BLACK-WHITE DIFFERENCES IN MANIFEST NEEDS AND SATISFACTIONS IN AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WORK ENVIRONMENT

VERNON TERRY MIKELL, Fordham University

Abstract

From the general body of vocational literature on work behavior, we expect Black workers, in general, to be less satisfied than Whites with their work, have little ego involvement with their jobs, and have a negative concept of work (E. J. Smith, 1975). Previous research studies have concluded that Blacks respond to major vocational decisions according to unsatisfied needs for security rather than self-actualization and that the extrinsic rewards of work are more important than the intrinsic aspects of work (Ash, 1972; Bloom and Barry, 1967; Slocum and Strawser, 1972). Much of this research was conducted prior to the Equal Employment Act of 1972 and focused upon Black workers with low occupational status and work level. Since the enactment of Civil Rights legislation, the gains made by Blacks in entering occupations involving higher skill, status and pay have made their share of jobs in almost every occupation closer to their proportion in the labor force. The purpose of this study was to test the extent of generalization of prior research on current Black work values, by reexamining, within an affirmative action environment, Black-White differences in work values.^ The fundamental research issue addressed by this study was: Are Black work values significantly different from the values for Whites? Underlying this central issue were four subproblems. Are there significant intergroup differences in satisfaction with work? Do Blacks have a work satisfaction structure different from Whites? Are there significant differences in Black-White manifest work needs? What are the relationships of needs with satisfaction for both groups? In addressing these subproblems, relative measures of work satisfaction, manifest work needs, and the associations of satisfaction with needs were established for matched samples of Black and White managers.^ In this study, contrary to the earlier findings of Ash (1972) and others (Bloom et al., 1967; Slocum et al., 1972), differences in work values were not demonstrated. In both samples, preferences for work-related outcomes were remarkably similar. Specifically, Black workers were no less satisfied than Whites. Analyses on the structure of work satisfactions showed the structures to be similar, but different in some particulars. The groups were similar in the study's findings that there were no significant intergroup differences in the relationships of the intrinsic and extrinsic work factors with overall satisfaction. Moreover, there were no significant intergroup differences in the relationships of needs with satisfaction. The groups were different in that Blacks, simultaneous with a greater need for achievement, were less satisfied with ability utilization, achievement, advancement, independence, responsibility, and recognition. Moreover, the White managers demonstrated a significantly greater need for affiliation.^ Overall, the study's findings are consistent with earlier studies which concluded that work satisfaction is associated with job status and level (Armstrong, 1971; Centers & Bugental, 1966; Malinovsky and Berry, 1965; Porter, 1964; Saleh and Hyde, 1969) and employee expectancy attitudes (Lawler, 1968). Furthermore, this study's findings parallel earlier studies which found that social minorities tend to identify with the values and attitudes of the majority (Asher and Allen, 1969; Frazier, 1957).^ While the principal thrust of this study was to determine Black-White differences in work satisfaction and the needs underlying these differences, there were significant ancillary findings on other intergroup differences. Females were generally less satisfied than males with their jobs and Blacks and white females, as a group, were less satisfied than white males. Implications for employers with affirmative action programs and future researchers are apparent. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Ethnic and Racial Studies

Recommended Citation

VERNON TERRY MIKELL, "BLACK-WHITE DIFFERENCES IN MANIFEST NEEDS AND SATISFACTIONS IN AN AFFIRMATIVE ACTION WORK ENVIRONMENT" (January 1, 1981). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8119780.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8119780

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