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Needs Hierarcliy and Herzberg’s iViotivation

Correctional Officer
Turnover: Of Masiow’s
Needs Hierarcliy and
Herzberg’s iViotivation
By Ikwukananne I. Udechukwu, DBA
This article discusses correctional officer turnover in terms of traditional tiieories
of motivation. It does so by calling on the content theories of Masiow’s hierarchy of
needs and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory. These theories are applied to the
^Nork situation of correctionai officers in one southern U.S. state’s correctionai
Undoubtedly, many organizations know that employee turnover negatively
impacts productivity. Mobley^ described employee turnover as a potentially
costly phenomenon facing many organizations. The study of employee
turnover can be conceptually understood by assessing work attitudes such as job satisfaction. Several studies have found Job satisfaction to be related to employee
turnover, particularly voluntary turnover.^ Other work attitudes that have also been
shown to impact turnover include organizational commitment, intentions to leave,
and perceived alternative employment.’
Lambert”^ noted that job satisfaction and other variables such as organizational
commitment were the most widely studied variables linked to voluntary turnover.
Other researchers who have focused on voluntary turnover have debated whether
organizational commitment precedes job satisfaction, or vice versa.’ Whether intention
to leave an organization precedes alternative job offers, or vice versa, has also been
This article does not delve into these relevant theoretical arguments. Rather, this
article focuses on how the concepts of Maslow hierarchy of needs and Herzberg’s
motivation-hygiene theory can be applied to understanding the problem of high
correctional officer turnover by shedding light on work attitudes such as satisfaction.
While Maslow suggested that needs, which drive behaviors associated with work
attitudes (e. g., satisfaction), can be assigned to various levels, Herzberg made the
distinction that needs that influence work attitudes can be met intrinsically or
extrinsically. Thus, applying each theory provides a unique perspective on satisfaction
in the form of the level and the type of satisfaction to be measured.
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 69
Nonetheless, it is quite obvious that current research has moved well beyond
these traditional motivational theories. However, given the high rate of turnover for
correctional officers in the southern U.S. state studied, this author hopes that revisiting
these core, or parent, theories on work attitudes, can provide some meaningful insight
into the issue. In fact, while this article was being prepared, RamlalF had begun this
process by providing a more general and conceptual application of these and other
motivation theories as a way to focus on employee retention within organizations. This
article, then, follows Ramlall’s lead but focuses more narrowly on only two of the
theories and on a specific job class in a specific state agency.
Turnover in this article refers to voluntary turnover. Lambert^ described
voluntary turnover as a consequence of employees initiating the termination of their
employee-organization relationship. Previous work on the topic has revealed that
voluntary turnover for correctional officers at one state correctional agency in 2002
accounted for 77% of the total correctional officer turnover; and for 2003, it was 76%.
Similarly, in the Texas prison system, in the four years preceding 2002, the security
force attrition rates exceeded 20%.^ Without further belaboring the point, the issue of
high correctional officer turnover is widespread.
Turnover is expensive monetarily and costly in many other ways. The direct and
indirect costs are generally classified as separation costs, learning costs, and acquisition
costs.^° Unfortunately, many organizations fail to either acknowledge turnover as a
legitimate organizational problem or challenge or to even bother assessing the impact
and consequences of the turnover costs on their strategic and day-to-day operations.”
One of several ways to visualize turnover costs in a correctional setting is to focus
particularly on the salaries of correctional officers who have left the organization, since
this is, perhaps, one of the more obvious and apparent indicators of the effect of
voluntary turnover. Salaries are a cost of conducting business and an indication
employee replacement value. That is, salaries reflect elements of separation costs,
acquisition costs, and learning costs.
Jobs are created with knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) in mind, and both the
position and its associated KSAs subsequently reflect the quality of employee hired.
The employee will be trained and gain valuable experience over time, which costs
money and personal investment, but the organization will lose the dollars and
experience when the employee leaves the job.
