This study aims to present an overview of research methodologies used in research on employee job satisfaction in the IT industry. The primary objective of the review is to outline the key methodologies used for data collection and analysis of the IT worker’s job satisfaction. The search was limited to recent scholarly articles published in peer-reviewed journals within the last five years. However, due to the lack of recent studies conducted in New Zealand, the search included all destinations, which allowed creating a global picture and determining any patterns existing in different countries.
The results suggest that quantitative methodology was the most popular option in the chosen field of research. This can be justified by the need to collect large amounts of data to view general trends and tendencies and to establish correlations between job satisfaction and other variables. Questionnaires were the primary method of data collection, whereas descriptive statistics and regression analyses were widely used to analyze and interpret the results.
The present review also outlines the key findings and discusses the methodologies used by researchers. The conclusion discusses the possible implications of this review for further research. Specifically, we stress the possible benefits of qualitative methodologies in providing a new perspective on the concept of job satisfaction.
The information technology (IT) sector is a fast-growing industry that is emerged in the context of global technological development. IT has largely contributed to the growth of global business opportunities and is used in the vast majority of contemporary businesses in developed countries. According to Diala and Nemani (2011), the success of a company today is determined by its capacity to balance business, organizational, and information systems strategies.
Therefore, IT workers become crucial to firm performance, as their work has a direct influence on the use of IT within the company. However, research indicates that the retention of highly skilled IT professionals has become one of the most significant issues in the IT sector (Diala & Nemani, 2011). This causes both companies and business researchers to find new ways of interacting with the IT workforce.
Employee satisfaction is widely considered to be among the key factors influencing motivation, productivity, retention, and other determinants of workforce success. Moreover, job satisfaction is also important to employees, as it influences their attitudes to work, health, and work-life balance (Diala & Nemani, 2011). Therefore, research on job satisfaction usually seeks to determine the organizational factors affecting employee satisfaction, as well as the benefits associated with high job satisfaction.
Nevertheless, despite the variety of studies researching job satisfaction in the IT sector, no recent studies are attempting to outline the best research practices and methodologies to approach the topic. Determining the most useful approaches to research can help scholars to collect and analyze information more effectively, thus increasing the value and usefulness of the research findings produced. Therefore, the present review aims to revise and outline methodologies used by researchers in 10 different articles addressing employee satisfaction of IT workers.
The articles considered in this research address job satisfaction in the context of other organizational variables, such as human resources practices, leadership, and more. Furthermore, the articles include research from different areas of the world, which allows reviewing approaches to research in a variety of countries. Therefore, the report will serve to provide a comprehensive summary of popular methods used in the research of IT workers’ job satisfaction both in developed and in developing countries.
Since the study relies primarily on secondary research, the process of data collection was the key to the successful review of methodologies. Initially, a search for peer-reviewed journal articles was conducted in Google scholar and University library using the terms “employee satisfaction” and “IT sector”. Then, a similar search was performed for “job satisfaction” and “IT companies”. The results of all four searches were filtered by publication date, with the oldest sources dating 2011.
Using sources published in the last few years allows reviewing the current approaches to research. It would be useful to review longitudinal changes in research methodologies; however, for this report, only those methodologies that are currently used by researchers were considered. After the initial sample of about 20 research articles was collected, the articles were then filtered by their choice of topic and quality. For instance, articles that did not address job satisfaction as one of the key variables or had obvious logical fallacies were excluded from research. As a result, ten articles were chosen for the review.
The data analysis was performed on the chosen articles by completing the data collection and recording sheet, which proved useful in reviewing the key characteristics, such as sample size, data collection method, main findings, and more. The results were then summarized using tables, which can be found in the results section of the review. Next, overall trends and patterns were established in terms of article characteristics and methodological approaches used. The results are presented in the following section using both text and tables for clarity.
Each of the ten articles was analyzed using a descriptive datasheet for variables such as the number of authors, country of affiliation, and methodology used. The mean number of authors was two, as half of all studies considered in the review were conducted by two authors. Three of the studies were carried out by three authors; there were no studies with over four authors in the sample.
|Number of authors||No. of studies|
The main country of the author’s affiliation was India. Five of the articles reviewed were written by Indian authors. For instance, Thakur (2014) studied the relationship between employee engagement and job satisfaction in the Indian IT sector. As India is a developing economy, the IT sector in this country is still relatively new in comparison to the United States, Australia, and other developed countries.
