same way? Do they have the same results? Do they both contribute to overall job dissatisfaction? These are some of the important questions that discrepancy theories have yet to answer. Equity theory, discussed later in this chapter, has dealt with some of these questions.

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33 Lawler's model (1973) of the causal determinants of satisfaction. An important model in the job satisfaction literature is Lawler's model of the determinants of satisfaction {Figure 1) which is based on discrepancy theory. The model in Figure 1 is a discrepancy model in the sense that it shows satisfaction as the difference between a) what one feels one should receive, and b) what one perceives that one actually receives. The model indicates that when one's perception of what one's outcome level is and one's perception of what one's outcome level should be are in agreement, one will be satisfied. When one perceives one's outcome level as falling below what one feels it should, one will be dissatisfied. However, when one's perceived outcome level exceeds what one feels it should be, one will have feelings of guilt and inequity and perhaps some discomfort {Adams, 1965). Thus, for any job factor, the assumption is that satisfaction with the factor will be determined by the difference between how much of the factor there is and how much of the factor the person feels there should be.

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Skill Experience Training Effort Age Seniority Education Company loyalty Past performance Present performance Level Difficulty Timespan Amount of responsibility Perceived outcornes of referent others Actual outcomes received Figure 1. Perceived personal job inputs Perceived inputs and outcomes of referent others Perceived job characteristics Perceived amount that should be received Perceived amount received a "' b -+ satisfaction a> b .... dissatisfaction a< b -+ guilt, inequity, discomfort Model of the determinants of satisfaction Note. From E. E. Lawler III, Motivation in Work Organizations, 1973, Monterey, Calif.: Brooks/Cole. w ,j:>..

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35 The importance of Lawler's model is that it represents what most theories of job satisfaction argue: that overall job satisfaction is determined by some combination of all facet-satisfaction feelings. In other words, overall job satisfaction is determined by the difference between all the things one feels one receives from one's job and all the things one actually does receive. Two-factor Theory. Perhaps one of the most famous and controversial theories of job satisfaction is that suggested by Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman (1959) and variously called the "Two-Factor," "dual," or "Motivation-Hygiene" theory. The data for the original study were gathered through the "critical incident recall" interview method with over 200 Pittsburgh accountants and engineers. The interviewees were asked to recall a time when they felt "exceptionally good" about a job, either their present job or any other job they had held. This was then repeated for an incident when the interviewees felt "exceptionally bad" about a job. A content analysis of the critical incidents resulted in dividing the factors into two categories--satisfiers

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36 and determining for each factor whether it appeared more frequently in descriptions of satisfying or dissatisfying incidents. The satisfiers, which are also known as motivators, intrinsic and job content factors, were related to the actual content of the job. The dissatisfiers, which are also known as hygiene, extrinsic and job context factors, were related to the context in which an individual performed a job. From these findings a "two-factor" hypothesis was developed; it suggested that factors in a job situation which make people happy are not the same factors which make them unhappy. Rather than being opposing poles on a single continuum of satisfaction, satisfaction and dissatisfaction are two independent dimensions; i.e., the presence of the "motivators": achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and possibility of growth, can lead to high job while their absence does not lead to J!' dissatisfaction. The latter can only result, according to Herzberg et al. (1959), through the presence of "hygienes": company policy and administration, technical supervision, relations with

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superiors, working conditions, relations with coworkers, personal life, pay, relations with subordinates, status, and job security. Their absence, in turn, does not lead to satisfaction. 37 Herzberg's et al. formulation has received a vast amount of attention from academicians and practitioners alike. Results similar to Herzberg's et al. original study were obtained with many different occupational groups and in a variety of organizational settings (e.g., Friedlander & Walter, 1964). However, a number of studies have failed to support the theory or parts of it (e.g., Dunnette, Campbell & Hakel, 1967). In general, the two-factor theory has been criticized for various reasons including: inability to generalize to other occupations (House & Wigdor, 1967); oversimplification of the nature of job satisfaction (Dunnette, Campbell & Hakel, 1967); and, methodological grounds (Korman, 1971). Although there is a long list of critics, the work of Herzberg et al. has had a significant impact on the thought and research of job satisfaction (Steers & Porter, 1975).

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38 Social Reference Theory Social reference theories, like equity theory, suggest not only that people need and seek the company of others, but also indicate why they do so. Two major propositions form the basis of social reference theories. The first proposition holds that people seek others in order to evaluate themselves, particularly their skills, abilities, ideas, and opinions. While height, weight, hair color, and other physiological characteristics can be assessed with reference to a nonhuman standard, one can only assess psychological characteristics by reference to other people. Thus, people may gain some self-knowledge locating themselves in the larger fabric of their social contacts. In addition, social reference theory suggests the importance of having a wide range of social comparison opportunities as one develops. The second proposition holds that people will seek to locate themselves in situations in which their abilities and opinions are similar to those of others. According to social reference theory, satisfaction results when there is a perceived equity between what an individual contributes and receives, at work for example, compared to relevant others.

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39 Equity theory. Adams (1963; 1965) argued in his version of equity theory that work satisfaction is determined by a person's perceived input-outcome balance in the following manner: the perceived equity of a reward is determined by an input-outcome balance; this perceived equity, in turn, determines satisfaction. As previously stated, work satisfaction results when perceived equity exists, and dissatisfaction results when perceived inequity exists. Thus, work satisfaction is determined by the perceived ratio of what one receives from one's job relative to what one puts into one's job. According to equity theory, either under-reward or over-reward can lead to dissatisfaction, although the feelings are somewhat different. The theory emphasizes that over-reward leads to feelings of guilt, while under-reward leads to feelings of unfair treatment. Instrumentality Theory Expectancy theories, variously called instrumentality, path-goal, performance-reward, or valence theories, do not specify what people desire; they show how people's desires motivate the direction and level of their behavior. Effort, or motivated

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behavior, is thereby directed at obtaining specific, manifest, desired "satisfactions," e.g., money, prestige, early retirement, equity, or whatever the person desires and perceives he or she can attain. Further, expectancy theories view people as rational beings, as thinking humans who are able to make decisions. A person's desires might be considered irrational by some standards, yet the theory would still accurately predict the "irrational" behavior. 40 Expectancy theory. In its general form, expectancy theory attempts to explain how behavior is directed and why individuals choose a particular behavior in order to reach a goal. For this reason, it is an important tool for understanding satisfaction. Expectancy theory is based on a number of specific assumptions about the causes of behavior in organizations. They are: Assumption 1: Behavior is determined by a combination of forces in the individual and forces in the environment. Neither the individual nor the environment alone determines behavior. Individuals come into organizations with certain "psychological baggage." This influences how individuals respond to their work environment. The work environment provides

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structures which influence the behavior of people (e.g., pay system). Different environments tend to produce different behavior in similar people just as dissimilar people tend to behave differently in similar environments (Nadler & Lawler, 1983). 41 Assumption 2: People make decisions about their own behavior in organizations. While there are many constraints on the behavior of individuals in organizations, most of the behavior that is observed is the result of individuals' conscious decisions. These decisions usually fall into two categories. First, individuals make decisions about membership behavior--coming to work, staying at work, etc. Second, individuals make decisions about the amount of effort they will direct toward performing their jobs. This includes decisions about how hard to work, how much to produce, at what quality, etc. (Nadler & Lawler, 1983). Assumption 3: Different people have different types of needs, desires and goals. Individuals differ on what kinds of outcomes (or rewards) they desire. Assumption 4: People make decisions among alternative plans of behavior based on their perceptions (expectancies) of the degree to which a

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42 given behavior will lead to desired outcomes. People tend to do those things which they see as leading to outcomes (which can also be called "rewards") they desire and avoid doing those things they see as leading to outcomes that are not desired. Three concepts serve as the key building blocks of expectancy theory. They are: Performance-Outcome Expectancy. Every behavior has associated with it, in an individual's mind, certain outcomes (rewards or punishments). In other words, the individual believes or expects that if he or she behaves in a certain way, he or she will get certain things (Nadler & Lawler, 1983). Outcomes may be either intrinsic or extrinsic. Intrinsic outcomes are seen as occurring directly as a result of performing the task itself and are outcomes which the individual thus gives to him or herself (i.e., feelings of accomplishment, creativity, satisfaction, etc.). Extrinsic outcomes associated with performance are provided or mediated by external factors (the organization, the supervisor, the work group, etc.). Valence. Each outcome has a "valence" (value, worth, attractiveness) to a specific individual.

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43 Outcomes have different valences for different individuals because valences result from individual needs and perceptions. Individual needs and perceptions differ because they in turn reflect other factors in the individual's life. For example, some individuals may value an opportunity for promotion or advancement because of their needs for achievement or power (Nadler and Lawler, 1983). Effort-Performance Expectancy. Each behavior also has associated with it in the individual's mind a certain expectancy or probability of success. This expectancy represents the individual's perception of how hard it will be to achieve such behavior and the probability of his or her successful achievement of this behavior (Nadler & Lawler, 1983). Putting these concepts together, Nadler and Lawler (1983) concluded that the attempt to behave in a certain way is greatest when:. a) the individual believes that the behavior will in probability lead to outcomes 1performance-outcome expectancy) ; b) the individual believes that these outcomes have positive value for him or her (valence) ; and c) the individual believes that he or she is able to perform at the desired level (effort-performance expectancy).

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44 Given a number of alternative levels of behavior, the individual will choose that level of performance which has the greatest motivational force associated with it, as indicated by the expectancies, outcomes, and valences. In other words, when faced with choices about behavior, the individual goes through a process of considering such questions as, "Can I perform at that level if I try?" "If I perform at that level, what will happen?" "How do I feel about those things that will happen?" The individual then decides to behave in that way which seems to have the best chance of producing positive, desired outcomes (Nadler & Lawler, 1983), e.g., satisfaction. In general, expectancy theory views people as having their own needs and mental maps of what the world is like. The theory postulates that people use these maps to make decisions about how they will behave, behaving in those ways which their mental maps indicate will lead to satisfaction of their needs. Discussion It can be seen that the theories described, to a greater or lesser degree, are relevant to the study and explanation of satisfaction and some of its

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45 implications for individuals. It can also be seen that the approaches vary widely. For example, need theories state that different things energize people to do something, but the theories do not indicate what people will do. The same is true, to a lesser extent, for social reference theories. Expectancy theories do not postulate the kinds of needs all people have in general. With respect to satisfaction, expectancy theories concentrate on the thought processes that enable people to decide what they must do in order to obtain the things, whatever they are, that they feel will satisfy them. The definitions of satisfaction of each approach also vary depending upon the theoretical framework. For example, to Maslow (1954), satisfaction may mean the number of needs actually satisfied. To Vroom (1964), satisfaction may mean the amount of anticipated need satisfaction or the valence of an outcome. Because the definitions of satisfaction vary, the measurement of satisfaction varies depending on which approach is used. Researchers using the need-fulfillment approach in relation to satisfaction measure job satisfaction by finding out how much of a given job

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46 facet an individual is receiving such as pay and selfrespect. Some researchers weight these various needs and outcomes according to how important they are to the individual, based on the presumption that some needs are more important than others. The discrepancy theory approach generally views job satisfaction as the difference between desired outcomes and actual outcomes. Researchers using this approach assess how much of an outcome individuals think they should get and how much they are actually getting, and they use subtraction to indicate the amount of job satisfaction. It can be seen that perceptions play an important role in Lawler's model. This process takes the form of perceived personal job input, perceived job characteristics and perceived amount received. Lawler argued that overall job satisfaction could be determined by the combination of all facet satisfaction feelings of an individual. He believed that facet satisfaction scores should be weighted according to their importance to the individual because some contribute more to satisfaction than others. Researchers using the conceptualization of Herzberg et al. look at the sources of job

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47 satisfaction as different from the sources of job dissatisfaction and attempt to assess how many of the dissatisfaction-producing factors and how many of the satisfaction-producing factors are present. Researchers using the equity theory approach measure the input-outcome ratio (how much individuals put into their job vs. how much they get out of it) and then compare this ratio with their perception of other people's input-outcome ratio. As stated, this approach uses a social comparison process and suggests that satisfaction results when there is equity between an individual's input-outcome balance when compared to relevant others. Researchers using the expectancy theory approach in relation to satisfaction measure the attitudes individuals have in order to diagnose motivational problems. The results from this questionnaire are then used to calculate work-. motivation scores. A score can be calculated for each and scores can be combined for groups of individuals. The work-motivation score is designed to help with the diagnosis of why employees are motivated or not, what the strength of motivation is in

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48 different parts of.the organization, and how effective different rewards are for motivating performance. While the various approaches of satisfaction vary widely in terms of definition and measurement of satisfaction, they are similar in that they demonstrate little or no concern with the construct of subjective satisfaction per se. For example, Maslow's need theory, perhaps the most simplistic of all of the approaches to satisfaction, does not deal with the kinds of affective reactions that people experience in association with or as a result of motivated behavior. According to his theory, satisfaction is simply a satisfied need and dissatisfaction is simply insufficient satisfaction of a need. Further, he placed satisfaction in the role of a "releasor mechanism" signaling the introduction to a new level of need beginning with physiological needs and continuing with safety needs, social needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. Maslow asserted that each level of need in the hierarchy must be satisfied, at least in part, before the higher level need becomes motivating. Clearly, Maslow's theory

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does not illuminate the internal subjective state of satisfaction/dissatisfaction per se. 49 Similarly, the same conclusion can be drawn in regard to discrepancy theory, with the somewhat limited exception of Lawler's (1973) model of facet satisfaction; i.e., neither need theory nor discrepancy theory illuminates the internal subjective state of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. However, rather than presenting satisfaction as a satisfied need, discrepancy theory generally views satisfaction as either the difference between an actual amount and some desired amount in relation to what people want, what people feel they should receive, andjor what people expect to receive. Thus, in discrepancy theory, satisfaction may be viewed, not as a hierarchy of needs, but as a simple equation. The discrepancy theory equation is: what people want (what people feel they should receive, what people expect to receive) minus what people get (felt they should have received,expected to receive) equals satisfaction/ dissatisfaction (people got what they wanted, felt they should have received, expected to receive or people did not get what they wanted, felt they should have received, expected to receive).