Table 1 shows the 2003 turnover rates and total salary (direct cost) data for
correctional officers who left employment in the state studied for this article. Analysis
revealed that there is a strong positive correlation between the total monthly pay for
correctional officers and their total monthly turnover rates. In essence, turnover costs
money. What the table does not show is whether money was the primary reason for the
departure of the correctional officers and this article does not attempt to answer that
question. However, other information presented below suggests that elements of
extrinsic job satisfaction may contribute to voluntary turnover. In fact, Farkas’^ noted,
“Officers attributed their job satisfaction to the extrinsic aspects of the job, including
pay and job benefits.” What is most important to keep in mind, however, is that
correctional officer turnover remains high, and an attempt to understand why this
70 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
occurs using traditional motivation theories may be important for discovering why it
occurs at all.
Table 1: 2003 Monthly Turnover Rates and Associated Costs for
Correctional Officers in One Southern U.S. State
Monthly turnover rates (%)
January: 1.860
February: 1.080
March: 1.350
April: 1.650
May: 1.570
June: 1,620
July: 1,570
August: 1,690
September: 1.310
October: 1.720
November: 1,230
December: 1,350
Total: 18.000%
Total monthly salary costs for leaving officers
(U.S. dollars)
The state agency studied provided information on the reasons why their
correctional officers voluntarily left. As with other organizations, this agency uses
elaborate exit interviews to gather this type of information. However, exit interviews do
have their problems, one of which is whether all those interviewed report their true
reasons for departure and whether the exit interviews will actually capture the
information meaningfully. However, the information provided is indicative of elements
associated with job satisfactions.
Information gathered from the agency’s intranet indicate that 45% of correctional
officers who voluntarily left had a high school diploma, 34% had some college
experience, 9% had some technical training, and 6% had a bachelor’s degree. The
highest percentage of those who voluntarily left, 42%, did so voluntarily because of
other job opportunities. A full 16% of the respondents who voluntarily left concluded
that better job offers most influenced their decisions to leave.
Thirteen percent of those officers who voluntarily left indicated that they loved
the correctional agency because of job security, while 14% did not like the agency
because of infrequent pay increases , 13% felt the efforts were not rewarded, and 12%
felt their entry salary were too low. By far. Stunningly, 80% declared that they were
willing to work for the agency again.
Job security, pay increases, and salaries, which were noted in how the employees
felt about their jobs, are typically characterized as extrinsic components of job
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 71
satisfaction. Given that 80% of the correctional officers who left had the willingness to
work for the agency again, lack of organizational commitment probably was not a large
factor in people’s decision to leave. Therefore, viewing the extrinsic factors of job
satisfaction through the traditional motivation theories of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory is the focus of this article. The theoretical
frameworks are necessary because voluntary turnover cannot be studied by itself
Voluntary turnover exists because employees exhibited behaviors and attitudes that
demonstrated their levels of job satisfaction with the organization.
It is likely that studies of satisfaction will continue to be associated with studies of
voluntary turnover. For this reason, it is important to continue to focus on some of the
traditional theories that have defined the emergence of job satisfaction as a relevant
variable. Lockel3 has classified the fundamental theories governing the understanding
of job satisfaction mtoprocess theories and content theories. Here, the focus will be on
content theories and how two of the most traditional ones have molded the
understanding and use of job satisfaction.
Why Correctional Officers?
Stemming from his own professional experience, the author finds the job of a
correctional officer to be a thankless one, replete with many reasons for an officer to
remain infinitely unhappy while working in less-than-hospitable conditions. The
environment in which a correctional officer functions is saddled with many dangers
and populated primarily by prison inmates. The primary responsibility of a correctional
officer is to hold inmates in involuntary confinement against their will.^” A trip to one of
the prisons where correctional officers functioned that the author took while
preparing this article was quite a sobering experience. Unrestrained inmates with antiauthoritarian behavior were also functioning around the officers who had no credible
means of defending themselves against any unforeseen acts of violence by the inmates,
beyond the radios they carry around.
