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Impact of organizational culture, organizational communication and supervisor support on the job satisfaction of employees working in online IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan


Khalid Usman

COMSATS University Islamabad / Virtual University of Pakistan, PK
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Distance education particularly the IT based distance learning is a fast growing concept in the academic world. The employees working in such distance learning institutions have certain issues that need to be investigated. One important such issue the job satisfaction of employees. Job satisfaction of employees can be investigated through several variables. Job satisfaction is equally important in all the organizations including the face to face and distance learning organizations. Distance learning organizations differ from face to face as the supervisor and the employees happen to be seated hundreds of miles away from each other. They do not even have a facial know how or interaction with each other. This distance create certain differences in the culture and the facial anonymity also has an impact on the supervisor support and other issues as well. This study intended to analyze the impact of organizational culture, organizational communication and supervisor support on the job satisfaction of the employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan. These variables are so selected because the employees working in such organizations happen to be seated away from supervisor and one another as well. A survey was conducted for this purpose in which data was collected through online questionnaire and data processed through regression analysis. Findings of the study revealed that all the three variables including organizational culture, organizational communication and supervisor support has a positive impact on the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning organizations.

How to Cite: Usman, K. (2019). Impact of organizational culture, organizational communication and supervisor support on the job satisfaction of employees working in online IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan. Open Praxis, 11(2), 143–156. DOI:
  Published on 30 Jun 2019
 Accepted on 31 Mar 2019            Submitted on 02 Nov 2018


Job satisfaction stands as one among the best and many researched concepts in organizational psychology and work for two reasons at least. One being those researchers who stand interest in subjective evaluative analysis of the working conditions that include communications, task variety and responsibility (Dormann & Zapf, 2001). Gupta and Joshi (2008) agreed that job satisfaction stands very important as people spend most part of their life at work place. Job satisfaction is also termed as psychological response that one’s job (Judge, Thoresen, Bono & Patton, 2003). Job satisfaction points towards an employee’s judgment regarding her or his job as the result after evaluating all the time a person worked there (Sieger, Bernhard & Frey, 2010).

Organizational culture has been defined in a number of ways differing from one author to another one. It can be defined as the difference of values and the expectations of the workers employed in an organization with different culture backgrounds (Tayeb, 1996). Several researches have been carried out to investigate whether the employee’s values, corporate attitudes and behavior affect performance and success of the employees working in organization (Tharp, 2009).

Communications taking place in the same or particular organization are found to be related with higher levels service and performance (Hargie, O & Tourish, 2009, pp. 10–15). Organizational communications may prove to be crucial factor for the purpose to understand the worth of organizational assets which are tangible in nature (Ritter, 2003, p. 50). Internal communication may also help to develop relationships among the organization’s, supervisors and employees (Sluss, Klimchak, M., & Holmes, 2008).

Supervisor support may play a useful role to establish the work environment and to provide the information as well as feedback to the employees (Griffin, Patternson & West, 2001). It can be defined as the extent to which organizational leaders value their employees’ contributions and also care about their wellbeing. Since all the aforementioned variables play important roles in every organizational settings, this research study intended to apply all the selected variables in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.

Literature review

Job Satisfaction

This is a complicated and difficult attitudinal variable related to employee jobs in the organization (Poulin, 1995). It has been defined by (Locke, 1969) as positive state of emotions or pleasurable state of emotions that results from an assessment of an individual’s job. The variable of job satisfaction further has a wide range of satisfaction determinants (Cranny, Smith & Stone, 1992). Literature produces certain factors and mentions that satisfaction may be because of the pay a worker draws or the promotion one gets or because of relationships established with the supervisors or other colleagues (Cranny et al., 1992). An overall level of job satisfaction of an employee shows his/her affective reaction to work and other related elements or facets (Cranny et al., 1992).