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50 Lawler's (1973) discrepancy model of satisfaction has more to say about subjective experience than does the discrepancy theory of Katzell (1964) and Locke (1968, 1969). Like Katzell and Locke, Lawler's model describes satisfaction; dissatisfaction as an equation. However, unlike Katzell and Locke, Lawler's (1973) model of satisfaction illuminates subjective experience not in relation to satisfaction and not when the perceived outcome level falls below what one feels it should be (underreward), but, as previously stated, only with respect to over-reward. Specifically, Lawler postulated that in the case of over-reward--i.e., when a person's perceived outcome level exceeds what the person feels it should be--the person will have feelings of guilt, inequity and perhaps some discomfort. According to Lawler's model then, there are two types of subjective experience related to dissatisfaction, and in only one type of dissatisfaction (over-reward) are the components of subjective experience delineated. It is important to note here that with respect to both need theory and discrepancy theory, it may be assumed that satisfaction and dissatisfaction are at opposing ends on a single continuum. The

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51 conceptualization of satisfaction of Herzberg et al. is totally unlike the previous theories discussed in this regard Unlike the other theories of satisfaction presented which place satisfaction; dissatisfaction as opposing ends on a single continuum, Herzberg et al. presented satisfaction and dissatisfaction as two independent continua. Even though Herzberg placed satisfaction and dissatisfaction on two different continuar motivation-hygiene theory is not unlike. need theory or discrepancy theory in that the research of Herzberg et al. did not depend on introspective self-report. Thus satisfaction and dissatisfaction are not viewed as internal psychological states and the theory does not illuminate the construct of satisfaction per se. Equity theory is similar to discrepancy t:,heqry. ,. in the sense that it may be viewed in terms of an equation. In this case, satisfaction/dissatisfaction equals the perceived ratio of what one receives from one's job relative to what one puts into one's job. Unlike discrepancy theory, theory emphasizes the importance of other people's input-outcome balance in determining how one will judge the equity of one's own input-outcome balance. Equity theory argues that

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52 people evaluate the fairness of their own inputoutcome balance by comparing it with their perception of the input-outcome balance of their 11comparisonother11 (the person with whom they compare themselves). This emphasis does not enter into discrepancy theory. Although there is an implied reference to 11other11 in the discussion of how people develop their feelings about what their outcomes should be, discrepancy theory does not explicitly state that this is a perception of what other people contribute and receive. This difference underscores a strength of equity theory relative to discrepancy theory. Equity theory clearly states how one assesses one's inputs and outcomes in order to develop one's perception of the fairness of one's input-outcome balance. Discrepancy theory, on the other hand, is vague about how people decide what their outcomes should be. The theories are thus superficially similar in that they both stress the importance of a person's perceived outcomes along with the relationship of these outcomes to a second In discrepancy theory, the perception of what the person wants the outcomes to be is left vague; in equity theory, this perception is constituted by a

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person's perception of inputs in relation to the inputs and outcomes of others (Lawler, 1973). 53 Like Lawler's (1973) model of facet satisfaction, equity theory sheds light on the subjective experience related to dissatisfaction. According to equity theory, either under-reward or over-reward can lead to dissatisfaction. Here equity theory illuminates the subjective experience related to dissatisfaction more than Lawler's model. In Lawler's model, dissatisfaction due to under-reward is not described, and subjective experience related to over-reward is described as leading to feelings of guilt and inequity and perhaps some discomfort. According to equity theory, over-reward leads to feelings of guilt, while under-reward leads to feelings of unfair treatment. Hence, equity theory goes beyond Lawler's (1973) facet model of satisfaction in terms of describing subjective experience. Like need theory, discrepancy theory, and motivation-hygiene theory, equity theory is not concerned with the kinds of affective reactions that people experience in association with or as a result of satisfaction. The expectancy theory model, like discrepancy

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54 theory and equity theory, could be viewed in terms of an equation. It is unlike these two theories in that: 1) it is a theory of motivation primarily rather than a theory of satisfaction; and 2) it is a much more complex equation than either discrepancy theory or equity theory. The equation involves the critical perceptions which contribute to motivation. In simplified terms, the equation expresses that the strength of a person's motivation to perform effectively is influenced by 1) the person's belief that effort can be converted into performance, and 2) the net attractiveness of the outcomes that are perceived to stem from good performance. Expectancy theory goes beyond most of the psychological research on motivation in the sense that it deals with subjective experience, e.g., intrinsic outcomes of motivated behavior. However, the theory is not well-developed with respect to intrinsic outcomes and does little to illuminate the subjective experience of satisfaction/dissatisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is one theory which does attempt to illuminate subjective experience. It can therefore be considered yet another approach to satisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi's

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Theory of Play, the theory to be examined in this research, is described below. Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play 55 Csikszentrnihalyi's (1975) Theory of Play is based on an examination and extrapolation of his phenomenological studies of the psychology of play. Csikszentmihalyi referred to the experience of play as 11optimal11 experience or 11flow11 The model (Figure 2) which describes dynamic states of consciousness, is based on the axiom that, at any given moment, people are aware of a finite number of opportunities which challenge them to act; at the same time, they are aware also of their skills--that is, of their capacity to cope with the demands imposed by the environment. When a person is challenged with demands which he or she feels unable to meet (i.e., the opportunities for action are greater than the individual's capabilities) a state of worry may ensue. A person may pass the state of worry into that of anxiety if the worry becomes extreme. "Flow" is experienced when people perceive opportunities for action as being evenly matched by their capabilities. If, however,

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Anxiety Worry ACTION OPPORTUNITIES Boredom (CHALLENGES) Anxiety ACTION CAPABILITIES (SKILLS) Figure 2. Model of the flow state. Note. From M. Csikszentmihalyi, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety, 1975, San Francisco, Calif.: Jessey-Bass Inc., Publishers. 56

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57 skills are greater than the opportunities for using them, boredom will follow. A person may pass from the state of boredom into that of anxiety if the boredom becomes extreme. Thus, a flow activity is one that provides optimal challenges in relation to the actor's skills. It is postulated in the research propositions that flow results in the emotional consequence of satisfaction and boredom and worry, as well as anxiety, result in the emotional consequence of dissatisfaction. The flow model was tested in Csikszentmihalyi's (1975) studies of groups of people who seemed to spend much time and energy engaged in activities because of the rewards provided by the activity itself: e.g., chess masters, rock climbers, dancers, basketball players. Out of this initial study, extremely similar descriptions of the characteristics of flow or optimal experience were They included: 1) the merging of action and awareness; 2) the centering of attention on a limited stimulus field; 3) the loss of ego; 4) a feeling of control over the situation; 5) the situation contains noncontradictory demands for

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action; and 6) the flow experience is autotelic in nature (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). These characteristics are described below. 58 The primary characteristic of flow is the merging of action and awareness (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). Thus, a person in flow has no dualistic perspective: one is aware of one's actions but not of the awareness itself. Typically, a person can maintain a merged awareness with one's actions only for short periods broken by interludes during which one adopts an outside perspective. These interruptions occur'when questions flash through the actor's mind, such as, "Am I doing well?" This merging of action and awareness is made possible by a second characteristic of flow experience--a centering of attention on a limited stimulus field. To ensure that people will concentrate on their actions, potentially intruding stimuli must be kept out of attention. Some writers have called this process a "narrowing of consciousness," a "giving up the past and the future" (Maslow, 1971), which implies a total being in the present moment.

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59 Another characteristic of flow experiences has been variously described as "loss of ego," "selfforgetfulness, .. "loss of self-consciousness," and even "transcendence of individuality" (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975). When an activity involves person completely with its demands for action, selfforgetfulness occurs. Self-forgetfulness does not mean that in flow one loses touch with one's own physical reality; rather, one has a heightened awareness of the present situation. Yet another characteristic of a person in flow is his or control of hisjher actions and of the environment. In an organizational context this implies that one feels no fear of being overwhelmed by the job and no fear of underuse of one's skills. Another characteristic of the flow experience is that it usually contains coherent, noncontradictory demands for action and provides clear, unambiguous feedback to a person's actions. These components of flow, like the preceding ones, are made possible because one's awareness is limited to a restricted field of possibilities. In an organizational context, unambiguous feedback means that not only are the work goals logically ordered, but a person is not expected

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60 to do incompatible things. Further, the person knows what the results of various possible actions will be. Finally, the flow experience is "autotelic" in nature: it appears to require no goals or rewards external to itself. Csikszentmihalyi (1979) replicated his initial study with people in a variety of occupations: surgeons, teachers, mathematicians, secretaries, and workers, ranging from the assembly line to management. In each case, the descriptions of flow coincided strongly in the reported subjective dimensions of the experience. Thus, while people in an organizational context do ostensibly work for extrinsic rewards like salary, the "flow" or personal, subjective characteristics can still be present. Concluding Remarks It is clear that Csikszentmihalyi's theoretical framework focuses on subjective experience. His studies graphically make the point that subjective experience falls into the following categories: worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow. These categories are not used in the other approaches to work satisfaction to describe subjective experience.

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61 That is not to say.that Csikszentmihalyis theory is totally unlike the other approaches to satisfaction. In point of fact, Csikszentmihalyis conceptualization of satisfaction is similar to the conceptualizations of satisfaction described because it focuses on behavior, attitudes, choices, on cognitive processes, performance and on relationships between interpersonal and external events. However, unlike the other approaches to satisfaction described, Csikszentmihalyis theory is primarily concerned with the kinds of affective reactions that people experience in association with or as a result of motivated behavior. Also unlike the other approaches to satisfaction, Csikszentmihalyis theory is the only approach that specifically delineates the internal psychological state associated with satisfaction (optimal experience or flow). Like Lawler's (1973) model of facet satisfaction and equity theory, Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play also sheds light on the subjective experience of dissatisfaction. Csikszentmihalyi did not view dissatisfaction in terms of under-reward or overreward like Lawler's model and equity theory. Rather, Csikszentmihalyi viewed dissatisfaction in terms of

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boredom and worry, .and, in the extreme, in terms of anxiety. 62 It can be concluded from the preceding discussion that a great deal of research has been done on both the relationship between job satisfaction and other variables such as performance, and on theoretical approaches to looking at satisfaction. Despite the research, critics have legitimately complained that our understanding of job satisfaction has not substantially increased during .the last 30 years. The result is a vast array of often contradictory facts and theories, and little understanding of the quintessence of the work satisfaction experience itself as an internal set of emotional reactions. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play may be viewed as a new approach to satisfaction, one that does focus primarily on subjective experience per se. This theory, which is based on a number of specific assumptions about the causes o f subjective experience, will now be examined. Restatement of the Purpose This study will examine one theory of

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63 subjective experience and explore the nature of subjective satisfaction. The theory chosen to be examined is Csikszentmihalyi's (1975) Theory of Play. Developed from Csikszentmihalyi's phenomenological investigations of play, the goal of phenomenological research in general is the intuitive understanding of the eidos, or essence, of perceptions and cognitive experiences. Since this research is exploratory in nature, qualitative research methods were chosen as the research methodology. In addition, four propositions, based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, will be used to provide a structure for the data collection. It is hoped that this research will provide answers to the following two research questions: 1) Is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? and 2) what is the nature of subjective satisfaction? Propositions As previously stated, utilization of four propositions based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play will provide a structure for the qualitative data collection. They are:

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64 1} People experience worry (job dissatisfaction) when their skills are less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. 2) People experience boredom (job dissatisfaction) when their skills are greater than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. 3) People experience anxiety (job dissatisfaction) when their skills are either much greater or much less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. 4) People experience flow (job satisfaction) when their skills are equal to the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. Contributions of This Study This research will provide answers to the following two research questions: 1} is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? and 2} what is the nature of subjective satisfaction? In other words, the findings of this investigation will determine whether it is possible to confirm one theory of subjective experience. Irrespective of whether it is possible to confirm one theory of subjective

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65 experience, more will be learned about the nature of subjective satisfaction. Further, the findings of this research will provide useful information for researchers with respect to the theories and approaches to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II, and for further research. Finally, the findings of this research will also provide useful information to public managers who wish to build flow into workers' everyday life. Summary In the second chapter, a review of the major theoretical concerns and approaches to satisfaction in use found in the literature was presented. The purpose of the literature review was to demonstrate that the present focus in the literature does not increase one's understanding of the construct of satisfaction per se. Further, in order to gain an understanding of: 1) the major premises and issues that support the understanding of satisfaction and some of its implications for individuals; and 2) the similarities and differences of the major approaches to satisfaction, an analysis of the major approaches to satisfaction was presented.

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66 Following the literature review, Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play was described and discussed in light of the other approaches to satisfaction in use. In the final sections of Chapter II, the purpose of the present investigation was restated, the research propositions were presented, and the specific contribution of this study was presented.

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CHAPTER III THE INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURES Qualitative research methods were used in the present research to examine the worry, boredom, flow and anxiety experiences of selected individuals at work. Broadly speaking, these methods cover an array of interpretive techniques which seek to describe, decode, translate, and otherwise come to terms with the meaning, not the frequency, of certain more or less naturally occurring phenomena in the social world (Van Maanan, 1983). Qualitative methods are derived most directly from the ethnographic and field study traditions in anthropology (Pelto & Pelto, 1978) and sociology (Bruyn, 1966). More generally, the holistic-inductive paradigm of naturalistic inquiry is based on perspectives developed in phenomenology (Bussis et al., 1973; Carini, 1975), symbolic interactionism, naturalistic behaviorism (Denzin, 1978), ethnomethodology (Garfinkel, 1967), and ecological psychology (Barker, 1968). Many of the qualitative research techniques currently in use in organizational research have their origins in clinical psychology (see Anderson & Anderson, 1951; Mills, 1969). An

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68 integrating theme running through these traditions is the fundamental notion or doctrine of verstehen (Patton, 1980) The verstehen approach assumes that the social sciences need methods different from those used in agricultural experimentation and natural science because human beings are different from plants and nuclear particles. The verstehen tradition stresses understanding that focuses on the meaning of human behavior, the context of social interaction, and empathetic understanding based on intersubjective experience, and the connections between subjective states and behavior. The tradition of verstehen or understanding places emphasis on the human capacity to know and understand others through sympathetic introspection and reflection from detailed case description andjor observation (Patton, 1980). Thus, the product of qualitative data collection is depth and detail (Patton, 1980) Depth and detail emerge through direct quotation and careful description. then, is the fundamental act of data collection in a qualitative study (Van Maanen, 1983). According to Schutz (1967/1977), both defenders and critics of the process of verstehen

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69 maintain, and with.good reason, that verstehen is "subjective." Schutz argued that the critics of understanding call it subjective, because they hold that understanding the motives of another man's action depends upon the private, uncontrollable, and unverifiable intuition of the observer or refers to his private value system. The social scientists, such as Max Weber (1949/1977), however, called verstehen subjective because its goal is to find out what the actor "means" in his action, in contrast to the meaning which this action has for the actor's partner or a neutral observer. This whole discussion suffers, according to Schutz (1967/1977), from the failure to distinguish clearly between verstehen: 1) as the experiential form of common-sense knowledge of human affairs, 2) as an epistemological problem, and 3) as a method peculiar to the social sciences. In reference to the latter, of particular concern here, Schutz (1967/1977) wrote: [I]t appears that the assumption that the strict.adoption of the principles of concept and theory formation prevailing in the natural sciences will lead to reliable knowledge of social reality is inconsistent in itself. If a theory can be developed on such principles, say in the form of an ideally refined

