Kim, Hong Goo
Job satisfaction among Korean academics: a critical investigation.
PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.
This study aimed to go beyond a simple descriptive analysis and attempt a critical investigation of phenomena related to job satisfaction. Specifically, the purpose of study was to identify the conditions under which Korean academics work; what aspects they valued in relation to their jobs; how satisfied they were with their jobs; the challenges they faced; how these challenges influenced their job satisfaction; and whether or not there were differences in job satisfaction between particular groups based on demographic and institutional factors.
In this study, a qualitative interview and a questionnaire survey were deployed as data collection methods. Twenty-five academics from ten universities in Korea participated in the interview. In addition, 700 questionnaires were sent to academics from fourteen universities and 519 of which were returned. After some of these were deemed unusable, 498 questionnaires were used for the study.
The academics involved in this study exhibited different levels of satisfaction with different job aspects. Generally, they reported being satisfied with their work, academic freedom, recognition, development, interpersonal relationships, and job security. However, they were dissatisfied with their pay and with policy and administration, and were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with their working conditions. Overall, they were slightly satisfied with their jobs. Korean academics attached more value to intrinsic aspects, e. g. work, academic freedom, development, and recognition, than to extrinsic aspects, e.g. workload, pay and administration. This was corroborated by the finding that intrinsic aspects were more likely to have a greater impact on overall job satisfaction than extrinsic aspects.
This thesis showed differences in job satisfaction between groups defined on the basis of age, gender, academic discipline, control type, and university location. Older academics exhibited higher job satisfaction than did their younger colleagues. The reason put forth is that older academics enjoy advantageous circumstances in areas such as pay, professional development, and promotions. Female academics reported lower satisfaction with most job aspects and lower overall job satisfaction than did their male colleagues. This gender gap was attributed to the male-dominated culture in academe, heavy family responsibilities, and the lack of support structure. Academic discipline influenced job satisfaction to some extent, which was thought to be attributable to differences in working conditions and culture between academic disciplines. Academics at private universities reported higher pay satisfaction than their counterparts at public universities, whereas academics at public universities reported higher satisfaction with university administration than did their counterparts at private universities. Academics at universities in Seoul reported higher satisfaction with most job aspects, as well as higher overall job satisfaction, than those at universities in provincial areas. This was likely because academics at universities in Seoul enjoyed better conditions than those at universities in provincial areas.
Thesis (University of Nottingham only)
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