Does it "manner"? The effect of spoken and written gratitude on job satisfaction.

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Given the dynamic environment of a human resources (HR) department, there is a wide interest in how to enhance the job satisfaction of the employees in order to improve organisational performance. Gratitude expressions have a central function in human relationships, which means they are a key motivator of job satisfaction. Thus, the research question of this study was if spoken and written gratitude expressions could influence job satisfaction scores and therefore form an essential part of HR communication. The participants of the experiment were randomly allocated to the conditions (no gratitude, spoken and written gratitude). An online task was performed after which the participants had to indicate to what degree they enjoyed it. The results showed that the gratitude expressions did not have an effect on job satisfaction but that, if one had to choose, spoken gratitude is prone to yield higher job satisfaction scores. The conclusion was that gratitude expressions no longer function as a powerful politeness device because they are understood as a redundant obligation and therefore are less intense. Regarding practical implications, HR managers should preferably thank their subordinates in person and companies should review the effectiveness of written gratitude messages such as Christmas cards. This study further contributed to gratitude theories, stating that gratitude is a complicated emotion that is interactively elicited and most effective when conveyed personally.
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