Leadership Studies Ed.D. Dissertations


Exploratory Study of Generational Differences in Facets and Overall Job Satisfaction of a Division in a Multi-state Healthcare Provider

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Rachel Vannatta (Committee Chair)

Second Advisor

Jill Zeilstra-Ryalls (Other)

Third Advisor

Steve Jex (Committee Member)

Fourth Advisor

Judith Jackson May (Committee Member)

Fifth Advisor

Patrick Pauken (Committee Member)


The variation in needs and expectations between generational cohorts can make it difficult for organizations to create human resource, talent development, and supervisory policies to fit all employees. Low job satisfaction may lead to several adverse outcomes such as low retention and organizational commitment, low productivity, and low morale studies. In addition, research on generational differences in job satisfaction has led to contradictory findings. A correlational research design with a cross-sectional survey was implemented utilizing a multiple regression analysis to explore which facets of job satisfaction (Work Itself, Pay, Promotion, Coworker, and Supervision) best predicted Overall Job Satisfaction for each generational cohort. A discriminant analysis was also conducted to determine if a prediction of generational cohort membership could be established based on facets of job satisfaction.

Multiple regression results indicate that Coworker, Work Itself, and Supervision Facets were the strongest predictors in the model of Overall Job Satisfaction for Baby Boomers; Coworker and the Work Itself Facets were the strongest predictors of Overall Job Satisfaction for Generation X; the Work Itself and Supervision Facets were the strongest predictors of Overall Job Satisfaction for Millennials. The data failed to yield a prediction of cohort membership based on facets of job satisfaction. Positive Affect was included in all analysis and was found not to be a confounding variable of job satisfaction for the sample.

The results from this study concluded 1) generational cohorts do place varying degrees of value on facets of job satisfaction; 2) generational differences across facets are subtle; 3) all cohorts place a high value on the Work Itself Facet, and 4) the Coworker and Supervision Facets are significant influencers for the majority of the cohorts. Based on the facets included in the models, there were several implications for leadership with strong connections to transformational, ethical, and servant leadership.