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The modern business environment is highly competitive and technology very dynamic, which has resulted in organizations changing their production and operation methods very rapidly. To survive in such a world and remain competitive, organizations have been developing and employing new strategies to improve their output. Technology and skills have been developing since the onset of industrialization. Every new development has continuously spurred more research to improve its application as well as the improving the technology itself (Maslach, Schaufeli, & Leiter, 2001). Amidst all these new ways and emerging technologies, human capital has been the most active and the main component driving the new developments. This has resulted in more pressure being applied on the human resource to increase and improve the quality of their production. As such, employees have been recognized as a core structure in the production. This has lead organizations to look for better ways to ensure that their human capital not only delivers, but also produces the best effort. Therefore, it is critical for organizations to adopt strategies that will allow them to remain competitive in such an environment.

One of the many strategies adopted by companies involves increasing levels of human output. Human capital is one of the major resources that determine an organization’s output. This means, therefore, that any organization has to come up with ways of ensuring that this resource is productive. Employee productivity can be influenced by various factors. These factors include, but are not limited to; job satisfaction, compensation packages, job training and skills, working environment, and interrelationships with their co-workers. All these factors require that the employees have not only the skills required to perform, but also the enthusiasm to carry out their designated tasks. In addition, most production processes require a team effort to result in desirable output. As such, employees are required to have a cordial relationship amongst them to ensure that they work together efficiently.  These relationships can be derailed if the workers lack contentment or are dissatisfied. Therefore, this implies that employees must be satisfied and happy with their work. Recognizing this factor has been the main driving force behind the assumption that happy workers are most productive. This means that the assumption that a happy workforce can generate more production efficiently gains a more solid ground. Generally, organizations ensure that their work places are conducive for their employees in order to increase their productivity. This is accomplished through competitive compensation packages and job training and regulations designed to ensure that workforce interrelations are cordial. Such efforts point towards mechanisms aimed at ensuring that employees are happy (Kompier, 2005).

Despite this presumption, studies have shown mixed results for the relationship between job satisfaction and happiness. However, the assumption that happy employees are productive workers is recognized worldwide as true. Among the researchers that have supported this presumption, there is the recognition that despite mixed results happiness and productivity are closely related. There have been many studies trying to link employee productivity with the levels of satisfaction in their jobs (Podsakoff, MacKeinzie, Lee, & Podsakoff, 2003). As noted, though, problems often arise when measuring happiness since subjective factors can yield different results depending on the individuals carrying out such studies. Examining the numerous studies on happiness and productivity, the general consensus is that happiness can determine productivity. Many scholars and behavioral scientists have noted that at a personal level, individual employees have better output when they are satisfied with their work. Although the general consensus between better output and job satisfaction is lacking, many studies have nevertheless shown some level of relationship.  Diener (2005) attributes the discrepancies to the subjective nature of happiness and job satisfaction. They noted that most of the studies rely on self reported data, which can differ from one employee to the next. Therefore, discrepancies in results do not disprove the “The Happy/Productive Worker Hypothesis”. However, they do generate quite a bit of healthy controversy.

When it comes to maintaining a happy / productive workforce, it is important that managers be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. Only by doing so can they recognize

According to Fisher (2003) happy workers produce better output. Their premise is supported by the fact that organizations today require a workforce that works well as an oiled machine. This can only be possible if the workers are enthusiastic about their tasks. They argue that enthusiasm can only be driven by job satisfaction. Similarly, Hoise, Sevastos & Cooper (2007) were in agreement that personal feeling of individual employees mattered in their decision making process and contributed toward the various judgments that employees make. As such, the complexity of personal feelings along the decision process can influence rational and irrational judgment. Psychologists believe that personal feelings are a part of the decision making process (Bolger & Schilling, 1991). This implies that decision can be influenced by an individual’s well or ill-being. Positive affective traits are related to the welfare of a person, while ill-being fosters the negative affectivity. The decision making process is complex and subject to the feelings of an individual (Hoise, Sevastos, & Cooper, 2007). 

An employee’s well-being leads to positive decisions while employees of ill-being will most definitely make negative decisions. This process is then linked to happiness and job satisfaction. Job satisfaction leads to happiness and emanates from positive decisions. In other words, positive attitudes and attributes lead to better performance. They are also a result of rational decisions which are made by an individual in a well-being state. The contextual complexity of such a process coupled by lack of empirical measures for these factors has probably played a part in the disparities that exist in linking happiness to job satisfaction. Hoise, Sevastos, & Cooper (2007) however, noted in their study that managers who were satisfied with their jobs performed better and were in a state of positive affect. They argued that it was possible to predict performance based on an individual’s well-being.

