The Society for Social Work and Research

2014 Annual Conference

January 15-19, 2014 I Grand Hyatt San Antonio I San Antonio, TX

Relationship Between Psychological Organizational Climate and Job Satisfaction Among Child Welfare Employees in Voluntary Agencies

Sunday, January 19, 2014: 10:45 AM
Marriott Riverwalk, Riverview, Lower Parking Level, Elevator Level P1 (San Antonio, TX)
* noted as presenting author
Allison Houston, MS, CPH, Doctoral Candidate, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
Anne-Marie Gomes, MPH, MSW, Doctoral Student, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
Nancy Claiborne, PhD, Associate Professor, State University of New York at Albany, Albany, NY
Background and Purpose: The association between job satisfaction and outcomes like, job and field commitment, supervisory support and turnover intention has been documented in the literature (Chen & Scannepieco, 2010; Landsman, 2001; Weaver et al., 2007). Studies on the relationship between an agency’s psychological climate and employee job satisfaction are emerging.  Better understanding of organizational factors affecting job satisfaction can inform policy and management related to workers’ turnover, which is costly and disruptive to the quality and continuity of care/services provided to children and their families. The purpose of this study is to estimate the impact of the psychological organizational climate on job satisfaction among child welfare workers employed in private non-profit child welfare agencies.

Methods: Data come from a child welfare workforce project and were collected from thirteen non-profit agencies 2009-2012.  The agencies provide residential care and community-based services.  Baseline assessment includes demographic, organizational psychological climate (based on Parker et al. 2003), and job satisfaction, information.  Regression equations were calculated using ordinary least squares in which overall satisfaction scores was the dependent variable.  Organizational climate was organized into four categories: (1) organizational (innovation, just, and support), (2) supervision (work, goal and trust), (3) role (overload, conflict and ambiguity), and (4) job (challenge, autonomy, and importance), and were the main exogenous variables.  Child welfare worker personal characteristics (e.g., education, race, job tenure, and job type) were included as control variables.  Four separate models were fitted for this purpose; P≤0.05 were interpreted as indicating statistically significant associations.

Results:  Consistent with our expectation, we found all but two of the twelve sub-scales of organizational psychological climate positively impacts child welfare workers’ satisfaction with their job.  Sub-scales with the largest estimates, and consequently, the highest impact on workers’ job satisfaction are role ambiguity (6.06; 95% CI 4.93-7.19, P<0.000–interpreted as for each one-point increase in role ambiguity, satisfaction scores increase by 6.06 points), job autonomy (5.88; 95% CI 4.69-7.06, P<0.000), and supervisor trust (5.29; 95% CI 3.95-6.64, P<0.000).  Role overload (1.21; 95% CI 0.49-1.94, P<0.001) was among the least significant sub-scales, job challenge (1.10; 95% CI 0.44-2.65, P<0.161) and supervision goal (1.41; 95% CI 0.04-2.78, P<0.055) were non-significant.  None of the demographic and personal characteristics were meaningful for explaining variability between organizational climate and workers’ satisfaction except, type of worker (i.e., administrator, clinician, direct service provider or educator) and current salary.

Conclusion: It is important to determine the workplace relatedness of child welfare workers’ job satisfaction because it is a good indicator of whether workers will remain/leave the agency or child welfare workforce.  It appears that almost all organizational climate factors which are amenable to change, are central to child welfare workers’ satisfaction.  This evidence is particularly useful to private child welfare agencies.  An organization may be able to improve a wide range of organizational-related factors to enhance workers overall satisfaction.