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behaviorism--and it is certainly possible to imagine this--then it will not tell us anything about social reality as experienced by men in everyday life .... A theory which aims at explaining social reality has to develop particular devices foreign to the natural sciences in order to agree with the commonsense experience of the social world. This is indeed what all theoretical sciences of human affairs--economics, sociology, the sciences of law, linguistics, cultural anthropology, etc.--have done. (pp. 232-233) 70 Thus, the qualitative method of in no way suggests that the researcher lacks the ability to be scientific, i.e., systematic, while collecting data. On the contrary, it merely specifies that it is crucial for validity, and for reliability, for the researcher to try to picture the social world as it actually exists to those under investigation, rather than as the researcher imagines it to be (Patton, 1980). Further, any attempt to explain human behavior which excludes what the actors themselves know, how they define their actions, remains a partial explanation that distorts the human situation. Among sociologists, educators, urban planners, psychologists, public interest lawyers, welfare administrators, health care personnel, political scientists, labor economists, and others, a renewed interest and felt need for qualitative research has slowly been emerging. According to VanMaanen (1983),

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71 there has come of age the significant realization that the people we study (and often seek to assist) have a form of life, a culture that is their own and if we wish to understand the behavior of these people and the groups and organizations of which they are a part, we must first be able to both appreciate and describe their culture. VanMaanen believed that as a society, we have become increasingly aware of the fact that individuals live, work, and play in multicultural surroundings. Moreover, within this society at least, it is becoming clear that the origins of many of these cultures are not coupled conceptually to matters such as geography, ethnicity, or social class but are grounded in organizational experience. Thus, Van Maanen argued that whether we are examining the organizational worlds of middle managers, tramps, stockbrokers, high school principals, police officers, production workers, or professional crooks, we are certain to uncover special languages, unique and peculiar problems, and, more generally, distinct patterns of thought and action. Several qualitative research tools used in an organizational setting include ethnography and ethnomethodology, role playing, participant

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72 observation, projective techniques, cartoon completion, contrived and unobtrusive measures, focus group interviews, depth interviews, and case studies (Das, 1983). It is important to emphasize here that these tools do not necessarily exclude quantification. Quantification is sometimes used together with description as part of the data analysis. With these facts in mind, the qualitative methods chosen to examine the flow, worry, boredom, and anxiety experiences of the individual at work are described below. These methods allowed for the data to be collected as open-ended narrative without attempting to fit peoples experiences into predetermined standardized categories. This methodology was chosen over purely quantitative measurement which relies upon the use of instruments that provide a standardized framework in order to limit data collection to certain predetermined response or analysis categories (cf. Chapter I). Specifically, the design of the study, including data analysis and verification procedures, are described. The limitations and delimitations of the research are also presented.

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73 Design of the Study Step 1: Development of Research Propositions The first step in this study was the development of research propositions based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play to serve as a guide for the data collection. It should be emphasized here that irrespective of the qualitative tool employed, the theoretical framework--in this case, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play--is one useful format for organizing field study data in a coherent way (Miles and Huberman, 1984). It also provides basic direction to the research. Of the two general approaches to building theoretical frameworks, which can be loosely labeled "inductive" and "deductive" (Miles and Huberman, 1984), a deductive strategy, also called "enumerative" or "conceptual" (Kaplan, 1964; Popper, 1968) strategy, was used in this research. In the deductive strategy, the researcher has some orienting constructs and propositions to test or observe in the field. These analytic units are operationalized, then matched to a body of field data (Miles & Huberman, 1984). This general approach was recommended by Miles and Huberman

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74 (1984) over the inductive strategy to qualitative research. In the inductive approach, also called "constructive" or "generative" (Goetz & LeCompte, 1981; Becker, 1958; Zelditch, 1962), the researcher discovers recurrent phenomena in the stream of local experience and finds recurrent relations among them. These constants become working typologies and hypotheses that in turn are progressively modified and refined. In other words, the theoretical framework emerges piecemeal and inductively. In reference to their own research using inductive strategy, Miles and Huberman (1984) stated: ... [W]ithout clear initial conceptualizing, we were drowned in tidal waves of shapeless data that would have taken years to analyze well. We learned--inductively--that a more deductive approach would have reduced and focused our data set without losing juice or meaning, and helped us find causal relationships faster. (p. 134) For this reason, a deductive approach was used in this research. In addition to the generation of an initial conceptual framework and the operationalizing of the framework with propositions, research questions (Step 3), and start-up codes (Step 4) were also utilized. A code is an abbreviation or symbol applied

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75 to a segment of words--most often a sentence or paragraph of transcribed field notes--in order to classify the words. Codes are categories. They usually derive from research questions, propositions, key concepts, or important themes, e.g., "B" for boredom. [For more discussion of types of codes, see Miles and Huberman, 1984, pp. 56-65.) In general, as the qualitative research progresses, the codes are enriched and reconfigured, and the research questions and propositions are answered or reframed. Most important, the theoretical framework is gradually rehashed and refined into the ultimate causal network (Miles and Huberman, 1984) through content analysis. Step 2: Sample Like Csikszentmihalyi's (1979) study, the data for this investigation were obtained from people in a variety of jobs (see Table 2). The age range of the sample was 23 to 67. There were 12 men and 8 women in the sample. The sample was selected from a public university, the University of Manitoba, since the

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Table 2. Sample Description (N=20) Job Title Sex Age T E Director, University Relations M 42 B. Sci. 19 14 Assistant to the President M 45 M.A. 10 3 1/2 Associate Dean M -5 5 Staff Relations Officer M 39 15 14 8 Dir. of Financial Aid & Awards M 67 B.Ed. 25 23 Director of Employee Relations M 43 -19 8 Associate Vice President M 53 Ph.D. 10 10 Director of Student Affairs M 42 Ph.D. 18 5 President and Vice Chancellor M 52 M.D. 20 5 Associate Vice President F 38 Ph.D. 17 4 Office Assistant IV. F 28 12 7 1 Office Assistant II F 43 12 24 2 Office Assistant III F 32 13 3 1 -....] 0"1

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Table 2 (Continued) Job Title Sex Age fh. T Department Secretary F 23 12 5 1 1/2 Secretary F 31 12 4 1 Receptionist F 42 12 2 1/2 2 1/2 Bookkeeper F 35 12 13 2 custodian M 54 10 6 1/2 4 1/2 Custodian M 23 11 4 2 1/2 Caretaker 1 M 49 9 17 14 Note. G = last grade of degree completed; T = length of time in this type of work; P = length of time in present job. Length of time responses reported in years. Levels of Office Assistant are I V; V is the highest level. -....1 -....1

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78 focus of the research was on the public sector. Sampling was carried out using a random number sequence with the university nonacademic employee listings of jobs including the highest administrative levels. Once the names were selected, people were invited to participate in the study. An explanation of the study and a statement of confidentiality (Appendix B) was distributed in order to encourage participation. If someone refused to participate, the person whose name followed on the employee list was asked to participate. Qualitative research focuses on a much smaller number of people and cases than does quantitative research because of the time-consuming, in-depth nature of the research being conducted. In the interests of practicality, the sample was limited to 20 respondents at one site. Step 3: Research Questions The development of research questions, the third major step of the study, involved the development of a "general interview guide" (Patton, 1980). Based on the research propositions, this guide was used to obtain verbal reports from the sample

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79 concerning their flow, worry, boredom, and anxiety experiences, their past and present coping strategies for worry, boredom, and anxiety, and demographic variables. The general interview guide approach involves outlining a set of issues to be explored with each respondent before the interviewing begins. Thus, the interview guide (Appendix A) served as a basic checklist which was used during the interviews to ensure that all topics related to the propositions were covered. It is important to emphasize here that one advantage of using the general interview guide approach is its allowance for easy conversational style, while at the same time ensuring that conversations are built within a particular subject area. Further, the interview guide helps make interviewing across a number of different people more systematic and comprehensive by delimiting the issues to be discussed while, at the same time, adhering to the fundamental principle of qualitative interviewing which, according to Patton (1980, p.205), is "to provide a framework within which respondents can express their own understandings in their own terms." Thus, the wording of questions was very general.

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80 A weakness.of the interview guide approach is that important and salient topics may be inadvertently omitted. Further, interviewer flexibility in sequencing and wording questions can result in substantially different responses, thus reducing the comparability of responses (Patton, 1980). To guard against these weaknesses, every effort was made to have respondents answer the same questions in the same order. This was not difficult, because there was only one interviewer. Since the raw data of interviews are quotations, interviews were transcribed and brief notes were taken simultaneously of key phrases and major points. Perhaps because a statement of confidentiality was given to each interviewee (Appendix B), no interviewee withheld permission to be taped. In only one instance, the tape recorder malfunctioned for a portion of the interview. Thorough and comprehensive notes were taken for this portion. Step 4: Data Analysis Step 4 involved the analysis of the data. First, all notes taken during the interviews were

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81 elaborated upon immediately following the interviews. That is, codes, reflective remarks, and marginal remarks were added while the responses were still fresh in the interviewer's mind. Reflective remarks are reflections and commentary on issues that emerge during the process of elaborating the raw field notes (Miles and Huberman, 1984). Marginal remarks, like reflective remarks, add meaning and clarity to field notes. They also point to important issues that a given code may be missing or blurring. As such, they may suggest needs for revision in codes (Miles and Huberman, 1984). In short, the period after the interview was a time of "quality control" to guarantee that the data obtained was useful, reliable, and valid (Patton, 1980). After the interviews were typed, codes, reflective remarks and marginal remarks were also added to the transcripts. During this elaboration process, several individuals were re-interviewed for the purpose of gaining additional information and/or further clarification. It is useful to emphasize here that the process of qualitative data analysis is largely intuitive (Mintzberg, 1979). Therefore it is a creative process. There are no formal, universal

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82 rules to follow in analyzing and interpreting qualitative data (Patton, 1980). Thus, the analyst does not seek some ultimate truth. Rather, the generation of useful theory based on qualitative data analysis involves the process of bringing order to the data by organizing the data into patterns, categories, and basic descriptive units. Towards this end, the analysis of the data involves explaining descriptive patterns and looking for relationships and linkages among descriptive dimensions (Patton, 1980). Once all the data were organized, Step 4 involved elaborating even further. That is, step 4 also involved "working" the data around each of the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. During this process, the goal was to retain, rather than to reduce, sufficient richness to communicate the nature of the phenomenon under investigation, while also abstracting and classifying elements of it to develop the theoretical themes of interest. Further, the goal was not to determine all' similarities and differences, but to determine only the most pervasive ones by careful and repeated exploration for variation in the set of descriptions.

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83 one of the points of interest in an analysis of this kind of data is that it is possible to locate ideas, thoughts, assumptions and feelings that seem to arise in a stream of consciousness from no obvious source in perception, memory, reasoning, and which can be interpreted as the outcome of some unconscious process (Burgoyne and Hodgson, 1983). As part of the analysis process, several "rules of thumb" were consistently applied, since, as previously stated, there are no formal universal rules to follow in analyzing and interpreting qualitative data (Patton, 1980). These rules of thumb included such items as (Miles, 1979, p. 127): Consider the validity of any particular generalization. Is there supporting evidence from elsewhere in the data? Does it hold true for several different people? Is there any negative evidence? [Generalizations are closely related to theory; the difference being that theory specifies the relationship among a set of variables while generalizations concern the extent to which whatever relationships are uncovered in a particular situation can be expected to hold true for every situation (Patton, 1980) .] Given a generalization, make a prediction. What

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else would be true if this generalization were true? Then go look at the "else" to see if it is there or not. 84 Test the hypotheses [propositions]: does Y always go with z, and is it reasonable to think that it causes Z? Are certain conditions necessary for Y to cause Z? Sufficient? Look at extreme-bias cases: if even the most selfinterested role or group gives an explanation which fits yours, although it's against their interest or bias, then the conclusion is stronger. These "rules of thumb" also served to address many of the validity issues described in Step 5. Step 5: Verification of the Data It has already been stated that the qualitative does not search for some ultimate truth. On the subject of speculation about causes, consequences, and relationships in the field study, in the end, all that can be provided is perspective-perspective gained through careful qualitative analysis. In the words of Michael Patton {1980, p.327), "The perspective gained through careful qualitative analysis is not arbitrary, nor is it predetermined, but it does fall short of being Truth."

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Perspective then is what the qualitative analyst verifies and validates. 85 The thread that runs through the verification procedures, the fifth major step in the study, is the dependence on the qualitative analyst going over the data again and again to see if the constructs, categories, explanations, interpretations and numbers make sense, if they really reflect the nature of the phenomena (Patton, 1980). In other words, in qualitative analysis, creativity and intellectual rigor go beyond the routine application of the scientific procedures (Patton, 1980) This is an important point. Further, it is important for the analyst to be aware of common sources of bias such as: interpreting events as more patterned and congruent than they really are; overweighting data from articulate, wellinformed, particularly high-status informants and under-representing data from intractable, less articulate, lower-status ones (Miles & Huberman, 1984). To prevent these sources of bias, two major strategies for verifying and validating the results of

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the analysis were chosen: 1) checking for rival explanations; and 2) searching for negative cases. 86 Once the "final" patterns emerged from the analysis, rival or competing themes and explanations to these patterns were sought. According to Patton {1980) this can be done both inductively and logically. Inductively, it involves seeking other ways of organizing the data that might lead to different findings. L9gically, it means thinking about other logical possibilities and then seeing if those possibilities can be supported by the data. In other words, the analyst seeks data that support alternative explanations. Failure to find strong supporting evidence for alternative explanations helps increase confidence in the original, principal explanations generated. Closely related to the testing of alternative explanations is the search for negative cases. Where patterns and trends were identified, understanding of those patterns and trends was increased by considering the instances and cases that did not fit within the pattern. This tactic not only tested the generality of the finding, but protected against self-selecting biases (Miles & Huberman, 1984).

