Date Approved

Fall 2004

Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Communications (M.S.)

Degree Program

School of Communications


Research shows there are several variables that influence employee job satisfaction, including salary, benefits, job tasks, autonomy and independence, relationships with supervisors and coworkers, communication from management, vacation time, and professional development opportunities. Nonprofit organizations face increased challenges with employee job satisfaction issues because they lack the budget to be competitive with for-profit organizations in terms of salary and benefits.

For the purpose of this study, the researcher defines "hard" variables as those that are concrete and can be measured, including salary and benefits, and “soft” variables as those that are less measurable and more relational in nature, including relationships and communication. Research suggests that "hard” variables do not influence levels of job satisfaction to the extent that "soft” variables do.

A study of thirty-two employees at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids (GIGGR), a nonprofit organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan, lends support for the hypothesis that "soft” variables affect job satisfaction more than "hard” variables. The study found that the top two factors influencing job satisfaction were relationships with direct supervisors and relationships with coworkers, both of which influenced job satisfaction more than the job tasks themselves. The study also found that 72% of employees at GIGGR are satisfied, and that the remaining 18% rated themselves as neutral. No employees considered themselves unsatisfied.


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