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The Impact of the Working Environment on Job Satisfaction: A Case of Kingdee Company

Updated on December 28, 2021
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Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

Abstract

Job satisfaction is an important topic to business organisation and scholars because it increases employee’s productivity, enhance their level of engagement and also reduces employees’ turnover rate in an organisation. This study seeks to evaluate the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction using the case of Kingdee Company. In data collection, the research adopts a qualitative research methodology to obtain data and information on the research question from six interviewees. The interviewees, who are mainly employees of Kingdee Company were drawn from the ICT, HR, Administration, Procurement, marketing and Operations departments. Accordingly, the research has noted that the working schedule at Kingdee is flexible to some extent. It is also found that flexible work schedule and job security are quite crucial in motivating employees to perform more as well as in improving their job satisfaction. Additionally, it is established that interpersonal relationship relays a positive impact on job satisfaction. It is noted that employees at this company are friendly to one another, and are able to relate each other positively. However, it established that the management style at Kingdee has a significant level of problems that need to be tackled. This is the same case with the interior design which requires a significant level of improvements. Recommendations for the same are duly provided.

Key words: flexible working hours, interpersonal relationship, leadership style, interior design, job satisfaction


Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Background to the research

Job satisfaction is an important topic to business organisation and scholars because it increases employee’s productivity, enhance their level of engagement and also reduces employees’ turnover rate in an organisation. Therefore, it is important to study factors in an organisation that influence job satisfaction because it is one of the viable ways through which employee’s innovativeness and an organisation productivity can be enhanced. One of the important factors influencing job satisfaction is the working environment (Maylett & Wride, (2017). According to Raziq and Maulabakhsh (2015), job satisfaction is positively correlated to employee’s productivity. Consequently, employees who are less satisfied with their job tend to have low productivity in their place of work. On the other hand, employees who are satisfied are therefore likely to be engaged with their work and therefore have high level of productivity. Additionally, job satisfaction reduces the turnover rate of employees thus enabling an organisation to save money spent during hiring and orientation of employees. Jain and Kaur (2014) note that in order to promote employee’s productivity, it is important to have a good understanding of the various environmental variables affecting employees job satisfaction. Factors of working environment such as workload stress level, recognition, leadership, interior design among others have been identified as determinant of job satisfaction (Ouyang, Sang & Peng, 2015).

Despite the significant impact of working environment to job satisfaction of employees, little attention has been given to this topic. Working environment in this context refers to the environment in which an employee operates in while handling organisational tasks (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). Lu and Gursoy (2016) note that the working environment of employees is broad and can be grouped into three categories namely the physical working environment, social environment and the mental environment.

Depending on how employees working environment (either physical, social or mental), is designed it is likely to cause positive or negative impact to the employees’ level of satisfaction in their place of work (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). Therefore, the understanding of how working environment impacts employee’s productivity is important because employees represents an important resource in an organisation and they spend most of their time in their working environment (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). Therefore, good understanding of the impact of working environment to employees is essential in enhancing their productivity. Importantly, a good working environment could enhance the level of job satisfaction of the employees which is critical when it comes to employee’s productivity hence enabling an organisation to achieve its goals.

Notably, IT industry in China is one of the rapidly growing industry in terms of profitability and in provision of employment in the country (Xinhua, 2018). This is contributed by increased interest for many IT industry to operate in the country as a result of the availability of cheap and skilled labour (Xinhua, 2018). Despite the rapid growth, it is noted that the industry is still affected by low level of job satisfaction and employees still feel like their jobs are less interesting than expected thus not providing them a chance to explore their potential (Hatton, 2018). Studying the job satisfaction in Chinese IT industry is essential because it is one of the largest providers of employment in the country (Li, 2018). Therefore, studying this industry will provide managers with strategies that can be used to improve the job satisfaction of their employees thus enhancing innovativeness and productivity which is key in the IT industry. Specifically, this research relies on the case of Kingdee International Software Company, which operates in the IT industry in China. The company was established in 1993 and is one of the companies listed in the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong (Bloomberg, 2018). Kidgee has revenue of $353m and has more than 7000 employees thus making it an ideal organisation when studying the impact that working environment has on employees’ job satisfaction (Kingdee, 2018). Its core products include information technology solutions applicable in a variety of business fields. Since its establishment, the company has registered considerable success which can be attributed to its dedicated workforce. Therefore, using the company it will help the research to evaluate how working environment impacts employee job satisfaction.

1.2 Research importance

This research is important both in theoretical and practical terms. Firstly, this research will contribute to literature focusing on the impact of working environment on employee’s satisfaction. Notably, previous studies have delved into the topic of work environment impact on employee job satisfaction. However, there are no studies that have comprehensively combined the impact of flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design on employee job satisfaction. The research will also be conducted in the context of Chinese IT companies, which further enrich the existing literature.

Secondly, this research informs the human resource managers on how the working environment affects employees job satisfaction. It is noted that the employees working environment affects employee’s performance and can increase a company’s competitiveness in the market place (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). The research focuses on the Chinese IT industry which is rapidly growing and also facing competition from other multinational organisations. Therefore, this research is ideal in enhancing Chinese IT industry competitiveness by enhancing employees’ level of job satisfaction through working environment. As noted by Maylett and Wride (2017), having a working environment that promotes employees job satisfaction is key in promoting innovation in the information technology industry. Therefore, this research will provide guidelines on how IT companies can design their working environment for improving job satisfaction, hence improve their productivity. Additionally, the rate of employees’ turnover will be reduced as a result of increased job satisfaction. Consequently, this significantly maximises profit because hiring and orientation cost will be reduced as a result of low turnover rates in organisations.

1.3 Research aim and objectives

This is about an evaluation of the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction: a case of Kingdee Company. Researchers have explored factors influencing employees’ job satisfaction. For example, employees have cited better interior design as a key factor towards increased satisfaction (El-Zeiny, 2012). Further research by Chandrasekar (2011) has established various aspects in an organisation including flexible working hours and job security have great potential in influencing employee’s job satisfaction. Other aspects of work environment including interpersonal relations and leadership styles are found to increasingly influence employee satisfaction (Applebaum et al., 2010). Informed by these past research findings, the following specific objectives will be focused on;

(1) To investigate the impact of flexible working hours and job security on job satisfaction at Kingdee

(2) To explore the impact of interpersonal relationship on job satisfaction at Kingdee

(3) To determine the impact of leadership style on job satisfaction at Kingdee

(4) To evaluate the impact of interior design on job satisfaction at Kingdee

1.4 Structure of the dissertation

In summary, the research focuses evaluating the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction: a case of Kingdee Company. This topic is of interest based on the fact that working environment is one of the factors affecting job satisfaction of employees yet research in the area still remains limited. Therefore, the research will contribute in covering the existing gap in regard to work environment impact on job satisfaction. Importantly, it will enable human resource managers to come up with effective measures of ensuring that the working environment promotes employees’ job satisfaction. In the process of satisfying the above outlined aim and objectives, this research is structured into introduction, literature review, methodology, and findings and discussion and conclusions chapters. The current chapter is the introduction which is followed by the literature review chapter exploring past relative literatures support the research topic. This is followed by the methodology chapter that discusses various methods that guide the research process. Next is the findings and discussion chapter that present the data collected and then discusses it in line with the past relative literatures. Finally, the conclusions chapter summarises the research findings, offer recommendations and research limitations.


Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter of the research will examine existing literature underpinning the significance of working environment on employees’ job satisfaction with a view of unveiling its importance in enhancing employee productivity. To achieve this, the chapter is divided into five section with the first section examining job satisfaction by defining it and highlighting the factors influencing among employees. Further, the second, third, fourth and fifth sections look at the aspect of flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationships, leadership style and interior design respectively and how each aspect impacts job satisfaction. Finally, the chapter end by concluding the key findings of this literature review.

2.2 Job satisfaction

2.2.1 Definition of job satisfaction

According to Bakotic and Babic (2013), job satisfaction entails the level at which employees are fulfilled and motivated by the nature of the work that they indulge. Further, Xiong et al. (2017) postulate a similar thought by describing the satisfaction from someone’s work as the pleasure that someone draws from engaging in the roles in their work places and how much they look forward to engaging in those roles. On the other hand, job satisfaction is the positive emotional response illustrated by employees when at their workplaces or when dealing with issues regarding their jobs (Ahmed et al., 2010). This definition is the best suited for this study as it explains job satisfaction as an emotional aspect which is a function of the workplace hence suggesting that the work environment plays a critical role in influencing it.

