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Publication Date

Spring 2018

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Howard Tokunaga


Recognition, Satisfaction

Subject Areas

Organizational behavior; Psychology


The purpose of this study was to investigate how different employee recognition practices exhibited by managers are related to employee job satisfaction. Because recognition has previously been shown to increase desired positive organizational outcomes such as productivity, engagement, and motivation, the aim of this study was to determine the extent to which these relationships could also be observed between recognition and job satisfaction. Six hypotheses were generated suggesting that higher levels of job satisfaction could be determined by what the literature considered best practices in recognition: recognition that was performance contingent, differentiated by performance levels, spontaneous, specific, informal, public, verbal and individualized. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 24 managers working at a technology/manufacturing company. The managers’ responses regarding their recognition practices were compared with their employees’ satisfaction scores on a company survey through a Chi-square analysis. No significant relationships were found between any of the recognition practices and job satisfaction; however the direction of the results indicated support for the positive effects of spontaneous, specific, informal and verbal recognition on job satisfaction. The lack of significance in results is explained in terms of a small sample size and the method in which the data were collected. Suggestions for improvements and future research are given, focusing on improving the data collection methods, as well as controlling for biases in the participants.