Job Descriptive Index


The Job Descriptive Index (JDI) was originally developed by Smith, Kend­ all, and Hulin (1969). It uses 72 items to assess five facets of job satisfaction. The five facets are the work itself, pay, promotions, supervision, and co­ workers. The ratings of satisfaction with the facets can be combined into a composite measure of job satisfaction. The JDI was updated by Roznowski (1989) to recognize changes in work atmospheres, job content, and work technologies. The items for the updated version of the JDI are presented below. The revised JDI showed somewhat higher alpha reliabilities than the scales composed of the original items (Roznowski, 1989). Gregson (1990) used a 30-item shortened version of the JDI based on choosing the 6 items that loaded the highest on each dimension (work, pay, promotions, supervi­ sion, and co-workers) in a factor analysis of the job satisfaction items.


Coefficient alpha values for satisfaction with the work itself ranged from .75 to .94; for satisfaction with pay, alpha ranged from.78 to .91; for satisfaction with supervision, alpha values ranged from .87 to .92; for satisfaction with promotions, alpha ranged from .82 to .87; for satisfaction with co-workers, alpha ranged from .87 to .92 (Buckley etal., 1992; Callen, 1993; Cropanzano et al., 1993; Gregson, 1990; Judge, 1993a; Judge & Hulin, 1993; Kushnir & Melamed, 1991; Lefkowitz, 1994; Mossholder, Bedeian, Niebuhr, & Wesolowski, 1994; Smart, 1998; Taber & Alliger, 1995; Wanberg, 1995).


Satisfaction with the work itself, satisfaction with supervision, satisfaction with promotion, and satisfaction with co-workers were all positively corre­lated (Smart, 1998). Satisfaction with the work itself correlated positively with quantity and quality of communication between supervisor and subor­dinate and correlated negatively with lack of perceived control over job, employee anxiety, and employee irritability (Callen, 1993; Kushnir & Melamed, 1991). In Cropanzano et al. (1993), the composite job satisfaction measure was correlated positively with affective commitment to the organi­zation and negatively correlated with turnover intentions.

In Roznowski (1989), factor analysis showed that the JDI items loaded on five distinct factors and that the items of each subscale loaded on a single factor. Judge (1993a) found a second-order factor interpreted as overall job satisfaction. In Gregson (1990), factor analysis of a modified 30-item ver­sion of the JDI showed that communication satisfaction and job satisfaction were empirically distinct. Buckley et al. (1992) found that for the JDI com­posite measure of job satisfaction, trait (actual job satisfaction) variance ac­ counted for approximately 43% of the total variance, with common method and random error variance comprising the balance. For the JDI measures of facet satisfaction, trait variance accounted for 41% for the measure of super­ vision, 34% for the measure of satisfaction with work itself, 38% of the vari­ance in satisfaction with co-workers, 56% of satisfaction with pay, and 61% of the satisfaction with promotions. The same study estimated that trait variance accounted for approximately 46% of the total variance in other mea­ sures of job satisfaction such as the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire. The JDI is a copyrighted measure. Users should contact Professor Patricia Smith, Department of Psychology, Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH 43403.


Roznowski, M. (1989). An examination of the measurement properties of the Job Descriptive Index with experimental items. Journal of Applied Psy­ chology, 74, 805-814. Items were taken from Tables 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, pp. 807- 810. Copyright © 1989 by the American Psychological Association. Reprinted with permission.


Updated items for the Job Descriptive Index:

Respondents are asked to put Y beside each item if it describes the feature in question, N if the item does not describe that feature, or ? if they cannot decide.

Work on present job:

  1. Fascinating
  2. Challenging
  3. Routine
  4. Frustrating
  5. Satisfying 
  6. Simple
  7. Boring
  8. Gives sense of accomplishment
  9. Creative
  10. A source of pleasure
  11. Respected
  12. Dull
  13. Pleasant
  14. Interesting
  15. Useful
  16. Awful
  17. Tiresome
  18. Important

Present pay:

  1. Income adequate for normal expenses
  2. Barely live on income
  3. Bad
  4. Insecure
  5. Less than I deserve
  6. Underpaid
  7. Well paid
  8. Unfair
  9. Enough for what I need

Opportunities for promotion:

  1. Good opportunity for promotion
  2. Opportunity somewhat limited
  3. Promotion on ability
  4. Dead-end job
  5. Good chance for promotion
  6. Infrequent promotions
  7. Regular promotions
  8. Fairly good chance for promotion
  9. Easy to get ahead.

Supervision on present job:

  1. Hard to please
  2. Impolite
  3. Praises good work
  4. Tactful
  5. Up-to-date
  6. Quick-tempered
  7. Tells me where I stand
  8. Annoying
  9. Stubborn
  10. Knows job well.
  11. Bad
  12. Intelligent
  13. Around when needed.
  14. Lazy
  15. Interferes with my work.
  16. Gives confusing directions.
  17. Knows how to supervise.
  18. Cannot be trusted.

People on your present job:

  1. Stimulating
  2. Smart
  3. Boring
  4. Lazy
  5. Slow
  6. Unpleasant
  7. Ambitious
  8. Active
  9. Stupid
  10. Narrow interests
  11. Responsible
  12. Loyal
  13. Intelligent
  14. Work well together.
  15. Easy to make enemies.
  16. Bother me
  17. Talk too much.
  18. Waste of time