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Human Resources Management - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

Quality of Work Life (QWL) - Employees’ Morale And Motivation

   Posted On :  13.06.2018 11:10 pm

QWL refers to a favourable work situation which emphasizes on the strengthening of relationship, sensitivity, comforts and concern for one another among employees of an organization.

Quality of Work Life (QWL)

QWL refers to a favourable work situation which emphasizes on the strengthening of relationship, sensitivity, comforts and concern for one another among employees of an organization. QWL is defined as a process of work organizations which enables its members at all levels to actively participate in shaping the organization, its environments, methods and outcomes. Enhanced effectiveness of organization is assessed in terms of greater financial strength of an organization, the strength of its internal systems and the satisfaction of its various stakeholders. QWL and organizational effectiveness are considered to be twin goals of an organization.

Evolution of QWL: Studies related to QWL started in the 1950’s and evolved through different stages. Eric Trist and his collaborators from Tavistok Institute, London is pointed as the precursors to research on Quality of Working Life. In that decade, they had initiated a series of studies that gave origin to a social-technique approach related to work organization. There was a concern with worker satisfaction and welfare. However, only in the 1960’s the movement was developed. There was a consciousness about the importance of trying better ways to organize the work, with the objective of minimizing negative effects of jobs over the worker. The first movement phase was extended until 1974 – in the USA - when there was an interest fall by QWL in function of economic questions - energy crisis and increasing inflation. The survival needs of companies made employees’ interests move away from QWL.

After 1979 the concern with QWL resurged mainly because of the loss of American industries’ competitiveness before their Japanese competitors. This loss of competitiveness led to the inquiry of the management styles practiced in other countries and to relate the programs of productivity to the efforts with the improvement of the QWL. The term QWL contemplates aspects analyzed previously as motivation, satisfaction, work conditions, styles of leadership, amongst others. Related to these aspects, the stack of factors that constitute in positive and negatives points of the work is ample. There are concepts diversifications about QWL. Reviewing a conceptual panorama over QWL, it is found to refer to the favourableness or otherwise of a job environment for people. The basic purpose is to develop jobs that are excellent for people as well as for production. QWL is a process by which an organization attempts to unlock the creative potential of its people by involving them in decisions affecting their work and personal lives.

Analyzing the conceptualizations of the main authors who investigated the theme, it is possible to identify three main groups that had developed common basic points in its statements of QWL. The common conceptions were:

1. Emphasis on well-being and worker satisfaction, concomitant with the concern with the productivity increase, effectiveness and the organizational effectiveness

2. Valuation of workers’ participation in decision making process, at work and questions related to the reformulation of positions

3. Emphasis on humanist perspective to think on the people, their work and the organization.

QWL is also referred to as an important Organization Development (OD) intervention technique to be used along with other techniques like team building, process consultation and role analysis technique. QWL as an OD technique is designed to improve organizational functioning by helping to humanizing the workplace, making it more democratic and involving employees in making decisions affecting them. The conditions that contribute to motivation such as equitable salaries, activities such as job enrichment and job rotation would also contribute QWL. Thus, QWL clearly exhibits features that have also been associated with the very basic objectives of Human Resources Management, Employee Relations and Labour Welfare.

Jurisdiction of QWL initiatives includes task-related issues, management-employee communication, team working, work restructuring, redesigning of compensation and benefits, and workers’ active participation in management. The underlying importance of QWL of human capital, lies in the fact that most people who work for a living are spending a significant amount of their waking hours at the workplace executing the requirements, duties and functions of their job and that their satisfactions and dissatisfactions at workplace are carried over to home as well. By improving the QWL, the workers feel better about themselves when they are working in a plant.

In the middle phases of the QWL debate in the 1970s, the idea was put forth that greater individual control over work, through genuine participatory decision making, would have positive outcomes for employees and employers alike. By the early 1980s, such advocates of worker involvement and labor-management cooperation identified increased participation with workplace empowerment. In the past, management assumed an attitude of passivity when solving their subordinates’ problems. But when employees are encouraged to solve their own problems using the managers as resources, a sea change is certainly at hand. On the employee side, the act of taking on power and responsibility is equally momentous”

QWL is a term that has been used liberally over the years, to describe everything from flexi time to self-directed work teams. QWL is designed in many organizations to be joint union-management programs to improve organizational effectiveness and productivity as well as working conditions. A network of labour-management committees, ably led by a steering committee, usually guides these efforts. QWL programs in these firms are wider in scope than Quality Circles and they often involve redesigning or “broad-banding” jobs and/or changing the work processes. The aim of the programs is workplace wellness among employees, organizational health and stability, and high performance work organizations.