2.2.2 Factors influencing job satisfaction

According to Raziq and Maulabakhsh (2015), employees react differently to diverse factors related to their jobs hence; eliciting various antecedents of satisfaction or dissatisfaction with their specific jobs. Notably, one of the most significant factors in employees’ satisfaction with their job is remuneration (Chandrasekar, 2011). Therefore, if employees are not able to achieve their expected remuneration in their current employment, there is a high tendency of becoming dissatisfied with their respective jobs (Bakotic & Babic, 2013). On the other hand, career growth has been a motivation for most employees hence jobs that offer many opportunities for growth are the most fulfilling for employees (Ahmed et al., 2010). Furthermore, empirical evidence according to Xiong et al. (2017) suggests that recognition is a significant motivator to employees’ satisfaction with a specific job. This argument suggests that employees are more comfortable in employment that they are highly recognised as it influences their ego at the same time (Sultan, 2012). However, this dimension of job satisfaction can lead to less productivity when employees feel like they are indispensable in the organisation (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). Further, Bakotic and Babic (2013) notes that some employees are motivated by challenging tasks in their jobs hence jobs that are able to expose them to challenges are considered most satisfying. Therefore, this indicates that people are at different levels as depicted by the theory hence will be motivated by diverse factors. Accordingly, some of the factors influencing employee satisfaction in the workplace include renumeration/pay, opportunities for career growth, recognition, brand image, and a challenging work environment. The findings and observations are true as they also align with Herzberg's motivator-hygiene theory which reiterates that people are satisfied with their job as a result of diverse factors such as achievement, recognition, advancement and growth (Malik & Naeem, 2013).

Similarly, the Job Characteristics Model (JCM) stipulates that job satisfaction happens in a work environment that portrays features that are intrinsically motivating (Reisel et al., 2010). Accordingly, the theory identifies five major job characteristics that could nurture motivation in the workplace including task identity, skill variety, autonomy, task significance and feedback. Therefore, from the perspective of an organisation, it is critical to improve the five basic job dimensions to create a better work environment and hence achieve increased job satisfaction (Behson, 2010).

2.3 Impact of flexible working hours and job security on job satisfaction

2.3.1 The aspect of flexible working hours and job security

According to Ahmad et al. (2013), flexible working hours is an arrangement where employees are allowed to break away from the routine of official working hours and to be able to influence or plan their timelines during which they are able to work. Additionally, flexibility in the working hours also includes the ability of the employees to work overtime with the consideration of some remuneration from their employers for the overtime hours (Troup, 2011). Flexibility in working hours is critical in employees, as empirical evidence depicts that employees are productive at different times of the day hence; allowing them this flexibility encourages them to tap into their productive hours for better productivity (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015).

On the other hand, job security entails the ability of employees to feel the certainty that their job is guaranteed (Parvin & Kabir, 2011). Chandrasekar (2011) noted that job security is an important aspect of employee satisfaction as it relieves the pressure of searching for another job on employees hence enabling them to concentrate their efforts on the current job. Aziri (2011) adds that job security is important to both employees and employers as it brings out the best out of the employees through the assurance that their job is guaranteed. This articulation is sensible since job security arguably enables employees to plan and actualise their career development well as they are able to plan into their future because of the certainty their jobs offer them (Troup, 2011).

2.3.2 How flexible working hours and job security impacts job satisfaction

Flexibility in the working environment and how it affects job satisfaction in employees has attracted several studies in a bid to unravel how to enhance job satisfaction and deal away with issues such as job turnover and low productivity (Ahmad et al., 2013). Allowing employees to have flexible working hours can accrue job satisfaction in a section of employees as well as dissatisfaction in a cross-section of other employees (Sultan, 2012). Accordingly, one of the ways that flexible working hours can be beneficial in creating job satisfaction is if the office is not easily accessible or it takes long and is expensive to travel there especially during the normal working hours (Kelliher & Anderson, 2010). This phenomenon is evident in developing countries characterized by poor infrastructural development, which causes stress on the available public infrastructure during normal working hours making it difficult for employees to travel and work during the set working hours. On the other hand, flexibility in working hours enables employees to plan their time adequately hence achieving the ability to be productive in their personal lives by being able to attend to personal matters (Sultan, 2012). As such, employees are able to plan for their private issues that need to be attended to especially during normal working hours without needing to ask for day offs or applying for leave (Troup, 2011). This enables employees to feel that they are in control of their affairs hence generating more satisfaction from their jobs (Sultan, 2012). Despite the positive effects of flexible working hours, some empirical research has identified negative aspects of allowing flexibility of working hours to employees’ office. According to Kelliher & Anderson (2010), flexibility may give employees excess freedom which may interfere with their job achievement leading to low job satisfaction.

Job security, on the other hand, is argued to be one of the antecedents of job satisfaction in employees (Parvin & Kabir, 2011). As such, employers have used job security as a motivator towards enhancing job satisfaction in employees, however, not every time this goal has been achieved (Aziri, 2011). The ability to predict the future with some degree of certainty is a desirable aspect of any employment to employees (Raziq & Maulabakhsh, 2015). Therefore, the certainty of the future and ability to plan for it motivates employees and elicits job satisfaction in them. Secondly, job security encourages on the job learning and self-development hence enabling employees to understand their jobs better which in turn makes it easy to do them (Esser & Olsen, 2011). This essentially contributes to their overall job satisfaction because they are able to achieve their targets and objectives at work easily. Similarly, job security gives employees peace of mind and relaxation, which enables them to concentrate on their current job, further enhancing job satisfaction. Nevertheless, Bakotic and Babic (2013) argues that high turnover jobs are characterised with transitional employees looking for better opportunities.

However, job security can elicit job dissatisfaction as well. Notably, Chandrasekar (2011) pointed out that through the assurance of their jobs, employees tend to relax and do not pursue their potential as they are under not much pressure. This makes them stagnate in a similar position for a long time, which becomes monotonous for them and eventually dissatisfying with their roles (Artz & Kaya, 2014). Additionally, employers who offer job security are argued to remunerate their employees lower than the ones who do not offer job security hence making secure jobs look non-appealing to employees (Parvin & Kabir, 2011). Despite the few negative aspects, these two dimensions greatly affect job satisfaction, which is evident from the weight of the positive aspects accruing to it.

2.4 Impact of interpersonal relationships on job satisfaction

2.4.1 The aspect of interpersonal relationships

Interpersonal relationships can be defined as the kind of interactions that employees have at the work place (Haq, 2011). On the other hand, interpersonal is argued to help in making the rapport that is created by individuals who share the same interests and objectives especially in a common setting such as a workplace more intimate (Mustapha, 2013). Accordingly, Applebaum et al. (2010) argue that interpersonal relationships are an important aspect of job satisfaction as it helps in maintaining cordial relationships in the workplace hence establishing a good basis of conflict resolution. However, despite the positive effects noted by different scholars regarding interpersonal relationships in the office, some argue it can be a source of job dissatisfaction. As such, Haq (2011) noted that good interpersonal relationship can lead to overdependence by one employee on the work of other to an extent that they are unable to deliver on targets on their own. Similarly, good interdependence at the workplace leads to teamwork, which denies individuals the chance to exploit their own individual capabilities hence making them dissatisfied with their jobs (Guinot et al., 2014). Additionally, to introverts, good interdependence in the workplace could be an impediment to their job satisfaction (Sultan, 2012).

