(promotions); and work is important and gives a feeling of accomplishment (intrinsic).

Table 2.4 presents the average ranking (calculated across all respondents) for each job characteristic in each year these questions were asked. As the table indicates, Americans in 1973 rated "intrinsic" aspects of work (i.e., having a job that gives them a feeling of accomplishment) as the job characteristic that they would prefer most in a job, followed in order by: promotions, income, job security, and hours. What is perhaps surprising is that this basic ordering, despite some minor fluctuations, has remained remarkably stable during the subsequent two decades: the rank order of these characteristics has remained virtually the same, with intrinsic aspects of work being the job characteristics most preferred by Americans in general and hours the least preferred. The relatively and consistently low emphasis that Americans place on job security (i.e., "danger of being fired") is somewhat surprising, given the fluctuations in unemployment

TABLE 2.4

Trends in Work Values in the United States, 1973–1994 General Social Survey

 

Average Ranking Across Categories of Values

Year

Income

Security

Hours

Promotions

Intrinsic

1973

2.72

3.60

3.99

2.61

2.08

1974

2.81

3.69

3.91

2.56

2.03

1976

2.67

3.53

4.10

2.62

2.08

1977

2.65

3.50

4.12

2.57

2.16

1980

2.59

3.73

4.14

2.55

1.99

1982

2.41

3.25

4.13

2.78

2.43

1984

2.64

3.54

4.27

2.54

2.00

1985

2.64

3.61

4.26

2.43

2.06

1987

2.49

3.61

4.17

2.58

2.16

1988

2.60

3.60

4.18

2.56

2.06

1989

2.57

3.68

4.26

2.56

1.93

1990

2.61

3.62

4.22

2.59

1.97

1991

2.56

3.61

4.19

2.65

1.98

1993

2.62

3.49

4.24

2.63

2.02

1994

2.55

3.43

4.26

2.67

2.09



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