Many studies acknowledge this either explicitly, by using questionnaire data but taking it as indicative rather than accurate, or implicitly by focussing on more reliably observable data like reasons cited for leaving, and incidences of non-productive and counter-productive work. Interestingly, many studies conclude that pay is not generally a factor in job satisfaction, but job type, sex, age, being married and education do seem to be relevant factors. (Clark, 1996).
In an older study from the mid-1970s, Katzell and Yankelovich concluded that job satisfaction and productivity “do not necessarily follow parallel paths” (1975, p. 12). What this means is that workers may be very committed, and very happy with their jobs, but they do not necessarily channel this into goals that the company wants to achieve. With the passage of time, and the focus more and more on hi-tech and knowledge-based industries, the need for every growing creativity and commitment in workers is evident, but the divergence between individual and company needs seems to be growing too. Added to this is the uncertainty and risk of free-market economics, and the fact that workers can no longer count on a fixed career plan, or a permanent position in any one company. It is very tempting to conclude that “the degree of relationship between job satisfaction and job performance is so tenuous and variable that, if there is a causal connection, it must either be intrinsically weak or conditioned by other circumstances in the work situation.” (Katsell and Yankelovich, 1975, p. 124).
Later research has fortunately delved a little more deeply into those ill-defined “other circumstances in the work situation” and has begun to look beyond simple productivity at attributes like commitment and creativity which are increasingly required.