2.4.2 How interpersonal relationships impact job satisfaction

Guinot et al. (2014) posited that interpersonal relationships significantly influence the satisfaction of the employees with their jobs. Similarly, Ahmed et al. (2010) argue through interactions, people are able to make their feelings and perception known to their colleagues hence fostering greater understanding and unity. On the other hand, through interpersonal interactions, people are able to share their privacy hence increasing mutual trust amongst themselves. Similarly, Haq (2011) notes that through good interpersonal relationship, employees are able to avert imminent conflicts as well as stress that emanates from their work routine. Further, Sultan (2012) argues that through such good relationships, employees are able to keep themselves engaged with each other hence develop a sense of responsibility for each other making it easier for them to work as a team. Additionally, with enhanced interpersonal relationships in the workplace, organisational politics and other deconstructive vices are downplayed resulting in a better working environment and cohesiveness (Yang, 2010). Moreover, through enhanced interpersonal relationships, employees are able to easily learn from each other as well as pass tacit knowledge to others hence making it easier for them to meet organisational objectives. As such, this achievement motivates them and makes them satisfied with their jobs (Applebaum et al., 2010). Notably, good interpersonal relationships between employees and their superiors allow for better communications and understanding of the job instructions and feedback exchange hence enabling a job environment that is error free (Sultan, 2012). Moreover, through good interpersonal relationships between managers and their superiors, organisations are able to achieve relational justice whereby the managers observe employee rights and the employees are able to have the right personal opinions of their managers (Haq, 2011). This creates mutual respect between employees and their managers hence fostering job satisfaction (Mustapha, 2013). Arguably, organisations that have great interpersonal relationships amongst employees are deemed as attractive organisations to work for. This is because people will obviously feel comfortable being and working in a friendly environment compared to a harsh environment (Parvin and Kabir, 2011).

Interpersonal relationships are very vital when it comes to emergencies and private matters that may need support from co-workers and their supervisors. Essentially, people are willing to go out of their way and help if they share a good interpersonal relationship with the affected person (Sultan, 2012). When people are treated well, they are likely to respond positively and, in this context, they respond by developing satisfaction and liking for their colleagues and their jobs as well.

However, Yang (2010) noted that there are negative aspects to the virtue of good interpersonal relationships by stating that some employees become over reliant on their colleagues as a result of cordial relationships at work. As such, these employees lose the believe in themselves by drawing the perception that they can only achieve some of their work objectives through their colleagues (Jaramillo et al., 2011). This, therefore, makes them dependent and less effective in tasks that require them to work as individuals. Similarly, employees who relate with irritating co-workers in their office are likely to be affected by their attitude and have adverse effects on their ability to perform other duties (Altaf & Awan, 2011). However, the negative aspects according to this research are not sufficient hence this study upholds the argument that interpersonal relationship is a positive antecedent of job satisfaction.

2.5 Impact of leadership style on job satisfaction

2.5.1 The aspect of leadership style

According to Arzi and Frahbod (2014), leadership style is defined as the method that specific leaders plans and implements policies to achieve goals, provides for the direction that they intend their followers to pursue through setting an example. Essentially, every leader has their unique way of guiding their subordinates into achieving the set organisational goals and objectives (Saleem, 2015). However, empirical evidence ascertains that each of these ways can be classified into six broad categories of leadership style namely; transformational, transactional, servant leadership, autocratic, Leissez-faire and democratic leadership styles (Bushra et al., 2011). According to Sultan (2012), leadership style has a great influence on the wellness of the employees both physically and emotionally as it impacts directly on the way they work and relate with the organisation (Khan et al., 2014). Indeed, the kind of leadership style adopted by an organisation governs the way employees relate to each other, further influencing the way they work. If the leadership style is harsh or authoritarian for instance, employees will not have the freedom to interact or relate with one another adequately (Shamir et al., 2018).

2.5.2 How leadership style impacts job satisfaction

Bushra et al. (2011) point out that the leadership style that an organisation chooses to adopt is critical in the ability to create a favourable environment for its employees at the workplace. On the other hand, Arzi and Frahbod (2014) find the working environment to be vital in enabling employees to develop a positive attitude towards their work and consequently get satisfied with their jobs. Therefore, the management team in organisations ought to adopt the right leadership style that benefits their business model and employee relations (Khan et al., 2014). Further, a leadership style that an organisation adopts stipulates the conflict resolution mechanisms to be adopted when there is a conflict whereby effective styles assert on creating a win-win situation in such occurrences (Saleem, 2015). On the other hand, it is through the leadership style in practice that employee welfare activities such as team building are planned and implemented in an organisation. Sultan (2012) argues that activities that focus on developing the employee's ability to work are viewed as favourable to them hence endear them more to their jobs. According to Voon et al. (2011), the behaviour of the leaders and the perception that the employees have about them is a critical aspect of employees’ job satisfaction. According to a survey conducted by Bushra et al. (2011) between transactional and transformational leadership styles in organisations indicated that transformational leadership style has a high relationship with employee job satisfaction than the transactional leadership style. On the other hand, transactional leaders view employees just as another form of resource hence do not develop them but focus on achieving the organisational goals through rewarding and punishing them (Bushra et al., 2011). Consequently, transformational leaders are able to make their employees satisfied with their jobs whereas transactional leaders end up making the employees feel used and abused.

Leaders are arguably people that get the job done through others who in this context are the employees (Khan et al., 2014). As such, they set out the vision that the organisation is set to achieve and provides direction to the subordinates on how the goal is going to be achieved. This stipulates that the job description of the employees is determined by the kind of leaders the organisation has (Arzi & Frahbod, 2014). Accordingly, the leaders set out the organisational culture through which achievement of the organisational objectives is to be governed (Sultan, 2012). In other words, it is the leaders who determine the trajectory or the work environment the organisation will exhibit (Shamir et al., 2018).

However, some scholars argue that leadership styles are not necessarily impactful on employees’ job satisfaction but the employees’ commitment to their job (Voon et al., 2011). This contradicts the previous argument that leadership styles are critical to the job satisfaction of the organisation’s employees. Nevertheless, Yang (2010) found that workers who work on wages and who are not on permanent and contractual basis are less concerned about the leadership styles that their superiors use and are motivated by the earnings they make on a daily basis. These arguments indicate that employees are motivated to be satisfied with jobs by the factors that they hold dear to them not by the job environment factors. However, Aziri (2011) observed that the antecedents to employees enjoying their jobs are primarily subject to the context and the intrinsic motivators of the specific employees.

2.6 Impact of interior design on job satisfaction

2.6.1 The aspect of interior design

Interior design can be defined as the art and science of understanding the behaviour of individuals and using this understanding to create intriguing functional spaces within buildings that seek to maximize their satisfaction while within the confines of those spaces (Akhtar et al., 2014). Undeniably, the sole goal of interior designers is to create an enjoyable experience within the space that people inhabit (Yang, 2010). In the context of workplaces, interior design has been explored to endear employees to their offices as well as the places they frequent during the execution of their duties. Hongisto et al. (2016) established that good office ambience motivates employees to perform their duties effectively while at the same time positively influencing their behaviour while at work. According to Dul et al. (2011), office interior design can encompass furniture, comfort, privacy, music, natural and artificial lighting, decorations and temperature regulation amongst others. Arguably, companies are spending substantial amounts of money to make their workplaces comfortable for their employees in a bid to motivate them to exert more energy in their jobs (Akhtar et al., 2014).

2.6.2 How interior design impacts job satisfaction

A good interior design is argued to increase the employees’ job satisfaction by improving the ambience of the offices where they work from (Akhtar et al., 2014). As such, the office organisation and design are argued to ease the work of the employees by creating comfort as they attend to their duties. Moreover, Sultan (2012) argues comfort is a desirable characteristic to every human being hence introducing the comfort concept in the workplace makes employees feel cared for by their employer hence motivating them to work harder as well as become loyal. Similarly, by making the offices more comfortable, the employees achieve the feeling of prestige, which elevates their self-esteem hence eliciting satisfaction with their jobs (Yang, 2010). Further, empirical evidence according to Hongisto et al. (2016) indicates that employees who work in offices that have a superior interior design assume a sense of superiority to employees whose offices are poorly designed.

On the other hand, interior design comprises of significant factors such as privacy enhancing designs (El-Zeiny, 2013). As such, through the enhancement of such parameters, employees are not limited in the way they discharge their duties. Similarly, Hongisto et al. (2016) note that some employees view proper interior design as adequate facilitation for them to attend to their duties. As such, employees whose workspaces are poorly designed feel inadequately facilitated to meet their jobs demands. In respect to this, such employees are not enthusiastic about their jobs hence end up losing the satisfaction from the job (Yang, 2010).