Organizational culture

A study was carried out in Greece by (Bellou, 2010) to investigate the implications of organizational culture as a predictor of employee job satisfaction found that culture of an organization affects the level of job satisfaction working in the organization. Another empirical research study that took place in America by (Lund, 2003) also considered several types of organizational cultures such as that prevail in the organizations of the selected industry and found that culture/cultures of the organization affect the levels of the job satisfaction working in the organizations.

The culture of an organization depicts an active and lively way manner in which the employees of an organization including the supervisors or the executives develop a shared meaning of their surroundings (Morgan, 1997). Members of an organization constantly interpret different features regarding their working environment and through these interpretations along with the ways in which these are developed, create a culture for the organization (Martin, 1992). In another study carried but by (Testa & Mueller, 2003) in a global perspective in services sector for the purpose to analyze the impact of culture fit on the level of satisfaction of employees working in the organization, it was found that cultural fit with the organization would positively affect the level of job satisfaction among the workers in the organization). Louis Gerstner from IBM as well as Heinrich Von Pierer from Siemens are well known for transforming their organizational cultures (Stewart & O’Brien, 2005). Organizations that value advantage seeking and risk taking behavior also further growth opportunities for employees even after temporary setbacks while those organizations valuing innovative culture are found to be growth oriented (Ireland, Hitt & Sirmon, 2003).

Organizational communication

In the organizations where the employees have opportunities to get advice from their immediate supervisors where they have earned increased depths and levels of communications as compared with those who do not have such opportunities (Chen & Tjosvold, 2006; Torraco, 2005). Another such study was carried out at University of Ottawa, Canada by (Carrie`re & Bourque, 2008) investigated the effects of organizational communication on job satisfaction and organizational commitment considering the communication satisfaction as a mediator. The findings of the study suggested that the dependent variable observed change in with the change in independent variable which was organizational communication. They also observed that for the effective use of organizational communication on job satisfaction, the managers must realize the information which is valued high by the workers or the employees working in the organization. These findings were also endorsed by observance of positive relationships among communication satisfaction and organizational communication (Hargie, Tourish & Wilson, 2002), job satisfaction and organizational communication satisfaction.

In a research conducted by (Karanges et al., 2015) with the aim to analyze the Impact of internal communication on employee engagement found that internal communication in the organization has a direct impact upon the employee engagements in the organizations. Another research study on the variables of both the organizational communication and employee job satisfaction along with the leader member exchange (LMX) theory was carried out in Serbia. (Nikolic et al., 2013) worked on the impact of internal communication satisfaction on the job satisfaction keeping the leader-member exchange theory as a moderator in this process. In the light of the data analysis three hypotheses were tested. The first hypotheses that tested the significant correlations between both internal communication satisfaction and the employees’ job satisfaction was found to be confirmed. Communication audits repeatedly shows that climate of communication, communication with your supervisor (Madlock, 2008) as well as personal/individual feedback are some of the facets which are strongly correlated with the overall communication satisfaction of the employees working in the organization (Downs & Adian, 2004; Downs & Hazen, 1977).

Supervisor Support

Cheung and Tjosvold (2007) carried out a study to investigate the mediating role of job satisfaction with its association among the supervisor-subordinate guanxi and other employee outcomes. Findings of the study concluded that guanxi between the supervisor and the subordinates increase the job satisfaction of the employees working in the organizations and also their ability to increase their participation in the decision-making. The guanxi between a supervisor and subordinate may point to the personal relationships between a supervisor and his or her subordinate’s relationships that they develop as a result of non-work related social associations during different working hours (Xin & Pearce, 1996; Warren, Dunfee & Li, 2004). Supervisor and subordinate guanxi was found to be associated with subordinate trust with supervisors (Wong, Ngo & Wong, 2003) also with participative leadership (Chen & Tjosvold, 2006) along with communication which is open-minded (Chen & Tjosvold, 2007) and organizational commitment as well as turn over intentions of employees (Farh, Tsui, Xin & Cheng, 1998). It’s because of this increased role of supervisor-subordinate guanxi that this concept in Asian settings, the researchers now gives an increased attention to the guanxi between the supervisor and the subordinate. Research also found that this concept is related with administrative decisions of the supervisors (Law, Wong & Wong, 2000); decisions which are joint in nature and also discussions of open minded nature (Chen & Tjosvold, 2006) and trust of the supervisors in their subordinates and also with organizational citizenship behavior (Wong et al., 2003)