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87 Limitations and Delimitations The major limitation of conducting investigations amongst individuals who are directly experiencing the phenomena (in this case, worry, boredom, flow, and anxiety experiences) is that personal descriptions of experience are obviously confined to the order of things of which individuals are readily aware. According to Fineman (1983, p. 143), "Taken-for-granted, or 'latent' meanings cannot be easily expressed because they are locked into patterns of feeling and behavior in an unquestioned, tacit form." Further, concrete "solutions" to the causes of negative work experience are not possible when one views affective reactions at work as a rather mysterious personal phenomenon which may fluctuate considerably over any period of time, and relate to a host of work and non-work factors. Fineman stated: ... causes of 'sick' responses at work may transcend the work structure and pattern of manifest 'need satisfactions.' If Fromm is right, then no amount of tinkering with work will get to addressing the deeper insecurities that we all carry with us. (p. 154)

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88 In addition, an obvious limitation is the willingness and ability of selected individuals to talk about their positive and negative work experiences. Sample size was the major delimitation of the study. The sample was limited to individuals working in one public university. Summary In this chapter, the nature and origin of qualitative methods were described. In addition, the specific methodological procedures used in this research involving five major steps were outlined. These steps included: 1) the development of research propositions based on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play and the development of start-up codes; 2) the sample determination; 3) the development of a general interview guide; 4) the content analysis procedures; and 5) the verification procedures. The limitations and delimitations of the investigation were also It was emphasized that the qualitative researcher does not search for some ultimate truth. Instead, the data collected produce a perspective. This perspective is reliable, factual, and confirmable

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to the extent that careful analysis and reporting of methods selected and resulting data within their proper context is adhered to. The findings of the study are reported in Chapter IV. 89

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CHAPTER IV FINDINGS OF THE INVESTIGATION The findings of the qualitative research to explore: 1) whether Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience; and 2) the nature of subjective satisfaction, are presented below. As previously stated, the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play were examined within a sample of men (N=l2) and women (N=8) from a variety of nonacademic occupational categories at the University of Manitoba. It is important to emphasize here that even though an interview guide was used during the data collection, the emphasis throughout the investigation was on letting individuals speak for themselves. It will be seen below that many pieces of data substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. It will also be seen below that many pieces of data revealed that people used other constructs besides worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow or satisfaction to describe their subjective experience at work. For example, when I asked people to describe a boring experience at work, people used other constructs like

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91 "angry," or "frust;r-ated," or "upset," to describe their emotional reactions. Similarly, when I asked people to describe a worry experience at work, people used other constructs like "upset" and "wound up" to describe their emotional reactions. In most of these instances, people were not using different words to describe the same thing, i.e., boredom and worry. They were describing emotional reactions not encompassed by the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Finally, the data revealed that people often used the constructs found in Csikszentmihalyi's typology but attached different meanings to them. All of the constructs found in the data are presented and discussed below. The pieces of data that substantiated the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play are presented in the first section of this chapter. The pieces of data that did not substantiate Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play are presented in the second section of this chapter. Analyses precede andjor follow the presentations of the data. The purpose of the analyses is to

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elaborate upon the_data rather than to prove or disprove Csikszentmihalyi's theory altogether. In other words, these analyses of people's responses to work will provide an informed basis for determining whether Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience. 92 Specifically, the analyses following the presentation of pieces of data, particularly those pieces of data which do not support the research propositions, offer a variety of plausible interpretations, even of the same data. The variety of plausible interpretations is presented rather than a simple straightforward selection of the most plausible interpretation, because, in considering the data, I was able to imagine situations that would make the various interpretations cogent. That is to say that, even though the data may appear to be simple and straightforward, it was still possible to generate several plpusible interpretations of the same data. In point of fact, qualitative research methods allow for the coexistence of multiple interpretations of data.

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93 Chapter IV concludes with a discussion of the major finding of this investigation. In general, this finding focuses on the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's theory in relation to the exploration of subjective work experience. Specifically, the discussion addresses the first research question posed in Chapter I: is Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience? Constructs of Subjective Experience Found in the Data As previously stated, people used a variety of constructs to describe their subjective work experience in response to interview questions which focused on worry, boredom, anxiety and flow experiences at work (Appendix I). The constructs that emerged from the data are listed below in Table 3.

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94 Table 3. Constructs Found in the Data pressured disappointed stressed, stressful frustrated concerned annoying upset wound up tension, tense heightened awareness worked up feel an urgency emotionalism not engaging can't stand rather do something else mad not "revved up" uninterested angry happy boring worried anxious satisfied pressured hyper fear of the unknown monotonous enjoy felt badly free

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95 Data that Substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory It can be seen from Table 3 that many constructs emerged from the data in response to interview questions that focused on worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow experiences at work. As previously stated, the first section of this chapter focuses on the pieces of data that support the research propositions based on Csikszentmihalyi's typology of subjective experience. Worry With respect to worry, the first proposition states that people experience worry (job dissatisfac-tion) when their skills are less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. This proposition was explored primarily from the following series of questions asked in the interviews: Can you remember the last time you felt worried on the job? would.you describe that situation to me? Would you describe other situations that you remember feeling worried and what you did to cope with the situation if anything? It can be seen from the pieces of data presented below that people could describe experiences

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96 of worry when their skills did not meet the challenges of the job. Further, these pieces of data reveal that people experienced worry both in regard to their general level of competence, e.g., "producing what your boss wants you to produce," "the collective bargaining process and how it's going," and "how or where everything is being taken care of," and in regard to their specific technical skills, e.g, "learning new software," and, "employing the right strategy in a collective bargaining process." Thus, the following pieces of data offer support for the first proposition. I think that everybody has this worry that they're competent in their job, that they're producing what your boss wants you to produce. It's nice to get feedback in that area and often you don't get it. (secretary) Learning new software and trying to get the work out as quickly by using that new software [was when I experienced worry]. (secretary) I think during collective bargaining there are many occasions for worry ... Whether you could have handled a particular aspect of presenting a proposal in another way, whether a strategy you employed would have been better than another strategy. There are risks always involved. For example, in collective bargaining, you worry about whether or not you employed the right strategy and whether you risked too much. I worry generally about the collective bargaining process and how it's going. You worry about whether you're doing everything you can to enhance the process and the success of it ... One thing that causes me worry is whenever I'm going to be a witness

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and that happens often in this job. I find that you know you're going to say something wrong or undermine your case or something as a witness under cross-examination. (administrator) I tend to get worried when we have someone in for recruiting because I'm responsible for setting everything up. If it goes wrong, it's a reflection off of me. (office assistant, level IV) A senior person in the Information Office has applied for other positions and I do reflect, 'If he's not here tomorrow, how do I cope?' (administrator) In addition to supporting the first 97 proposition, the pieces of data presented also reveal the extent to which people feel that their self-esteem is on the line. As stated in Chapter I, the work place is a focus of personal evaluation. That is, the work place is a source of feedback to the individual that they are doing well or doing poorly, and this in turn, contributes to the individual's self-esteem or lack of self-esteem. The following pieces of data demonstrate that for some individuals, worry was not part of their subjective experience at work. These pieces of data are included in this section because the data clearly reflect the absence of worry due to having the skills to meet the job challenges: I only worry about things I have no control over. I feel I have a high degree of control

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in this job. (administrator) I never worry about my job .... I can do this job in my sleep. (administrator) What is revealed in these pieces of data are 98 the issues of mastery or control which the individuals experienced on the job in the absence of worry. According to Csikszentmihalyi, the most salient elements of the flow state (which is the absence of worry, boredom, and anxiety) is this sense of control over the environment. Specifically, Csikszentmihalyi suggested that in order to feel in control of the environment, one must be able to define what constitutes that environ-ment. At the same time, he suggested that no one can feel in control of the total environment, i.e., the totality of forces and processes that may impinge on the state of human beings. Hence, according to Csikszentmihalyi (1975), one has to select stimuli from the surroundings and restrict one's attention to a manageable pattern of items about which one can do something. Thus, ultimate control is impossible. Further, according to Csikszentmihalyi, the individual in flow has no active awareness of control but is simply not worried by the possibility of lack of control. Later, in thinking back on the

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99 experience, the individual will conclude that his or her skills were adequate for meeting environmental demands. Accordingly, the fact that some individuals did not experience worry on the job suggests that they felt a continuous sense of mastery and powerfulness based on a selective structuring of the work environment. Thus, it appears from the data that the degree of control over the work situation correlates positively with the extent to which the individual does not experience worry on the job. Boredom With respect to boredom, the second proposition states that people experience boredom (job dissatisfaction) when their skills are greater than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. This proposition was explored primarily from the following series of questions asked in the interviews: Can you remember the last time you felt bored on the job? Would you describe that situation to me? Would you describe other situations that you remember feeling bored and what you did to cope with the situation if anything?

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100 It can be seen from the pieces of data presented below that people could describe experiences of boredom when their skills were greater than the challenges of the job: I've been employed as of now 14 years and [I've] got to a point where there really isn't a lot to it, most of it is repetitive, so it's getting to the point where it's getting a little bit boring .. There's not as much challenge as there used to be. After 14 years of this I consider myself good at my job and I think I'm well respected in this field but you can only go to the well so many times before you get tired of going to the well .... The day to day occurrences are similar. I mean you're not going to come up with something that's all that unique all that often. I would suggest to you that 8 out of 10 times you come upon a situation on the present day, you can go back in the files somewhere in the not too recent past and find something similar to use as a basis for the present whatever the case may be, and that's not only my conclusion. I maintain contact with a number of people, particularly organizations ... labor unions, and people that are still there and were there when I started and they are roughly the same age as I am. And we talk about these things and their reaction is the same. There's not a heck of a lot new after 10 or 15 years in the business, it's a recycle of the same things. (administrator) It was a job at the time and I accepted it that way, but it would always be boring. You couldn't get away from that, when you're making the same thing all day long, whatever it may be .... Its a fact of life that there are jobs that are repetitious and boring. Whatever it is you're making, like I say it could be shoes or any product that's punched out by the thousands, even automobile workers

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are bored on the assembly line. But that's the way certain jobs are, there's no getting away from it, somebody has to do it. (custodian) 101 It appears from these pieces of data that the lack of variety of tasks and the repetition of tasks resulted in the experience of boredom for these individuals. Thus, in both cases, the individuals felt that they had more skills than were required to do the job regardless of level of skill. In addition, both individuals, one in a present job situation and one when in a past job situation, seemed to experience feelings of powerlessness, i.e., they were more or less resigned to the boredom as if it were a stable characteristic of the job. That is, they seemed to be characterized by the absence of a desire to think of strategies, e.g., job enrichment, which might yield possible solutions to their boredom. It is not surprising that the individual who worked on an assembly line experienced boredom on the job. After all, the assembly line moves by inexorably, with quantity, quality, and pace determined by others. What is interesting to note, however, is the fact that the administrator, who presumably has the opportunity to exercise self-direction on the job, appears to be .bored to the same

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102 degree as the former assembly line worker. This finding suggests that people who perceive themselves as powerless, regardless of their occupation, react rather than act; they -cannot modify the conditions of their existence at work. Further, these individuals appear to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from those individuals who, in the absence of worry, experienced a high degree of mastery and powerfulness over their job situation. Apparently, the more freedom and control, the less powerlessness. Anxiety With respect to anxiety, the third proposition states that people experience anxiety (job dissatis-faction) when their skills are either much greater or much less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. This proposition was explored primarily from the following series of questions asked in the interviews: Have your boring situations even gotten so bad that you began to feel really anxious? Have your worry situations ever gotten so bad that you began to feel really anxious? Would you describe that anxious situation? It can be seen from the pieces of data presented below

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103 that people could describe experiences of anxiety when their skills were either much greater or much less than the challenges of the job. [I 1m anxious because the work is] tedious, repetitious. Nothing changes, no challenge. In the last year it's an ongoing situation ... know I'll be going in April. That keeps me there. (secretary) Years ago, in 1973, I got really anxious. It was my first job and the secretary to the director was a 'witch of a mother' to me. I didn't handle her. I took the Canadian securities course to get out of there .. I finally told my boss. I [felt anxious] about 'my stuff,' 'her stuff,' and trying to take a course. She was older than me and I never said anything because I was taught not to talk back to elders, but finally it got to me. I just broke down and cried in my boss's office. (secretary) [I felt anxious] in this one job that I was in [because] there was a lot of pressure to do a lot of output, but it was things like stuffing envelopes or that type of thing where it was your routine tasks. Actually we were under staffed which was what the problem was. We were expected to do a lot more than I thought they could really expect anyone to do. (secretary) Of interest, of all the people sampled, only one individual experienced anxiety within the context of her present job. She also had plans to leave that job. The other individuals "recalled" having experiences of anxiety, but only in past job situations. It is reasonable to assume then, that leaving the job is a coping strategy for dealing with

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104 anxiety situationscaused by either extreme boredom or extreme worry. Obviously, leaving the job is an extreme coping strategy but, it does suggest, that people do not want to stay in work situations that they find extreme in one way or another. Further, the fact that only one individual in the sample could describe feelings of anxiety in her present job situation may also be interpreted to mean that most people are capable of controlling their feelings sufficiently, at least at work. Alternatively, it may mean that there is little cause for extreme reactions in most people's work situations. Stated in terms of the flow model, the fact that only one individual in the sample could describe feeling anxious in her present job situation suggests that a person tends to maintain himself or herself in a situation in. which his or her skills are most likely to match the opportunities for action in the environment. With respect to flow, the fourth proposition states that people experience flow (job satisfaction) when their skills are equal to the challenges of the

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job regardless of level of skill. This proposition was explored primarily from the following series of questions asked in the interviews: Can you remember the last time you felt really satisfied in your job? 105 Can you describe that situation to me and what it felt like? It can be seen from the pieces of data presented below that many people could describe experiences of flow when their skills equalled the challenges of the job: Whenever I have a project, and I use the term broadly [for] something that you're trying to do. You pull it off. You feel real good. And it could be a very small thing like attempting to have somebody see that such-andsuch a course of action is right. And then finally they say, 'By God, Warren, you were right after all.' So you feel good about the little things. (administrator) Last fall when we had 4,000 students and in the space of five working days came to collect government loan documents. And everybody on the staff and a couple of extra help people we brought in to assist, performed valiantly and I was very satisfied. I didn't know whether we could actually do it and we thought and thought ahead of time to develop the best methodology we could and it worked. (administrator) Recently I was involved with a writing project with a good many components. Getting those done and knitting them into a seamless package was really satisfying. (administrator)

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It's [satisfaction] an ongoing thing. When the recruiting does work. When final exams are over and when I've.successfully completed a job. (office assistant, level IV) 106 Thus, the data revealed that having the skills to meet the job requirement(s) regardless of skill level results in feelings of flow or satisfaction for many people. This is not as straightforward as it sounds, however. While it is a prerequisite of flow that the individual possess the skills equal to the action opportunities, flow is actually more complex than it appears in the sense that skills and challenges are not objective entities but flexible quanta open to individual interpretation and change. That is, whether an individual will experience flow at all and, if he or she does, depends only in part on the objective conditions in the environment or the concrete structure of the activity. What counts even more is the individual's ability to restructure the environment so that it will allow flow to occur. Data that Do Not Substantiate Csikszentmihalyi's Theory As previously stated, people often used the constructs found in Csikszentmihalyi's typology but attached different meanings to them. With respect to

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107 worry, the following pieces of data demonstrate that people used the construct "worry" for a variety of reasons not related to having less skills than the challenges of the job required: Generally [I worry] depending on somebody else to do something within a particular time frame [and] not getting kindly responses. (administrator) I take my job seriously and a lot of people in the same position wouldn't take it as seriously. I don't watch the clock. A lot of people, come coffee break time and they're gone. I don't really care if. I get a coffee break or not. If I can only leave for five minutes, I leave for five minutes. But things like staying over, they're out the door at 4:30, but to me it's more than just a job, it's a career of sorts, not like as in a professor, but to me I think about it that way. But perhaps I do take it a little bit too seriously, worry about it more than another person would in the same position, but that's my personality--! care. (office assistant III) ... worry comes with the turf. You're always worried. You have director's responsibilities for hundreds of people. Most of the support services, the big ones, come through me so there's a progression of events when things don't go right. And there's things like the big ones [worries] like the oil spill a couple of weeks ago. Little ones [worries] like the financial record system isn't keeping track, isn't timely, and therefore people are making decisions on information that isn't correct. There's a whole spectrum of little things that are sent to plague you. You can't deal with essentially a people business which a university is without having all of the things that go wrong when dealing with people. (administrator)

