Green Tape and Job Satisfaction: Can Organizational Rules Make Employees Happy?

Source: Leisha DeHart-Davis, Randall S. Davis and Zachary Mohr, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, Volume 25 Issue 3, July 2015
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From the abstract:
Organizational rules are the backdrop of public employee life, with research suggesting both beneficial and harmful effects to employee morale. In contrast to the traditional approach of comparing employee morale in workplaces with higher versus lower levels of rules, this study examines the relationship between specific attributes of organizational rules and job satisfaction. A combination of three organizational rule attributes is expected to increase job satisfaction: consistent rule application (which conveys procedural fairness), optimal rule control (which suggests elements of self-determination), and rule formalization (pertaining to the written quality of organizational rules). Applying structural equation modeling to survey data collected from the employees of two local government organizations (n = 1,655), we observe a significant and positive relationship between consistent rule application, optimal control, and job satisfaction, but no direct relationship between rule formalization and job satisfaction. These results suggest that job satisfaction depends more on how rules are designed and implemented rather than the extent of rules in organizational structure. Future studies will need to account for specific attributes of organizational rules to fully understand the effects on public employee morale.