Chen and Chiu (2008) carried out a research on the topic to investigate supervisor support and organizational citizenship Behavior. The findings of the study proposed certain new dimensions. These also concluded that supervisor support enhances the job satisfaction of employees working in the organization and person-organization fit. Another important variable in the organization setting is supervisor support for employees working in the organization. Griffin et al. (2001) executed a research study on different teams working in the organization with the intention to analyze the impact of supervisor support on the job satisfaction of the employees working the teams in the selected organizations with different hypothesis. Results of the study showed that supervisor support had a significant positive impact on the levels of job satisfaction among the employees studied.

Theoretical framework

The employees working in distance education happen to be separated by distance of more than hundreds of miles from one another. Many differences originate due to this distance between the members of the organization. A supervisor may belong to a different culture while the other employees being remotely supervised may belong to a different culture with different values. But working in the same organization, they need to interact and cooperate with each other in the best interest of the organization. Therefore, the supervisor support, the timely communication of organization policies and other information are very important and have an ultimate impact upon the job satisfaction of employees.

This study is based on Leader Member Exchange theory (LMX Theory) presented by (Graen, 1976). It simply states that when both the leaders as well as the followers have good terms or high quality exchanges (LMX relationships), in such situations, there would be feeling of mutual trust, they would feel better and accomplish more that would ultimately result in the enhanced performance of the unit or the organization as whole (Stringer, 2006). As discussed by other writers, this theory states that when the leaders and followers have good quality exchanges, then there would be trust, respect for each other as well as an obligation (Graen, 1976; Graen & Schliemann, 1978; Graen, Liden & Hoel, 1982; Graen, Novak & Sommerkamp, 1982) positive or good support, mutual bonds, open communication and distributed loyalty (Graen & Uhl Bien, 1995) and affection ( Liden, Wayne & Stilwell, 1993). Some other researchers have also associated enhanced LMX relationships to perceived organizational support (Wayne, Shore & Liden, 1997) as well as higher performance (Dunegan, Duchon & Uhl-Bien, 1992; Wayne et al., 1997).

Proposed Model

There are three independent variables used in this particular research study (figure 1). These include 1) Organizational communication, 2) Supervisor support and 3) Organizational culture. The dependent variable of the study is Job satisfaction of the employees working in the selected organization. The researcher in this study intends to execute the selected model with the variables in the online distance education institution of Pakistan. It proposes that all the selected independent variables affect the selected dependent variable directly and positively. This means that all the selected variables would have an impact upon the overall job satisfaction of the employees working in the selected online distance education institution where both the supervisor and the one being supervised are seated mostly miles away from each other.

Figure 1 

Schematic Diagram of the Proposed Research Model


  • To find the impact of organizational culture on the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.
  • To find the impact of organizational communications on the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.
  • To find the impact of supervisor support on the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.


This section deals with the details of all the statistical analysis of the data used in this particular research study to deduce the results. It explains certain items including the data preparation and execution, brief details about the demographics of the sample and also about the hypothesis testing. Hypothesis was tested using regression analysis. Reliability of the constructs was also conducted. Descriptive analysis of the variables in terms of means, standard deviation was also carried out.

Data regarding the entire Virtual University academic staff was obtained from the central online system available to the staff. The entire population comprised of 268 academic staff and their contact details including the e-mail address were also available to the researcher. Since the instrument for the data collection was served online through Google forms and the rate of response is also slow in the case of online survey, therefore the researcher adopted to send the link of online survey to the entire population. It was served to all the academic staff due to the small and accessible number of the entire population. For this purpose, the researcher administered and sent the link of the questionnaire (Appendix 1) to all the staff making use of Internet means to share the questionnaire with all the intended staff members. Out of total 268 questionnaires sent to the staff, 215 were returned and used for the data processing and analysis.