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... we are reorganizing our health services area and there's a lot of people decisions at stake. There are people's jobs at stake-people who are no longer going to be with us because of the restructuring we are going through and that has been a situation that has worried me. I guess because, number one, I take a personal interest in all people that work for me ... (administrator) When I first started the job, it wasn't considered permanent part-time. In other words, at the end of June I had to go and apply for my job again, even though I'd been in it for a year. And the employment situation the way it is, I knew there would be a lot of people applying along with me. And that was the one time I was worried at my job. (secretary) [I worry] every time there's a new boss for the first couple months whenever they tell me to do different things I used to do for years that way then all of a sudden the boss come around, you got to change your way of doing things so that worry me 'cause I don't know why. (custodian) These pieces of data indicate that people 108 worry based on factors related to their personality, job security, and the fear of change. In addition, administrators tended to worry about their responsibilities for others and other people's responsibilities toward them. It is not surprising that the threat of unemployment appears to be a source of worry, given that most people want to work, and not only for economic reasons. It is also well documented in the

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109 literature that change often produces resistance and is related to emotional reactions like worry. The individual who said that "worry comes with the turf," experienced worry as "part and parcel" of having a high-level job. For this individual, worry appears as a unity whose significance cannot be known apart from the entire work experience, i.e., it is not a situational phenomenon. Thus, this indiviqual's definition of worry is much broader than Csikszentmihalyi's definition of worry. Finally, the fact that administrators tended to worry about others and other people's responsibilities toward them suggests power or control issues. That is, administrators generally occupy positions of power. They are able to affect their surroundings and therefore they are able to affect the fate of their subordinates. In a manner of speaking, administrators, in order to be effective, have to be "equal partners" with the forces and people impinging on their lives, i.e., they must identify with the forces and people outside of themselves. It is therefore natural for them to worry about others. On another level, administrators' wellbeing and their ability to ensure organizational

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110 effectiveness depends on subordinates following through on their assigned work. It is therefore natural for them to worry about other people's responsibility toward them. Obviously, this type of worry did not have to do with the administrators own lack of ski_lls to meet the job requirements. As previously stated, when I went looking for worry, other constructs emerged from the data, e.g.: 11pressure,11 11stresses,11 11frustrations,11 11concern,11 11annoying,11 11upset,11 11wound up,11 11tension,11 and 11heightened awareness.11 In most of the pieces of data which follow, it will be seen that people were not using different words to describe worry. In fact, in only one piece of data presented below, an individual was using the construct of 11worry11 and 11stress11 interchangeably. Most people were revealing emotional reactions not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play: ... there was a fair amount of unrest amongst employee groups, unions and others about the status of the university and its financing and concerns about whether or not there would be significant staff reductions and so forth. It wasn't clear whether we would in fact have to undertake some cutting and I was concerned about that because the university had already been through a tough period of financial

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restraint .... I .was concerned about the effects that ... further restraint, especially major reductions, would have on the university and on the people involved. (administrator) ... I take two months off in the summer because I can't stand to sit there with nothing to do and I shouldn't say nothing to do because there are things to do but it's not enough to keep me interested .... (receptionist) ... every time it was time to negotiate a collective agreement, I would get up with butterflies .... don't know how I coped with that, I just sort of went through it and survived somehow .... do know that I used to get very worked up. (administrator) It's just pressure of getting it done on time because there's a deadline and I think that bothers me more to get it done. It might take me 6 hours extra time, but that sort of thing ... under pressure to cope. I find that harder to take now then I used to. It has nothing to do with whether I know I can do the job or not because I know I can .... I can handle pressure less well is what it basically works down to. (bookkeeper) There's a lot of pressure, a lot of pressure. I don't let it worry me. I figure if I can't get something out, I'll just go see Diana. (office assistant II) I'm never caught up. That's sometimes annoying. (office assistant II) Checking to make sure that all the students meet degree requirements, and you cannot make a mistake, and me being on the job for one year, if somebody made an error two or three years ago, I'm the one who has to confront that student, for instance, and tell them they can't graduate because of this or that .... you literally cannot make a mistake and humans make mistakes. It's more stressful I would say, more so than a worrisome type of thing, it's stressful. (office assistant III) 111

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If I dealt with the student a week before and he was very obnoxious and I was very firm and then he had a nervous breakdown ... didn't feel as though I was at fault, I know I wasn't but it did upset me. I don't know if that's the whole circumstance but ... I felt badly about that. Not too worried but quite concerned. (office assistant III) I think in the past couple of years my attitude toward the job has been a lot different. I used to get very wound up .... (office assistant III) I feel the urgency to organize registration, to prepare budgets. I experience concern but not a worry. (administrator) I'm using worry and stress interchangeably here. One thing that causes me worry is whenever I'm going to be a witness and that happens often in this job. I find that, you know you're going to say something wrong or undermine your case or something as a witness under cross-examination. (administrator) I feel generally that given enough effort and application and the tension that one can work out of most complex or difficult circumstances, I feel reasonably comfortable with ambiguity and with uncertainty, and so, well, I sense occasionally kind of heightened awareness of things of that sort. I wouldn't call it worry. (administrator) [Collective bargaining] produces a high level of emotionalism in general. So it's an emotional experience. You have to think in a different way than you do other times because you have to think not only about the words you are saying and their meaning but how they are being perceived and what the outcome is. So you have to be very disciplined and you have to watch your words. That creates a bit of worry, anxiety. A tension' I think is actually a better word than 'worry' or 'anxiety. 1 (administrator) 112

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It's much more.tension than it is worry. Much more stress and tension. Worry is a different kind of meaning for me, I mean I have to tease it out to shy the difference, but it isn't really the right word. (administrator) 113 Thus, people described emotions of "concern,11 11tension," feeling 11wound up," etc. in response to interview questions which focused on worry. These pieces of data clearly suggest the influence of individual personal characteristics such as education, age, possibly gender, etc. on work situations that resulted in the broad range of emotional reactions that comprise an individual's subjective experience at work. These pieces of data also suggest that the characteristics of the work itself are determinants of emotional reactions. With respect to worry, because the range of subjective experience related to worry is so broad, it appears that worry cannot be deduced by simply looking at the nature of the challenges present and the skills required to meet that challenge. Similarly, as will be seen below, because the range of subjective experience related to boredom is so broad, appeari that boredom cannot be deduced by simply looking at the nature of the challenges present and the skills required to meet that challenge.

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114 Specifically, in response to questions related to boredom, people used constructs like "frustrated," "disappointed," "not revved up," "repetitious," "uninteresting," "annoyed," "angry," "misuse of time," "less interesting," "tedious," "upset," and "tension." The following pieces of data reveal emotional reactions not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play: No. Boredom, you're way off ... That's what I have people working for me for ... Boredom is the wrong word. Frustrated ... that's different. But not bored. This job is not boring. It can't be boring. (administrator) I don't feel bored. I approach each new day as I may do something different or exciting or rewarding or what all today .... I never come home and complain to my wife, 'What a boring day I had.' I might say I was disappointed and frustrated and so forth [but not bored]. (administrator) The last time I was truly bored was last February ... seemed not to be able to get 'revved up' to do things I had to do. I had lots to do, but I didn't seem to get at it. (administrator) Sometimes I've been annoved and angry and what not but I don't think bored is the right word. (administrator) I suppose occasionally one gets involved in certain ceremonial tasks, such as representing the university at dinners and other events which one isn't personally involved ... and occasions as those can be less interesting than some other things one has to do .... I usually try, if I find myself generally uninterested in the proceedings per se, I try to find some other focus for my attention.

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I would observe other people who are there, look at the social dynamics, think about other problems or issues that were before me at the time. If I'm in a place where I can write without being rude, I will actually busy myself writing memoranda and other things. (administrator) There's a lot of clerical type duties and you don't have time to be bored, but it's not something you really enjoy a lot of, or I don't .... Well, it's monotonous more than boring. (bookkeeper) ... some tasks are just tedious .. (custodian) (I never feel bored], I feel upset once in a while .... Not because I didn't do a job properly, because, say you go first thing in the morning at 10:00 in the morning. I clean this lounge nice and clean, wash the floors, things like that then around 12:00 a bunch of guys spill coffee on the floor and tables. They don't appreciate what I've done for two hours and between fifteen to twenty minutes the place looks like a pig-pen. That's what makes you mad, not because I feel bored, I just feel upset because I expect the place to stay a little longer at least clean ... (caretaker) ... when I'm bored with photocopying ... just stand there and watch the machine and you're standing there for a long, long time, that's when I was bored. I may get a little annoyed that a professor didn't give me more lead time for the job to go to the printing department where it's their job. (office assistant II) 115 It is clear from the pieces of data presented above that people were not just using different words to describe having more skills than the job required regardless of level of skill. They were describing emotional reactions not encompassed by

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116 Csikszentmihalyi's.Theory of Play. Thus, as previously stated, the interview questions related to boredom revealed that subjective experience at work includes a much broader range of emotional reactions than that proffered by Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Further, constructs like "heightened awareness," "worked up," "annoyed," and "frustrated" suggest that questions related to boredom experiences at work can generate a lengthy set of plausible propositions related to subjective experience, far beyond the four propositions generated for the present research. Interestingly, for some individuals who did experience boredom at work, the experience was enjoyable. That is, some people say that they even liked boredom, i.e., mundane tasks. The implication in the pieces of data presented below is that the low skill level, predictable, and undemanding information provided by a routine task, results in a soothing experience for some individuals. According to one administrator interviewed, "There are lots of times when people will do routine things which are far beneath their skill level just as a way of catching their breath."

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117 Since Csikszentmihalyi postulated that boredom was an unwanted state, i.e., a state that one would want to leave in order to return to the state of flow, the following pieces of data are not illuminated by Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play: Sometimes I like mundane tasks like collating. Say if you're doing 'grad checks' which requires intense concentration and I don't mind collating something for half an hour. I can just give my mind a break. It's not a boring job at all. I think about things, plan things .. It's separate from something that has to be done. (secretary) They (the boring times] are opportunities to create. I'd sit in an airplane [for example) and I'd take a pad of paper and a pencil and sit and just absolutely 'blue sky' daydream about all kinds of things that I don't necessarily have a chance, the freedom from being responsible for something or being involved. Just to play with ideas and connections ... and I have a very thick notebook that I carry with me that has all kinds of things. (administrator) The pieces of data which demonstrated that for some individuals, worry was not part of their subjective experience at work, was included in the section of data that substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's theory. It was included in that section because the data clearly reflected the absence of worry due to having the skills to meet the job challenges. The pieces of data presented below, which demonstrate that for some individuals boredom was not part of their

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118 subjective experience at work, was not included in the section of data that substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's theory. The reason is that the data below appear not to reflect that the individuals consistently had opportunities for action which matched their skills and therefore resulted in the absence of boredom. Rather, the data presented below suggests that boredom was not part of many people's subjective experience due exclusively to factors not related to the opportunities for action and the individual's skill level, e.g., "interacting with people and that I prefer to do," and the level of expectation held by the individual. <. For example, a custodian responded to the question, "You've been in this job 17 years, presumably you do a lot of the same things over and over again, how does that make you feel?" with, I always have different areas to do and different jobs, different times of the day ... If I feel bored, I miss time. I can easily miss. I can easily phone my boss and say I m sick and I don't want to come to work if I'm feeling bored. But because I like the job I always come to work and I get paid just the same if I stay home if I'm sick, but I don't do that. I just come to work because I like it, I don't feel bored at 'all. Lot of people think I'm crazy but that's that. (custodian) The following pieces of data presented below also

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119 demonstrate that for some individuals boredom was not part of their subjective experience at work: Most of my time is interacting with people and that I prefer to do. I have paper work in my job, of course, but it doesn't take up such an amount of time as to render me bored or frustrated by being overwhelmed .. That may sound a little 'Pollyannish' to you, but I think it's true. (administrator) I think what it boils down to is level of expectation. In other words, since they [other individuals] know they're going to a three hour conference and based on the three hour conferences they're been to in the past it is likely to be uninteresting, they don't have a high expectation that it will be interesting. Therefore, it's not boring either. (administrator) There are things that reoccur time after time, generally on an annual cycle, year after year, but,despite the fact they're reoccurring, there are always some differences each year [therefore I never feel bored]. (administrator) Whether an individual will experience boredom at all does depend only in part on the objective conditions in the environment or the concrete structure of the activity. What counts even more is the individual's ability to restructure the environment so that boredom will not occur. For example, one individual never experienced boredom because he did not have high expectations. Rather than interpreting this to mean that boredom for this individual is the result of the encounter of the individual's expectations with the

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characteristics of the work situation, it is more likely that the individual simply, consciously or unconsciously, altered his perceptions so that he would not experience boredom. 120 Finally, perhaps there are some people who possess 11autotelic11 personalities and never feel bored. That is, perhaps there are some people who have an inner quality or characteristic, a psychodynamic dimension, so to speak, to their personality that enables the person to discover rewards, for example, in even mundane events that others find neutral and unrewarding. Unfortunately, Csikszentmihalyi does not offer a description of the autotelic personality make-up. And, there is really no way to gauge whether the individuals involved in the data collection perceive the difficulties of work and their own capabilities objectively. With respect to anxiety, the data revealed that people rarely have experiences of anxiety on their present jobs due to either extreme worry or extreme boredom. Support for Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play with respect to anxiety was based on recollections of anxiety experienced in a past job situation.

