Job satisfaction, Six Sigma improvement work and the interconnection between the two

Detta är en avhandling från Luleå : Luleå tekniska universitet

Sammanfattning: There are many reasons for organizations to improve job satisfaction; it creates happier employees, it lowers costs for hiring and training new personnel, it lowers costs for sickness absence and also creates more motivated and productive employees. To stay competitive, many organizations take on a systematic methodology to improve and sustain product quality, as well as to improve productivity. However, the wellbeing of the employees is only vaguely described in many of these improvement methodologies and their effect on job satisfaction can therefore be questioned. One such methodology for improvement work is Six Sigma. The purpose of this thesis is to generate knowledge of how job satisfaction can be attained, with a focus on the interconnection between job satisfaction and Six Sigma. The studies performed have been limited to Swedish organizations. To achieve this purpose, three studies, using interviews, workshops, documents and a post survey, were performed. The first study included two organizations that have been awarded as successful, in particular, in areas concerning employee satisfaction. It was discovered that these companies, although differing in size and business field, had used similar methodologies to reach a high level of job satisfaction. For example, both had a coaching, visible and highly motivated leader, they worked with self- governing work groups with delegated responsibility and authority, they focused on relation-building activities and an infrastructure for communication. Employees at these two organizations felt they had a meaningful job. The second and third studies were performed at organizations that were using the improvement methodology Six Sigma. The second study describes how three large Swedish organizations have worked to implement Six Sigma. This study found two main approaches for the implementation: one seemingly fast ‘top-down' approach and one voluntary, ‘middle-out' approach. Conclusions from the study were that a combination of the two approaches is desirable - that is, a ‘top-down' implementation with committed leaders at all levels, who are sensitive to the individual needs of units, departments and individuals. Also, it was shown that many of the Six Sigma success factors found in the literature were valid in a Swedish business environment too. In the third study, which explored how Six Sigma could affect the job satisfaction among employees, it was found that participants of Six Sigma were either neutral or positively affected, while non- participants did not feel affected. Black Belts were generally more positively affected than Green Belts.