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JOURNAL OF RESEARCH IN NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT VOLUME 8 NO 2, DECEMBER, 2010


 

ORGANIZATIONAL FACTORS AND JOB SATISFACTION OF ACCOUNTANTS IN NIGERIA

 

Kennedy Prince Modugu and Dominic Ose Erah

 Department of Accounting, University of Benin,Benin City

E-mail: princekenny2010@yahoo.com

 

 

Abstract

The basic thrust of this paper is  to examine the relevant  organizational factors, grouped into career-related factors and information availability  factors that affect the job satisfaction level of Nigerian accountants while comparing the results got to that of similar studies  in other countries. Using  primary data obtained from about 65 accountants working in a total of  7 chartered accountants  firms within the country, the results provide evidence that while networking is insignificant  and negatively related to job satisfaction, autonomy is important (though  not statistically significant). The  ease of information access and training in available information resources are both significant and have a positive impact on Nigerian accountants job satisfaction. These findings have among others, the implication of indicating employee needs which when met would result in a highly satisfied and productive staff of accounting professionals.

 

Key words: Job satisfaction; autonomy, networking, information, accountant, professional, knowledge worker.          

 

Introduction


Accounting firms in Nigeria have grown over the years and today function as  part of “global professional service conglomerates”. Successful operation of the these multinational accounting firms requires the ability to provide consistent high quality services. This largely depends on the professionals working in the firm, as the knowledge worker is the number one resource with greatest input contributing to the firms output. For this cause, these professional accountants must be highly motivated to not just perform, but perform their best while staying with the firm. The job satisfaction of accountants must be emphasized in all strata of the firm.

 

Satisfaction of accountants towards their job should be a focal management role in firms, as when this is the case, both the firm and the society at large will be enjoying great benefits. Job satisfaction is a critical determinant of employee behavior and attitude. Accountants are professionals and it is expected that their work-related needs and preferences would be unique. What then contributes or endangers the job satisfaction of Nigerian accountants? Does the Nigerian accountant’s job satisfaction needs and preference coincide with that of other country’s accountant? What theories on job satisfaction are applicable to Nigerian accountants? These and others form the major objectives of this study, which would be answered in subsequent sections.

 

Following this introduction section, the rest of the paper is divided into 5 sections. Section 2 reviews relevant theories to form a theoretical  framework, section 3 discusses empirical evidences and  relevant  literatures. The methodology is contained in section 4 while section 5 presents and analyzes the results obtained. The final section 6 concludes with a summary of findings, recommendation and conclusion.

Theoretical framework                           

The concept of job satisfaction is a crucial one because every firm must identify and engage accountants that have total commitment to the firm and responsibility for results. To attract and  retain the best available knowledge workers, accounting firms will need to appear as attractive as possible to those workers. Hence, Chapman (1998) argues that increasingly, individuals will be drawn to organizations whose structures and cultures take into consideration the values and needs of workers. What then is job satisfaction?

Job satisfaction is often thought to be synonymous to job attitudes. Different scholars have used the term from different theoretical orientations. Vroom (1967) described job satisfaction as the reaction of workers to the role they play in their work. Locke (1976) defined it as a pleasurable feeling that “results from the perception that one’s job fulfils or allows for the fulfillment of ones important job values”. This definition reflects three important aspects of job satisfaction: firstly, job satisfactions is a function of values defined as “what a person consciously or unconsciously desires to obtain”; secondly that different employees have different views of which values are important in determining the nature and degree of their job satisfaction, and thirdly that job satisfaction  is a function of the perception by an individual of the present job situation relative to the values. It is worthy of mention here that job satisfaction is not necessarily only within the job itself but also work environment and the organizational characteristics and culture.

 

Literature review

 An extensive review on the literature of professionals indicate that the factors affecting job satisfaction of accountants could be grouped into career – related factors and information availability factors. Career related factors address the need of the accountant that enables him to develop and maintain expertise. These factors include:

(i)                 Autonomy: This refers to the level of control and freedom people have over their work. As autonomy increases, so does job satisfaction. The accountant as a professional values autonomy that both recognizes and enables expertise.

(ii)               Networking: Networking relates to level of interaction with other professional colleagues. Whether using anecdotal evidence or the work of renowned scholars like  Herzberg and Maslow, we see the importance of social interactions at work among other benefits. Networking allows the information transfer about external as well as internal opportunities for expertise expansion, opportunity to meet and learn from other professionals about advances  in the area of expertise. The quality  of social interactions is quite subjective yet very powerful in affecting job satisfaction.

(iii)             Performance evaluation: This could be in the form of feed back and recognition. Miner (1992) differentiates   both in terms of frequency and significance. Feedback must be accurate, timely and frequent whereas recognition need only be accurate though carries greater significance that feedback. Both when applied leads to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction if not accurately applied.

