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Correctional Officer Job Satisfaction: A Theoretical Needs Analysis

27 July 2001


Correctional officer job satisfaction was identified as an important element involved in the safe and effective running of prison organizations. The correctional officer job satisfaction literature was reviewed and major categories of variables were identified. Three general job satisfaction models, including Locke's Needs Satisfaction Model (1976), Herzberg, Mausner, and Synderman's Two Factor Model of Job Satisfaction (1959), and Dawis and Lofquist's Person-Environment Fit Model (1984), were reviewed. Areas of crossover agreement between the correctional officer job satisfaction literature and the three general models of job satisfaction were noted. Variables considered by both sources to be important elements in the determination of correctional officer job satisfaction were: achievement and recognition, advancement and promotional opportunities, opportunities for growth, working conditions, compensation, supportive workplace, work content, organizational policy and administration, status and prestige, responsibility and authority, supervision, and job security. Six criteria were chosen to evaluate whether or not these variables were amenable to intervention in prisons. The criteria were developed in part with materials from the State of Oregon Department of Corrections. The six criteria were: fit with mission statement, fit with state prison mandates, fit with union agreements, time sensitivity, cost prohibitiveness, and support by the professional literature. A criterion analysis was performed and five variables were identified as most amenable to intervention. These variables were: supportive workplace, supervision, organizational policy and administration, work content, and job security. Specific intervention strategies for correctional mangers and administrators for these five variables were discussed.


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