In addition, they found that poor performance could be linked to the ill-being of an individual.  Wright, Cropanzano, Denney, & Moline (2002) argued that linking well-being and job satisfaction was one of the main reasons why discrepancies arise in the happy/productive employee hypothesis, in that it is impossible to accurately judge the well-being of an employee since individuals are motivated by different forces. By these standards, it is difficult to judge the well-being of different employees on the same platform. This is because intrinsic and motivational forces that drive individuals to act differ from one person to another. As such, what can be satisfactory for one individual may not be as satisfying to the next. Judge, Thorese, Bono, & Patton (2001) however disagreed with this view and noted that a strong relationship exists linking employee satisfaction to their performance. There is the lack of general consensus on the appropriate measure that should determine happiness. Some of the studies apply job satisfaction as a measure of happiness, while others used well-being and happiness as the predictor. These misconceptions about the appropriate predictors have been responsible for the varying results that exist in happy /productive employees’ hypothesis (Taris & Schreurs (2009).

Taris & Schreurs (2009) argued that among the reasons that employees perform poorly include dissatisfaction with their work, exhaustion and lack of the required skills. Such factors can be used as the negative predictors for the happy /productive employees. Wright, Cropanzano, Denney, & Moline (2002) argue that by studying employee related behaviours the level of job satisfaction can be determined. In the process, this can enable studies on happiness/productivity to be evaluated. According to their research, employees related behaviours, such as tardiness, absenteeism and job turnovers can be appropriate predictors of levels of employee happiness with their jobs. This is because they have a substantial impact on work performance, and hence, productivity. Wright, Cropanzano, Denney, & Moline (2002) further argued that by studying such related behaviors over time a clear picture on job satisfaction begins to emerge. Employees’ desire to work for their organization can therefore, in the long run be indicated by their behavior toward their jobs. This is supported by the theories that explain work related behaviors. Although there is no specific theoretical framework that correlates employee job satisfaction to productivity, there exists a strong link between the two concepts. The assumption that two are related, therefore, becomes valid, and the presumption job satisfaction leads to better productivity can be supported by existing literature on job satisfaction versus productivity (Fisher, 2003).

Some of the measures used to help determine and understand the levels of happiness come into play when negative affectivity is put under consideration.  The negative affectivity traits, such as annoyance, distress, boredom, sadness or depression, which can be said to be negative emotions, play an important role in the decision making process. Ultimately, employee performance is largely influenced by the type of decisions made. Negative emotions can lead to irrational decisions, which in turn affect the performance of the given employees and in the process lowers the level of output.  This means that when negative emotions dominate the decision making processes, the result is that the tasks assigned are poorly performed. Considering such arguments, the premise that employees who experience less negative emotions are more productive can be validated. Conversely, positive affectivity traits include enthusiasm, joy, optimism, and attentiveness, in addition to the well-being of an employee. The pleasant emotional forces all indicate some level of happiness. Psychologists believe that individuals who exhibit enthusiasm towards their work perform their tasks better. Similarly, an attentive employee is capable of performing his or her tasks with diligence. This also means that he/she becomes more productive. Optimism, on the other hand, renders an individual capable of undertaking whatever tasks he sets his mind to (Diener, Emmons, Larsen, & Griffins, 1985). Being joyous enables one to do his work with enthusiasm. It follows, therefore, that positive emotional traits can lead to more productivity. Similarly, we can argue that such pleasantries indicate happiness and job satisfaction, leading to productivity.

Wright & Cropanzano (2000) argue that the psychologists have long accepted that the dimensions that indicate an individual’s well-being can be associated with either pleasant or negative emotions. This means that such feelings as depression or sadness versus happiness can indicate the well-being of any given person. Consequently, sadness versus happiness can affect the productivity of an employee. Depressed individuals cannot perform to their maximum potential. This is because depression causes low self-esteem, pessimism and lower motivational levels. On the other hand, happy individuals exhibit the opposite, meaning high self-esteem, optimism and higher levels of motivation. These qualities undoubtedly contribute to better performance (Fisher, 2003). This factor has resulted in organizations and behavioral scientists advocating for the wellness of employees to increase productivity.  Similarly, Wright, Cropanzano, Denney, & Moline (2002) have argued that the psychological wellness of the workforce leads to better performance. In other words, efficient workers must be in good psychological states to be able to deliver. This means that happy employees are effective workers capable of functioning well psychologically and socially. Simply stated, employee interrelations need to be cordial, which requires proper functioning individuals, psychologically as well as socially (Diener, 2005). This means that the positive emotion traits should outweigh the negative emotion traits. The modern dynamic business environment has seen the levels of dysfunctional employees steadily rising. Disfunctional employees are always assumed to be those individuals exhibiting the negative emotional traits. Their pessimism and low levels of self esteem spill over to their interpersonal relations with their co-workers, leading to inefficiencies within the working environment (Hoise, Sevastos, & Cooper, 2007). This affects the general performance of an organization, since teamwork is required in most productive operations.