Because correctional officers, just as employees in other organizations, will either
like or dislike their jobs, and given the often-inhospitable conditions in which they have
to work, it is intuitive to suggest that some correctional officers will voluntarily leave
the organization. In the agency studied, they do so at high rates. Correctional officers
are an especially telling case study for voluntary turnover for several reasons noted
First, Lambert ^5 summarized the core need for studying correctional officers’ job
satisfaction by noting, “Correctional staff are the most important asset of any
correctional agency In fact, they are the heart and soul of any correctional
organization. Many staff, however, voluntarily quit. The cost of this turnover is high for
correctional organizations. Nonetheless, correctional staff turnover has generated only
limited research.” Granting this, the importance of the satisfaction levels of
correctional officers cannot be overemphasized.
Second, correctional officers are public sector employees, shift workers, and
security staff. Though in some settings, private sector correctional institutions exist,
72 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
and they hire private correctional officers. The focus of this article is on the public
sector correctional system because such systems account for a greater portion of the
correctional officer jobs. Thus, a public system could potentially undermine public
safety if it ignores correctional officers’ satisfaction.
Third, as earlier noted, increased pay and incentives may not have slowed the
turnover of correctional officers. Approximately 20% of correctional officers employed
by the agency studied leave their job each year. It has been estimated that it costs at
least 150% of an employee’s salary to replace an employee. RamlalP’^ noted that the
costs of turnover can be estimated at between the leaving employee’s one-year pay and
benefits and that person’s two-year pay and benefits. Traditional motivation theories
may provide some explanation as to why increases in salary have failed to curtail high
annual turnover rates for correctional officers.
Fourth, correctional officers perform their duties in an environment where they
have to manage and supervise individuals held against their will.^” ‘Attitudes of inmates
are notoriously ‘anti-authority’ and ‘anti-rule,’ which means officers must be on the
alert for misconduct and rule violations,” Farkas wrote.i*’ Further, correctional officers
must control significant numbers of inmates with limited resources, and do so by
making instant decisions with a wide range of discretion.^^ fhe nature of this
environment is likely to decrease the level of satisfaction of a correction officer faced
with the challenges of incarcerating inmates.
On a general basis, it is important to study of satisfaction—predominantly studied as
job satisfaction—from a humanitarian perspective and a utilitarian perspective.2° The
humanitarian perspective of job satisfaction suggests that people deserve to be treated
faidy and appropriately, and that the level of satisfaction or dissatisfaction of employees
may reflect the extent to which employees experience good treatment in an
organization.21 Satisfaction may also be indicative of the emotional and psychological
well being of the employees.^^
The utilitarian perspective of job satisfaction presupposes that the satisfaction or
dissatisfaction of employees can lead to behaviors that affect the functioning of the
organization.^^ One example of what this would mean is that increased productivity
within an organization is a reflection of one of many positive outcomes of satisfied
employees, while absenteeism and sabotage are negative outcomes of dissatisfied
According to Spector,^” “Job satisfaction is simply how people feel about their
jobs and the different aspects of their jobs. It is the extent to which people like
(satisfaction) or dislike (dissatisfaction) their jobs.” Much of contemporary research on
satisfaction, specifically job satisfaction, has focused on the cognitive process of
satisfaction rather than employees’ physical and psychological needs.^^ This article
shifts the focus of satisfaction from the cognitive process to that of psychological needs
defined by content theories.
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 73
Satisfaction may encompass facets such as tasks, pay, promotions, recognition,
benefits, and working conditions.^^ Other facets of satisfaction may include
supervision, co-workers, and company and management.^^ Many researchers have
considered these facets and conceptualized satisfaction as either intrinsic or extrinsic
while further understanding that satisfaction is he extent to which a worker feels
positively or negatively (i.e., “satisfied” or “dissatisfied”) about his or her job.^^ Intrinsic
satisfaction, specifically job satisfaction, refiects the experience of an employee having
feelings of accomplishment and self-actualization from performing work.^^ Extrinsic
satisfaction, specifically job satisfaction, refiects the experience of an employee feeling
positively about the rewards, which may be any form of compensation and job security,
extended to him or her by the organization for performing work.^°
However, satisfaction studies would be incomplete without mentioning content
and process theories. Mentioned earlier is the fact that Maslow’s and Herzberg’s
theories, which are content theories, have been very important in shaping
contemporary understanding of satisfaction by describing the level and type of needs
associated with the behaviors that demonstrate satisfaction. Process theories are
equally important for forming and elucidating understandings of satisfaction, but they
do not seem as compelling to this author as the theories of motivation suggested by
Maslow and Herzberg. On this note, this article diverges from Ramlall’s^^ approach,
which was more general and not specific to any job class. However, further research
into the implications of process theories in shaping the concept of satisfaction are as
imperative in building other lines of thought. RamlalP^ creates the impetus in his work
to forge ahead in the study of process theories.