However, not all interior design installations cause job satisfaction on the employees. As such, dull or overly bright colours on the office wall may trigger the feeling of stress whenever an employee enters their working areas (Dul et al., 2011). Similarly, some genres of music played in the workplace may be irritating to some employees as it may suit others resulting in dissatisfaction (Kamarulzaman et al., 2011). Therefore, this makes it critical for the employer to find a balance between the interior design installations that are effective in enabling employees to achieve their set objectives. Accordingly, evidence from this review suggests that interior design is positively correlated to the aspect of job satisfaction despite the few arguments that are not favourable. In other words, how the interior design is done determines whether employees will be happy and comfortable in the workplace or not (Hongisto et al., 2016).

From the analysis of the past literatures, this research will be guided by the following conceptual framework

Figure 2-1: Conceptual framework

Source: author

2.7 Conclusion

Accordingly, different scholars have argued diversely as to how flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style, and interior design at the workplace has influenced job satisfaction of employees. Majority of the researchers noted that these factors had a significant impact on the employees’ level of satisfaction with their jobs. However, other scholars did not establish any relationship at all or argued that there was an inverse relationship between these factors and employees job satisfaction. On the other hand, most of these scholars carried out their studies in developed nations where labour laws and infrastructure are elaborate paying less attention to developing nations such as China. Consequently, this study will examine the significance of these aspects on emerging nations such as China, in the context of the IT sector, which is arguably the most vibrant in terms of expansion in the country. This will enable the researcher to capture any points that may have been left out by the other scholars who based their studies on the developed nations’ context hence providing a comprehensive source of information regarding working environment as an antecedent of job satisfaction in employees.


Chapter 3: Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter explores the methods that were used to collect data for this research. Specifically, the chapter is guided by the research onion, which entails a model that illustrates all the stages that must be covered when constituting a research (Scott & Garner, 2013), as shown in the figure 1. Secondly, the researcher explores the research philosophy adopted by the research by outlining the ontological and epistemological positions guiding the study. Further, various research approaches usable in research work are explored, highlighting the selected approach by this study as well as justifying the reasons for the adopted approach. Additionally, the chapter explores the methodological choice between qualitative and quantitative methods. Moreover, the researcher delved into details regarding the strategy that was used for this research as well as explaining the design of the research. The research instrument used for the study is explained followed by a detailed explanation of the process of data collection utilised in the study. Finally, data analysis, research ethics and research limitations for the study are explained and a conclusion drawn regarding the methodology section.

Figure 3-1: The Research Onion.

Source: Saunders (2011)

3.2 Ontological and epistemological positions

According to Saunders et al. (2009), ontology entails the way a researcher views the nature of reality while epistemology can be defined as the view of the researcher regarding the constituents of acceptable knowledge in a certain field of study. This research studies on the subjective perception of employees on working environment. Accordingly, on the ontology perspective, the study adopted the subjectivity as the social phenomenon is created from the responses, hence perceptions of the interviewees in the study. On the other hand, the Epistemological perspective adopted by the researcher is that of feelings researcher as it is concerned with the feelings and attitudes of the interviewees in the study. This helps to explore different opinions of interviewees.

3.3 Research philosophy

According to Rosenberg (2017), a research philosophy entails the critical principles that direct researchers while they are gathering, analysing and interpreting data for a respective study. As such, there are three widely used research strategies in the research field namely; interpretivism, positivism and realism (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). Notably, the type of research philosophy that a researcher chooses to adopt amongst the three mentioned above is dependent on various aspects of the research. According to Ryan (2018), interpretivist research philosophy is selected when the research requires the researcher to make their own interpretations of the research phenomenon and create their own social reality through interactions and is often selected when a researcher wants to conduct a qualitative research. This could be obtained from various sources including their own experiences, memories as well as their expectations in life (Scott & Garner, 2013). On the contrary, researchers will adopt the positivist philosophy when the research requires them to obtain the reality through the testing of the hypothesis against proven theories, which is in line with quantitative pieces of research (Rosenberg, 2017). Moreover, this philosophy adopts the view that reality is independent of the interpretations of the researcher and its mainly dependent on scientific quantitative methods. On the other hand, researchers adopt the realism philosophy when the research phenomenon should be independent from human perception but validated with empirical evidence as a true representation of the typical world (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). As such, when the realist philosophy is adopted, the researcher is keen to look beyond the human perceptions to identify the reality of the specific research problem, which in this case would be working environment impact on employee job satisfaction. Consequently, because the researcher will rely on the perception of the employees of Kingdee Company, the realist approach to the research problem would not be best suited for this study. As such, to evaluate the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction, it requires interacting with managers and employees in Kingdee Company. In this way, it is possible to obtain experience, attitudes and perceptions of employees and managers with a view to get more meaningful and details ideas and insight about the work environment in the company specifically regarding flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design. This kind of research can be achieved through interpretivist philosophy. Nevertheless, positivist research philosophies could not have been used for this research, as the data in this study is not quantifiable and interpretable along proven theories as is required by the philosophy (Best & Kahn, 2016). Secondly, the researcher is interested on human perceptions and feelings of what how flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design correlates with their job satisfaction. This therefore disqualifies the use of realism research philosophy as well in this study as it would not inquire from the human perceptions.

3.4 Research approach

According to Scott and Garner (2013), there are two types of research approaches namely inductive and deductive research approaches that are commonly used by researchers as they constitute their pieces of research. Notably, researcher adopts the inductive approach when they need to make specific extrapolations from broad generalisations. On the other hand, the deductive approach involves the use of general statements to make specific conclusions through the use of already existing theories (Rosenberg, 2017). As such, in deductive thinking, a researcher will use the information collected and test it against already existing theories to reach a conclusion. Besides, both deductive and inductive are best suited for distinct studies whereby qualitative studies requires inductive approach while the quantitative ones require deductive approach (Mayer, 2015). Ideally, as highlighted, this study is the most suited to adopt the inductive approach as it allows the researcher to use the opinions of interviewees to make inferences regarding the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction on employees of Kingdee Company (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). Secondly, the inductive approach is well linked with the interpretivist philosophy that the researcher chose to adopt for this study. As well, the inductive approach is best suited for this study, as it does not involve the testing of the hypothesis (Singh, 2015). Nevertheless, the deductive approach involves developing of a hypothesis and testing it against existing theories, followed by designing research strategy to test the developed hypothesis, which is not the aim of this study, hence could not be used. Additionally, the inductive approach was most befitting as it involved generating a new theory from the collected data as to how job satisfaction in Kingdee is influenced by flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationships, leadership styles and interior designs.

3.5 Qualitative and Quantitative research methods

According to Bengtsson (2016), a researcher can either choose between conducting qualitative and quantitative pieces of research. Accordingly, qualitative pieces of research adopt the exploratory nature hence entails the use of non-numerical data to understand socially occurring phenomenon with the help of the collected data (Lewis, 2015). On the other hand, the quantitative research entails the use of quantifiable data form a study phenomenon with a view of comparing it with existing theories in order to make inferences (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). However, this study adopted a qualitative dimension because it strives at exploring a socially occurring phenomenon in the form of job satisfaction, which is best explored through qualitative research. Similarly, the study is inclined to using unquantifiable data hence qualifying it more as a qualitative study as opposed to being a quantitative study (Scott & Garner, 2013). Moreover, the research methodologies utilised in the study are qualitative in nature as they are the most applicable in trying to establish how working environment would affect the job satisfaction by using Kingdee Company as the case study. Particularly, qualitative methods are able to provide depth and details on the issue being investigated, create openness, has the ability to simulate personal experiences from individuals as well as avoiding prejudgments.

3.6 Research strategy

A research strategy is meant to help a researcher to be able to establish a plan on how to collect the required data (Yin, 2017). As such, various research strategies are at the disposal of the researcher with the most common ones being a survey, ethnography, case study and grounded theory. Notably, a research question for a specific piece of research determines the nature of the research strategy that will be adopted by the researcher (Shamir et al., 2018). However, it is necessary to note that each of these research strategies has their own merits and demerits hence researchers consider them when selecting a research strategy (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). Accordingly, in regard to the nature of this research, the researcher selected the case study research strategy whereby the evaluation of the Kingdee company will be conducted. This decision was informed by the ability of case study method to satisfactorily cover the research objectives by using Kingdee Company. Mayer (2015) indicated that the case study method is very effective when the data collection involves a small sample as it enables the researcher to delve deeper to gain useful insights posited a similar thought. In the context of this study, the objectives are very particular about testing the feeling and opinions of employees’ in terms of how flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design affect their job satisfaction hence making case study method significant. However, other research strategies could not be applied as they failed to meet the requirements of the research question. As such, survey strategy is suitable for use in the quantitative study while ethnography is suitable for studying people as well as cultural practices (Quinlan et al., 2018). On the other hand, grounded theory limits a researcher ability to crate inferences hence was not suitable for this study (Yazan, 2015).

