Here is a term paper on the ‘Quality of Work Life’. Find paragraphs, long and short term papers on the ‘Quality of Work Life’ especially written for school and college students.
Term Paper on Work Life
Term Paper Contents:
- Term Paper on the Introduction to Work Life
- Term Paper on the Humanization of Work
- Term Paper on Job Enrichment
- Term Paper on Job Rotation
- Term Paper on the Benefits and Difficulties of QWL
- Term Paper on the Strategies for Improving QWL
Term Paper # 1. Introduction to Work Life:
The term ‘Quality of Work Life’ refers to the favorableness or un-favorableness of a total job environment for people. The basic purpose is to develop job and working conditions that are excellent for people as well as for the economic health of the organization.
A Quality of Work Life program includes items such as open communication, equitable reward systems, a concern for employee job security and satisfying careers, and participation in decision making. Early QWL efforts focused on job environment, later programs emphasized development of employee skills, reduction of occupational stress, and the development of more cooperative labor-management relations.
Term Paper # 2. Humanization of Work:
The terms ‘humanization of work’, ‘quality of work life’ ‘industrial democracy’ and ‘participative work’ are synonymously used for the same concept. The center of these concepts is the value of treating the employee as a human being and emphasizing his development and involvement in work decisions. The Quality of Work Life seeks to provide a more humanized work environment. It strives to serve not only the basic needs of workers but also their higher order needs. QWL attempts to use the higher skills of workers and create an environment that induces them to enhance their skills. It emphasizes the development of human resources of the organization and not simply uses them.
The QWL program emphasizes on the reduction of excessively negative conditions and workers’ undue stress so that humanness is not threatened. It should increase workers’ abilities so that they are able to play their different roles in society better. Work environment should be able to make effective contribution to general social advancement.
Herrick and Macoby identified four basic principles that attempt to humanize the work.
These principles are as follows:
The principle of equity needs that there is a just way of evaluating the conditions of an employee. If work has to be humanized, equity also requires sharing in the profits of the organization according to the individual contribution.
2. The Principle of Security:
Humanization of work implies freedom from anxiety, fear and loss of employment. The working conditions should be safe and there should be no fear of economic loss. This will ensure utmost development of skills and ideas.
The principle of individuation refers to the work environment in which employees are encouraged to develop themselves to their fullest potential, a system of work which facilitates the fullest possible development of individual potential. This requires the availability of freedom and autonomy in deciding their own pace of activity and design of operations.
4. The Principle of Democracy:
Democracy implies greater authority and responsibility vested into the workforce. Increasing controls, over-supervision and high degree of institutionalization inhibit humanization of work. Participation in decision-making also guarantees the ‘right to citizenship.
Some thinkers say betterment in working conditions would lead to better quality of work life, while other regard a fair compensation and job security to be better quality of life.
Walton describes eight principles that constitute the quality of work life:
i. Adequate and fair compensation;
ii. Safe and healthy working conditions;
iii. Immediate opportunity to use and develop human capacities;
iv. Opportunity for continued growth and security;
v. Social integration in the work organization;
vi. Governance in the work organization;
vii. Work and the total life span;
viii. The social relevance of work life.
Lehrer describes QWL as a process of labor-management collaboration. The joint activities to improve the QWL are frequently based on assumptions that workers should have greater participation in decisions which influence them at the work place. It is desirable and sufficient goal by itself particularly with union-management joint efforts. Performance and productivity are secondary and are assumed to take care of themselves once the QWL issues are adequately dealt with.
In a summarized form, QWL is related to:
(a) Job satisfaction, humanizing work or individualizing the organization;
(b) Organizational development programs.
There are two types of determinants of the QWL:
(a) Those which influence the importance of a particular need to an individual, and
(b) Those which satisfy or frustrate that need.
Thus QWL is determined by the interaction of personal and situational factors. It implies that the basic strategy for improving the QWL is first to identify and then try to satisfy people’s important needs through their experience in their work environments. It involves both personal and external aspects of work-related rewards, work experiences and work-environment.
Term Paper # 3. Job Enrichment:
The efforts to change the scope of people’s jobs in trying to motivate them created an interest in the quality of work life. Job scope has two dimensions- breadth and depth. Job breadth is the number of different tasks an individual is directly responsible for ranging from one task performed repetitively to several tasks. Employees with narrow job breadth are given a wider variety of duties in order to reduce their monotony, this process is called job enlargement.
These additional tasks require less time to perform. Another way to enlarge job breadth is job rotation which involves periodic assignment of an employee to diverse sorts of job activities. Job rotation is an effective approach to develop multiple skills in employees which benefits the organization while creating greater job interest for the employee.
The approach to add additional motivators to a job to make it more rewarding is known as job enrichment. This approach is based on Frederick Herzberg’s studies indicating that the most effective way to motivate workers was by focusing on higher- order needs.