Process Theories
Process theories tend to identity the “specific needs or values most conducive to job
satisfaction.”33 According to Eccles,”* process theorists “focus on how individuals’
expectations and preferences for outcomes associated with their performance, actually
infiuence performance.” These theorists are interested in how individual behavior is
energized, directed, maintained, and stopped.^^ Considering Adam’s equity theory,
Vroom’s expectancy theory. Skinner’s reinforcement theory, and Locke’s goal setting
theory is helpful in understanding process theories.^^
Content Theories
According to Locke,^^ content theories attempt to “specify the particular needs that
must be attained for an individual to be satisfied with his or her job. Two motivation
theories are most prominent in the study of content theories—Maslow’s hierarchy of
needs and Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.’^
Masiow’s Hierarchy of Needs
During his career, Abraham Maslow, who was born in New York in 1908, was prominent
for rebelling against psychoanalysis and the animal-centered studies in behaviorism.^^
In fact, he proposed that psychology should focus on the entire person and how
j — — • — –
74 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
people act. He eventually became one of many pioneers in humanistic psychology,
which came to be labeled, “psychology as the third force. “^° What is instructive about
this revolution is that it marked the advent of applied psychology and theoretical and
systematic understandings of variables that affect humans in the contemporary
Above all, Maslow believed that humans aspire to self-actualized states.”^ He
further identified five basic needs that motivate individuals: psychological, safety, love
or belongingness, esteem, and self-actualization. Writing in the Psychological Review in
1943, Maslow stated, “human needs arrange themselves in hierarchies of prepotency
That is to say, the appearance of one need usually rests on the prior satisfaction of
another more proponent need. Man is a perpetually wanting animal. Also, no need or
drive can be treated as if it were isolated or discrete; every drive is related to the state of
satisfaction or dissatisfaction of drives.'”*^ Figure 1 illustrates the basic needs
highlighted by Maslow, with 5 being the lowest-order need and 1 being the highestorder need.
Figure 1: ¡Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
1. Self-actualization
2. Esteem
3. Love or belongingness
4. Safety
5. Physiological
Given the high and costly turnover rates for correctional officers, it can be argued
that the officers’ met or unmet needs create the potential for dissonance between their
levels of satisfaction and the challenges they face in incarcerating inmates. Since some
correctional officers may be motivated intrinsically by the need to assert authority over
inmates, the dissonance between officers’ level of satisfaction and the challenges of
incarcerating those inmates is potentially reduced because, for them, some
physiological need is being met. On the other hand, those whose motivation is to pay
student loans, pay mortgages, or make car payments, asserting authority over inmates
may likely create a high level of dissonance between their levels of extrinsic satisfaction
and the tasks of incarcerating belligerent inmates because there is some level of
physiological dissatisfaction. Given these scenarios, one officer is likely to elevate to the
next level of need—safety—while the other is likely to remain at the same level of
unsatisfied physiological needs. The unmet psychological need may contribute to
creating the impetus to leave employment as a correctional officer.
However, Maslow also suggested that satisfied needs are not motivators, as
According to him, as lower-levels needs are satisfied, they no longer drive behavior,
and, consequently, higher-order needs take over as the motivating force.”^ The first
three levels of needs, that is from 5 to 3 as shown in Figure 1, appear to be the most
likely attainable for most correctional officers. The inability of a job as a correctional
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 75
officer to provide esteem or self-actualization is further aggravated by the fact that
correctional institutions are typically located in remote areas so inmates attempting to
escape will have a formidable challenge. The remoteness simultaneously creates social
and economic challenges to the correctional officer (e.g., extended drive to work).
