Exploring different forms of job (dis)satisfaction and their relationship with well‐being, motivation and performance

Carrie Kovacs, Barbara Stiglbauer, Bernad Batinic, Timo Gnambs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Job satisfaction is often treated as a one-dimensional construct. In contrast, Bruggemann () postulated six distinct forms of (dis)satisfaction: four types of satisfaction (progressive, stabilised, resigned, pseudo) and two types of dissatisfaction (constructive, fixated). Despite her theory's practical relevance, few researchers have explored its assumptions or applications. The current study aimed to characterise a German-speaking employee sample (n = 892) according to Bruggemann's theory using mixture modelling. We investigated stability of the (dis)satisfaction forms over a five-month period, as well as their relationship with well-being, motivation and (self-reported) performance. We found latent clusters corresponding to most Bruggemann types, though no distinction between progressive and stabilised satisfaction was possible. While cluster membership varied over time, some clusters (e.g. resigned satisfaction) were more stable than others (e.g. constructive dissatisfaction). Overall satisfaction level explained 25–51 per cent variance in well-being and motivation, and 13–16 per cent variance in performance. Including forms of satisfaction improved cross-sectional prediction by 2–6 per cent explained variance. Results suggest that unfavourable consequences of job dissatisfaction may be limited to fixated—not constructive—dissatisfaction, though no consistent longitudinal effects emerged. We argue that exploring qualitative differences in job satisfaction promotes a more nuanced and potentially useful understanding of the relationship between satisfaction and work outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)523-556
Number of pages34
JournalApplied Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


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