An improved job dimension scale to measure job satisfaction in sales reps

An improved job dimension scale to measure job satisfaction in sales reps

James H. Turner


As part of a larger study exploring compensation systems, job attitudes, and performance among sales reps, an improved scale to measure job satisfaction in sales reps was developed. The new scale is based on the Job Dimension Scale (Schletzer, 1965, as modified by Lucas, Parasuraman, Davis, & Enis, 1987) which had been used in marketing research in spite of marginally acceptable measures of reliability. The improved scale has excellent reliability measures and is valid for measuring job satisfaction in sales reps.


Job satisfaction has been the subject of research at least since the Hawthorne studies of the 1920s (Roethlisberger & Dickson, 1939). Job satisfaction is defined as the “pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one’s job or job experiences” (Locke, 1976 p. 1300). Churchill, Ford, & Walker (1974 p. 225) define job satisfaction for salespeople as “all characteristics of the job itself and the work environment which salesmen find rewarding, fulfilling, and satisfying, or frustrating and unsatisfying .”

An individual’s attitude about his or her job should have meaningful implications about how he or she does it. Many human-relations era researchers sought to establish job satisfaction as a driver of performance (e. g. McGregor, 1960). Brayfield & Crockett (1955), however, cited conflicting research results and questioned this view. Porter & Lawler (1968) espoused the contrary view that performance leads to job satisfaction. This has become the generally accepted view. Even so, the strength of the relationship appears to be very weak (Iaffaldo & Muchinsky, 1985).

Greater job satisfaction has also been generally related to reduced intent to leave the organization (Brayfield & Crockett, 1955; Mowday, Koberg, & McArthur, 1984) and with reduced rates of absenteeism (Porter & Steers, 1973). In addition, job satisfaction has been shown to be strongly related to organizational commitment (Porter, Steers, & Mowday, 1974) and to organizational citizenship behaviors (Smith, Organ, & Near, 1983; Organ, 1988).

The importance of job satisfaction lies not in its relationship with performance but with its stabilizing effects (reducing tardiness, absenteeism, and turnover) and through its effects on cohesion (increasing organizational citizenship behaviors and organizational commitment). Job satisfaction appears to mediate the effects of in-role performance, role conflict, and job-induced tension on intent to leave and extra-role performance.

Babakus, Cravens, Grant, Ingram, & LaForge, (1996), reviewed organizational variables related to job satisfaction. They concluded the salesperson’s perception of fairness in the company’s compensation program also affects the job satisfaction of salespeople. They postulated that the type of control system employed by management would influence job satisfaction, i.e., the greater the extent of compensation control or outcome control, the less job satisfaction experienced by sales representatives.

Job satisfaction in salespeople has been measured and studied by numerous researchers (Bagozzi, 1978; Churchill, et al., 1974; Teas, 1983). Bagozzi (1978), using the Job-Related Tension Index developed by Kahn, Wolfe, Quinn, & Snoek (1964) to measure role stress, found job-related tension significantly and negatively related to performance, generalized self-esteem, and job satisfaction. Gupta and Beehr (1979) demonstrated a positive relationship between job stress and withdrawal behaviors, which they suggested was mediated by job dissatisfaction.

These relationships illustrate the centrality of job satisfaction in a network including many of the most important constructs in organizational behavior and marketing. They will also serve as a validating network establishing nomological validity of the resulting job satisfaction scale.

Herzberg (1966) found job dissatisfaction to result from hygienic factors. Hygienic factors, however, are inherently extrinsic to the work; they are measured as extrinsic job satisfaction. In fact, the complement of extrinsic job satisfaction provides a measure of job dissatisfaction–directly following Herzberg’s theoretical development. He also found that job satisfaction derives from the work itself; those factors intrinsic to the job provide the true satisfactions from the work. Of course, the intrinsic factors (job satisfiers) and extrinsic factors (job dissatisfiers) are not totally independent. There are some factors which seem to influence both, e.g. pay, promotions, coworkers. The measure of job satisfaction developed in this study included measures of intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction.

Deci (1971, 1972) found that reward contingency may act to diminish intrinsic motivation; because the provision of incentives is necessarily extrinsic to the work itself, the relationship of each dimension to the other study variables may add to the understanding of the role incentives play.

The basis for the improved two-dimensional job-satisfaction scale is the Job Dimension Scale (Schletzer, 1965) as modified by Lucas, Parasuraman, Davis, & Enis (1987). In their study, however, Lucas, et al., report marginally acceptable coefficient alphas of .612 for the intrinsic job satisfaction scale and .617 for the extrinsic job satisfaction scale. These scales, as all scales in this study, utilized a 7-point rating (from strongly disagree to strongly agree) for each item.