(iv)             Job variety: According to Drafke and Kossen (1998), job satisfaction generally increases as the number of skills used and amount of knowledge needed to perform a job increases. These two factors of required skill and knowledge quantity constitute job variety.          

(v)               Career development: Yamamura et al (2004) says that career development is in the form of a demonstrated interest in the professional’s current and future opportunities and recognition of achievements to provide direction for the developing professional that allow him identify and acquire skills needed to continually increase expertise.    

(vi)             Compensation: Money as a compensation is of course an important reason  for working. People desire money compensation  to make up for other absent job satisfaction  factor when there are undesirable aspects to a job e.g. high risk, extra time consuming etc; and also  as a palliative effect, at least for a short time.

(vii)           Organizational culture: The  overall organizational culture  and  management style of a firm can  increase or decrease job satisfaction (Drafke and Kossen, 1998). Different  individuals prefer different management styles so also different firms operate different management styles. No single particular style can be preferred as such that would yield  higher or lower job satisfaction. As such, a firm and its people would determine its better styles.

Information availability factors, the other group of factors affecting job satisfaction, address the availability of technical resources. Shapero (1985) described technical (nutrient) information as the type of information that allows professionals to direct and develop their own personal expertise. For an accounting firm to  be propelled by the energies of new technologies, mindsets and visionaries,  information availability is  central to the needs of   individual  knowledge workers. Information  availability factors include:

(i)         Ease of access to technical information: This addresses the convenience, speed and location of information provision. Brown and Starkey (1994) opined that the difficulty  involved in accessing the information needed  to do one’s job, especially for an accountant whose essential activities  involve the acquisition, creation, packaging or/and application  of information, could have an   impact on job satisfaction.

(ii)               Training on available resources: This relates to the training provided to professionals to enable them readily access the firm’s information resources which leads to better job performance.

(iii)             Financial  reimbursement for  information cost:  This factor is important because it does not only provide and encourage  access to acquiring  needed  information, it also reflects the firms awareness of its commitment  to meeting the professionals needs (Yamamaru et al 2004).

Researchers over the years have shown that monetary compensation is one of the most important explanatory variable for job satisfaction (Voydanoff, 1980). Taylow and West(1992) found that pay levels  affect job satisfaction, reporting that public sector  employees that compared their salaries with their  counterparts  in the private sector had lower level job satisfaction. Shapero (1985) indicated that professionals have strong need for autonomy and access to technical information as well as for assistance with career development. Also, he found that networking  with other professionals is critical to the developing  professional for several reasons which includes to develop and  maintain their status as experts and professionals. Also Gregson (1990) supported his finding to say that networking displayed through feedback enables developing professionals to assess their skills and knowledge levels. Hope and Hope (1997) pointed  out that for professionals, personal development  is of primary importance. This they argue in favour of Bartlett and Goshal (1995), who emphasized that employers must provide professional workers with the opportunity for continuous learning and skill updating. Furthermore, very recent findings support that genetic  forces are involved in job satisfaction. This was in support of a study by Arvey et al (1989) which dealt with the job satisfaction level of twins. They found out that twins were more likely to have similar job satisfaction levels than others who were not related, and a strong association between hereditary and job satisfaction. This is an area for further research, as the findings are interpreted  to mean that organization may have less influence over job satisfaction than has been believed.

Methodology

The population of the study comprises professionally qualified and practicing accountants in Nigeria. By purposive sampling, accountants in audit firms form the sample of the research study. Primary data was collected from direct sources with the use of well structured 5-points likert scale questionnaires administered to the staff and management of audit firms, and analysed using the multiple regression technique.

            To establish and evaluate the relationship between job satisfaction and the variables of interest, the following regression model is employed:

JBSTF = bo + b1AUT + b2NTW + b3ETSCHI + b4TRTCHI + U

Where:

            JBSTF              =          Job satisfaction

            AUT                =          Autonomy

            NTW                =          Support for networking

            ETSCHI           =          Ease of Information Access

            TRTCHI           =          Training on available information resources

            bo                     =          Intercept   

b1, - b4                         =          parameters estimates

            U                     =          Error term

 

Presentation and analysis of results

The estimated regression result arrived at using a Cochrane-Orcutt method AR (8) which converged after 5 iterations is shown in table 1 below.


