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The Effects of Employee Satisfaction and E-Learning Characteristics Are Explored in Award-Winning Research

Do companies with satisfied employees have higher revenues? Do those companies have greater customer satisfaction? How can a work environment encourage employees to learn more? What workplace influences help inspire employees to take courses online? Several faculty members of the Henry B. Tippie College of Business at The University of Iowa answer those questions in award-winning research.

Professor Frank Schmidt explores the concept of employee satisfaction and its effect on business revenues and customer satisfaction in a paper entitled "Business Unit Level Relationships between Employee Satisfaction/Engagement and Business Outcomes." This paper was named co-winner of the Best Published Paper Award from the Organizational Behavior Division of the Academy of Management.

Through his research, Assistant Professor Ken Brown studied the various influences that can affect employee learning in a paper entitled "Influence of Job Characteristics, Perceived Learning Support and Motivation to Learn on E-learning Activities and Outcomes." That paper won the Society for Human Resource Management's (SHRM) 2003 Research Award. Both Brown and Schmidt are faculty in the Department of Management and Organizations.

In "Business Unit Level Relationships between Employee Satisfaction/Engagement and Business Outcomes," Schmidt and his co-authors Jim Harter and Ted Hayes discover that business units that have higher employee satisfaction also have higher revenues, customer satisfaction and profitability. They also learned that the managers of local business units (stores, banks, etc.) can be trained to increase employee satisfaction, and these increases are accompanied by subsequent improvements in business outcomes.

This research was named co-winner of the Best Organizational Behavior Journal Paper Award from the Organizational Behavior (OB) Division of the Academy of Management. Each year, the OB Division presents three awards for excellent submissions. Given that hundreds of papers and many outstanding symposia are submitted each year, winning one of the awards represents a significant accomplishment.

The Academy of Management is a leading professional association for scholars dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about management and organizations. The OB Division exists to encourage the study of individuals and groups within an organizational context, and the study of internal processes and practices as they affect individuals and groups.

In his paper, Brown explores the concept of embedding learning in employees' daily work lives, emphasizing the active role that learners must play to gain new knowledge and skill. He specifically examines the features of the work environment and the extent that job characteristics and perceived learning support influence time spent on e-learning. In addition, he examines how motivation to learn influences the time an employee spends completing online learning activities.

The Society for Human Resource Management is the world's largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 175,000 individual members, its mission is to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most essential and comprehensive resources available. The SHRM Foundation funds the Research Award, in memory of Dale Yoder and Herbert V. Henneman, Jr., two prominent scholars in human resources. The award recognizes the finest empirical research in human resource management.

Brown is the Huneke Faculty Research Fellow at the Tippie College and has been with The University of Iowa since 1998. Schmidt is the Ralph L. Sheets Professor of Management and Organizations and has been with The University of Iowa since 1985.

The University of Iowa's Henry B. Tippie College of Business offers undergraduate and graduate programs that consistently rank among the top 30 public business schools in the nation. In addition to the nationally-ranked MBA Program, students can receive degrees in accounting, economics, finance, management and organizations, management science, and marketing.

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