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Empirical data indicate that global measures of job satisfaction are not equivalent to the sum of the facet satisfactions. The purposes of this study were to explore the usefulness of single-item global measures of job satisfaction for job satisfaction research and also to explore whether global assessments of job satisfaction include consideration of variables typically not measured by job satisfaction instruments. Subjects are 185 employees working within two research and development units of two multinational corporations. The short-form Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire was used to obtain the sum of the facet satisfactions. Two single-item global questions of overall satisfaction were also used. One required a yes-no response and the second, a 1–5 rating response. Information about perceived determinants of job satisfaction, overall satisfaction with the job, satisfaction with occupational choice, career progress, and overall satisfaction with non-job related events was obtained through semi-structured interviews. Results indicate that defining overall job satisfaction as the sum of the evaluations of the discrete elements of which the job is composed, may lead to neglect of major determinants of job satisfaction. The “whole” appears to be more complex than the sum of the presently measured parts. Results also suggest that the 1–5 global rating of overall job satisfaction may be a more inclusive measure of overall job satisfaction than summation of many facet responses.