Quality of work life (QWL) aims at integrating the socio- psychological needs of people in the organization. The unique requirements of a particular technology, the structure and processes with the overall of the organization and the existing socio- cultural milieu. It is, thus, concerned with the over all climate of the work. Quality of work life is concerned with impact of work on people as well as on organization effectiveness, and the idea of participation in organizational problem solving and decision making. The degrees to members of a work organization are able to satisfy important personal needs though their experience in the organization.
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The basic purpose of improving QWL is to change the climate at work so that human- technological – organizational interface leads to a better quality of work life. Quality of work life deals with various aspects of work environment, which facilitates the human resource development efficiently. Thus, quality of work life includes and motivates the employees. Its role were a sense of frustration because of low level of wages, poor working conditions, unfavorable terms of employment, inter personal conflicts, role conflicts, job pressures, lack of freedom in work , absence of challenging work , etc. Quality of work life is individual’s reaction to work or the personal consequences of the work experience. A multifaceted concept where the work environment is meaningful to employees. Components include autonomy, recognition, belonging, progress, development and external rewards. A work norm in modern industry indicates 1. Employees role in the industry is different from his role in the family. 2. Superior knows the best and he has the right to impose on the sub – ordinates. 3. Rules are for employees and they have to follow them. 4. Employees have the right to lay-off their workers due to marketing and technology factors. FACTORS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF WORK LIFE:
There are numbers of factors involved in individual factors, job factors, and organizational factors. The characteristics of these to job satisfaction and family to job performance and productivity. FACTORS IN QWL AND THEIR IMPACT
| Individual factors |
| Ability |
| Work force |
| Need of job |
| Job factors |
| Nature of job |
| Compensation factors |
| Participation |
| Communication |
| Support |
| Job involvement |
| Sense of competence |
| Job satisfaction |
| Performance productivity |
An individual in the organization wants to satisfy his needs while working for it. Depending on the nature of the individual, he may want equitable financial package employment benefits, job security and interesting work, involvement in decision making, process affecting him and his work, and getting proper feed back about his performance. If these factors are favourable, the individual will feel job involvement and sense of competence, consequently job satisfaction and contribute positively with the support of organisational facilities. Therefore, in improving QWL, all these factors have to be taken into account. FLEXIBILITY IN WORK SCHEDULE
Employees want flexibility in work schedule. There may be three aspects of flexibility – a system of flexible working hours. Staggered working hours – different time intervals for beginning and end of working hours. To the extent, this flexibility is proved in the work system. It becomes more
motivating to the employees. AUTONOMOUS WORK GROUP
Creation of autonomous work group helps in creating positive feelings among employees. They may be given freedom to choose their own teams. There should be freedom of decision making regarding the choice of methods for work, distribution of tasks among group members, and designing of work schedules. JOB ENRICHMENT
Job enrichment attempts to design a job in such a way it becomes more interesting and challenging. The degree of job enrichment determines the degree of QWL. OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH
An employee, particularly the achievement – oriented one, seeks growth through this work. If the work provides him opportunity for personal growth, it will develop his personality. He will feel committed to the job and the organization. PARTICIPATION
Participation in decision making, particularly on the matters directly concerned with an individual’s working. It has an important bearing on his satisfaction and performance. Higher degree of participation increases the QWL and overall organizational climate.
To make QWL sound, effective two – way communication is necessary. Through the downward communication, employees would receive information about the various aspects of the organization, particularly that which concern them, instructions about job performance.
EFFECTS OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE
QWL affects job involvement, sense of competence, job satisfaction and job performance of favorable QWL which implies its fact below.
Job Involvement indicates the extent of people’s identification wit or ego investment in the job. Job involved people spend more time on job and turn better performance. Challenging jobs which have skill variety influence
employees to get involved in their jobs. Similarly, people with high need for achievement and high ethic feel involved in jobs.
