quality of working life

Also found in: Acronyms.

quality of working life (QWL)

an approach to organizational and work design which advocates the merit of considering the well-being of employees, their participation in work-related decisions, and, relatedly organizational effectiveness. The term originated in the US in the 1960s, but the underlying theoretical impetus derives from earlier European SOCIOTECHNICAL SYSTEMS writings and experiments, and QWL programmes have occurred in various countries. The QWL movement has been concerned with employee health, safety and job satisfaction, and has been associated with attempts to develop techniques and methods for improving the experience of work. These include JOB REDESIGN, autonomous work groups, and labour-management committees (Huse and Cummings, 1985). Critics of such programmes suggest that managers are the main beneficiaries. Autonomous work groups, it is argued, help to resolve management problems of control which typically arise from a Taylorian approach to work design (see SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT), and do so in ways which involve insignificant adjustment to managerial prerogative. Moreover, traditional work design is seen to be less suited to conditions of tight labour markets and turbulent environments. This kind of reasoning underpins some of the more critical assessments of QWL programmes, the popularity of which appears to have waned since the 1970s (Hill, 1981). Such views have to be placed alongside those of theorists and practitioners who suggest that employees also derive considerable benefits from participation in the redesign of work (Mumford, 1980).
References in periodicals archive ?
Scholars like Mirvis and Lawler [1984] highlighted the fact that Quality of working life was related to satisfaction with wages, hours and working conditions, describing the "basic elements of a good quality of work life" as well as safe working environment, equitable wages, equal employment opportunities and opportunities for advancement.
Quality of working life in international perspective.
The expression quality of working life (QWL) was probably coined originally at the first international conference on QWL at Arden House in 1972 (Davis and Cherns 1975).
Job quality is an inherent component of the quality of working life and hence an issue of growing significance in contemporary labour markets.
HUDDERSFIELD University has been ranked the best in the country by academic staff for the quality of working life.
The report, called the Quality of Working Life has been issued in support of the TUC's Work Your Proper Hours campaign.
Raising the "participation in education" age to 18 (announced in last year's Queen's speech) will help, but training for all young workers, including supporting more through apprenticeships, will help to improve the quality of working life, too.
The Quality of Working Life report also found a high rate of sickness and absence levels in organisations exhibiting such styles.
The Quality of Working Life report reveals 25% of managers in the North East believe their health is deteriorating.

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