As such, it is more crucial than ever to study the relationship between job satisfaction and productivity. This can enable organizations to formulate better ways of making their workforce happier in order to raise productivity. Taris (2006) attributed employee burnout to dissatisfaction with their jobs. In the examination of sixteen studies he found strong evidence to support the premise that negative emotions can lead to employee burnout. This in turn lowers productivity as the burned out employees become depressed and dissatisfied with their jobs. In addition, Taris (2006) further argues that burnout contributes to employees’ impaired performances lowering their individual productivity. The study however, found no evidence to collaborate the relationship between performances with personal accomplishment, or low productivity within an organization with employee burnout. However, it noted that burned out employees become depressed, thus lowering their performance. Subjective or the self reported measures are seen as partly responsible for consistency in job satisfaction versus performances studies, simply because subjective measures have inherent risks, such as individuals exaggerating some of the factors. This seems to be that case when dealing with the negative affective traits. Meanwhile, positive affective traits can be subjected to the “halo effect” (Taris, 2006).  However, to reduce such biases, subjective and objective measures can be classified against each other. According to Taris (2006), despite the open biases that can result from self reported measures, this does not imply that the objective measures should be exclusively preferred. He argues that both subjective and objective measure should be used, and their validity as well as reliability tested to yield better results. Taris (2006) further argues that it is only those measures that require high levels of emotional and cognitive processing that may produces substantial biases.

Happy employees are more enthusiastic in their tasks, which makes them more satisfied with their jobs and translates into a more productive workforce.

The study will seek to prove that “Happy Workers are More Productive” and, therefore, prove the “Happy / Productive Worker Hypothesis” to be true.

Since the inception of the “Happy / Productive Worker Hypothesis”, numerous studies have failed to adequately link job satisfaction with productivity. However, most studies agree on some level of correlation between job performances and the well-being of the employees. Adequate proof is still lacking to completely support the hypothesis. There is the general consensus that that happiness can determine productivity, but different studies have produced mixed results. The main reason is that most of the measures used to determine this relationship are subjective. This has resulted in the numerous studies conducted on the subject yielding different or varying results (Judge, Thorese, Bono, & Patton, 2001). It should be noted, though, that when examining the numerous studies in existence on happiness and productivity, most point towards happiness being a contributing factor for productivity.

Performance and job satisfaction

According to Taris & Schreurs (2009) evaluating the relationship between job performance and job satisfaction can provide a means of testing the “happy / productive worker hypothesis. They argue that happy employees strive to have close relations with their colleagues and this fosters job satisfaction. Job satisfaction can also be linked to the desire to have healthy relationships with coworker.  An employee’s perception of his or her job attractiveness is also a factor in job satisfaction.  Studies have shown that some of the consequences of job satisfaction include low levels of absenteeism, tardiness and employee turnover. Work related behavior can, therefore, give insights to the emotional wellness of the employees (Lyubomirsky, 2005).

 

Case Analysis (Australian Manager Study)

(Note to writer).

This is the section where I perform a detailed analysis of the Australian manager study. This section should be at least 6 pages.

Conclusion

The “Happy/Productive Worker Hypothesis” has been studied extensively in the last few decades. However, disparities often arise when measuring happiness due to the subjective nature of some of the measures used. Consequently, most of the studies carried out having unequivocal results. Subjective or the self reported measures are seen as partly responsible for the lack of consistency in job satisfaction versus performance studies. The subjective measures, which are self reported, contain inherent risks, such as individuals inflating some of the factors. This is particularly the case when dealing with the negative affective traits, while positive affective traits can be subjected to the “halo effect”. This has lead to difficulties in proving the “Happy/Productive employee thesis”. However, most of the studies conducted have shown that happy employees are most productive at individual levels, while at organizational levels, it has been difficult to prove the effect of happiness on the overall organizational performance. The “Happy/Productive Worker Hypothesis” works on the premise that happy employees are more productive. Despite this presumption, studies have produced mixed results for this relationship. This has lead to the job satisfaction/productivity idea remaining just a hypothesis. Despite this, the assumption that happy employees are productive workers is recognized worldwide as true.

Numerous studies have attested to this. The only difficulty exists in proving the premise to be true. This has largely been attributed to disparities existing from collectable data due to the subjective nature of most of the measures used in such studies. But despite these shortcomings, researchers have shown adequate proof to support this presumption. They recognize that despite mixed results, employee happiness contribute towards productivity. This, therefore, provides adequate proof that the two concepts are closely related. There have been many studies trying to link employee productivity with the levels of satisfaction in their jobs. As noted, though, problems often arise when measuring happiness, simply because of the subjective nature of most of the self reported measures employed.  Subjectivity leads to the same measures being assigned varying values depending on the individuals providing the value. This has been the main reason why different studies have yielded varying results. It should be noted, though, that when examining the numerous studies on happiness and productivity that there is the general consensus that happiness can determine productivity. Despite the open biases that can result from self reported measures, objective measures should not be exclusively preferred. Both subjective and objective measures can be useful in proving the hypothesis, and their validity as well as reliability can be tested.  Measures that require high levels of emotional and cognitive processing should be avoided, due to their higher likelihood of producing biased results. 

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