SENSE OF COMPETENCE
Sense of competence denotes the feelings of confidence that one has in one’s competence, job design affects the Sense of competence. By engaging in a work that calls for a variety of skills, abilities and talents, individuals gain mastery over their work environment. As they engage themselves more and more in work activities, they acquire a great Sense of competence and experience and higher level of job involvement. JOB SATISFACTION
Job satisfaction is a set of favorable or unfavorable feelings with which view their jobs, more specifically the nature of jobs they do the quality of supervision they receive, co- workers pay and perks and promotional avenues. Job satisfaction affects job performance, employee turn over and absenteeism. JOB PERFORMANCE AND PRODUCTIVITY
Job involvement, job satisfaction, sense of competence affects job performance and productivity of employees. When the level of job performance and factors are job involvement, job satisfaction and sense of competence is high. Since there is congruence between the employee and the job, there is high level of performance. PRINCIPLES OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE
Principle of Security
Quality of work life cannot be improved until employees are relieved of the anxiety fear and loss of future employment. The working conditions must be safe and fear of economic want should be eliminated. Job security and safety against occupational hazards are an essential precondition of humanization of work. Principle of Equity
There should be a direct and positive relation between effort and reward. All types of discrimination between people doing similar work and with same level of performance must be eliminated. Equity also requires sharing the profits of the organization.
Principle of Individualism
Employees differ in terms of their attitudes skill potential. Therefore every individual should be provided the opportunity for development of his personality and potential. Humanization of work requires that employees are allowed to decide their work pace of activity and design of work operations. Principle of Democracy
This means greater authority and responsibility to employees. Meaningful participation in the decision making process improves the quality of work life. BENEFITS OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE In general, the benefits of quality of work life include healthier, satisfied and productive employees and efficient, adaptive and profitable organizations. Specifically, the benefits are ➢ More positive feelings towards one’s self esteem. ➢ More positive feeling towards one’s job.
➢ More positive feelings towards the organization. ➢ Improved physical and psychological health.
➢ Greater growth and development of the individual as a person and as a productive member of the organization. ➢ Decreased absenteeism and turnover.
➢ Higher quality and quantity of output of goods and services. In conjunction with the above benefits, when undertaken jointly by union and management, collaborative quality of work life programmes lead to improved labour-management communication, more effective and smoother contract negotiations, improved pay and benefits, more effective union organisations. To cite and example, the century brass company was plagued with worsening quality problems, declining productivity and union unrest. It is believed that the implementation of the quality of work life project has built an attitude of mutual trust in the company. Consequently, managers and workers are sitting down with each other as equals and looking for solutions which serve everybody’s interests.
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Overall quality of work life involves interaction of the individual and the organisation to satisfy each others needs and expectations. Quality of work life improvements may also facilitate such social goals as greater economic prosperity or political stability. They may also provide remedies to such social evils like mental health problems, unemployment, drug and alcohol-addition, among workers and their families. Lastly, quality of work life improvement is also desirable from the perspective of humanitarian values. MEASUREMENT OF QUALITY OF WORK LIFE
It represents the degree of an individual’s identification with or ego involvement in the job. The more central the job is to individual’s life, the greater is his involvement in it. Therefore the individual spends more time and energy on the job. People with high job involvement are better and more productive. Research reveals that skills variety achievement and challenges help to improve job involvement. Job satisfaction
It implies the workers satisfaction with the environment of his job environment consisting of nature of work; quality of supervision, pay, co-workers and opportunities for promotion etc. job satisfaction is related to job.
Sense of competence
It refers to the feelings of confidence that an individual has in his own acceptance. Sense of competence and job involvement reinforce each other. An individual acquires a greater sense of competence as he engages himself more and more in work activities when he feels more competent becomes more involved in his job and becomes better motivated. When both sense of competence and job involvement are high, the level of satisfaction also increases. The inter – relationship between job characteristics, job satisfaction, sense of competence and motivation. Job performance
When an individual’s job involvement, job satisfaction and sense of competence increase, there is a rise in job performance. Productivity When the level of job performance increases the output per unit of input goes up. These match between job characteristics and productivity traits of employees generally result in higher productivity. Various criteria are evolving in past two decades to measure quality of work life. Various researchers who carried on studies in this area came up with various criteria which are not entirely different from each other as cited earlier, through many criteria evolved. Walton’s eight factors are considered as most comprehensive criteria for measurement of quality of work life. Adequate and fair compensation
In spite of the importance gained by the other factors during last two decades, compensation plays a grater role in employee’s satisfaction. Especially in a country like India where the employee welfare programs take back seat, compensation is the main source of satisfaction of the employee.