Job enrichment seeks to add depth to a job by giving workers more control, responsibility, and discretion over how their job is performed. The difference between job enlargement and job enrichment is obvious. While job enrichment focuses on satisfying higher-order needs, job enlargement focuses on adding additional tasks to the worker’s job for greater variety. We can blend the two approaches together by expanding the number of tasks and adding more motivators for a two-pronged attempt to improve quality of work life.
Advantages of Job Enrichment:
1. It enriches the role of an individual that encourages growth and self- actualization.
2. The job is designed in such a way that encourages intrinsic motivation.
3. Increased motivation improves performance by providing both a more human and a more productive job.
4. Reduces negative effects such as labor turnover, absenteeism, grievances and reduces idle time.
5. Society benefits from the more effectively functioning person as well as from better job performance.
Thus job enrichment occurs when the work adds more challenge, achievement, opportunity for growth, responsibility and provides feedback, and recognition. However, employees themselves are the best judge to decide the factors that enrich their jobs. Management can just collect the information about the factors that tend to enrich job, bring about those factors in the job system, and then find out whether employees feel that their jobs are enriched.
Management, therefore, must give equal attention to the motivational factors as well as maintenance factors. While increasing the motivational factors, maintenance factors need either to be kept constant or higher. In case maintenance factors are not paid adequate attention and there is a decline in them, the employees will not response positively to the enrichment program because inadequate maintenance factors cause distraction.
Core Dimensions of Job Enrichment:
Hackman and Oldham have developed a job characteristics approach to enrichment. This approach identifies five core dimensions of job enrichment.
These five dimensions are:
1. Skill Variety
2. Task Identity
3. Task Significance
In an ideal sense, a job might have all five dimensions to be fully enriched. If one of the dimensions is absent, workers are psychologically deprived and motivation may be reduced. These core dimensions influence an employee’s psychological state that tends to improve performance, satisfaction and quality of work and reduces turnover and absenteeism. Their effect on quality of work is less dependable. Many managerial and white-collar jobs, as well as blue-collar jobs, often do not possess in some core dimensions.
Different employees react to these core dimensions differently, the typical employee find them to be basic for internal motivation:
1. Skill Variety:
Skill variety permits employees to perform different operations that often require different skills. Jobs that are perceived high in variety are seen by employees as more challenging because of the range of skills involved and relieve monotony that develops from any repetitive activity. Variety gives employees a greater sense of competence, because they can perform different kinds of work in different ways.
2. Task Identity:
Task identity allows employees to perform a complete piece of the work. When tasks are broadened to produce a whole product, then task identity has been established.
3. Task Significance:
Task significance refers to the amount of impact, as the worker perceives, that the work has on other people. The impact can be on others in the work organization, as when the worker performs a key step in the work process, or on those outside the firm. Task significance denotes that workers should believe they are doing something important in their organization and/or society.-
Job autonomy gives employees some discretion and control over job-related decisions. Job autonomy seems to be fundamental in building a sense of responsibility in workers. Although they are willing to work within the broad constraints of an organization, they also insist on a degree of freedom. MBO is one way of establishing more autonomy because it provides a greater role for workers in establishing their own goals and pursuing plans to achieve them.
Feedback refers to information that tells workers how well they are performing. Feedback can directly come from the job itself or management and other employees can give it. The concept of feedback is of much significance to people at work. Since they are spending a substantial part of their lives in their work, they wish to know how well they are performing. The feedback also enables employees to adjust their performance, if there are any deviations. Workers must receive complete job feedback, both positive and negative. If they received only negative feedback, it may be de-motivating.
Term Paper # 4. Job Rotation:
Job rotation can be either horizontal or vertical. Vertical rotation is nothing more than promoting a worker into a new position. Job rotation represents an excellent method for broadening the manager and for turning specialists into generalists. In addition to increasing the employee’s experience and allowing him to absorb new information, it can reduce boredom and stimulate the development of new ideas.
Job rotation offers a potential for dealing with the problem of general worker dissatisfaction caused by over-structuring. It allows the employees to diversify their activities and offset the occurrence of boredom. Job rotation can renew enthusiasm for learning and motivate workers to higher performance. This is particularly useful to ‘plateau employees as it provides them an opportunity to prove themselves.
Term Paper # 5. Benefits and Difficulties of QWL:
In general, the benefits of the QWL include:
i. Healthier, satisfied and productive employees;
ii. Efficient, adaptive and profitable organizations
iii. More positive feelings towards one’s self (greater self-esteem);
iv. More positive feelings towards one’s job (improved job satisfaction and involvement).
v. More positive feelings towards the organization (stronger commitment to the organization’s goals);
vi. Improved physical and psychological health;
vii. Greater growth and development of the individual as a person and as a productive member of the organization;
viii. Decreased absenteeism and turnover and fewer accidents;
ix. Higher quality and quantity of output of goods and services.
Despite many advantages QWL programs also face several difficulties:
i. Both union and management open themselves to substantial risks.
ii. The union may perceive joint activities as a means by which it intends to ‘do them in’.
iii. The management may perceive joint activities as an intention of diluting its ability to manage and a means by which the union will acquire more power.
iv. The middle management may find it difficult to believe the benefits of QWL and may perceive that the management is ‘becoming soft and giving in to union dominance’.