Cronbach’s alpha is a measure of a scale’s internal consistency, sometimes called a scale reliability coefficient. Cronbach’s alpha assesses the reliability of a rating scale by summarizing the responses which attempt to measure some underlying factor. Reliability is defined as the square of the correlation between the measured scale and the underlying factor the scale was supposed to measure. It is, in effect, the average inter-item correlation.

Nunnally (1967) recommended a Cronbach’s alpha equal to or greater than .60 as the minimum value sufficient for research purposes. Cronbach (1951) recommended an alpha equal to or greater than .70. SPSS, the statistical package used in this analysis, suggests that a reliability coefficient of .80 or higher is considered as “acceptable.”

The overall scale alphas of .612 and .617, even though marginally acceptable for research (Nunnally, 1967), would not generally be regarded as evidence of strong reliability. Even though scales with lower reliabilities are often used, the most common rule of thumb for the social sciences is that alphas should exceed .80.


The development of a scale to measure intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction in sales reps began with a thorough literature search to locate accepted scales. This search identified one scale specifically developed for marketing applications (Job Dimension Scale, Schletzer, 1965 as modified by Lucas, Parasuraman, Davis, & Enis, 1987). The JDS included four items to measure intrinsic job satisfaction and seven items to measure extrinsic job satisfaction (see Tables I and II, below).

Following Churchill (1979/, the next step in scale development is to generate a more complete list of scale items. In doing this, two sources were specifically referenced: Herzberg (1966) and Deci (1985). In particular, Herzberg’s list of job satisfiers and hygiene factors was instrumental in adding items to the scale. Deci’s research, however, provided further clarification of these concepts.

These scale items were included in a study involving sales personnel and compensation systems. This study generated a usable sample of 271 completed questionnaires; Tables V, VI, and VII provide a summary of the sample characteristics. The sample was selected to represent sales personnel with differing levels of contingency in pay. The contingent compensation (commissions and bonuses) ranged from 0 to 100%. The median compensation contingency of this sample was nearly 50% of total compensation. More than half of the sample was male (65%); a majority was Caucasian (75.3%), and married (59.6%). The average income of the sample members was approximately $35,000; respondents had an average of over 11 years of career tenure and a little more than 5 years of job tenure. Their mean scores for age (M = 40.78 years), education (M = 13.81 years), and number of dependents (M = 1.35) indicated that respondents were middle-aged, well educated, and responsible for others.

In keeping with the Herzberg definitions, the intrinsic scale was expanded to ten items by including six additional items based on Herzberg (1966) and Deci (1985) (Table III, below).

Similarly, the extrinsic scale was expanded to 12 items by including five additional items (see Table IV, below). These additional items more completely describe the constructs as defined by Herzberg (1966) and Deci (1985).


Survey instruments were returned by 277 employees representing 31 firms operating at 41 locations. The resulting response rate was 61.8 percent. Several returned instruments were incomplete or were deemed unusable for other reasons. It addition, one manufacturing company was eliminated from analysis after it was determined that their employees did not receive any contingent or performance-based compensation and had no customer contact. Moreover, this company was the only participant from that industry. Sampling frame information is summarized in Table V.

After eliminating unusable instruments and excluding the manufacturing company, the resulting sample included 28 companies with 255 employees, operating at 36 locations. This represents 56.9 percent of the sampling frame. The analytical sample information is presented in table VI.

The analysis sample was comprised of approximately 60 percent sales representatives, 8 percent sales managers, 17 percent bank employees, 2 percent finance & insurance representatives (at auto dealerships), 10 percent technicians (auto mechanics), and 2 percent service managers. Slightly more than 1 percent could not be categorized.

In this sample, approximately 28 percent (71) were salaried or hourly personnel (zero compensation contingency), 34 percent (87) were paid entirely by commission (100 % compensation contingency), with the remaining 38 percent (97) distributed between 1 percent and 85 percent compensation contingency. The mean compensation contingency was 47.6 percent.

Seventy-seven percent of the sample were Caucasian, 14 percent were African-American, 5 percent were Hispanic, 1 percent were Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 5 percent reported ‘other’ (mostly native American). The sample was 63.5 percent male and 36.5 percent female. Other demographic information is shown in table VII.

The sample was approximately 61 percent married, 22 percent single, 16 percent divorced, and 2 percent widowed (rounded).