Beyond that economic developments in the areas where correctional facilities are
located are minimal, at best. Commercial housing and transportation are generally
scarce. When such developments become available, few developers see any incentives
in building structures close to potential security concerns. Even when development
exists around a facility, property values tend to remain extremely low because of
perceptions of crime risks. Consequently, options available for correctional officers
become limited, and driving more than 40 miles back and forth from work is not
unheard of. With rising global gas prices, the average annual salary of a new
correctional officer recruit of $25,000 not only heightens the dissonance between tasks
and satisfaction , but provides the platform for classifying such satisfaction into levels of
If and when a correctional officer’s physiological needs are met at least up to 80%,
as Maslow suggested, safety become the next need. Safety issues are a recurring
problem inside and outside of any prison facility. A correctional officer must hold up to
their best ability on a daily basis, even when the stress from ranting and ravings of
belligerent and potentially violent inmates echo unceasingly within the prison walls.
Such stresses could potentially lead to a violent overreaction by a correctional officer
on a supervisor or a colleague or an inmate. Also, inmates have been known to
consistently attack officers with improvised weapons, thus, heightening the safety
needs of correctional officers. Once again, this unsatisfied need may arguably create
the impetus for an officer to consider leaving the agency. At this level, whether the
safety need is met or unmet determines if the next proponent need of love or
belongingness will be attained.
For correctional officers whose dissonance between their safety needs and the
challenges of incarcerating inmates is reduced, love and belongingness would naturally
be the next step. In an environment of almost military precision, creating a sense of
love and belongingness, usually through teamwork, is very difficult. This is true even
though most correctional systems operate on a command-and-control basis, which
should, in theory, foster teamwork to the same extent the military does.
Because promotional opportunities or any real career ladder exists for most
correctional officers, officers tend to compete furiously with each other for such
opportunities as elevation to captain, deputy warden, and warden. This creates a
workplace environment of survival-of-the-fittest set within an even larger, even more
competitive world of belligerent inmates. Any feelings of love and belongingness are
easily squashed in this situation, and social identity theory, which also helps explain the
lack of teamwork among correctional officers, becomes a figment of officers’
Many officers become disillusioned, and, faced with the reality of a dead-end
career, ultimately, leave. In contrast, the military has actively addressed this need for
76 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
love and belongingness by creating promotional opportunities and defined career
paths, thus reducing unnecessary competition and rivalries within the rank and file.
This author suggests that the last two levels of needs, esteem and self
actualization, are rarely, if ever met, in a correctional setting by most correctional
officers, except for those who, through fate or faith, end up as captains, deputy
wardens, and wardens. Unfortunately, each prison in the agency studied has between
100 and 500 correctional officers who must aspire one day to become the next of a few
dozen higher-level jailers. The slim probability of realizing such an aspiration leads
many correctional officers to conclude they will neither have self-esteem from their
career or ever become self-actualized in a correctional setting.
Because correctional settings have yet to address the esteem and selfactualization needs of officers, high correctional officer turnover will continue to be a
reality. Correctional officers’ satisfaction is dictated by the levels of needs their job
meets. The last two levels, which are rarely ever attained in a correctional setting, tie
perfectly into the last discussion on love and belongingness. When promotional
opportunities and a realistic career ladder remain largely unavailable, the officer arrives
at a sense of frustration, which more often than not, results in the officer actually
leaving. That a sense that the need for self-actualization is not being met is a reason a
correctional officer would have for leaving remains a debatable area since few
correctional officers ever progress far enough for this to become an issue.