In order to enter and process the data in the computer and SPSS, the researcher coded the data. (Zikmund, 2008) mentioned that data is coded for the purpose that each answer may be identified and classified to some numerical score or any other character for the ease in data processing. Therefore demographic section of this study was coded too. The questionnaire designed for this purpose comprised of three questions regarding demographics. These were Age, Gender and Educational qualification. There were 137 males and 78 females and out of all these, 97 had Master’s degree, 113 had MS/M Phil degree while 5 had others degree. 80 of the respondents were less than 20 years of age, those under 30 were also 80, those under 40 were 106 and those under 50 were 46 and there were 3 members in the above 50 years of age group.

For this study, the designed questionnaires were circulated to the academic staff in the completely online distance learning institute of Pakistan. A total of 268 questionnaires were sent out of which, 215 were filled and returned and included the study for final data processing. Response rate of the survey was calculated to be 80.22%. The sample size was finalized as per the discussion in the methodology section. The demographic characteristics of the sample were Gender, Age and Education.

Exploratory Factor Analysis

For the confirmation of items used in the study, an EFA (Exploratory Factors Analysis) was carried out by the researcher for Organizational culture, Organizational Communications and Job Satisfaction. Since Supervisor support construct was adopted, hence no EFA for it. The researcher first used Principal component analysis to identify the main factors or the components of the organizational culture comprising a total of ten questions. The analysis revealed two main components. The “Eigen” values in the first phase showed that the first component explained 44.918 % variance while the second factor explained 11.694% variance. They were examined using “Varimax” rotations. After several steps, three questions were eliminated due to low communal value less than 0.4. The remaining ones were used in the final questionnaire.

The initial scale for organizational communications was comprised of ten questions. The principal component analysis revealed one main component. Items with communality value less than 0.50 were eliminated from the study. For the scale of Job satisfaction, Principal component analysis revealed that there was only one component. One of the Items “How likely are you to look for another job outside the company?” was eliminated for having value less than 0.5.

Reliability of questionnaire/Instrument

To check the reliability of the instrument adopted for this study (Appendix 1), Cronbach alpha measures were used to check the internal consistency of the measures (table 1).

Table 1

Reliability Statistics

Reliability Statistics (Cronbach’s Alpha)
Constructs Variable Type No of items
Organizational communication IV 0.886 8
Organizational culture IV 0.808 6
Supervisor support IV 0.885 7
Job Satisfaction DV 0.889 3

As table 1 shows, the reliability of all the four variables used in the study is considerable. The reliability of Organizational communication was 0.886 which is reported as good. In the same way, the reliability measure of Organizational culture was 0.808 which is also a good one. The reliability measure of the third variable Supervisor support was 0.885 which is also considered a good one like the others. The reliability measure of Job satisfaction was 0.889 which is also considered reliable.


Correlations Matrix

Correlations (table 2) reveal positive linear associations between the variables under study. It also depicts that there is significant positive correlation among all the variables of the study including the organizational culture, supervisor support, organizational communication and the job satisfaction of employees working in the organization.

Table 2


Organizational Culture Supervisor Support Organizational Communication Job Satisfaction
Job Satisfaction 1      
Organizational Culture .670** 1    
Organizational Communication .697** .722** 1  
Supervisor support .710** .726** .789** 1


. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).

Regression analysis, Beta Coefficients

Table 3 shows the regression beta values for the proposed model. It shows that beta values for all the variables are positive with 0.244 for organizational culture, 0.267 for supervisor support and 0.322 for organizational communications. The t values are also high mentioning significant relationship between the organizational culture, organizational communication, supervisor support and job satisfaction of employees (p<0.05). Hence all hypotheses H1, H2 and H3 are accepted.