This explains the significant interest in business research related to the IT sector. Since HR practices can be heavily influenced by cultural factors, it is rational for Indian researchers to seek to develop a thorough understanding of the IT workforce in their country. Three of the studies had authors affiliated with the United States; however, only one of such studies considered the job satisfaction of IT workers working in the U.S. (Diala & Nemani, 2011). Similarly, this can be justified by the amount of previous research based in the IT sector of the U.S., as well as by the current state of the development of HR research.
|Country of affiliation||No. of studies|
In terms of study design, nine of the articles studied used quantitative research as their primary methodology, which was also supported by secondary research in the form of a literature review. For example, Ali, Bin, Piang, and Ali (2016) provide an extensive literature review of the concepts of job satisfaction and employee performance to establish a firm theoretical framework for their study of the correlation between the variables.
They used convenience sampling to select 200 employees working in the IT Park in Peshawar and chose a questionnaire as the primary instrument of data collection. Similarly, the vast majority of other studies used a similar approach to studying the relationship between job satisfaction and other variables in the context of the IT industry.
|Study design||No. of studies|
As explained above, this might be caused by the need to generalize the findings to other populations of workers in the IT sector and thus, the need to use large sample sizes that can be easily analyzed using statistical tools. However, the lack of reliable qualitative studies might be a significant limitation of the recent research on employee job satisfaction in the IT sector. Qualitative research methodology might offer a new perspective on the issues studied.
For example, in some of the studies, the authors’ failure to review other factors contributing to the relationship between the variables was considered to be a significant limitation (Ali et al., 2016; Kowal & Roztocki, 2015b; Tong, Tak, & Wong, 2013). Qualitative research techniques, such as the use of the grounded theory approach, could offer a deeper insight into the factors affecting job satisfaction and related workforce outcomes.
Only one study considered in the review used a mixed methodology approach to study job satisfaction. Padney and Sharma (2015) used mixed methodology combining interviews with HR managers and questionnaires filled out by IT professionals in their data collection process. They applied descriptive statistics and correlation analysis to study the data obtained from the questionnaires, whereas information from the interviews was used to inform the choice of variables affecting employees’ work attitudes (Padney & Sharma, 2015). The approach used by the researchers allowed for more insight into the factors affecting employee satisfaction, which is a significant benefit of the study.
As seen in Table 4, most researchers used non-probability sampling. Although non-probability sampling affects the validity and generalization of the results, the use of such a method in most cases is justified by the fact that the authors targeted a specific population. For instance, Diala and Nemani (2011) only considered the members of the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP) residing in the metro area of Washington, D.C. in their research.
|Sampling method||No. of studies|
Two of the studies used probability samples in their research. First of all, Devi and Rani (2016) used simple random sampling to study the job satisfaction of Indian women working in the IT sector. The researchers managed to obtain a large sample size of over 400 participants, which means that the findings could be generalized to other populations of women working in the Indian IT sector. Secondly, Verma, Malhotra, and Bedi (2012) used random sampling to study the job satisfaction of full-time employees working in selected IT companies.
Table 5 presents a summary of sample sizes observed in the chosen articles. Most of the studies used a sample size between 200 and 399, which usually allows for sufficient coverage of the selected topic, although it might not permit to generalize the findings to other populations. Only one of the studies had a large sample size of over 5000 IT professionals; however, the response rate in the study was particularly low, meaning that it did not yield a significantly higher number of results than other studies (Tong et al., 2015). Overall, the number of responses collected by the researchers was similar in most of the studies.
|Sample size||No. of studies|
Overall, the review offered a useful insight into the characteristics of studies and research methods used by scholars all over the world to study the concept of job satisfaction in the context of the IT sector. For instance, the review showed that the majority of researchers use quantitative research techniques, supported by a literature review. While this is useful in gathering large amounts of data and making generalizations to other populations, the lack of significant qualitative research on the topic can be a major limitation, as the qualitative approach might help to study concepts that remain unaddressed in the current research.