What is most important about Maslow’s work is its recognition of a need to order,
or scale, human needs and its recognition of human activity as an important area ripe
for the application of sophisticated psychology theories and techniques that are today
dubbed “management studies” among other rubrics. Understanding the problems
associated with assuming the role of a correctional officer requires scaling of the needs
that the job can and will meet. This scaling will, in turn, lead to a better understanding
how decisions to leave are prompted by the job either meeting or not meeting officers’
needs. Fortunately, the correctional agency studied is a pacesetter in this regard, in that
it has made exit interviews accessible through its intranet to capture the needs and
satisfaction levels of officers who are leaving.
Maslow’s need theory is typically described and illustrated as a vertical scale or a
pyramid. This makes the theoretical framework useful as means for measuring some
type of satisfaction, particularly job satisfaction. In fact, of the concept of satisfaction is
meaningless unless there is some form of measuring or recognizing it. Since needs
explain behavior, and behavior reflects attitude, the study of satisfaction naturally
inherits the attribute of being measured on some scale. For example, a correctional
officer who recently left his or her agency may be asked why he or she left. The officer
may note that he or she left because of dissatisfaction with some aspect of the job or
the organization. A need had driven the behavior, and the behavior had formed the
attitude of leaving. The needs are reflected in their levels of the correctional officer’s
satisfaction, and that focusing on those needs is equally important.
In fact, in contemporary satisfaction research, the information provided by the
exiting correctional officer would be meaningless until it is measured or scaled through
either surveys, exit interviews, or phone interviews. Maslow’s hierarchy intended his
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 77
hierarchy to be a measure like any other. Therefore, explaining correctional officer
satisfaction in terms of a hierarchy of needs is possible and important.
However, this author finds Masiow’s theory deficient for fully explaining the type
of satisfaction considered, which reflects the types of needs that drive the type of
behavior, which forms the attitude. Rather, Masiow’s theory focuses on only the levels
of need, and not the type of need. The distinction between the types of needs reflected
in satisfaction was later addressed by Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory.
Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory
It is not uncommon for prominent events in one’s lifetime to transform one’s
perception and view of the world, as the horrors of concentration camps in Germany
during World War II did for Frederick Herzberg.”^ In line with Masiow’s diversion of
psychology studies from animals to humans, Herzberg advocated the diversion of
psychology studies from the insane to the sane,.”^ and his work would later influence
some work concepts we know today, such as “job context” and “job content.” Herzberg
was born in 1923 in Massachusetts.
Unlike Masiow’s theory, Herzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory argues that job
satisfaction and job dissatisfaction result from different causes. According to Herzberg,
satisfaction depends on motivators, while dissatisfaction is the result of hygiene
factors.^^ He defined motivators as intrinsic to the job, and he defined hygiene factors
as extrinsic to the job.’*^ He also succinctly created a distinction between satisfaction
and dissatisfaction.”^
Herzberg’*’ noted, “factors involved in producing “job satisfaction” and motivation
are separate and distinct from the factors that lead to “job dissatisfaction.” Since
separate factors need to be considered, depending on whether “job satisfaction” or
“job dissatisfaction” is being examined, it follows that these feelings are not opposites
of each other. The opposite of “job satisfaction” is not “job dissatisfaction” but rather,
no job satisfaction; and similarly, the opposite of “job dissatisfaction” is not “job
satisfaction,” but no “job satisfaction.”
Considering the work situation of correctional officers in light of Herzberg’s
assertions, it would appear that at each need, it could be characterized as creating
either satisfaction or dissatisfaction, since both are complementary and distinct
components. What this means is that it is not enough to recognize that correctional
officers have unmet or met needs. Identifying, as best as possible, which needs create
satisfaction and which create dissatisfaction is equally as important. The data presented
at the beginning of this article not only show the level of unmet needs but the type of
unmet need, which were characterized as extrinsic components of job satisfaction.
Motivators deal with aspects of work itself and include work, promotion,
achievement, responsibility, and recognition.’^ Hygiene factors reflect the “context in
which the work itself was performed, to include working conditions, interpersonal
relations, company polities and salary, and supervision.”‘^ The work of correctional
officers, as earlier noted, involves working with recalcitrant inmates, and the internal
and external environments, also as earlier described, can be grossly inhospitable.