Reliability of measurement scales is a prerequisite for the validity of measures. A comparative summary of scale reliabilities contrasting prior measures with those developed in this study is presented in Table VIII. All scale reliabilities, as measured by Cronbach’s alpha, were greater than recommended by Cronbach (1951)i.e. > ~.70.


Job satisfaction was not normally distributed. The mean job satisfaction score was 5.55 with a standard deviation of 1.01. The mode was 6.59. The minimum job satisfaction score was 2.38; the maximum score was 7.00. Intrinsic job satisfaction had a mean of 5.88 with a standard deviation of 1.01. Extrinsic job satisfaction had a mean of 5.28 and a standard deviation of 1.14. Lucas, et al (1987) used a slightly shorter version of these scales in a study of sales force turnover. In two samples of insurance salespeople (1,412 and 1,045 sales representatives) they developed means of 5.32 and 5.52 for intrinsic job satisfaction and means of 4.81 and 5.08 for extrinsic job satisfaction (after converting to seven point scales). The standard deviations developed in their study were also similar to those in the present study: .87 and .75 for intrinsic job satisfaction and 1.88 and 1.77 for extrinsic job satisfaction. The weighted means for their combined scores were 5.07 and 4.82. The combined-scale mean of 5.55 in the present study would indicate a high level of job satisfaction.


It was decided to factor analyze the job satisfaction scale for at least three reasons. Because of the clear distinction made between intrinsic and extrinsic job satisfaction, because both scales were supplemented with extra items for this research, and because the implications drawn rely on the two distinct dimensions, factor analysis was utilized as a means of confirming the two dimensions.

Table IX is the resulting pattern matrix for the factor analysis completed utilizing maximum likelihood extraction and an Oblimin rotation with Kaiser Normalization.

This factor analysis developed five factors from the twenty-two job satisfaction scale items. These factors have been labeled here: autonomy, pay & benefits, pride, working conditions, and growth. Autonomy, pride, and growth clearly are elements of intrinsic job satisfaction. Equally clearly, the two remaining factors, pay & benefits and working conditions, are elements of extrinsic job satisfaction. Noticeably, two items from the original scale: “the public’s attitude toward my company is good” and “the company’s attitude toward my career is good” which were coded as extrinsic job satisfaction items loaded onto the pride dimension of intrinsic job satisfaction.

Moving these two items to intrinsic job satisfaction resulted in coefficient alphas of .88 for intrinsic job satisfaction, .88 for extrinsic job satisfaction and .93 for the combined job satisfaction scale. The means for the adjusted scales are 5.16 for extrinsic job satisfaction and 5.88 for intrinsic job satisfaction.


Reliability is necessary to ensure that a scale has the properties of internal consistency to ensure that measures consistently. Scale validity, however, is the determination that the scale measures what it purports to measure. Validity, therefore, is a matter of ensuring that the measures developed by the scale fit within the web of relationships with other constructs as the definition and research suggest, i.e., nomological validity.

One approach to determining nomological validity it to show that the construct being measured relates to other constructs to which it is expected to relate (convergent validity) and that it does not relate to other contructs with which there is no theoretical connection. Referring to Appendix A, it can be seen that the constructs mentioned above as being correlated with job satisfaction show significant relationships are described (convergent validity). In addition, it can be seen that there is no correlation with constructs which have not been linked theoretically or empirically to job satisfaction. Here we used self monitoring (sin), age, and altruism (alt) to provide an attitude, an objective measure, and a personality characteristic which have not been linked to job satisfaction. They show no correlation to job satisfaction thereby providing a measure of discriminant validity.

One other commonly used indication of nomological validity is predictive validity, i.e., does the measure developed allow prediction of other construct measures. For example, if we tested the earlier results that job satisfaction and organizational commitment result in reduced intent-to-leave in this data set we find that:

itl = 7.54 – .673 (oc – .317 (is)

Interestingly, if we substitute the intrinsic job satisfaction (ijs) and extrinsic job satisfaction (ejs) measures for job sat, we obtain: itl = 7.78 – .670 (oc) – .343 (ijs). Noticeably, extrinsic job satisfaction lacks significance and drops out of the result.

Extraction Method: Maximum Likelihood. Rotation Method: Oblimin with Kaiser Normalization.

These are all significant at .000 and are in the predicted direction. Even though age, self monitoring and altruism were included, they were insignificant in the resulting regression.

Testing the predictive of performance, age, altruism and self-monitoring for job satisfaction, we obtain the following results:

js = 4.377 + .201 (perf)

Again, self-monitoring, age, and altruism proved not to be significant in the relationship (and the size of the performance-job sat relationship is minimal; [r.sup.2] = .04).