Moreover, the report showed that the majority of studies use non-probability sampling as opposed to random sampling techniques. Although this might be more convenient, especially if the focus is on a specific population or company, non-probability sampling limits the possibility of generalizing the findings, thus becoming a major limitation of the study. Other limitations found in the research articles reviewed include a weak theoretical foundation (Kanwar, Singh, & Kodwani, 2012), limited sample size (Thakur, 2014), and failure to consider other factors contributing to the relationship between the variables (Kowal & Roztocki, 2015a).
The present review aimed to outline and analyze the research methodologies used by scholars to study employee satisfaction in the IT sector. It has significant implications for further research, as it explains the possible gaps in the approaches that are currently used to address the issue. To achieve a deeper understanding of the concept of job satisfaction in the IT workforce, it would be useful to increase the variety of methodologies, sampling methods, and instruments used in scholarly research on the topic.
Ali, A., Bin, L. Z., Piang, H. J., & Ali, Z. (2016). The impact of motivation on the employee performance and job satisfaction in IT Park (Software House) sector of Peshawar, Pakistan. International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, 6(9), 297-310.
Diala, I., & Nemani, R. (2011). Job satisfaction: Key factors influencing information technology (IT) professionals in Washington DC. International Journal of Computer Technology and Applications, 2(4), 829-830.
Devi, K. R., & Rani, S. S. (2016). The impact of organizational role stress and work family conflict: Diagnosing sources of difficulty at work place and job satisfaction among women in IT Sector, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 219(1), 214-220.
Kanwar, Y. P. S., Singh, A. K., & Kodwani, A. D. (2012). A study of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and turnover intent among the IT and ITES sector employees. Vision, 16(1), 27-35.
Kowal, J., & Roztocki, N. (2015a). Do organizational ethics improve IT job satisfaction in the Visegrád Group countries? Insights from Poland. Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 18(2), 127-145.
Kowal, J., & Roztocki, N. (2015b). Job satisfaction of IT professionals in Poland: does business competence matter? Journal of Business Economics and Management, 16(5), 995-1012.
Padney, S., & Sharma, V. (2015). A preliminary study in determining job satisfaction of IT professionals in Delhi/NCR. Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research, 3(6), 476-483.
Thakur, P. (2014). A research paper on the effect of employee engagement on job satisfaction in IT sector. Journal of Business Management & Social Sciences Research, 3(5), 31-30.
Tong, C., Tak, W. I. W., & Wong, A. (2015). The Impact of knowledge sharing on the relationship between organizational culture and Job satisfaction: The perception of information communication and technology (ICT) practitioners in Hong Kong. International Journal of Human Resource Studies, 5(1), 19-65.
Verma, A., Malhotra, M., & Bedi, M. (2012). Exploring the relationship between HR practices and job satisfaction across selected IT companies. IUP Journal of Organizational Behavior, 11(1), 7-23.
In the chosen article, Bowen (2009) examines the role of document analysis in qualitative research and offers a useful review of the method based on previous research experience. The article serves as a useful introduction to the use of document analysis and would be beneficial to scholars considering the use of this method.
The author provides a solid definition of document analysis, stating that the term refers to the “systematic procedure for reviewing or evaluating documents – both printed and electronic (computer based and Internet-transmitted) material” (Bowen, 2009, p. 27). The author states that documents used in the analysis can range from advertisements to application forms (Bowen, 2009). The article also outlines the rationale for using document analysis in qualitative research.
For instance, Bowen (2009) explains that document analysis is beneficial for qualitative case studies, as it allows to enhance the scope of analysis of the event or phenomenon. The author also lists the benefits and limitations of document analysis in qualitative research, which is especially useful for scholars who are new to the method. In the final sections of the paper, Bowen (2009) reviews the use of document analysis in grounded theory research that he performed, which serves as an important example of applying this research method in practice.
The use of document analysis in management research is relatively limited; however, the benefits of the method shown by Bowen (2009) could be translated into management studies. For instance, document analysis can serve as a tool in the factual evaluation of the effectiveness of management practices, if researchers use it to analyse business reports. Analysis of certain documents could equip researchers with valuable longitudinal data to observe the impact of certain management changes or policies over time. Overall, document analysis could be efficiently applied in management research and would provide important benefits to researchers by enhancing the depth of the study.
Bowen, G. A. (2009). Document analysis as a qualitative research method. Qualitative Research Journal, 9(2), 27-40.