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).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
Job satisfaction and quality of working life: A reassessment.
Validity and reliability of the quality of working life questionnaire designed by Van Lar were confirmed by ShabaniNejad et al (24).
The Quality of Working Life report also indicates that Britain's long-hours culture is not down to over-bearing bosses.
Law firm Eversheds has been invited to take part in a national inquiry set up by the Work Foundation - formerly the Industrial Society - to explore how the quality of working life and productivity in the UK can be improved.
Since work and career are typically pursued within the framework of social organizations, the nature of personal relationships becomes another important dimension of the quality of working life. Whether the worker has a satisfying identity and experiences self-esteem will be influenced by the attributes in the climate of his work place such as freedom from prejudice, egalitarianism, mobility, supportive primary groups, community, and interpersonal openness.
ERIC Descriptors: Teacher Attitudes; Beginning Teachers; Teacher Persistence; Beginning Teacher Induction; Participant Satisfaction; Teaching Experience; Quality of Working Life; Teacher Surveys; National Surveys; Program Effectiveness; Schematic Studies; Work Attitudes
Our job is to improve the quality of working life, and with long hours, stress, over-work, bullying, low productivity, unfair pay and dead-end, low-skill jobs rife, this job is important as ever.'
Mrs Hewitt welcomed an announcement by the Work Foundation of a panel to explore how the quality of working life and productivity can be improved.
The study found that 80% of the students improved the structure of their networks and the way they communicated, as well as contributing to positive socioeconomic benefits in the areas of education and learning, employment and the quality of working life, and access to goods and services.
Stephen Bevan, deputy director of research at the Work Foundation, which aims to improve the quality of working life in Britain, said, ``The figures show that corporate ethics are an important determinant of employee loyalty.

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