Table 3

Coefficients and Beta values

Model Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized Coefficients t Sig.
B Std. Error Beta
1 (Constant) -.066 .211   -.313 .536
Organizational Culture .310 .088 .244 3.506 .001
Supervisor Support .328 .095 .267 3.433 .001
Organizational Communication .406 .099 .322 4.124 .000

Model Summary

The higher values of F=96.448 at (p<0.001) show that the proposed model is significant and therefore its regression values can be used for further analysis (table 4). Results obtained through correlations among the variables were further processed for regression through SPSS. Beta values for all the variables of the study were found to be positive and therefore significant as well. The value (r = 0.760) indicates that the selected independent variables have a positive relationship with the dependent variable of the study.

Table 4

Model Summary

Model R R Square Adjusted R Square Std. Error of the Estimate Change Statistics Durbin-Watson
R Square Change F Change Sig. F Change
1 .760a .548 .572 .65889 .578 96.448 .000 1.972

To address the issue of multicollinearity, VIF and tolerance values in SPSS were used (table 5). When a variable carries a VIF value larger than 10, it may call for more investigation. In this study there was no issue of multicollinearity as all the VIF values were less than 10 and tolerance level one. Also there was no issue of autocorrelation as “Darbin Watson” value in SPSS was 1.972 (Neter et al., 1996).

Table 5

Collinearity Statistics

Collinearity Statistics
Tolerance VIF
.414 2.416
.330 3.027
.327 3.057


  • Organizational culture positively affects the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.
  • Organizational communications positively affect the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.
  • Supervisor support positively affects the job satisfaction of employees working in the IT based distance learning institutions of Pakistan.


Lund (2003) studied the organizational culture and job satisfaction of employees and found a positive relationship between the two. In another research study by (Testa & Mueller, 2003) conducted to analyze the impact of cultural fit of and job satisfaction of the employees and showed that cultural fit positively affects the levels of job satisfaction of employees working in the services sector. There is a positive relationship between the organizational culture and job satisfaction of employees. Findings of the study in light of the data collected and processed support this claim that there is a positive relationship between the organizational culture and job satisfaction of employees working in the online distance learning Institutes. Empowerment and Teamwork is a very important part of this culture. There are multiple reasons for this, including that there are teams working within these organizations which are empowered to design activities from their own, the ideas that they present to the high ups in academic domain gets considered and followed by feedback as well. In virtual organizations, the load of work is many fold due to the mega enrollment of students in every course, this work load is divided and carried out by the teams established for this purpose. This accomplishment of job through teams adds to the job satisfaction of employees.

Another objective of the study was to analyze the impact of the organizational communication upon the job satisfaction of the employees working in the online distance learning institutes. (Giri & Kumar, 2009) carried out a study in India to analyze the impact of organizational communication on job satisfaction of employees and concluded that organizational communication has a positive impact on the job satisfaction of employees. The hypothesis tested for this purpose in the light of the data collected was supported in regression analysis. This is because of the reason that employees who are working away from each other when timely get the organizational policies or the working procedures well on time find it easy to get the assigned work done at time. Since employees remain connected all the time, the achievement of tasks gets easier as they discuss the procedures and later frequently discuss issues that may arise with other colleagues. It can also be because of the reason that there is an effective mechanism through which the employees can put their concerns to the management and also the policies that affect the employees in either case are communicated to the employees in a clear language.

The last objective of this study was to analyze the impact of the supervisor support on the job satisfaction of the employees working in the online distance learning institution. The hypothesis developed for this purpose was also supported by the regression analysis. This is in line with many researches in the past including Stringer (2006) and Yukl (1989). Superior subordinate relations and quality of information are very important components of organizational communication. The reasons responsible for this factor include that since the supervisor and the employees work away from each other, in such cases a supervisor extending cooperation and support to the employees working in remote locations enhances their satisfaction as it becomes and establishes an element of trust among them. Employees having support of the supervisor would get timely intimation of the organizational policies and also other areas of their domain such as applying for further education.