3.7 Research instruments

According to Oun and Bach (2014), research instruments are tools used by researchers in their exercise of collecting data from study subjects to satisfy the research objectives. However, there are various research instruments that a researcher can use in the data collection process. As such, the most common ones being interviews, questionnaires, desk research, focus groups and observation amongst others (Mayer, 2015). As such, with the adoption of the case study research strategy, it is convenient to collect data through interview research instruments. This is because they are convenient to obtain personalised data such as the perception of people, their opinions and feelings. Moreover, interviews are characterised with a higher response rate than most of the other data collection methods hence its desirability (Yazan, 2015). Despite there being several other instruments that the researcher could have used to collect the required data from the Kingdee Company, the suitability of the interview method surpassed that of the others primarily because of its low cost of implementation and the ease of interpretation during data analysis process (Oun & Bach, 2014). Similarly, the use of interview method was deemed satisfactory, as it was able to obtain personal views regarding the aspect of flexible working hours, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design on job satisfaction (Scott & Garner, 2013). Specifically, there are specific and key themes relied on in the study: flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design, which are stipulated in the objectives section of this research. By use of these themes, it is possible for the researcher to ask semi-structured questions and obtain detailed information about the research topic. As such, the semi-structured interviews were considered because of their allowance of the interviewer to diverge to an issue that was not originally on the interview questions according to the interviewees’ answers. Additionally, the semi-structured interviews are also advantageous to researcher because they also enable them to delve deeper into a topic or drop a question according to the willingness or lack of comfort in answering the questions respectively (Mayer, 2015).

3.8 Data collection

To achieve the objectives of this study, the researcher will collect data from the Kingdee Company by interviewing five employees and one manager from various departments within the organisation. Accordingly, the researcher was able to get access to the top management of the company through a friend who works in the company as an assistant human resource (HR) manager. Accordingly, the researcher explained to the top management of Kingdee Company in details what the research entails and the assistance that would be needed from the company. After explaining in details, the HR manager organised for the research team four of the most conveniently available employees across the departments in the organisation for the interviews as well as one of the HR managers. Moreover, the researcher held a brief meeting with the employees to acquaint them with the research objectives as well as the interview requirements. Accordingly, the researcher also made it known to the interviewees that the interviews will be held separately for each of them to enhance objectivity and confidentiality. Further, in the same meeting, the interview venue was agreed on as one of the boardrooms within the company headquarters and that the interviews would be conducted within a period of one week during lunch break. Notably, the six employees were drawn from the ICT, HR, Administration, Procurement, marketing and Operations departments.

According to the researcher, interviewing six interviewees was deemed sufficient for this study because the respondents were selected from across the departments in the organisation hence enabling the data collection process to have higher representation. On the other hand, interviewing employees was deemed proper by the researchers as these are the people who are directly impacted by the immediate work environment in the company.

3.9 Data analysis

According to Bulmer (2017), the best data analysis method to analyse interview data is content analysis. As such, the researcher selected content analysis to analyse the interview responses that were captured from the six interviewees from Kingdee Company. Moreover, Glesne (2015) describes content analysis as the method of data analysis whereby the data collected is coded according to its similarities and differences then the researcher is able to make generalisations from them. Through content analysis, the researcher then interprets the interviewee responses on the basis of theoretical orientation already undertaken in the literature review chapter. The interviewees were given names A, B, C, D, E and F in order to facilitate the analysis of their responses. In this way, the researcher can interpret responses and reveal patterns, actions or behaviours. As such, the researcher coded the information that was collected in the data collection phase of the research and went on to examine it for any trends that could demonstrate any impact of employees working environment on their job satisfaction. Consequently, from the coding and the examination, the researcher was able to draw insights for the information and make conclusions thereof. Additionally, the researcher checked other already concluded pieces of researcher from a similar subject, which was helpful in helping in, identify consistency and credibility problems.

3.10 Research Ethics

This research adhered to the various stipulated research ethics that act as a guideline for researchers. Firstly, the researcher sought permission from the management of Kingdee Company to involve the company as a case study in the research. Secondly, after gaining consent to use the company as a case study, the researcher also sought consent from the interviewees to ensure they participate out of their willingness. However, the researcher made it clear that anyone that did not feel free with continuing with the interview was free to drop at any point in time. Besides, the researcher ensured that all the data collected was used specifically for the intended purpose only in order to maintain the privacy of the participants and the organisation as well. On the other hand, the researcher did not capture personal details of the participant’s in order to avoid compromising their confidentiality. Moreover, the researcher also ensured that all the questions to be asked in the interview were not disconcerting to the emotions of the interviewees. Furthermore, the researcher was keen to reference all external sources of information that was used in this study to avoid infringing the plagiarism and copyrighting laws.

3.11 Conclusion

In this chapter, the constituent research methods applied in the research are to achieve its aims and objectives are explored. As such, the researcher chose the interpretivist philosophy as it was established to be the best in guiding the researcher to obtain inferences from the employees at Kingdee Corporation, which was selected as the case study organisation. Similarly, the researcher selected the inductive research approach and the interview instruments for use in this study. As such, the researcher selected six employees from Kingdee Company as respondents to the interview. Moreover, the data collected were analysed through content analysis method through extrapolating similarities and differences. Further, the research ethics adhered to in the study were illustrated followed by the research limitations experienced such as the researcher bias, which is characterised with the interview method. Based on the research methods selected in this chapter, the chapter four would present the findings and discussion.


Chapter 4: Findings and discussions

4.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the results of the study as obtained from the key sources are presented. These are integrated with the analysis of these findings in line with the research objectives that the author focused on. Data is essentially gained from 6 interviewees of Kingdee Software Company who are believed to present the general picture of the company working environment. Content analysis method is the core approach used for data analysis. The findings are evaluated against earlier literature in order to gauge whether there is a shift or conformity of the subject under discussion.

4.2 Interviewee profile

Table 4- 1 Interviewee profile

Interviewee Gender Department Age A Male Human Resource 42 B Male ICT 40 C Female Marketing 29 D Male Procurement 39 E Male Administration 45 F Female Operations 32

From the list, two interviewees were female while four were male. Again, they were drawn from different departments; ICT, Marketing, Operations, procurement, Human Resource and Administration. The researcher managed to incorporate one manager (interviewee E) to represent the management.

4.3 Job satisfaction at Kingdee Company

The researcher wanted to know whether employees at Kingdee Corporation were satisfied at their workplace. Accordingly, Q1 asks about the level of job satisfaction in Kingdee. Interviewees A, B, C, D and F revealed a favourable level of job satisfaction at their workplace. Some of the reasons provided by interviewees include reasonable working time, clear policies in firing of employees, employee motivation, and a conducive work environment that allow growth and learning. For instance, B and C said the growth and learning opportunities greatly contribute to job satisfaction.

However, interviewee E said “It is in between there, not very good and not very bad..., On the whole, leaders are sensitive to employees, although working overtime is a common problem in this industry. Nonetheless, I have a feeling that the company still need to do more in terms of improving our wages and other welfare”. Notably, this response is also still not very negative as he has rated the satisfaction as “average”.

From the interview results, it can be said that a majority of employees at Kingdee Company are satisfied in their respective jobs. Some of the factors behind this rating is reasonable working time, clear policies in dismissal of employees, and a conducive work environment that allow growth and learning. The favourable satisfaction level may also be influenced by friendly employees, flexible work policies, and sufficient time to rest after work. This has elicited positive emotional response among employees, which is in line with Ahmed et al. (2010) that job satisfaction is when employees illustrate positive emotional response when at their workplaces or when dealing with issues regarding their jobs.

