Changing Levels of Job Satisfaction among Local Environmental Enforcement Officials in China

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

View graph of relations


  • Bo Wen
  • Shui-Yan Tang
  • Carlos Wing-Hung Lo

Related Research Unit(s)


Original languageEnglish
Journal / PublicationChina Quarterly
Publication statusOnline published - 2 Sep 2019


As a result of multiple waves of administrative reforms in the past three decades, China's civil service has become more professionalized. Yet public employees appear to have become increasingly dissatisfied in recent years. Based on questionnaire surveys and interviews with environmental enforcement officials in a southern city, this paper traces changes in the job satisfaction levels of these officials between 2000 and 2014. It shows that satisfaction with the extrinsic rewards received and overall job satisfaction declined during this period. These downward trends partly reflected the increasingly challenging institutional environments faced by the officials: rising political and societal demands, inadequate fiscal and personnel resources, and limited enforcement authority. In addition, as the officials became more highly educated and professionalized, mission match became a stronger antecedent of job satisfaction. These findings suggest the importance of meeting the motivational needs of a more professionalized workforce.

Research Area(s)

  • civil service reform, environmental enforcement officials, extrinsic rewards, job satisfaction, mission match, workforce professionalism