This research study was carried out with the intention to analyze the impact of organizational culture, organizational communication and the supervisor support on the levels of job satisfaction of employees working in the online distance education institutes of Pakistan. In doing so, it really made substantial contribution to the present literature on the selected proposed model with variables to be associated with job satisfaction not only in the context of distance learning education but also in the specific context of distance education in Pakistan where this concept is flourishing. Due to the flourishing or new concept of such type of organizations, there is really a need to carry out research on many issues related with these types of organizations including the job satisfaction of employees working in this sector. This study is the first of its kind here in Pakistan and elsewhere as well to have worked on the selected three independent variables, as mentioned above, and their impact on the job satisfaction as all the three really matter a lot in online sector where the supervisor and the one being supervised is seated miles away from each other. Virtual University of Pakistan is the only and purely distance learning institution of Pakistan and its members could be accessed easily. Therefore only one university and access to the members was the limitation of the study.


Dr. Saqib Yousaf, my supervisor at COMSATS Islamabad campus.


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Appendix 1. Survey Questionnaire

I am Student at COMSATS and carrying out a survey on Job satisfaction at Virtual Educational Institutes of Pakistan. Your cooperation in this regard is requested and information provided would be kept confidential.

Pleases tick the one [✓] that best suits you

1. Age ☐ 20 or less ☐ 21–30 ☐ 31–40 ☐ 41–50+
2. Gender ☐ Male ☐ Female
3. Education ☐ Masters ☐ M Phil/MS ☐ Higher

Please indicate the extent of your agreement with the following statement on a 5-point scale. (Please circle your answer)

1 2 3 4 5
Strongly Disagree Disagree Neither agree nor Disagree Agree Strongly Agree
Organizational Culture
OC1 Members of management work together effectively as a team 1 2 3 4 5
OC2 A major focus in this organization is on work team development 1 2 3 4 5
OC3 Management wants to know about my ideas and suggestions 1 2 3 4 5
OC4 Management encourages employees to be innovative and creative 1 2 3 4 5
OC5 I have reasonable opportunities to try my own ideas on the job 1 2 3 4 5
OC6 Employees of all cultures are made to feel welcome 1 2 3 4 5
OC7 Management is sensitive to the needs and concerns of women employees 1 2 3 4 5
Organizational Communications
CC! Your superior makes you feel that things you tell him/her are really important. 1 2 3 4 5
CC2 Your superior makes you feel free to talk with him/her. 1 2 3 4 5
CC3 Your superior has your best interests in mind when he/she talks to his/her boss. 1 2 3 4 5
CC4 Your superior listens to you when you tell him/her about things that are bothering you 1 2 3 4 5
CC5 People in this organization are encouraged to be really open and candid with each other. 1 2 3 4 5
CC6 You are kept informed about how well organizational goals and objectives are being met. 1 2 3 4 5
CC7 You can communicate job frustrations to your superior 1 2 3 4 5
CC8 You are notified in advances of changes that affect your job. 1 2 3 4 5
CC9 Your job requirements are specified in clear languages. 1 2 3 4 5
CC10 You are satisfied with explanations you get from top management about why things are done as they are. 1 2 3 4 5
Job Satisfaction
JS1 Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job? 1 2 3 4 5
JS2 Over all, I am satisfied with my Job 1 2 3 4 5
JS3 To what extent do you agree with the following statement: I would you recommend this company as a good place to work to others? 1 2 3 4 5
Supervisor Support
Do you know where you stand with your leader…do you usually know how satisfied your leader is with what you do?
Fairly often
Very often
How well does your leader understand your job problems and needs?
Not a bit
A little
A fair
Quite a bit
A great deal
How well does your leader recognize your potential?
Not at all
A little
Regardless of how much formal authority he or she has built into his or her position, what are the chances that your leader would use his or her power to help you solve problems in your work?
Very high
Again, regardless of the amount of formal authority your leader has, what are the chances that he or she would “bail you out” at his or her expense?
Very high
I have enough confidence in my leader that I would defend and justify his or her decision if he or she were not present to do so.
Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
How would you characterize your working relationship with your leader?
Worse than average
Better than Average
Extremely effective
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