4.4 Impact of flexible working hours and job security on job satisfaction at Kingdee

Q2 asked about the flexibility of working hours and job security in the company. It emerges that the working schedule at Kingdee is flexible enough. Employees are not forced to work overtime against their wishes. Besides, job security as long as one is meeting the expectations, in terms of quality and targets. Specifically, interviewees A, C, D and F agreed that the company had a reasonable working time and that people were assured of their job security. However, interviewee B and E argued that the company was asking employees to work overtime when the job was too much. Interviewee E said, “The hardest part was the requirement to work late nights especially when work was much”. This according to them inconvenienced their schedule.

From the interview results, it is notable that the company has flexible working hours. Considering the complaint for work overtime, there should be consideration of some remuneration for work done overtime. These results are in line with Troup (2011), that flexibility in the working hours also includes the ability of the employees to work overtime with the consideration of some remuneration from their employers for the overtime hours.

Q3 asked about how flexible working hours and job security affects their job satisfaction at Kingdee. It is established that flexible working hours and job security offer convenience for employees to perform other obligations and life responsibility, and as such they are able to improve in their jobs. Also, assurance and certainty in their jobs enable employees to concentrate on their current job knowing that their future is guaranteed, which further enhances job satisfaction.

Specifically, A said that, “Since there is enough time for relaxation after work, I find myself emotionally and physically refreshed when going to work the next day, and knowing that my job is guaranteed it gives me peace of mind and to focus on the job”. B and D hold the similar opinion that they can attend to family responsibility after job, which would not have been possible if there are no flexible working hours, while being certainty about their employment help them to plan their future work. C and E had similar opinions that job security help to actualise plan and enrich their careers through development during their free time in order to enhance their job capabilities.

The interview results establish that the company has flexible work schedule, which enables employees to undertake family responsibility and relax themselves, and hence contribute to their job satisfaction. Besides, job security gives peace of mind in their job and certainty in their plans. In other words, since the company’s demand for its service is fluctuating, the job sometimes becomes overwhelming for the limited number of employees available. The findings are in line with Kelliher and Anderson (2010) that flexible working hours are crucial in any work setting as it allows workers to manage their own times and work when they are most productive. The study also revealed that job security was an important aspect as it gave employees certainty about their future, have a settled mind and hence have reason to show high job satisfaction. This aligns with the observations of Chandrasekar (2011) who found out that job security is an important aspect of employee satisfaction.

Q4 asks recommendations on how flexibility and job security can be enhanced to improve on job satisfaction. Interviewees gave out different ideas. Among these include provision of work from home policy, allowing workers to carry their own devices, use of modern technology in communication, interaction and management and use of social media platforms. According to A, the company can consider hiring a counsellor, organise team building initiatives for workers and ensure that their leave days are fully utilised. E suggests “Video, voice, and collaboration technology can facilitate distribution of offices and even remote work.” B, D and F suggests the management to implement programmes for employees to work remotely rather than having to come to work every day.

It can be noted that there is a lot to be done in Kingdee to ensure flexible working hours and job security. As such, the company need to pay attention in developing programmes to facilitate employees to execute duties regardless of their locations and also embrace new technology in improving work situation in the company.

4.5 Impact of Interpersonal Relationship on Job satisfaction

Q5 required interviewees to explain their interactions with co-workers and the management at Kingdee Company. It is revealed that their interaction with fellow workers were positive. However, the interaction with managers according to some interviewees is not that positive since they seem to be “alienated” from workers on the ground. Specifically, interviewee C, D, E, and F all agreed that the managers could not be easily approached. For instance, E states that “There are good interpersonal relationships in Kingdee that have helped to avert imminent conflicts as well as stress that result from our work routine. People are friendly except few disagreements which are normal in any relationship. The managers are also great, except that they are not very close to employees”. However, interviewee A and B expressed dissatisfaction with interpersonal relation in the company citing some employees are always finding faults in other employee’s work and some managers are described as impatient.

From the results above, it can be largely observed that employees at this company are friendly to one another and are able to relate each other positively and solve any arising conflict. Consequently, this creates a favourable working atmosphere where employees feel that they are valued by others. This is in line with Applebaum et al. (2010) that interpersonal relationships are an important aspect of job satisfaction. These good interrelations have also boosted the capability of individual employees who feel to have someone to confide to whenever faced with work issues. The skills, knowledge and expertise of these workers have also improved because they are able to learn from those who are more experienced or knowledgeable than them. These have also enhanced the morale of these workers who have perceived the company positively and wish to work for it as long as they can.

Q6 asked how their interactions with co-workers and the managers affected their job satisfaction at Kingdee. According to the responses, the effects range from improved expertise and knowledge on work areas, conducive work environment, and enhancing loyalty at the workplace. However, the inaccessibility of managers gives them a hard time in solving some issues and generally makes their work to be a bit hard. Interviewee A stated that; “This interaction has certainly improved my skills and expertise to my advantage. We are able to learn from one another and teamwork is enhanced. This generally makes the job easier”. According to interviewee C, interactions in the company have improved the expertise through the help offered by others, a viewpoint that is reiterated by D and F. According to E, every day is a learning experience thanks to friendly people in the company. Interviewee B claims; “The friendly attitude of the workers has given me a positive attitude about this work. However, the somewhat unavailability of the managers sometimes complicates my work.”.

The interview results make it clear that interpersonal relationship has a positive effect on job satisfaction. It is noted that employees at Kingdee are friendly to one another, and are able to relate with each other positively. These findings go in line with Guinot et al’s (2014) observation that interpersonal relationships significantly influence the satisfaction of the employees with their jobs. However, inaccessibility of managers in the company is major concern, which point out the need for improvement in the company.

Q7 sought suggestions from the interviewees regarding how interpersonal relationship at Kingdee can be improved for enhanced job satisfaction. Various ideas were presented including motivating employees to become good team players, the need to organise team building initiatives, communication programs, outdoor activities, workshops for teams, consideration of diversity in recruitment, and training of the managers to handle employees. As answered by E, “the managers should be trained to handle employees.” According to A, team work should be set up and idea that is echoed by B who thinks that team building initiatives and communication programs in the workplace should be organised. B also adds that the managers need to be available so that they can attend to the employees concern amicably. C stated that “the managers need to encourage employees to share their feelings and perception. The company can also organise workshops for teams to improve their interactions and communications in the workplaces.” D and E gave similar view that people need to be trained on a regular basis and this is for both employees and the managers. Finally, F stated that’ “it is important that Kingdee considers diversity in recruitment. People from different gender, racial and ethnic backgrounds, should be incorporated. It is also important to nurture the culture of respect to one another”.

From the interview results, the management at Kingdee need to consider diversity in recruitment. This entails incorporating people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, race, gender and regions. These, alongside teamwork management, and team building programs will hopefully help in fostering cohesion, communication and enhance interpersonal relationship. According to Jain and Kaur (2014), cultural diversity helps to achieve a well-balanced organisation. Availability of the management is also a key concern that need to be considered for improved productivity. Furthermore, the management will also need to be trained on how to handle employees and make them feel valued. This training should as well be extended to all employees to learn the value of relating with other well. This owes to the fact that some employees were brought in a harsh environment and hence; their reactions could cause friction on other workers.

4.6 Impact of Leadership Style on Job Satisfaction

Q8 asked about the kind of the leadership in the company. It was noted from responses that the managers are inaccessible (that is not easily approachable to employee). Besides, employees are motivated through various ways including rewards and recognition, although the directive and plans of the managers are not questionable. Interviewee A and B give relating views that the managers in Kindgee are professionals and they recognise differences among employee and rewarding is purely on the basis of performance. C and F gave similar viewpoint, as quoted from C that, “…the management is only concerned about meeting company goals. They have little concern about what employees are going through and the directives they give are harsh and unquestionable.” D said “The managers are attentive to workers when they approach them. However, they seem not to be concerned on the day-to-day operations of the workplace while plans in the company are not aligned well with our welfare.” E stated that “Managers in Kingdee encourage their employees to relate well with their colleagues. They are concerned about interpersonal relationship that they always ask employees to check anyone who misbehaves, and rewards given are very motivating.”

From the interview results, the management at Kingdee have little regard for employee welfare. They have alienated themselves from employees while creating an assumption that they are “superior to them”. Generally, the leadership style at Kingdee is mainly focused on achieving results through rewards, and leaders are not much concerned with the employee welfare. It also notable that the gap between the employees and the managers is huge. It therefore clear that Kingdee Company is utilising a transactional form of leadership which according to Arzi and Frahbod (2014), view employees just as another form of resource hence do not develop them but focus on achieving the organisational goals through rewarding and punishing them.