Table 1: Cochrane-orcutt regression result

Variable

Coefficient

Standard Error

T-Ratio

A(intercept)

7.9120

2.2903

3.4546

Autonomy

0.0779

0.1719

0.4533

Networking

-0.0189

0.1589

-0.1189

Ease of information access

0.3771

0.1724

2.1878

Training on available resources

1.3422

0.2623

5.1176

 

JBSTF = 7.91 + 0.08AUT – 0.02NTW + 0.38ETSCHI + 1.34TRTCHI

R2 = 0.57                      R2 = 0.45                                F-statistic (12, 43) 4.73

SER = 1.76                  MDV = 16.17              DW = 1.96


Note:  Dependent Variable is JBSTF   i.e. Job satisfaction

            SER     =          Standard Error of Regression

            MDV   =          Mean of Dependent Variable

            DW      =          Durbin Watson Statistic


 


An examination of the regression result shows that about 57% of the systematic variation in job satisfaction can be explained by the explanatory variables under consideration as revealed by R2. This was complemented by the adjusted R2  45%. The F-statistic of 4.73 passes the significance test even at the 1% level. This follows from the fact that the calculated F-value (4.73) exceeds the critical F-value of 2.66 at the 1% level of significance. Thus, the hypothesis of a significant linear relationship between job satisfaction and the four regressors (Autonomy, Support for Networking, Ease of Information Access and Training on Available Information Resources) is validated. The estimated model has a smaller residual variance and a smaller variance of the error of prediction viewed in light of the small ratio of the SER to the MDV, which stood at 0.11. This implies that the job satisfaction model equation exhibits a high forecasting power and an overall goodness-of-fit.

 

The parameter estimates of the explanatory variables show expected signs except for the support for networking variable which shows a negative co-efficient. An inspection of the individual statistical significance of the variables reveals that two of the explanatory variables namely; ease of information access and training on available information resources are significant at 10% significance level; while the variables of autonomy and support for networking did not emerge significant.

Thus, the information availability factors of ease of information access and training on available information resources have significant positive effect on job satisfaction while autonomy, though not significant, obviously has positive impact on job satisfaction of accountants in Nigeria. Hence, a unit rise in the variable of ease of information access will lead to about 0.3771 units increase in job satisfaction of Nigerian accountants while a 1.3422 units increase in job satisfaction will be attained by a unit rise in training on available resources. The regression analysis in general are satisfactory.

 

Findings, conclusion and recommendations

This study investigated the relationship between organizational factors grouped into career related factors and information availability factors, and the job satisfaction of accountants in Nigeria. The highlights of the findings include:

(i)                 Autonomy, ease of information access and training on available information resources are positively related to Nigerian accountants job-satisfaction. This is in line with the findings of Shapero (1985), Hope and Hope (1997) and Bartlett and Goshal (1995) etc.

(ii)               Contrary to the views of Shapero (1985), and Gregson (1990), support for networking was neither significant nor positively related to job satisfaction.

(iii)             The major finding shows that the average Nigerian accountant is willing to update his/her knowledge and skills level to continually develop his/her expertise.

 

The importance of autonomy to job satisfaction is interesting as it raises a question noted in prior research. Aono and Daniel (1992) observed that Japanese accounting firms attracted more independent personalities, who often prefer more autonomy and perhaps find it essential to their job satisfaction. With networking, it appears that stronger group orientation has resulted in an environment where individuals easily, informally and frequently communicate. In studies by Stedham (2002) and Taylor (1999) on accountants in USA, networking was also not considered as important. For the information availability factors, the ease of access to information reflects common concern for professionals in general. Prior research in this area indicates that for accountants in the USA, Australia and Japan, ease of information access is also of great importance. Also the factor of training on available information resources was found in other studies to be significant to accountant in the USA and Australia but insignificant in Japan.

 

It is interesting to note that the differences between accountants in Nigeria and those of other countries seem to lie within the career related factors. These factors may be more affected by cultural values and professional environment operating in each country.

 

With practical implications, this study sheds light on accounts,  decision making and audit quality. The preference of factors that stimulate job  satisfaction and the value system of accountants differ. This would result in differences in audit decision making, hence, potentially affecting audit quality, the lack of importance  attributed to networking by Nigerian accountants  may indicate that  while such activities are important to the firms success, it is not necessarily valued by professionals on an individual  level. In which case, since networking  is important to a firm’s success, the firm may need to actively encourage  the involvement  of their professionals in  networking activities.

 

In conclusion, the place of an averagely satisfied knowledge worker cannot be overemphasized. The role of an accountant  in an organization and the society at large is enormous. Information availability factors of ease of access to information  and training on available  information resources  were found to be of significant  positive  impact on job satisfaction of Nigerian accountants while Autonomy was positively important though  not significant, support for networking is both negative and insignificantly  related  to job satisfaction of accountants. It is believed  and strongly recommended that both Nigerian based firms and international firms must take care of the needs  of autonomy, ease of information access and training on available technical resources  for the satisfaction of Nigerian  accountants. Satisfying  these needs will be a  minimum requirement  for maintaining  a highly motivated, satisfied and productive accounting professionals.

 

 

 

 

References                   

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