The Improved Job Dimension Scale is both reliable and valid. It has been greatly improved by the addition of factors suggested by the research of Herzberg (1966) and Deci (1972, 1985). It can be confidently used for measures of intrinsic, extrinsic, and overall job satisfaction. It is appropriate for both research purposes–establishing the relationships between job satisfaction and other constructs of interest–and for use as a management tool for determining job satisfaction levels among sales reps as part of a climate survey. Although the scale was specifically developed to measure job satisfaction in sales reps, it should be valid for use in other research calling for a measure of job satisfaction. With only minor modification of a few scales items it should be useful in samples involving individuals other than sales reps.


Mean Std Dev


EJS 5.2624 1.1423 .88

IJS 5.8830 .9898 .727 ** .88

JS 5.5450 .9991 .951 ** .904 ** .93

PERF 5.9351 .8026 .122 .128 * 133 *

ITL 1.9874 1.3943 — — —

.476 ** .525 ** .533 **

0C 5.6593 .9448

.671 ** .719 ** .742 **

OCB 5.5564 .8272

.348 ** .472 ** .430 **

RA 2.8665 .9111 — — —

.509 ** .485 ** .536

RC 3.0482 .9220 — — —

.518 ** .437 ** .519 **

SE 6.1496 .7849

.245 ** .287 ** .282 **

SM 3.6763 .6139

-.018 -.066 -.041

AGE 40.48 .11.66

-.094 .002 -.058

ALT 4.2980 1.1195 .081 .098 .095





PERF .88


.176 ** .94

0C —

.165 ** .596 ** .86


.370 ** .443 ** .495 ** .81

RA — — —

.227 ** .435 ** .541 577 ** .79

RC — —

-.080 .435 ** .565 ** .446 ** .716 **

SE — —

.283 ** .235 ** .340 ** .449 ** .428 **


.036 .082 -.071 -.024 .104


.055 -.023 .006 .048 -.078

ALT .172 ** -.044 .065 .154 * -.036












SE —

.346 ** .81

SM —

.229 ** .008 .74


-.112 .029 -.077 N/A

ALT -.005 .026 .179 ** .166 * .92

** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

Cronbach alphas given on the diagonal


1e I am satisfied with the compensation plan under which I work.

2e I am satisfied with my earnings as an agent.

3e My earnings are fair in relation to the efforts expended.

4e I am satisfied with my probable earnings with this company.

5e The public’s attitude toward my company is good.

6e I am satisfied with my benefit plan in general.

7e The public’s attitude toward sales people is good.


1i Our agency does a good job at encouraging professional growth.

2i I get a feeling of accomplishment from the work I am doing.

3i My job is an interesting one.

4i My firm offers opportunities for growth as a career underwriter.


5i My work here has real meaning.

6i I am proud to tell people what I do for a living.

7i If I perform well, I will have opportunity for promotion.

8i I am recognized here for doing a good job.

9i This job is challenging.

10i This job allows me to work without direct supervision.


8e The policies of my employer make my job more difficult.

9e My job is secure.

10e The working conditions here make it easier to do a good job.

11e The people I work with make it easier to do a good job.

12e My supervisor is a real asset to me in doing my job.


Industry Companies Locations Employees

New Car Dealership 6 7 165

Furniture Retail 8 16 131

Banking 2 2 50

Office Equip. Sales 7 7 43

Automobile Service 3 5 18

Insurance 3 3 16

Manufacturing 1 1 10

Department Store 1 1 8

Floor Covering 2 2 6

Industrial Supplies 1 1 1

Totals 34 45 448


Industry Companies Locations Usable


New Car Dealership 6 7 78

Furniture Retail 8 15 95

Banking 2 2 43

Office Equip. Sales 3 3 17

Automobile Service 3 3 5

Insurance 3 3 10

Department Store 1 1 5

Floor Covering 1 1 1

Industrial Supplies 1 1 1

Totals 28 36 255


N Minimum Maximum Mean Std. Deviation

Income 231 $16,000 $120,000 $35,092.74 $15,178.71

Career Tenure 215 0 45 11.34 8.92

Tenure w/ 225 0 45 5.35 6.02


Age 215 18 73 40.78 11.63

Compensation 254 .00 100.00% 47.58% 44.28


Dependents 233 0 8 1.35 1.45

Education 232 9 18 13.81 1.87


Scale Prior measure Present Study Mean

Compensation Employer provided .99 47.63%

Contingency info over three

(contcom) time frames

Role Conflict (rc) .82 Rizzo, et al (1970) .79 3.03

.85 Johnston, et al (1990)

shortened scale

Job Induced .88 Frye, et al (1986) .84 2.72

Tension (jit) .82 Netemeyer, et al (1990)