Q9 required employees to explain how the style of leadership in the company affects their job satisfaction. From the responses, the style of leadership either motivated employees or de-motivated them in their respective job levels. Interviewee E said that “I find the future plans and clear understanding of managers in the company inspiring and team building in the company is good and comparable to none.” Interviewee A and D gave similar response, where A said “My morale and loyalty have improved significantly. I feel to be part of the Kingdee family and particularly due to development activities that I get which shows the company take our wishes with seriousness”. However, C disagree with A and D, by expressing dissatisfaction with the way leaders in the company treats them. Specifically, C said that “In a way, their ignorance of employee’s concerns lowers our job satisfaction to some extent”. B said that the directives by managers are harsh and communication in the company is not effective. Besides, F feels that leaders in the company are not concerned about the problems faced by employees. This is in line with the leadership style adopted by the company.

From the interview results, it can be seen that leadership style significantly impact on employee job satisfaction in Kingdee. Although leadership style has certain positive effect on employees through team building, participation in development activities, etc. There is still negative effect. Kingdee leaders are more concerned with the output of the employees while neglecting the problems that they may be facing, thus lowering the morale of employees and hence low job satisfaction. The results reinforce Voon et al. (2011) argument that the behaviour of the leaders and the perception that the employees have about them is a critical aspect of employees’ job satisfaction. It is noted that leaders in Kingdee view employees as mere resources and do not develop them but focus on achieving the organisational goals. As such, some employees are not satisfied with the kind of leadership in the company, which as explained by Arzi and Frahbod (2014), concur with transactional leadership. Nevertheless, various leadership styles impact employee job satisfaction differently, as majority of employees in the company have expressed satisfaction towards the leadership while few are not satisfied. Therefore, future research could study how different leadership impact employee satisfaction. Besides, Aziri (2011) observed that the antecedents to employees enjoying their jobs are primarily subject to the context and the intrinsic motivators of the specific employees. This observation may work to explain why the majority of employees at Kingdee Company seem to be satisfied in their respective jobs despite inadequacies of their leaders.

Q10 asked interviewees to give their recommendations of improving the leadership style of the company for the purpose of enhancing job satisfaction. Various responses were given on this aspect. Among these include enhancing interpersonal relationship between the management and employees, engagement of employees in company decisions, arranging regular communication with the staff to create awareness on expectations and goals, managers being more accessible to workers, and the necessity of the management to understand the plight of these workers. A and B had similar opinion that managers should be friendly and arrange regular meetings to discuss problems facing employees. C and F had similar view that managers need to value employees in the company. According to D, “the managers need to start a rapport with the workers to create a bond with them”. E said “I feel that more engagement of employees is needed in the company decisions so that they feel part of it”.

From the interview results, it can be seen that employees have certain expectations for leadership style improvement in Kingdee. If leaders are more concerned with the output of the employees while neglecting the problems that they may be facing, it lowers morale of employees and hence low job satisfaction. On the other hand, leaders who are more concerned about their employees have the intention to develop them, which motivates the employees into exerting more effort in executing their duties leading to high job satisfaction. Thus, managers in the Kingdee should fully consider employees’ expectations. These results are in line with Sultan (2012) that activities that focus on developing the employee's ability to work are viewed as favourable to them hence endear them more to their jobs.

4.7 The Impact of interior design on job satisfaction

Q11 inquired about the status of the interior design at the company. A majority of interviewees described this as a “not very bad” in terms of structures, room arrangement and privacy. However, among the problems noted include poor design, unappealing decorations and paintings, and lack of confidentiality in the workplace. Interviewee A said that “The design is not comfortable at all. The reason ranges from the colour of the paintings and the heavy presence of CCTV camera all over”. On his part interviewee B expressed that presence of private rooms facilitated personal privacy. Interviewee C noted that cleanliness in the company is neglected, and further expressed concern on general appearance of the workplace which is not appealing, an opinion that is reiterated by D and F. Interviewee E points out that “The rooms are well designed and I feel secure in the workplace thanks to security installations such as CCTV and biometric scanners in the company”.

The results above reveal that the interior design at Kingdee Company has major issues which the firm need to look at. Particularly, while the rooms are well designed, the management has little concern for its appeal since paintings and decorations are old and have not been redone for long. Furthermore, the CCTVs which are located everywhere are scaring employees and making them feel uncomfortable in the workplace. However, E point out that CCTV installations are good for security, and him being in the management, he is tempted to portray the company in the positive side. This is because they feel that their security and autonomy is put at stake. The place is also sometimes unclean, further reinforcing the fact that the management has ignored the interior design aspect of this company. They no longer care about what that will cause on employees and the image they create on their workers.

Q12 asked how the interior design influenced their job satisfaction at Kingdee. It is revealed that when an interior design is bad, it makes employees uncomfortable as well as lowering their morale at work. For instance, interviewee A said: “If we live with the idea of knowing that we are being monitored frequently by someone in the hidden room, we will not have confidence in our works. Our privacy is also being jeopardised especially in privacy rooms”. On his part, interviewee B argues that “A conducive interior design enables my mind to settle down when working”. According to C, the interior design in the company interfere with her work output mainly due to uncleanness. D also expressed dissatisfaction that “it is clear the interior design especially the deco and general setting in the office is very dull and it really disorient our mind when you find some things are not working well in the company”. Finally, E and F had relating views, as quoted from F that “the design in my place of work really affect the mood and at time some stuffs are not working well. Such things as poor lighting in my space and dust just to mention a few are annoying and the noise from outside is just deafening”

From the interview results, interior design in the company significantly influence the work situation in the company. Notably, the situation of interior design is poor characterised by poor painting, noise, poor lighting and lack of privacy. As such, the experience in the company is not good attribute to poor interior design. These findings are in line with Yang (2010) that undeniably, the sole goal of interior designers is to create an enjoyable experience within the space that people inhabit. Also, Hongisto et al. (2016) established that good office ambience motivates employees to perform their duties effectively while at the same time positively influencing their behaviour while at work. However, the interior design of Kingdee is not good enough for facilitating employee satisfaction.

Q13 asked to state how Kingdee’s interior design can be improved for enhanced job satisfaction. Most interviewees claimed a need for repainting and redecorating the rooms and offices to make them more appealing. Specifically, interviewee A and D gave similar views that Kingdee should have a creative and systematic approach to create a space that advances the image and vision of the company. According to B “The office environment needs to be warm, welcoming, dynamic and refreshing”. C noted that “the only problem is cleanness. They need to make sure everywhere including the lavatories are clean” E and F had similar opinion that rooms need to be repainted and CCTV cameras to be viewed as security boost in the company as opposed to being considered intrusive to privacy. F said “I will wish they repainted the interior rooms and create more privacy rooms for all workers. The CCTV cameras should be switched off during day time to enable workers perform their roles more confidently”

From the results above, it is notable that Kingdee need to prioritise the aspect of interior design in the workplace as all employees have raise concern regarding it. Specifically, special attention needs to be on decorations, enhancing privacy and cleanliness and ensuring rooms are sound proof.

4.8 Summary

This chapter has presented the findings of the study in line with the objectives that were stated in chapter one. Accordingly, a majority of employees at Kingdee Company can be said to be satisfied in their respective jobs. Regarding flexibility and job security, it is noted that the working schedule at Kingdee is flexible and friendly. However, it can also be observed that in some instances, the work may become overwhelming to employees when the demand is high, thus stressing them. Pertaining to the effect of interpersonal relationship on job satisfaction, it is clear that interpersonal relationship has a positive effect on job satisfaction. It is noted that employees at this company are friendly to one another, and are able to relate each other positively. Concerning leadership style, it is evident that the management style at Kingdee has significantly impacted employee satisfaction. Lastly, the interior design at Kingdee is not impressive, which negatively impacted job satisfaction in the company. The subsequent chapter presents the conclusion of the findings in line with the stated objectives. This is followed by the recommendations as per the study findings.


Chapter 5: Conclusions

5.1 Introduction

This chapter gives a comprehensive summary of the key findings towards understanding the impact of the working environment on job satisfaction. The chapter further offers recommendations for Kingdee Company in regard to flexible working hours and job security, interpersonal relationship, leadership style and interior design. Furthermore, the chapter highlights the limitations encountered in this research as well as suggestions to guide future research.