Whether initiated at the instance of the management or the union, or a third party, QWL programs have been successful in varied settings and a number of ways. Lehrer depicts certain conditions that help over the difficulties of QWL programs.
These conditions are as follows:
i. Acknowledgement by both parties of ‘mutuality of concerns’ and specific identification of these concerns;
ii. An understanding that joint activities will, in fact, be joint and supportive of the continuing integrity of both parties.
iii. Acceptance of QWL concepts as the norm by the top management, by union leadership and by middle management and supervision;
iv. An administrative structure to provide guidance for the QWL project activities;
v. An established charter for the QWL committee and project activities, specifying ground- rules, responsibilities, authorities, etc.
vi. A clear-cut understanding that joint ownership of the entire QWL is a reality and open acknowledgement of what each party expects to receive as benefit;
vii. A mechanism for involvement; handling substantive issues; worthwhile participation in personal terms and in influencing affairs of the organization and a provision for knowledge and skills to deal with such problems effectively.
Term Paper # 6. Strategies for Improving QWL:
QWL is the shared responsibility, not only of the management and workers but also of the union leaders, government officials and behavioral scientists. Hackman and Suttle outline six strategies which can be used for improving QWL in organizations.
These strategies include:
1. The Development of Careers and Career Paths,
2. Work Design,
3. Organizational Reward Systems,
4. Design and Maintenance of Group and Inter-Group Relationships,
5. Managerial Practices, and
6. Internal and External Strategies for Change.
1. Career and Career Paths:
Career refers to a sequence of positions occupied by an individual during the course of a lifetime. Exploration, establishment, mid-career, and later career are the four stages in an individual’s career. From the management’s point of view, the process of development of careers and career paths forms a means to improve, or at least, sustain employees’ productivity and prepare them for changing work situations in the organizational setting.
It involves issues like career counseling, charting career paths, career information systems, human resource planning, periodic skill assessment, training and help for disadvantaged groups. Three conditions are needed for effective performance of activities concerning to development of career paths of employees in organizations.
i. Coordination of these activities with other activities in HR management;
ii. Active involvement of line supervisors in designing and implementing them;
iii. Provision for equal access to the benefit of all employees.
2. Work Design:
Work design influences employee satisfaction, motivation and productivity. In order to improve quality of work life, work design must consider factors that moderate employees’ reactions to their work. These factors relate to individual differences and inter-personal and organizational factors.
As there is no universally good work design, there are varied job- design options to improve QWL. Depending upon situational requirements, management may choose the relevant strategies for specific design alternatives.
Whatever work design options management uses, the following strategies for planned personal and organizational change seem to be relevant for effective introduction of QWL through work redesign in organizational settings:
i. Diffusing knowledge about work-redesign theory and practice
ii. Disseminating work-redesign innovations;
iii. Paying more attention to the jobs of first level managers;
iv. Paying more attention to the role of unions in work-redesign efforts.
3. Organizational Reward Systems:
The reward systems motivate employees in organizations. Workers do what they do to satisfy their needs. Before doing anything, they look for the reward in terms of salary increases, benefits, desirable job assignments etc. which organizations control. These organizational rewards may be direct or indirect, financial or non-financial and distributed on individual or group basis. Whatever the type of rewards, they influence every other aspect of the organization and must be used as an integral part of any program of organization change.
4. Design and Maintenance of Group and Inter-Group Relationships:
There exists group dynamics in formal and informal situations. In conjunction with different characteristics of intra-group behavior there are systematic characteristics of inter-group relationships in organizations. There arises a complex set of behaviors, emotions, attitudes and beliefs when groups tend to have interdependent relationships. As a strategy to improve QWL, efforts may be made to take into account the dynamics of intra-group and inter- group relations in designing and maintaining them in organizations.
Different behavioral science interventions can be applied to reduce the destructive effects of inter-groups conflict and improve QWL. Such interventions aim to increase communications and interactions between work-related groups, reduce the amount of dysfunctional competition and replace a parochial, independent point of view with an awareness of the necessity for interdependence of action calling on the best efforts of these groups.
5. Managerial Practices:
The prevailing management practices in an organization influence the quality of work life in it. Specifically, the role of supervision and management is of utmost significance in improving the QWL. The supervisor influences employees’ productive behavior through his treatment of the individuals and his influence on the design of jobs and the management influences through the reward systems and the development of team work.
6. Internal and External Strategies for Change:
A set of internal and external strategies is used to introduce five strategies aimed at improvement of QWL in an organization. Before sticking to this set of strategies, there is need to make a number of choices between centralized-de- centralized strategies, power-based and collaborative strategies, fast and slow-paced strategies, and individual and structure oriented strategies. Often, three general strategies are used to introduce QWL programs.
i. Strategies arising internally in the organization, such as OD, or management and union strategies;
ii. Strategies originating with political and special interest groups, such as community action approaches,
iii. Societal level strategies, such as use of legislation involving integration of internal and external programs.