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121 There were a few pieces of data that did not support Csikszentmihalyi's theory with respect to anxiety. These pieces of data are presented below. Interestingly, one piece of data presented below refers to the ongoing occurrence of anxiety that is not troublesome to the individual in her present job situation: Doesn't everybody have feelings of anxiety from time to time? .... You know, people are emotional, people have emotions and are going to go through life having good times, bad times, and so on and so forth. I've yet to run into a person, anybody, that hasn't had problems either in their family lives, personal lives, or whatever the case may be so that I'm not sure that's [anxiety] all that unusual. (administrator) In the following piece of data, aniiety has nothing to do with the person's job per se: Fears of personal loss or injury or fears of loss or injury involving family, in other words, kind of 'personal' worry and threat which leads to some anxiety, that's one category [of anxiety]. But, arising out of the work that I do, I really don't feel anxiety in that sense. (administrator) According to Csikszentmihalyi, people in a state of anxiety can return to flow through an almost infinite combination of two basic vector processes: decreasing challenges or increasing skills. Anxiety, as expressed in the above descriptions, is not simply a matter of structuring one's interaction with the

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122 environment. In the first description, anxiety is seen as a characteristic of the person and, in the second description, anxiety has nothing to do with subjective experience in the work place at all. In fact, it appears that this individual feels in control with respect to work. It is his fear of an "unknown" situation that will somehow render him powerless to cope, that is the cause of his anxiety. With respect to flow, the data revealed that flow occurred for a wide variety of reasons beyond just having the skills to do the job. For example, a janitor experienced flow in his job because he said there were no "hassles." Another janitor experienced flow because he finally got the opportunity to "work with people that I've really been super satisfied with." The following pieces of data attest to the fact that people experience flow not solely in the presence of optimal challenge. You've got evenings, you've got days, and a variety of duties. It's interesting, not like a boring factory job or putting up duct work ... mean if you're sweeping a floor all the time, it wouldn't be as nice as all this variety that you get here. You make coffee and you set up different things and different functions are all different. An example [of satisfaction] would be just the other day. I received a letter from a young woman who had been a medical student, developed multiple sclerosis, and was unable

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to continue with her studies. I and others spent a fair amount of time and effort in making sure that she didn't give up and that she found some alternative way to reach her intellectual potential. We helped establish her in a graduate program in anatomy. She ultimately completed her doctoral program and she graduated last fall. I received a letter from her saying that she now has been given a faculty position at the University of British Columbia and none of it would have been possible without the help she got from me and others. So one obviously feels good about that sort of thing. (administrator) ... being asked to serve on significant national bodies if your opinion is sought and valued on matters. (administrator) The other [satisfying] thing ... is the people I work with. I like them tremendously .... We have very, very close personal and work relationships. And almost no matter what we do as a group together, it really is a good experience. They are also my best friends. We've really grown up together in many ways. Been together for quite a while. So that in a human sense is extremely important to why I stay in this job, this particular job, rather than taking something similar elsewhere. (administrator) The university environment is what I like and within the university I like P.R.-related activities. It's a good place to work. Most people here from the janitors up like working here. Where else do you get two weeks off for Christmas? (administrator) What I really wanted to do was to be in a position of influence so I could impact ... services for students. I guess the bottom line is that we at Student Affairs are here to create a learning environment so that students can maximize their potential, and I feel that I've moved into administrative positions so I could be in a situation where I could influence decisions and policies that will assist students in successfully completing 123

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whatever their_personal goals and objectives are .... I think that's the primary reason I enjoy the particular position ... I guess it gives me a feeling of great satisfaction to be able to assist students in successfully meeting their University objectives. (administrator) I'm happy. Everything (makes me happy]. The bosses, the students, the area is nice to work in ... I got so used to now the area I don't feel to change. I have a lot of chances to go different places but after so many years you can't. I like the area cause it's like your second house. (I'm even more satisfied now than when I started the job] because I'm so used to it now. You know the job very well. You become so well-trained with this job, it comes easier on me. (caretaker) (Satisfaction] has. a lot to do with the person I'm working for. The more I want to take on, the more he will give me. (secretary) 124 It can be seen that any activity, no matter what it is ostensibly about, can provide flow experiences for the individual. Even routine work can be satisfying. In general, the descriptions revealed that the variety of tasks, social interactions in the work place, appreciation and recognition from others, the work environment, one's boss, and feelings of having made an impact, were prime occasions for flow for the individuals sampled. That is, one or more of these variables were meaningful enough to the individual interviewed to result in a flow experience for that individual. Thus, it can be seen that flow

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125 is a mixture of work characteristics, the characteristics and experiences of the individuals involved, the expectations and values of these individuals, and their ability to obtain the rewards associated with these values. Obviously, some aspects of flow can be manipulated by the worker and some aspects of flow can be manipulated by the worker's supervisor. It is als o obvious that certain factors may facilitate flow for some employees but not for others. For instance, one employee may experience flow because of the variety of tasks on the job. This same individual may not feel flow because of disliking his or her boss. Another employee, however, may not have a variety of tasks on the job and yet may experience flow because of liking his or her boss. Both employees would experience flow, but for different reasons. Apparently, the nature of the job situation somehow interacts with employee values and perceptions to determine flow experiences. The Utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play Based on the data and analyses presented above, the major finding of this investigation is that

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126 Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is not sufficient for the purpose of describing the diversity and the complexity that is inherent to subjective experience at work, even though many pieces of data supported the propositions. Specifically, many pieces of data did substantiate that people did experience worry (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. Some people did experience boredom (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were greater than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. Some people did experience anxiety (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were either much greater or much less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. And, some people did experience flow (job satisfaction) when their skills were equal to the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. In general, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience because there was no one-to-one correspondence between data and theory. That is, even formally identical questions such as those used in the interview guide resulted in responses revealing very dissimilar realities. Thus, there was a distance

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127 between the generalized principle which Csikszentmihalyi postulated for the nature of subjective experience and the specific, always contextual understandings and explanations given by people in their responses to questions which focused on their worry, boredom, flow, and anxiety experiences at work. Specifically, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing the diversity and the complexity of subjective experience at work, because, as elaborated below, the theory did not account for: 1) the ways that people used the constructs of worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow that differed from Csikszentmihalyi's use of the constructs; and 2) the range of constructs people used to describe their subjective experience at work. In other words, people used constructs not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. For example, in terms of worry, the data revealed that people worried for a variety of reasons that had nothing to do with challenges and skills. One individual said that she had a "worry" personality and several individuals worried about job security. Thus, these individuals worried about not having a job

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as opposed to having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill. 128 one janitor claimed he did not worry because he "just takes it as it is." He knows that everything will turn out right because that's "my attitude." This piece of data revealed nothing about having the skills to meet the job requirement(s), but did suggest a possible link between the propensity not to worry and personality variables. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play did not shed any light on this possible link, however. In terms of boredom, Csikszentmihalyi's theory did not account for why some individuals who did experience boredom on the job did not associate dissatisfaction with the experience even though it was clear to them that they had too many skills for the job requirement(s), regardless of level of skill. In fact, people often enjoyed mundane experiences at work. They actually looked forward to the respite that mundane tasks offered them in contrast to more high-pressured aspects of their jobs. Csikszentmihalyi's theory simply did not account for this phenomenon.

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129 In terms of flow, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play did not illuminate satisfaction or flow as a result of having, for example, no "hassles" on the job or having the opportunity to "work with people that I've really been super satisfied with." That is, people experienced flow for a wide variety of reasons including liking the people they work with and for on a daily basis, and liking their general work environment or atmosphere. These reasons for experiencing flow obviously had nothing to do with the presence of optimal challenge. In terms of anxiety, only one individual experienced anxiety in regard to fears of loss or injury involving family. Clearly, this kind of anxiety does not relate to having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill. Finally, the data revealed that people used many constructs besides worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow or satisfaction to describe their subjective experience at work. In most cases, they were describing emotional reactions, e.g., "upset," "wound up," not encompassed by the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Thus, it can be seen that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is not

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sufficient for describing the diversity and the complexity of subjective experience at work. 130 It is important to state here that saying that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience is not saying that there was something "wrong" with Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Csikszentmihalyi's theory was indeed useful, particularly in the data collection phase of the research. That is, it was useful for compiling a reasonably consistent account of human phenomena. It provided me with a welldefined focus--to collect specific kinds of data systematically; and, it was useful in terms of uncovering the inherent complexity of subjective experience at work. Further, since many pieces of data supported the propositions, it served as a useful interpretive tool for explaining aspects of subjective experience related to the skills and job challenges present in the job. At this point, however, the finding that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for describing subjective experience raises the issue of whether or not the phenomena thus studied can really be classified in one typology and if, in

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131 consequence, the expansi9n of Csikszentmihalyi's. Theory of Play, to include other indicators of subjective experience at work, is justified. Indeed, the idea of typologies such as Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, may be a useful compromise between a misguided search for universal truths about all workers, at all levels, in all jobs, and the impractical ideal of tailoring job satisfaction theory to every unique person. Ultimately, however, the idea of subjective experience remains equivocal. It seems that exploring the nature of subjective satisfaction, at least with the questions used in this study, does not lead to confirming only one underlying reality. Summary In Chapter IV, the data that substantiated Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play and the data that did not substantiate Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play were presented and discussed. Based on the data, the major finding of the qualitative investigation was presented. The major finding was that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing the diversity and. the complexity that is inherent to subjective experience

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132 at work, even though many pieces of data supported the propositions. Chapter IV concluded with a discussion of the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's theory in relation to the exploration of subjective experience.

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CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS It is clear from the research findings presented in Chapter IV that the subjective experience of work does not correlate neatly with Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. In actuality, the research findings revealed that subjective experience at work differs in many respects from the formal theoretical framework developed by Csikszentmihalyi. For this reason, a theory building set of conclusions is presented below. Before the conclusions are presented, a discussion of the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is presented. In essence, the theory building set of conclusions synthesize what I have learned from my research about one theory of subjective experience-Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, the other constructs that emerged from the data as a result of exploring the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, and the other theories and approaches to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II. Chapter V concludes with remarks about the meaning and centrality of work in life for individuals. In general, the discussion below summarizes what I have learned from my research about subjective experience.

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134 Specifically, Chapter V basically addresses the second research question posed in Chapter I: What is the nature of subjective satisfaction? The Utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play As described in detail in Chapter II, Csikszentmihalyi's (1975) theoretical framework of subjective experience utilized the constructs of worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow. According to the theoretical framework, when a person believes that his or her action opportunities are too demanding for his I or her capabilities, the resulting stress is experienced in anxiety. When the ratio of capabilities is higher, but the challenges are still too demanding for the person's skills, the resulting experience is one of worry. The state of flow is experienced by the individual when opportunities for action are in balance with the actor's skills--the experience is then said to be autotelic. When skills are greater than the opportunities for using them, the state of boredom results. The state of boredom fades into anxiety when the ratio becomes too large (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975).

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135 The data analysis in Chapter IV led to the finding that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing the diversity and the complexity that is inherent to subjective experience at work, even though many pieces of data did substantiate the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. That is, some people did experience worry (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. Some people did experience boredom (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were greater than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. Some people did experience anxiety (job dissatisfaction) when their skills were either much greater or much less than the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. And finally, some people did experience flow (job satisfaction) when their skills were equal to the challenges of the job regardless of level of skill. The reason given in Chapter IV for substantiating why Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience was that there was no one-to-one correspondence between data and theory. That is, even

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136 formally identical questions such as those used in the interview guide resulted in responses revealing very dissimilar realities that, in turn, did not correlate neatly with Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play: Thus, the data analysis revealed that there was a distance between the generalized principle which Csikszentmihalyi postulated for the nature of subjective experience and the specific, always contextual understandings and explanations given by people in their responses to questions which focused on their worry, boredom, flow, and anxiety experiences at work even though there was substantial data to support Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. It is important to emphasize here, as previously stated in Chapter IV, that saying that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient for the purpose of describing subjective experience is not saying that there was something "wrong" with Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Csikszentmihalyi's theory was indeed useful and necessary, particularly in the data collection phase of the research. That is, it was useful and necessary for compiling a reasonably consistent account of human phenomena related to subjective experience. Further, it

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137 provided me with a well-defined focus--to collect specific kinds of data systematically; and, it was useful and necessary in terms of uncovering the inherent complexity of subjective experience at work. Further, since many pieces of data supported the propositions, it served as a useful interpretive tool for explaining aspects of subjective experience related to the skills and job challenges present in the job. Thus, Csikszentmihalyi's theory was very useful in terms of illuminating the nature of subjective experience at work. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was not sufficient, as stated previously in Chapter IV, in terms of describing subjective experience because it did not account for: 1) the ways that people used the constructs of worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow that differed from Csikszentmihalyis use of the constructs; and 2) the range of constructs people used to describe their subjective experience at work. In other words, people used constructs not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. In Chapter IV, examples were given to support the findings. For example, in terms of worry, the data revealed that people worried for a variety of

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138 reasons that had nothing to do with challenges and skills. One individual said that she had a 11worry11 personality and several individuals worried about job security. Thus, these individuals worried about not having a job as opposed to having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill. One janitor claimed he did not worry because he "just takes it as it is.11 He knows that everything will turn out right because that's 11my attitude.11 This piece of data revealed nothing about having the skills to meet the job requirement(s), but did suggest a possible link between the propensity not.to worry and personality variables. Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play did not shed any light on this possible link, however. In terms of boredom, Csikszentmihalyis theory did not account for why some individuals who did experience boredom on the job did not associate dissatisfaction with the experience even though it was clear to them that they had too many skills for the job requirement(s), regardless of level of skill. Iri fact, people often enjoyed mundane experiences at work. They actually looked forward to the respite that mundane tasks offered them in contrast to more

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high-pressured aspects of their jobs. Csikszentmihalyi's theory simply did not account for this phenomenon. 139 In terms of flow, Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play did not illuminate satisfaction or flow as a result of having, for example, no "hassles" on the job or having the opportunity to "work with people that I've really been super satisfied with." That is, people experienced flow for a wide variety of reasons including liking the people they work with and for on a daily basis, and liking their general work environment or atmosphere. These reasons for experiencing flow obviously had nothing to do with the presence of optimal challenge. In terms of anxiety, one individual experienced anxiety in regard to fears of loss or injury involving family. Clearly, this kind of anxiety does not relate to the extreme ratios of boredom and worry in terms of having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill. Finally, the data revealed that people used many constructs besides worry, boredom, anxiety, and flow or satisfaction to describe their subjective experience at work. In most cases, they were

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140 describing emotional reactions, e.g., "upset," "wound up," not encompassed by the propositions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. Thus, it can be seen from these examples that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, while useful and necessary as a framework for understanding subjective experience, did not adequately describe the actual diversity and the complexity of subjective experience at work. The fact that people used the constructs of worry, boredom, anxiety and flow in many ways that differed from Csikszentmihalyi's use of the constructs, and the fact that Csikszentmihalyi's theory did not include the range of constructs that people used to describe their subjective experience at work, prompted the question in Chapter IV of whether or not subjective experience can, in fact, really be classified in one typology and if, in consequence, the expansion of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play to include other indicators or constructs of subjective experience at work, is justified. The answer to this question is discussed below. Before answering this question, however, it is important to emphasize here that, in an attempt to understand the nature of subjective satisfaction at work, it is not necessary

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141 to utilize a typology such as Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. In point of fact, each construct presented in Chapter IV, including the constructs of worry, boredom, anxiety and satisfaction or flow when they differed from the theoretical framework, could obviously be analyzed separately from Csikszent-mihalyi's theory or any other typology. In other words, they could be studied, in depth, one at a time, in an attempt to gain a better understanding of subjective experience at work. For example, a secretary described an experience of feeling "pressured" as follows: The university was introducing word processors and I was chosen by the Faculty of Arts to go on this course and I didn't like computers because I found them very impersonal and I like the personal attraction of people. I really enjoy that, and I was really not knowledgeable about computers and my attitude towards them was like I wasn't too keen on going to this but I knew that I -would benefit from it. But there was a lot of pressure, a lot expected of me because I was required to train and supervise everyone in the faculty on these machines and for my classification, that was ridiculous. Part of the pressure that this secretary felt was actually related to her job classification, i.e., she felt that for her job classification she was being saddled with an inappropriate amount of responsibility.