5.2 Conclusions

5.2.1 The impact of flexible working hours and job security on job satisfaction at Kingdee

Accordingly, the research has noted that the working schedule at Kingdee is flexible to some extent. Employees are not forced to work overtime against their wishes. It is also found that flexible work schedule and job security are quite crucial in motivating employees to perform more as well as in improving their job satisfaction. However, it can also be observed that in some instances, the work may become overwhelming to employees when the demand is high, thus stressing them. In other words, since the company’s demand for its service is fluctuating, the job sometimes becomes overwhelming for the limited number of employees available. It can be said that the company does not consider recruiting more workers to undertake the extra tasks during such times. Furthermore, a majority of employees also consider their jobs to be secure, an aspect that has increased the satisfaction for many of them.

These findings are nonetheless in congruence with the observations of Troupe (2011) that flexibility in the working hours also includes the ability of the employees to work overtime with the consideration of some remuneration from their employers for the overtime hours. Troupe (2011) continues to add that flexibility in working hours enables employees to plan their time adequately hence achieving the ability to be productive in their personal lives by being able to attend to personal matters. These, therefore, are some of the factors that have contributed to motivation of employees at Kingdee. These findings will therefore stir researchers to evaluate on the psychological and physical impact of subjecting workers on overtime even if they are willing to do so. There is no doubt that many people could be willing to work overtime if they are assured of more money, but what could the impact be in such contexts?

5.2.2 The impact of interpersonal relationship on job satisfaction at Kingdee

It is established that interpersonal relationship relays a positive effect on job satisfaction. It is noted that employees at this company are friendly to one another, and are able to relate each other positively. Accordingly, these good interrelations have boosted the capability of individual employees who feel to have someone to confide to whenever faced with work issues. Further, the skills, knowledge and expertise of these workers have also improved because they are able to learn from those who are more experienced or knowledgeable than them. However, the interaction of the workers with the management is found not to be “good”. Nonetheless, more need to be done to further improve on this aspect. This include motivating employees to become good team players, the need to organise team building initiatives, communication programs, outdoor activities, workshops for teams, consideration of diversity in recruitment, and training of the managers to handle employees. These findings concur with Guinot et al (2014) that interpersonal relationships significantly influence the satisfaction of the employees with their jobs. However, Ahmed et al. (2010) argue that through interactions, people are able to make their feelings and perception known to their colleagues hence fostering greater understanding and unity.

The insights thus stir a need for more studies on the best approach on enhancing interpersonal relationships at workplaces. Furthermore, the findings will help organisations in comprehending the need to improve interpersonal relationships in their workplaces.

5.2.3 The impact of leadership style on job satisfaction at Kingdee

On this regard, the research established that the management style at Kingdee has a significant level of problems that need to be tackled. It has been noted that the managers do not value their employees despite the fact that they are the major resource for this company. Generally, the leadership style at Kingdee is disoriented with no programs to motivate employees and bring them closer with the management. Arguably, leadership style significantly impacts on employee job satisfaction in Kingdee. In this, leaders are more concerned with the output of the employees while neglecting the problems that they may be facing, essentially reducing the morale of employees, subsequently leading to low job satisfaction. However, if the leader is concerned about employees’ welfare, employees in return will exert more effort in executing their duties leading to high job satisfaction. These results are in line with Sultan (2012) that activities that focus on developing the employee's ability to work are viewed as favourable to them hence endear them more to their jobs. Besides, Voon et al. (2011) argued that the behaviour of the leaders and the perception that the employees have about them is a critical aspect of employees’ job satisfaction.

In theory, the findings affirm the need to employ an appropriate leadership style for enhanced performance. More research is needed to find out whether specific leadership styles work in specific contexts. In practical settings, leaders should stop being more concerned with the output of the employees while neglecting the problems that they may be facing, as this reduces the morale of employees, subsequently leading to low job satisfaction.

5.2.4 The impact of interior design on job satisfaction at Kingdee

The study discovered that the interior design at Kingdee Company has major issues which the firm needs to look at. While the rooms are well designed, the management has little concern for its appeal since paintings and decorations are old and have not been redone for long. Furthermore, the CCTVs which are located everywhere are scaring employees and making them feel uncomfortable in the workplace. This is because they feel that their security and autonomy is put at stake. The place is also sometimes unclean, further reinforcing the fact that the management has ignored the interior design aspect of this company. From these responses, there is no doubt that a badly done interior design has a negative implication on employee’s attitude and feelings. On the other hand, if it is appealingly done, then it has a prospect of raising employee’s morale while also making them comfortable at the workplace. These findings align with Yang (2010) that the sole goal of interior designers is to create an enjoyable experience within the space that people inhabit. It is also in line with Hongisto et al. (2016) that good office ambience motivates employees to perform their duties effectively while at the same time positively influencing their behaviour while at work.

The study insights create a need for more research to find out the appropriate approaches in interior design and the need to engage employees on the same. Managers will understand how the interior design in their companies affects performance and work accordingly.

5.3 Limitations and suggestions for future research

Although this research has managed to address the four research objectives, the research has some inherent limitations. Firstly, the research has entirely depended on the method of interviews. This method was susceptible to subjectivity, because information given by the interviewees is based on their state of memory and understanding, as well as their personal opinion and attitudes towards the interview questions (Toloie-Eshlaghy et al., 2011). Besides, some interviewees may have predetermined responses, which may not reflect the true situation in the company, and this reduces reliability of the research findings (Scott & Garner, 2013). Secondly, depending on primary data alone hindered the researcher from knowing the correctness of the answers given by the interviewees (Rosenberg, 2017). As such, the accuracy of the information obtained through interviews only could not be certain for this research without proofing it through secondary data. Therefore, future research should employ other instruments such as questionnaires so as to avoid subjectivity. Notably, combining interview method with questionnaire will help to avoid problems related to subjectivity including biasness as well as out-of-topic answers. Besides, future researchers should rely on both primary and secondary data in their research, as this will result to accuracy and relevance, leading to satisfactory results.

5.4 Recommendations

Despite employees affirming that the work schedule at Kingdee is flexible, more need to be done to improve this aspect. For example, it is possible for Kingdee and many other businesses to allow its employees to work remotely using own devices or those provided by the company. This can also improve output since employees can be able to work even outside official hours. Additionally, the management can make use of the technology including social networks to pass important information to employees and communicate with them even when they are far away.

In further enhancing the culture of interpersonal relationship at Kingdee, the management needs to consider diversity in recruitment. This entails incorporating people from diverse backgrounds, ethnicity, race, gender and regions. These, alongside teamwork management, and team building programs will hopefully help in fostering cohesion, communication and enhancing interpersonal relationship. There should be training for managers and employees to learn the value of relating well with others in the workplace. According to Jain and Kaur (2014), cultural diversity is critical to maintaining an organisation which is well balanced. In this respect, employees need to be taught the significance of respecting the cultural variations and individual differences of other people. Furthermore, employers are required to increase employee’s awareness on diversity through training and equipping them to function in such an atmosphere. This is why regular training and communications programs are essential at Kingdee and other business organisations.

The management at Kingdee requires changing its leadership style to that of transformational leadership approach. The management will also need to be trained on how to handle employees and make them feel valued. They need to be approachable and understand what is happening on the ground. This will not only work towards motivating these employees by also increase the general output for the company. It is also necessary for Kingdee and likeminded businesses to consider engaging employees in their company decisions so that they feel part of it. This will work along way towards motivating them and making them feel appreciated.

Concerning its interior design, Kingdee should understand that their design affects the satisfaction of their employees to a great extent. The company should look for ways of enhancing its image through its interior designs. The office environment needs to be warm, welcoming, dynamic and refreshing. It is assumed that this will go a long way in retaining and attracting not only the staff but also customers. Alongside repainting and ensuring cleanness, the design should seriously consider the requirement for an energising, stimulating workplace which enhances productivity and job satisfaction.

5.5 Summary

Conclusively, while this study has affirmed and confirmed earlier studies on key areas of focus, there are also a significant level of insights and contributions that the current research has made to the scholarly and academic world. For instance, despite the fact a given company can face various problems such as disorientation of the management from their employees; some inherent factors can also contribute towards motivating employees as seen in the case of Kingdee Company.


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