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Do Preferences for Job Attributes Provide Evidence of 'Hierarchy of Needs'

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  • Cem Baslevent

    (Department of Economics, Istanbul Bilgi University)

  • Hasan Kirmanoğlu

    (Department of Economics, Istanbul Bilgi University)

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    Abstract

    We examine whether employees’ preferences for various job attributes are associated with their individual characteristics in ways that are in line with ‘hierarchy of needs’ theories. Using data from the fifth round of the European Social Survey, we observe the influence of socio-demographic and dispositional characteristics as well as socialization experiences on opinions regarding the importance of five different desirable job attributes. An item-by-item examination of the attributes (including ‘security’ and ‘offering a high income’) reveals that dispositional factors (measured using the battery of items in Schwartz’s theory of basic personal values) influence job attitudes in expected ways, but employees also tend to place more importance on attributes that concern them more directly. For example, while female employees care more about being able to combine work and family responsibilities, younger workers value training opportunities more highly than older ones. Regarding socialization experiences, we find that job security is more important for those who have been unemployed in the past. We interpret our findings to mean that hierarchy of needs theories are valid in the context of job attitudes in the sense that the ranking of preferred job attributes is quite predictable once individual characteristics are accounted for.

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    File URL: http://repeck.bilgi.edu.tr/RePEc/msc/wpaper/mscenter_2012_01_Baslevent__Kirmanoglu_-_Do_Preferences_for_Job_Attributes_Provide_Evidence_of_Hierarchy.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Murat Sertel Center for Advanced Economic Studies, Istanbul Bilgi University in its series Working Papers with number 201201.

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    Length: 14 pages
    Date of creation: Jan 2012
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:msc:wpaper:201201

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    Web page: http://mscenter.bilgi.edu.tr
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    Related research

    Keywords: preferred job attributes; hierarchy of needs; basic personal values; European Social Survey;

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    1. Michael Sattinger, 1993. "Statistical Discrimination with Employment Criteria," Discussion Papers 93-01, University at Albany, SUNY, Department of Economics.
    2. Duncan Gallie & Helen Russell, 2009. "Work-Family Conflict and Working Conditions in Western Europe," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 93(3), pages 445-467, September.
    3. Alex Bryson & Rafael Gomez, 2003. "Why have workers stopped joining unions?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20022, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Michael Hagerty, 1999. "Testing Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs: National Quality-of-Life Across Time," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 46(3), pages 249-271, March.
    5. Heckman, James J & Borjas, George J, 1980. "Does Unemployment Cause Future Unemployment? Definitions, Questions and Answers from a Continuous Time Model of Heterogeneity and State Dependence," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 47(187), pages 247-83, August.
    6. H. Whitt Kilburn, 2009. "Personal Values and Public Opinion," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 90(4), pages 868-885.
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