Introduction of the principles of QWL in many organizations have resulted in efforts towards humanizing the workplace by improving the cleanliness of the environment, betterment of lighting, temperature, ventilation, control of noise and dust and the use of the knowledge of ergonomics in designing tools, machines and furniture used during work. In effect, QWL resulted in the prevention, control and alleviation of occupational diseases, accidents, grievances, unrest and mal-adaptive behavior of workers which included alcohol and substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, gambling, indebtedness and various forms of criminal behavior.

QWL initiatives may also be linked with collective bargaining issues and thus provide for the involvement of employee unions in its steps. In many cases, QWL initiatives have met with considerable opposition from workers and their unions because of the perception that QWL is a means of marginalizing the union’s role with its emphasis on individual motivation, problem solving and informal systems of participation. This is contrast to the traditional focus of industrial relations on the management of effort-reward bargain through formal rules and written down promises to provide better living and working conditions.

QWL is determined by the presence of the following features that represent the principles of security, equity, individualization, cohesiveness and democratic participation by employees in their organization’s management. QWL might mean different elements to people of different age groups, occupations, regions, cultures, nationalities, genders, educational qualifications and income levels, in organizations. Therefore different people might consider one or more of the following conditions to be more important than the others, in determining QWL of human resources:

Adequate and fair compensation: Wages, Salaries, incentives, bonus, social security and perquisites should be designed in such a manner to be adequate for all the employees to meet the needs of socially determined standards of living and in order to ensure a just balance between effort and rewards.

Safe and healthy working conditions: Including hours of work and rest pauses, freedom from occupational hazards, accidents, negative stress, life-threatening conditions and other factors detrimental to the well-being of employees

Opportunities at the workplace to use different capacities: Using one’s creativity and innovation, use of multiple skills and talents, encouragement to pursue education and professional development.

Opportunities to learn, to grow and feel secured at the jobs: Possibilities  of  self-improvement  and  career  advancement, provision of autonomy, appreciation of efforts and results, knowledge of the whole tasks and inclusion in decision making stages of the work process concerning the whole organization.

Social integration in terms of a community: This comprises of interpersonal openness and egalitarianism; Feeling the warmth of companionship, mutual respect, tolerance and camaraderie and being united; Being free from prejudices on the ground of gender, language, nationality or economic class.

Rule of Law at work place: Principles of natural justice and equity, equality, safeguards to personal freedom and reasonable protection from violations of rights and respect of privacy with regard to an employees’ off-the-job behavior.
Work - Life Balance: This aspect includes consideration for employees’ personal and family life, resulting in the upholding of reasonable restrictions upon schedule of work hours and travel requirements, overtime requirements, leisure and recreation, savings for the future, practicing one’s faith etc.
Social Relevance of work: Work should be recognized for its contributions to the well being of the society. Employees do not like to be mere cogs within wheels and be paper-pushers. They are inspired by a sense of mission inherent in their work.

QWL is not based on a particular theory and it does not advocate any particular technique for application. Instead, QWL is more concerned with the overall climate of work, the impact of work on people as well as organizational effectiveness. It is based upon the idea of Quality of life, which is a culture attribute that reflects the emphasis placed upon relationship and concern for others. An organization could be considered effective only if the QWL features are satisfactory according to the employees. The more an enterprise is committed to the assurance of QWL, the more it will encourage open competition among all candidates for management positions, so that managers with adequate abilities alone would be placed in any position.

QWL is sometimes equated to the socio-technical approach to job design, aimed at harmonizing the personal, social and technological functioning of employees. This formula of QWL has emerged to become an internationally renowned effort to bring about increased labour management co-operation to jointly solve the problem of improving organizational performance and ‘motivation and satisfaction’ of employees. There are many other approaches to QWL such as self-management teams, leadership, communication, organizational design, organizational change & development and organizational culture.

The basic tenets of QWL are universally applicable. However, customizing QWL for a pluralistic organizational set up would require addressing to local situations and cultural conditions. Thus, adapting QWL to organizational level would be the first step towards enhancing the usefulness of the process. Integrating QWL with other OD interventions and using them in combination, would heighten the outcomes, besides sustaining the benefits over a longer period of time. Subjecting the QWL practices to periodic documentation and a stringent monitoring and auditing process would help in bringing about a rigor and seriousness in their implementation.

Tags : Human Resources Management - Employees’ Morale And Motivation
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