78 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
Figure 2: Types of Satisfaction as Understood According to
Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory of ¡Motivation
Job dissatisfaction Job satisfaction
Herzberg’s work clearly describes satisfaction horizontally and created the distinction
between types of satisfaction. Herzberg suggested that if an employee experiences a
low level of job satisfaction, it does necessarily imply that the employee is dissatisfied
(see Figure 2). Equally, if an employee experiences a low level of job dissatisfaction, it
does not imply that the employee is satisfied.
On the other hand, Maslow’s theory describes satisfaction vertically and leads
analysts to scale each need as absolutely met or unmet, strictly satisfied or not satisfied.
It clearly illustrates the importance of measuring, or scaling, needs or satisfaction that
result in the behavior, which form the attitude of leaving. This means the study of
satisfaction, especially for correctional officers, not only requires a distinction of the
type of satisfaction to be as useful as possible, but also a study of the level of satisfaction
through needs.
Most of all, it appears correctional officer will remain a job class plagued by high
turnover. Given that inmates will continue to be difficult to manage and that this must
be balanced against the motivational needs of the officers, there will always be officers
who will voluntarily leave. As a result, a deliberate and aggressive attempt should be
made to create a defined career path and feasible promotional opportunities for
correctional officers, just as the military has done for its rank and file.
Finally, and based on the author’s own experiences, it is advisable to include in
correctional officers’ exit interviews questions that capture components of
organizational commitment and any other relevant work attitudes associated with
turnover. Information collected in such interviews should then be made available via
organizational intranet. Both conducting exit interviews and sharing results will
eliminate the spirit of denial that pervades perception of correctional officer turnover,
which sometimes prevents management from acting on important information,
quickly. Even when this information is available, management almost always assumes
that pay increases will be the best solution to voluntary turnover, while ignoring less
expensive components of satisfaction such as encouraging creativity and innovation.
The agency studied for this article has set a very good example by providing realtime intranet access for its management when they choose to address the work needs
of their most stubborn human resource problem in their most important job class—
voluntary turnover for correctional officers. Other correctional agencies can learn from
this. However, given that exit interviews have problems that have earlier been noted.
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 79
occasional data gathering through surveys can buttress the data that has been collected
through exit interviews.
Notes ‘ Mobley, W H. (1982). Employee turnover: Causes, consequences, and control. Philippines:
Addison-Wesley Publishing.
2 Mobley, W H., Griffeth, R. “W, Hand, H. H., & Meglino, B. M. (1979), op cit.
3 Mobley, W H., Griffeth, R. W, Hand, H. H., & Meglino, B. M. (1979). Review and conceptual
analysis of the employee turnover process. Psychological Bulletin, 86: 493-522, Steers, R. M., &
Mowday, R. T. (1981). Employee turnover and the post decision accommodation process. In B.
M. Shaw & L. L. Cummings (Eds.) Research in organizational hehavior. Greenwich,CT: JAI
Press; Michaels, C. E., & Spector, P E. (1982). Causes of employee turnover: A test of the
Mobley, Griffeth, Hand, and Meglino model Journal of Applied Psychology, 67: 53-59; Arnold,
H. J,, & Eeldman, D. C. (1982). A multivariate analysis of the determinants of job turnover.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 67: 350-360; Lee, T. W, & Mowday, R. T. (1987). Voluntarily
leaving an organization: An empirical investigation of Steer’s and Mowday’s model of turnover
Academy of Management Journal, 30, 721-743.
“* Lambert, E. G. (2001). To stay or quit: A review of the literature on correctional officer turnover
American Journal of Criminal Justice, 26, 61-76.
5 Vanderberg, R. J., & Lance, C. E. (1992). Examining the causal order of job satisfaction and
organ’aatioml commitment. Journal of Management, 18, 153-167.
^ Ou, W (2004). Movement capital: Does intention to leave come before alternative job offers?
Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship, 9, 162-170.
