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Predictors of Job Satisfaction Among Police Officers: Does Personality Matter?

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 37 Issue: 5 Dated: September-October 2009 Pages: 419-426
Holly A. Miller; Scott Mire; Bitna Kim
Date Published
October 2009
8 pages
Based on findings of a self-report survey administered to 87 sworn police officers of a medium-sized police department in the southern United States, this study examined whether personality characteristics significantly contributed to officer job satisfaction independent of demographic and job characteristics.
The study found a statistically significant correlation between personality and job satisfaction among the officers surveyed. Officers who scored higher on the characteristics of neuroticism (e.g., high-strung) rated their job satisfaction lower than officers who scored lower on neuroticism characteristics. On the other hand, officers who reported higher levels of extraversion and conscientiousness reported higher levels of job satisfaction. Although these personality variables significantly correlated with job satisfaction, however, they had little predictive power when other variables (i.e., demographic and job characteristics) were also included in the prediction of job satisfaction. Contrary to previous studies, current findings showed that feedback from the job itself was a significant predictor of job satisfaction, second only to autonomy. Officers reported higher levels of job satisfaction if they felt the job carried clear indications that they were achieving meaningful objectives, without regard for performance evaluations from supervisors and coworkers. Having a sense of autonomy and discretion in decisionmaking was the most powerful predictor of job satisfaction. Experience and age were also significant predictors of job satisfaction. Study data were collected in a self-report survey that consisted of three measures: the Dantzker job satisfaction scale; the job diagnostic survey (Hackman and Oldham, 1975), which measures various dimensions of the immediate job environment; and the Neuroticism Extraversion Openness-Five Factor Inventory (Costa and McCrae, 1992). Demographic characteristics reported were gender, race, rank, age, years of experience, and level of education. 5 tables, 39 references, and appended level of job satisfaction survey items