Compensation package includes all other fringe benefits and social welfare programs. Fringe benefits give employee a feeling of gaining something extra. Recently, the concept fringe benefits and social security measures are gaining importance in Indian industrial scene. Free transportation at minimum cost, hospital facility, group insurance programmes, retirement benefits are some of the important welfare measures. What is adequate and fair is another question for discussion. What is adequate at one place may not be the same in another. Organisations at rural, semi rural-urban regions can satisfy their employees with comparatively lower levels of compensation than their urban- based counterparts. The urban-based organisations usually compensate the extra cost of living, through higher dearness allowances, keeping the basic pay same. Safe and healthy working conditions
Physical working conditions are the second important aspects in measuring quality of work life as Walton has rightly categorized. Employees who spend a lot of time at their workplace consider the physical working conditions as important factor. Especially chemical industries, engineering industries, fertilizers industries etc. make the management to take extra care to protect its employees. But most of such industries are covered by factories act, which prescribes normal and conditions to be adopted in such industries to protect the employees.
But apart from above mentioned industries, others also have to take steps to maintain proper physical condition. Proper seating arrangements, water facility, fresh air and sanitary conditions are important to the employees who engage themselves in deskwork. Absence of such good conditions may result in ailment like back pain and rumatic pains which in turn frustrates the employees who may develop stress. Physical conditions at work places, which is the second home for employees is thus an important factor in measuring quality of work life. Opportunity to develop human capacities
An employee is most satisfied, given an oppurtunity to use and develop his capacities. According to Maslow, people want to satisfy their higher order needs. More regultions and control mechanism by the management may dissatisfy the employees. This was the reason why Taylor was criticised. An employee, provided optimum degree of freedom in work could improve him on the job, which gives immense satisfaction. Periodic discussions with the employees, calling for suggestions, and framing work groups like quality circles help employee in improving capabilities on job. Proper training through various methods not only at the beginning, but from time to time also helps an employee to improve his capabilities, which in turn satisfy him. Opportunity for career growth
The employees seek career growth more and more recently. Job security ceased to satisfy the employees. Employee tends to drift from job, which does not promise career growth. More and more organisations are helping employees in this direction by helping them draw their career paths. The organizations have a counselor for this purpose, which helps the employees. Not only drawing career paths, but the organization also helps employer achieve next position through training. Organization chart is so prepared to accommodate employees in next higher position. Interval promoting system is gaining importance. The employee is prepared to take up a higher position where there is a possibility. Prolonged employment in the same position may cause employee to develop stress. Care is taken to chart proper career charts for employees at some level so as a balance of human resource in the organization is maintained. Social Integration in the Work Force
According to Walton, a satisfying identification and self-esteem are influenced by give characteristics of the work place. Freedom from prejudice, egalitarianism and upward mobility are the steps to be necessary taken by the management whereas supportive work groups and committees of feeling and interpersonal openness are the result of effort from both the management and workers. An organization can possess supportive work group and interpersonal openness. In other words, industrial democracy through establishing works committees. Another step in this direction could be setting up to joint management councils. These were first set up by industrial Disputes act 1947, in 1958. Constitutitonlism
Bias on part of management, lack of privacy, improper process of discipline etc., tamper the constitutionalism of an organization. The constitutionalism can be considered as hygiene factor I. e., though it may not satisfy or motivate the employees considerably. The absence of it is definitely felt employees and may have adverse effects. Though employees consider work place is their second home the y may not want to disclose or discuss their private lives at work place. As such management should take steps to maintain its employee’s privacy, unless he himself come out with his problems, where the management can offers some counseling or any other help. So as in case of bias, it is most dissatisfying to an employee to find out that his colleague is being treated differently from him, which will have an adverse effect on hiss quality of work life. Work and Quality of life
The very purpose of work being at work place is his work. As such work itself is of great importance. Satisfactory work can influence the employee’s quality of work life immensely. A challenging work, which utilizes the capabilities of employees’ plays important role in quality of work life. Right person for right job is the motto gaining importance. Social Relevance of work
The employees feel a need to relate their work socially. For example, those in service-oriented organizations who directly relate their jobs socially and can join immediate recognition in a group are most satisfied. If his organization is attached /criticized by the government or public on any aspect, the employ develop stress and is frustrated. As such social relevance of the work of each employee is very in measuring his quality of work life. APPROACHES TO QUALITY OF WORK LIFE