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Research Project
Job Satisfaction of U.S. Commercial Drivers

The driver turnover rate of 100 percent common in the truckload segment of the trucking industry is extremely high in an absolute sense and especially high when compared with other industries. Turnover results in additional training costs, safety problems, lost business, increased insurance rates, idle equipment, and a host of other business problems. Turnover is related to overall job attitude; therefore this study looks at factors contributing to job satisfaction and dissatisfaction. Herzberg's "Two-Factor Theory of Job Satisfaction," an industrial psychology theory of motivation in the work place, provided the basis for this study.

This study was designed primarily around company drivers as a similar study also conducted at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute by the same authors focused strictly on owner-operators. A total of 13 truckload firms throughout the nation participated in the study. Results are based on responses to a 20-page questionnaire by 3,174 company drivers who drove for the participating firms. Although not random, the sample was intended to be representative of the truckload industry. A similar questionnaire was used to survey truckload carrier managers to find out their perceptions of drivers' attitudes.

Specific findings of the study covered several aspects of the driver's job including the work itself, the working environment, integration into the company, training to be a professional, communication with the company, job expectations, and career advancement. These findings, combined with the analysis of the managers' perceptions of the drivers' opinions, point to the conclusion that the industry is underutilizing its largest and most important resource--drivers. A variety of reasons were cited for disillusionment with the industry and any plan developed by individual trucking firms to retain drivers must be comprehensive and long-range.

It is believed that management can use the information provided in this study to improve the job satisfaction of their drivers and, in turn, reduce turnover.

Final Report

Date: June 1992
Authors: Gene Griffin, Julie Rodriguez, and Brenda Lantz
Completed Report: DP-90

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050