Financial Anxiety New Scale .78 3.53

Scale (FAS)

Extrinsic Job .62 Lucas, et al (1987) .88 5.29

Satisfaction (ejs) (expanded



Intrinsic Job .61 Lucas, et al (1987) .88 5.88

Satisfaction (ijs) (expanded



Job Satisfaction Not Reported as combined .93 5.56

(js) (ejs, ijs


Organizational .88 Mowday, et al (1982) .86 5.69

Commitment (oc)

In-Role Performance .86 Oliver & .88 5.96

(erf) Anderson (1994)

Extra-Role .92 Podsakoff & .81 5.58

Performance (ocb) MacKenzie (1994)

Intent to Leave .84 Babakus (1996) .94 1.94



Autonomy Pay & Pride


I am recognized here for doing a .262 .195 8.248E-02

good job.

This job is challenging. .887 -3.870E-02 .284

This job allows me to work without .337 4.965E-02 -2.841E-02

direct supervision.

I am satisfied with my -3.499E-02 .674 1.075E-03

compensation plan.

I am satisfied with my earnings. 2.627E-02 .916 1.382E-02

My earnings are fair in relation 6.595E-02 .881 -6.249E-02

to the efforts expended.

I am satisfied with my probable -1.437E-02 .765 .125

future earnings.

I am satisfied with my benefit 9.903E-03 .453 5.167E-02

plan in general.

I get a feeling of accomplishment 3.329E-02 3.152E-02 .795

from the work I am doing.

My job is an interesting one. .134 -6.794E-02 .735

My work has real meaning. -4.165E-02 6.009E-02 .813

I am proud to tell people what I 5.427E-02 9.868E-03 .816

do or a living.

The public’s attitude toward my .128 1.837E-02 .502

company is good.

The public’s attitude toward my -2.807E-02 7.398E-02 .544

career is good.

The policies of this company -3.789E-02 -5.964E-02 .125

make my job easier.

My job is secure. 1.804E-02 .182 8.079E-02

The working conditions here make 2.860E-02 .111 2.788E-02

it easier to do a good job.

The people I work with make it 3.632E-02 -1.953E-03 2.509E-02

easier to do a good job.

My supervisor is a real asset to .104 2.875E-02 -7.561E-02

me in doing my job.

This organization does a good job -2.657E-02 .225 .258

at encouraging professional


This company offers opportunities -7.232E-02 .218 .299

or growth.

If I perform well in this job, I 3.562E-02 .237 3.794E-02

will have opportunity for


Working Growth


I am recognized here for doing a .241 .204

good job.

This job is challenging. -.201 .176

This job allows me to work without .108 -.100

direct supervision.

I am satisfied with my 2.280E-02 .153

compensation plan.

I am satisfied with my earnings. -3.767E-02 -.127

My earnings are fair in relation 4.360E-02 -5.313E-02

to the efforts expended.

I am satisfied with my probable 5.927E-02 1.612E-02

future earnings.

I am satisfied with my benefit -4.345E-02 .162

plan in general.

I get a feeling of accomplishment -2.872E-02 9.124E-02

from the work I am doing.

My job is an interesting one. -1.367E-02 .132

My work has real meaning. -1.817E-02 7.32E-02

I am proud to tell people what I 1.617E-03 -3.685E-02

do or a living.

The public’s attitude toward my .223 -9.919E-02

company is good.

The public’s attitude toward my .118 -.121

career is good.

The policies of this company .539 1.614E-02

make my job easier.

My job is secure. .370 -5.135E-02

The working conditions here make .788 -8.026E-02

it easier to do a good job.

The people I work with make it .745 1.664E-02

easier to do a good job.

My supervisor is a real asset to .499 .258

me in doing my job.

This organization does a good job .275 .361

at encouraging professional


This company offers opportunities 8.691E-02 .621

or growth.

If I perform well in this job, I .183 .527

will have opportunity for



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Author Profiles:

Dr. Jim Turner earned his DBA from Louisiana Tech University. He is assistant professor of management at Morehead State University in Morehead Ky. His interests include leadership, ethics, and control systems.

Dr. Gene Brown earned his PhD from the University of Alabama. He is the Valentine Radford professor of Marketing at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. His interests include personal selling and sales management.

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