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142 For another individual, an accounting clerk, the experience of feeling pressured had to do, not with job classification or having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill, but with "getting it (the task) done on time because there's a deadline ... even though she knew she had the skills to do the job. Thus, by exploring the implicit meanings related to people's use of the various constructs, even the same constructs utilized in different contexts as in the examples given, a clearer picture of the diverse nature of subjective experience at work emerges. However, because in reality the constructs that people used to describe their subjective experience at work never function so distinctively as the previous examples suggest, it is recommended here that the expansion of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play to include other indicators or constructs of subjective experience at work is justified. Specifically, I believe that Csikszentmihalyi's theory represents a major attempt at delineating subjective experience, and, in general, is useful and necessary as a framework that facilitates the understanding of subjective experience. Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play as depicted by the flow model is useful and

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143 necessary because it does set forth a fundamental framework of subjective experience that provides one with a reference point. This reference point, in turn, allows one to better understand the other constructs found in the data that are important to and yet different from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. For these reasons, I believe Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play does deserve careful reexamination in light of the findings. Towards a New Theory of Work Satisfaction Other constructs found in the data as overlay. As a point of departure for reexamination of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, the other constructs that people used to describe their emotional reactions at work are examined as an "overlay" superimposed on Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play in Figure 3. Obviously, the totality of these constructs as overlay might render Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play to be nearly opaque, but it would still, according to this research, be a more accurate description of subjective experience at work than Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play alone.

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satisfied pressured stressed concerned annoyed upset wound. up ""' AcriON OPPOR'IUNITIES (CHALLENGES) Anxiety Worry Bored an Anxiety / tense / ACTION CAPABILITIES '-.,. (SKILLS) heightened awareness WJrked up feel an urgency emotionalism not engaging can't stand anxiety rather do sanething else mad disappointed not "revved-up" angry happy WJrry toredom hyper fear of the unknown monotonous enjoy felt badly free Figure 3. Other constructs found in the data as over lay 1-' .t:::. .t:::.

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145 For example, when I asked people to describe a boring experience at work, people used other constructs like 11angry,11 or 11frustrated,11 or 11upset,11 to describe their emotional reactions. Similarly, when I asked people to describe a worry experience at work, people used other constructs like 11upset,11 and 11wound up11 to describe their emotional reactions. As previously stated, in most of these instances people were not using different words to describe the same thing, i.e., boredom and worry. They were describing emotional reactions not encompassed by the proposi-tions developed from Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. And, the data revealed that people often used the constructs found in Csikszentmihalyi's typology but attached different meanings to them. For example, a secretary stated: When I first started the job, it wasn't considered permanent part-time. In other words, at the end of June I had to go and apply for my job again, even though I'd been in it for a year. And the employment situation the way it is, I knew there would be a lot of people applying along with me. And that was the one time I was worried at my job. Clearly, for this woman, worry was not associated with having the skills to do the job. Rather, this individual associated worry with earning a living. She only worried about having enough money to support

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146 herself. This worry was associated with her basic survival needs. These constructs and the constructs I not encompassed by Csikszentmihalyis Theory of Play are depicted in one or the other of the "other" constructs columns in Figure 3 with arrows pointing away from the flow model. The arrows pointing away from the flow model indicate their.use outside of the context of having the skills to do the job regardless of level of skill. Again, it is useful to emphasize here that the additional constructs that emerged from the data should not be taken as an indication that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is being undermined or has no utility as a theoretical framework for understanding subjective experience. In point of fact, it is logical to assume that subjective experience is comprised of many factors that vary with the individual. The explanation for this being the case is that workers bring expectations with them to their joband these expectations will vary by variables such as age and education. Subjective work satisfaction/dissatisfaction then must be interpreted as the result of the encounter of the individual's expectations and values with the characteristics of

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147 the work situation, In addition, the characteristics of the work itself are key determinants of emotional reactions at work. In other words, subjective work experience appears to be influenced by a mixture of elements beyond the particulars of the situation and the abilities of the actor; e.g., the personality of the individual may be involved, and the immediate state of mind of the individual due to normal recurring events of life in society may be involved. Finally, with respect to Figure 3 and the other figures presented and discussed below, moment to moment adjustments should be made to any theoretical framework that attempts to depict dynamic states of consciousness related to subjective experience at work in order to allow for the fact that a given individual is not constant in his or her responses to working conditions, but is subject to highly individualistic differences and short-cycle changes. With this in mind, there is really no need to adjust Figure 3 or the other figures that follow in this chapter to illustrate this point. Theories and approaches to satisfaction as overlays. Based on the finding that Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play is not sufficient to describe

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148 subjective experience at work, it is logical to deduce that no single proposition, theory or approach can account for the diversity and the complexity of the experience of subjective satisfaction at work. If applied categorically as explanations of subjective experience, the theories and approaches to satisfaction in use actually limit our understanding of the unique nature of subjective satisfaction. This is not to say that the theories are not necessary or not useful for the purpose of serving as a framework for understanding subjective experience at work. It should be emphasized here that the theories and approaches of satisfaction presented in Chapter II, including Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, represent, as closely as possible, the deliberate intention of its framers to delineate the experience of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. From the point of view of a student wishing to learn more about the subjective experience of work satisfaction, they all serve a necessary and useful function. It is suggested here, however, that in order to better understand the nature of subjective experience at work, the approaches to satisfaction should no longer be viewed as "laws" or complete

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149 explanations or entities of subjective satisfaction. Rather, in order to more fully describe the experience of subjective satisfaction, it is suggested that the theories may be more useful if conceived, like the constructs of subjective experience found in the data and discussed previously, as overlays to Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. These overlays are considered one at a time below. Specifically, need theory, social reference theory and instrumentality theory as overlays are considered below. Many more approaches to satisfaction might be chosen from the kinds of studies that have been made, but, based on the literature review and discussion presented in Chapter II, these three categories or approaches to satisfaction might well be considered basic. It is important to state here that the overlays upon Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play are not meant to imply that the latter take a subordinate position in terms of relevance to subjective experience, although this research might give this impression. The overlay approach presented below to be realistic in recognizing that subjective experience at work consists of a plurality of factors including intrinsic motivation, environmental factors

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150 and individualistic predispositions as delineated by one or the other of the approaches to satisfaction presented in Chapter II. Thus, it will be demonstrated below that the nature of subjective satisfaction is related to a complex of processes and environmental factors. Need theories as overlay. Need theories suggest the kinds of things people desire from life or work. As previously described in Chapter II, some need theories stress money (e.g., the so-called Scientific Management theories represented by Taylor, 1911; others stress the social rewards to be derived from participation in groups (e.g., Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939) ; and a third need category emphasizes the need for individuals to fulfill themselves as people. In Chapter II, it was concluded that Maslow's need-fulfillment theory incorporated from each of these categories and discrepancy theory, including Lawler's (1973) model of the causal determinants of satisfaction, and two factor theory are examples of this third category of need theory. These need theories are synthesized and presented as overlay to Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play below. For the purposes of discussion, they are discussed

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individually beginning with Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. 151 The starting point of Maslow's need theory are the so-called physiological drives. If all the needs are unsatisfied, the individual is then dominated by the physiological needs. All other needs may become simply nonexistent or be pushed into the background. It is then reasonable to characterize the individual by simply saying that he or she is hungry. All capacities of the individual are put into the service of hunger-satisfaction, and the organization of these capacities is almost entirely determined by one purpose, that of satisfying hunger. Interestingly, Csikszentmihalyi (1975), made a distinction in the flow model between flow and what is ordinarily meant by "pleasure,'' i.e., the satisfaction of lower or basic needs such as hunger and sex. According to Csikszentmihalyi (1975), in the flow model, the experience of pleasure tends to be one of low complexity since it does not require the use of complex skills. He suggested further that one can think of flow as a continuum, ranging from repetitive, almost automatic acts (like doodling or chewing gum) to complex activities which require the full use of an

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152 individual's physical and intellectual potential. The former, which Csikszentmihalyi described as patterns of microflow, refer to the simple unstructured activities people perform throughout the day. These activities appear to give little positive enjoyment yet are indispensable for normal functioning. Microflow experiences are distinguished from macroflow experiences which are, according to Csikszentmihalyi (1975), the complex, structured activities that produce full-fledged flow experiences. Microflow activities may be as intrinsically rewarding as deepflow activities, depending upon a person's life situation. Thus, the flow model suggests that flow exists on a continuum from extremely low to extremely high complexity. Similarly, as elaborated further below, Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs could be said to exist on a continuum from extremely low complexity (physiological needs) to extremely high complexity (self-actualization needs). In this context then, the lower order needs, e.g., physiological and safety needs, could be equated to the concept of microflow. Further, when a lower order need is satisfied it is similar to what John Dewey (1934, p. 35), calls a completed experience:

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We have an experience when the material experienced runs its course to fulfillment. Then and only then is it integrated within and demarcated in the general stream of experience from other experiences. A piece of work is finished in a way that is satisfactory; a problem receives its solution; a game is played through; a situation, whether that of eating a meal, playing a game of chess, carrying on a conversation, writing a book, or taking part in a political campaign, is so rounded out that its close is a consummation and not a cessation. such an experience is a whole and carries with it its own individualizing quality and self-sufficiency. It is an experience. As previously stated, in terms of Maslow's 153 Hierarchy of Needs, it could be said that there is a continuum from the most ordinary experience, like satisfying one's hunger by eating a meal, to the most self-actualizing experiences in life, depending on the individual, of course, like artistic creativity or scientific discovery. Thus, one may look at Maslow's lower order needs as everyday microflow patterns. These needs could then be viewed as the counterpart to the fully developed flow or self-actualization experiences reviewed in Chapter II. Because microflow is not depicted in Csikszentmihalyi's theoretical framework, Maslow's lower order needs are not depicted as overlay in Figure 4. Only macroflow is equated here with self-actualization in Figure 4.

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Hygiene Factors Hygiene Factors '\ Anxiety W()rry ( I) Guilt ACI'ION OPPOR'IUNITIES (CHALLENGES) I 1nequi ty (a < b) Bored.an Anxiety Discomfort (a< b) T CAPABILITIES (SKILlS)_., I ( ) Hygiene .., Hygiene Factors Figure 4. Need. theOries as overlay a = perceived amount tha:t shduld be received. b = perceived amount received Motivators = achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and possibility of growth. Hygienes = canpany policy and administration, technical supervision, relations with superiors, v.orking corrlitions, relations with co-workers, personal life, pay, relations with subordinates, status, and job security. 1-' lJ1

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155 To summarize, self-actualization at work and flow at work appear to be the only place where Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs and Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play could be said to overlay, i.e., selfactualizing work transcends the self without trying to, and achieves the kind of loss of self-awareness and self-consciousness that is a characteristic of the flow state. Further, self-actualization is simultaneously a seeking (action opportunities) and a fulfilling of the self (action capabilities) and also an achieving of the selflessness which is the ultimate expression of real self (flow). It resolves the dichotomy between selfish and unselfish. And, the inner and outer world fuse and become one and the same (merging of action and awareness). Finally, it is logical to assume, based on the previous discussion, that what and flow are likely to have in common, although to different degrees, is structure, pattern, goal, challenges, feedback, and a feeling of control. Since discrepancy theory, including Lawler's (1973 ) model of the causal determinants of satisfaction, and two-factor theory are examples of the category of need theory which emphasizes the need

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156 for individuals tq fulfill themselves as people, they are incorporated in Figure 4 in their entirety. As described in Chapter II, Lawler's (1973) model of the causal determinants of satisfaction shows satisfaction as the difference between (a) what a person feels he or she should receive; and (b) what a person perceives that he or she actually receives. According to Lawler's model, when a person's perception of what his or her outcome level is and his or her perception of what his or her outcome level should be are in agreement, the person will be satisfied. When the person perceives his or her outcome level as falling below what he or she feels it should be, the person will be dissatisfied. According to the model, when one's perceived outcome level (b) exceeds what one feels it should be (a), one will have feelings of guilt and inequity and perhaps some discomfort (a< b). Thus, perceptions play an important role in Lawler's model in the form of perceived personal job input, perceived job characteristics and perceived amount received. The experience of flow in the context of Lawler's discrepancy model is depicted in Figure 4 as being comparable to when a= b, i.e., when the

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157 person's perception of what his or her outcome level is and his or her perception of what his or her outcome level should be are in agreement. Guilt, inequity, and discomfort and the context in which they occur, when a < b, are depicted outside the flow area with arrows going in opposite directions to indicate that: 1) a < b could occur in the context of skills and job challenges regardless of level of skill, or 2) a < b could occur outside of the context of skills and job challenges regardless of level of skill. According to Herzberg, Mausner and Snyderman's (1959) two-factor theory, "satisfiers" which are also known as motivators, relate to intrinsic and job content factors. They relate to the actual content of the job. The dissatisfiers, which are also known as hygiene, extrinsic and job context factors, relate to the context .in which an individual performs a job. The two-factor hypothesis as overlay in Figure 4 depicts flow with the presence of the "motivators": achievement, recognition, work itself, responsibility, advancement, and possibility of growth. Hygiene factors (company policy and administration, technical supervision, relations with superiors, working conditions, relations with co-workers, personal life,

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158 pay, relations with subordinates, status and job security) are depicted with arrows going away from the flow model to indicate that they are external or job context factors and are not on the same continuum as motivators. Their placement outside the flow model also indicates that hygiene factors do not lead to flow experiences. Only the absence of satisfiers, according to the model in Figure 4, can lead to the absence of flow experiences. Social reference theory as overlay. As explained in Chapter II, social reference theories, like equity theory, suggest not only that people need and seek the company of others, but also indicate why they do so. Two major propositions form the basis of social reference theories. The first proposition holds that people seek others in order to evaluate themselves, particularly their skills, abilities, ideas and opinions. Thus people may gain selfknowledge locating themselves in the larger fabric of their social contacts. In addition, social reference theory suggests the importance of having a wide range of social comparison opportunities as one develops. The second proposition holds that people will seek to locate themselves in situations in which their

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159 abilities and opinions are similar to those of others. According to social reference theory, satisfaction results when there is perceived equity between what an individual contributes and receives, at work for example, compared to relevant others. Adams' (1963; 1965) version of equity theory is considered as overlay in Figure 5. In Adams' version of equity theory, work satisfaction is determined by a person's perceived input-outcome balance in the following manner: the perceived equity of a reward is determined by an input-outcome balance; this perceived equity, in turn, determines satisfaction. As previously described in Chapter II, work satisfaction results when perceived equity exists, and dissatisfaction results when perceived inequity exists. Thus, work satisfaction or flow is determined by the perceived ratio of what one receives from one's job relative to what one puts into one's job. According to equity theory, either under-reward (a) or over-reward (b) can lead to dissatisfaction, although the feelings are somewhat different. The theory emphasizes that over-reward leads to feelings of guilt, while under-reward leads to feelings of unfair treatment. Similarly with respect to the

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OVer-reward .1, uGuilt ACTION OPPORTUNITIES (CHALLENGES) Anxiety Worry Boredom AnXiety ACTION CAPABILITIES (SKILLS) Feelings of ) unfair treatment Figure 5. Social reference theory as over lay 1-' 0'\ 0