^ Ramlall, S. (2004). A review of employee motivation theories and their implications for
employee retention within organizations./owm«/ of America Academy of Business, 5, 52-63.
8 Lambert, E. G. (2001), op cit.
‘ Castlebury, G. (2002). Correctional officer recruitment and retention in Texas. Corrections
Today 64: 80-84.
1″ Mobley, W H., Griffeth, R. W, Hand, H. H., & Meglino, B. M. (1979), op cit.
” Ibid.
^2 Farkas, M. A. (2001). Correctional officers: What factors inñuence work attitudes? Corrections
management Quarterly, 5, 20-26.
>’ Locke, E. A. (1976). The nature and consequences of job satisfaction. In M.D. Dunnette (Ed.),
Handbook of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 1297 – 1350). Chicago: Rand-Mcnally
‘” Farkas, M. A. (2001), op cit.
‘5 Lambert, E. G. (2001), op cit.
‘« Ramlall, S. (2004), op cit.
” Farkas, M. A. (2001), op cit.
18 Farkas, M. A. (2001), op cit.
19 Ibid.
2° Spector, P E. {1997). Job satisfaction: Application, assessment, causes, and consequences.
California: Sage Publications, Inc.
2′ Ibid.
80 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009
22 Ibid,
23 Ibid.
^•í Ibid.
25 Ibid.
2ö Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
27 Ibid.
28 Bhuian, S. N., Al-Shammari, E. S., & Jefri, O. A. (1996). Organizational commitment, job
satisfaction and job characteristics: An empirical study of expatriates in Saudi Arabia.
International Journal of Commerce and Management, 57, 57-79; Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
2Í’ Bhuian , S. N., Al-Shammari, E. S., & Jefri, O.A. (1996), o p cit.
30 Ibid.
31 Ramlall, S. (2004), op cit.
32 Ibid.
33 Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
3” Eccles, S. (2003). The relationship between job satisfaction and organizational commitment as
perceived by irrigation workers in a quasi irrigation company in Jamaica. Michigan: ProQuest
Information and Learning Company (UMI No. 3096346).
35 Ibid.; Ivancevich, J., & Matterson, M. (1990). Organizational behavior and management. Burr
Ridge, IL: Irwin.
3^ Eccles, S. (2003), op cit.; Gibson, J., Ivancevich, J., & Donnelly, J. (1991). Organizations:
Behaviors, structures, and processes. Burr Ridge, IL: Irwin; Rakich, J., Longest, B., & Darr, K.
(\992′). Managing health service organizations. Baltimore, MD: Health Professional Press.
3′ Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
38 Ibid.
39 Wren, D. A., & Greenwood, R.G. (1998). Management innovators. New York: Oxford University
^ Ibid.
« Ramlall, S. (2004), op cit.
•”^ Ott, S. J. (1996). Classical readings in organizational behavior. Orlando, EL: Harcourt Brace.
«Ott, S.J. (1996), op cit.
ԉۢ* Wren, D. A. & Greenwood, R.G. (1998), op cit.
« Ibid.
”« Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
‘*” Herzberg, F. (1996). One more time: How do you motivate employees? In S. J. Ott (Eds.),
Classical readings in organizational behavior (pp. 76 – 85). Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace &
Company. (Original work published 1968)
•’S Ibid.
“9 Ibid.
50 Ibid.
Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009 81
5’ Locke, E. A. (1976), op cit.
52 Ibid.
Ikwukananne I. Udechukwu, DBA
553 Pinecrest Drive
Riverdale, GA 30274
(770) 907-3514
[email protected]
Dr. Ikwukananne Udechukwu recently completed his doctorate in business administration at NOVA Southeastern University in Florida. He received a master’s of public
administration degree from Valdosta State University in Georgia.. He has served as a
classification and compensation analyst for the Georgia Department of Corrections, the
Georgia Department of Human Resources, and the University System of Georgia. His
most recent publication are in the Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship and the Human Resource Development Review. His research interests are in the
areas of human resources management, qualitative thinking, and the impact of business
and economics in public education.
82 Public Personnel Management Volume 38 No. 2 Summer 2009

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