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161 placement of guilt, inequity, and discomfort in Lawler's model of the causal determinants of satisfaction as overlay in Figure 4, feelings of unfair treatment and guilt are depicted in Figure 5 outside the flow area with arrows going in opposite directions to indicate that these feelings could occur in the context of skills and job challenges regardless of level of skill or outside of the context of skills and job challenges regardless of level of skill. Instrumentality theory as overlay. As described in Chapter II, expectancy theories, variously called instrumentality, path-goal, performance reward, or valence theories, do not specify what people desire; they show how people's desires motivate the direction and level of their behavior. Effort, or motivated behavior, is thereby directed at obtaining specific, manifest, desired "satisfactions," e.g., money, prestige, early retirement, equity, flow, or whatever the person desires and perceives he or she can attain. Further, expectancy theories view people as rational beings, as thinking humans who are able to make decisions. Instrumentality theory as overlay is depicted in Figure 6. In its general form, expectancy theory

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Perceived probability of successful perfonnance, given effort Perceived probability of receiving an intrinsic outcome, given successful perfonnance ACTION OPPOR'IUNITIE (CHALLENGES) 1 MOTIVATION\ ---7, EFFORI' r \ PERFORMANCE \ -'-... r Anxiety Worry .u y '0 0(/) li ji'Y :;j :--,....(y ::,.0 :p-"'J / (/)0 .t.-t!e;& 'N /j cY I :Boredom Anxiety ACI'ION CAPABILITIES (SKILlS) Figure 6. Instrumentality theory as overlay I-' en 1\J

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163 attempts to explain how behavior is directed and why individuals choose a particular behavior in order to reach a goal. Instrumentality works as overlay to Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play only when the person desires and perceives he or she can obtain flow experiences or intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) outcomes. Intrinsic outcomes, according to expectancy theory, are outcomes that are seen as occurring directly as a result of performing the task itself and are outcomes which the individual thus gives to himself or herself (i.e., feelings of accomplishment, creativity, etc.). Flow is not associated with extrinsic outcomes that are, according to expectancy theory, associated with performances that are provided or mediated by external factors (the organization, the supervisor, the work group, etc.). Thus, extrinsic outcomes are not depicted as overlay in Figure 6. Describing expectancy theory in more technical terms in the context of Csikszentmihalyi's flow model sans extrinsic outcomes, a person's motivation to exert effort towards a specific level of performance is based on his or her perceptions of associations and intrinsic outcomes. This refers to the person's subjective probability about the likelihood that he or

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164 she can perform at. a given level, or that effort on his or her part will lead to successful performance. As described in detail in Chapter II, the more likely a person feels that performance will lead to valent outcomes, the more likely he or she will be to try to perform at the required level. According to expectancy theory, a single level of performance can be associated with a number of different outcomes, each having a certain degree of valence. Some outcomes are valent because they have direct value or attractiveness. Some outcomes, however, have valence because they are seen as leading to (or being instrumental for) the attainment of other "second level" outcomes which have direct value or attractiveness. These second level outcomes are not depicted in Figure 6 because intrinsic outcomes do not lead to second-level outcomes. In summary, the strength of a person's motivation to perform effectively is influenced by (1) the person's belief that effort can be converted into performance, and (2) the net attractiveness of the events, in this case intrinsic outcomes or flow experiences, that are perceived to stem from good performance.

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165 Csikszentmihalyi's flow model is complementary with expectancy theory particularly in terms of describing the first factor which determines how a person's intentions get translated into actual behavior according to expectancy theory. First, the strength of a person's motivation to perform correctly is most directly reflected in his or her effort--how hard he or she works. This effort expenditure may or may not result in good performance, since at least two factors must be right if effort is to be converted into performance. The first factor is that the person must possess the necessary skills and abilities in order to perform the job well. Unless both ability and effort are high, there cannot be good performance, i.e. attainment of intrinsic outcomes or flow. The second factor, according to expectancy theory, is the person's perception of how his or her effort can best be converted into performance. It is assumed that this perception is learned by the individual on the basis of previous experience in similar situations. This "how to do it11 perception can obviously vary widely in accuracy, and--where erroneous perceptions exist--performance is low even though effort or motivation may be high.

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Second, when performance occurs, certain amounts of outcomes are obtained by the individual. Figure 6 depicts intrinsic outcomes, not being mediated by outside forces, which tend to occur regularly as a result of performance. 166 Third, as depicted in Figure 6, as a result of the obtaining of outcomes and the perceptions of the relative value of the outcomes obtained, the individual has a positive affective or flow response. Fourth, according to expectancy theory, events which occur influence future behavior. This process is depicted by the feedback loop running from actual behavior back to motivation in Figure 6. Concluding Remarks on the Meaning and Centrality of Work for Individuals It appears from my research that people come to work with differing values and job expectations; that is, they value different features in a job and expect these features to be present to a certain degree. And, to a large extent, these values and expectations are influenced by the personal characteristics, backgrounds, and life situations of the employees. For example, it is reasonable to assume that employees of different educational

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167 attainments or degrees of economic need may value and expect greater or different rewards from an organization. Whatever the values and expectations that individuals bring to the job situation, however, it is important that these factors be met for the individual to be satisfied. Subjective experience at work is thus a complex mixture of many variables. As a result, the "average" employee does not exist since people relate to their work differently. It appears that the concept of the average employee is the basis upon which a central theme is developed and utilized in the theories and approaches. to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II, e.g., satisfaction is a satisfied need, or satisfaction is either the difference between an actual amount and some desired amount in relation to what people want, what people feel they should receive, andjor what people expect to receive. Even though the central themes differ with each approach, there is an implicit assumption in each one of them that, because all employees are basically similar in their makeup, the central theme is applicable in all situations. For example, utilizing Csikszentmihalyi's typology alone, the manager's task of building flow into workers'

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168 everyday life would simply consist of devising, for all workers, limited but gradually increasing opportunities for the expression of workers' skills. Thus, in an effort to develop a central theme that is internally consistent, researchers have tended to synthesize diverse elements into configurations of ideal or pure types. In other words, they looked for linear, cause and effect relationships that resulted in a single proposition, theory, or approach to satisfaction. As a result, they tended to abstract from data, and simplify the inherently complex world they purported to describe. The data collected in this research revealed that real individuals do not fall neatly into one theory of subjective experience since individuals are not all alike. It is therefore likely that real individuals would not fall neatly into one or the other of the approaches and theories of satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II. In short, it follows that if there is no "average" employee since relate to their work differently, there can be no one universal theory of subjective experience that will hold true in all situations for all people. The presentation of the theoretical approaches to

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169 satisfaction as to Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play was meant, in essence, to overcome these limitations. Just as we are in danger of over-generalizing about the subjective experience of satisfaction, I believe we are also in danger of over-generalizing about the meaning and centrality of work for most people. Because, as my research has demonstrated, subjective experience of work is diverse and complex, it is logical to assume that, especially with the increasing complexity and industrialization of society, a range of implicit meanings about work which either complement or go well beyond this research, also exists. Earlier in this chapter, I discussed that workers bring expectations with them to their jobs and that these expectations will vary by variables such as age and education. I emphasized that as a result of this being the case, subjective work satisfaction; dissatisfaction must be interpreted as the result of the encounter of the individual's expectations and values with the characteristics of the work situation. In addition, the characteristics of the work itself are key determinants of emotional reactions at work.

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170 I concluded that subjective experience at work appears to be influenced by a mixture of elements beyond the particulars of the situation and the abilities of the actor, e.g., the personality of the individual may be involved, the individual's personal goals and values for working and living may be involved, and the immediate state of mind of the individual due to normal and recurring events of life in any society, may be involved. Thus, we should probably view job satisfaction as the result of a complex of interconnected attitudes, only some of which are a function of work factors. Similarly, I believe we should view the centrality and meaning of work for individuals in the same context. For example, in the course of this study, I became aware that I was obtaining information on rather more than subjective experience at work as it related or did not relate to Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play. What was also being revealed to me was new realizations about the role of work activity in people's lives. For some, work meant alienation, stress, being trapped, and stultification. For others, "intrinsic" satisfactions. had long since vanished. People described a lack of self-investment

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171 in their jobs, a psychological disengagement through which they passed their time, but being sufficiently present to suffice in their work behavior, e.g., the high-level administrator who said that he considers himself ... very good at this job, so one thing I don't allow myself to do is I don't allow the quality of my work to slip because of the way I feel about the work or the job after x number of years." They also talked about their jobs as being important mainly for the two months off in the summer. Thus, I can see that logic alone provides insufficient basis for determining the meaning and centrality of work for individuals. Put another way, expert knowledge cannot automatically resolve or delineate the issues that impact the meaning and centrality of work for individuals. What I now understand is that work is complex. It has very diverse functions and meanings for the contemporary labor forces of industrialized countries .. That is to say, the boundaries of work are not clearly defined. Thus, easy solutions for addressing problems at work are difficult to find. For example, the pursuit of better job satisfaction by changing things within the content of the organization must be viewed

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172 cautiously. Because of the complex interplay of mental attitudes, it may not be the case that improving things on the job will necessarily improve job satisfaction. Further, the total potential impact of work for an individual is not clear since the meaning of work involves conflicting values and interests. Thus, because various individuals view and respond to the issues related work quite differently, the meaning and centrality of work must be necessarily value-laden. Based on my research, I also found that discovering meanings of work through the exploration of subjective experiences offers a rather special opportunity to reflect upon the existential significance of work altogether. The feelings of satisfaction, boredom and so forth can bring to an individual emphasizes the essential vulnerability of human beings whose reality is to a greater or lesser degree comprised of being at work. Further, if work is introjected into the self, which I believe is happening more and more, then the relationship between self-esteem and self-investment in work becomes inseparable. Especially healthy and stable selfesteem (the feeling of worth, pride, influence and

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173 importance) rests on good, worthy work to be introjected, thereby becoming part of the self. Maybe some of the contemporary malaise at work is due to introjection of non-prideful, robotized, broken-downinto-easy-bits kind of work. I believe one should feel proud of oneself, self-loving, and selfrespecting. For that to happen, it is not important for one to make a lot of money. Rather, it is more important for one to think that one is doing something worthwhile. I also believe that self-esteem and selfinvestment in work is a necessary condition for improving the quality of work experience. Historically, work has been seen among other things, as a curse on humanity, an investment towards life in the hereafter, and a pragmatic path to secular happiness. In the Western world during most of the twentieth century, work has been conceived primarily in terms of the pursuit of material wealth. This materialistic orientation was the natural result of the prevalent scarcity under past economic conditions and of the historic hope of securing basic necessities and attaining some secular comforts. With respect to todays values, as previously described in Chapter I, we are nearing a point of saturation with security and

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174 material gain as the guiding motivations of our work efforts. In point of fact, those of us fortunate enough to live in advanced industrial societies are approaching an evolutionary juncture which, I believe, will require new concepts of life and work. I sense the need to find new ways to make the most of life within the new opportunities and constraints of our times. There is a widespread and growing desire for new priorities of human life. This desire for a better, more holistic, style of life will ultimately lead, I believe, to the search for a more integrated sense of work which will fulfill the needs and aspirations of our total existence far beyond our economic concerns. Essentially, I believe that we must reaffirm the meaning and centrality of work as a human activity aimed at the fulfillment of real and total human needs, whatever they are, and truly humane work must integrate these needs in a way which gives our lives balance, completeness, and purpose. In sum, it is the totality of our human needs, as we define them for ourselves, which should guide and shape the evolving goals and conditions of work in the future.

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175 Summary In Chapter V, a theory building set of conclusions was presented and discussed. These conclusions synthesized what I have learned from my research about one theory of subjective experience-Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, the other constructs that emerged from the data as a result of exploring the utility of Csikszentmihalyi's Theory of Play, and the other theories and approaches to satisfaction in use presented in Chapter II. Chapter V concluded with personal remarks about the meaning and centrality of work in life for individuals. This chapter basically summarized what I have learned from my research about subjective experience and addressed the second research question posed in Chapter I: What is the nature of subjective satisfaction?

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183 Wanous, J.P. (1978). Realistic job previews: Can a procedure to reduce turnover also influence the relationship between abilities and performance? Personnel Psychology, 21, 250. Weber, Max. (1977). 'Objectivity' in social science and social policy. In F.R. Dallmayr & T.A. McCarthy (Eds.), Understanding and social inquiry (pp. 24-37). Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. (Original work published 1949). Yolles, S.F., Carone, P.A., & Krinsky, L.W. (1975). Absenteeism in industry. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas. Zelditch, M. (1962). Some methodological problems of field American Journal of Sociology, 67, 566-576.

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APPENDIX A GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

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GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS (to be used as a guideline) BIOGRAPHICAL DATA: a) Could you tell me a little bit about yourself? 185 Sex: -----Last grade completed: ____ __ Age: -----Job Title: ---------------------------------------------How long in present job? b) Why did you choose this job? c) Are you still in this job for the same reasons? (If more than six months in the job) Yes: No: d) If no, why are you still in this job now? e) If yes, what are the reasons that you chose this job? f) How do you feel about your present job?

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186 g) Are you more satisfied with your job now than when you first started? Why? h) If no, why not? If yes, why? i) Do you plan to continue in this line of work? Yes: __________ No __________ __ j) If no, what would you like to do? Why? k) Are there any extenuating circumstances that are going on now in your personal life or on the job that may affect your responses?

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BOREDOM/WORRY: 1. Can you remember the last time you felt boredjworried on the job? 187 Bored: Yes: ________________ No: ________________ Worried: Yes: ---------------No: ________________ 2. Would you describe that situation to me? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: ______________________________________________ ___ 3. How did you cope with that experience with feeling boredjworried? Bored: __________________________________________________ 4. Could you describe other situations that you remember feeling bored/worried and what you did to cope with the situation, if anything?

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188 Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: ______________________________________________ ___ 5. Do you still cope that way with boringjworry situations or do you generally cope in some other way now? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: -------------------------------------------------6. Have your boring/worry situations ever gotten so bad that you begin to feel really anxious? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: ________________________________________________

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189 7. Would you describe that anxious situation? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: -------------------------------------------------8. What did you do to cope, if anything? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: -------------------------------------------------9. Do you still cope that way with anxiety situations or do you generally cope in some other way now? Bored: __________________________________________________ Worried: ______________________________________________ ___

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FLOW: 10. Can you remember the last time you felt really satisfied in your job? Yes: No: __________ 190 11. Can you describe that situation to me and what it felt like? OTHER: 12. If you had enough money so that you didn't have to work again, would you continue to work? Why or why not? 13. If you had to do it all over again, would you still choose the same profession? Yes: No: __________ 14. Why or why not?

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APPENDIX B EXPLANATION OF THE STUDY

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192 EXPLANATION OF THE STUDY The purpose of my research is to develop present theories of work satisfaction. One way this is possible is to interview people who work. You will be asked general questions about your work experi-ences. Selected quotations from this interview may appear in a doctoral dissertation being written for the University of Colorado. The information will not be used for any other purpose. CONFIDENTIALITY Taped or written interview material will be kept strictly confidential at all times and will not be used in any other manner than that described above. No names will be recorded, written, or in any way associated with interview documents or tapes. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. :J. Ruth T. Wernick