Quality of Working Life and Related Concepts:  Job Satisfaction,  Workplace Stress and Quality of Life

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Quality of Working Life and related concepts: job satisfaction, workplace stress and quality of life Whilst there has, for many years, been much research into job satisfaction,[1] and, more recently, an interest has arisen into the broader concepts of stress and subjective well-being,[2] the precise nature of the relationship between these concepts has still been little explored. Stress at work is often considered in isolation, wherein it is assessed on the basis that attention to an individual’s stress management skills or the sources of stress will prove to provide a good enough basis for effective intervention. Alternatively, job satisfaction may be assessed, so that action can be taken which will enhance an individual’s performance. Somewhere in all this, there is often an awareness of the greater context, whereupon the home-work context is considered, for example, and other factors, such as an individual’s personal characteristics, and the broader economic or cultural climate, might be seen as relevant. In this context, subjective well-being is seen as drawing upon both work and non-work aspects of life. However, more complex models of an individual’s experience in the workplace often appear to be set aside in an endeavour to simplify the process of trying to measuring “stress” or some similarly apparently discrete entity. It may be, however, that the consideration of the bigger, more complex picture is essential, if targeted, effective action is to be taken to address quality of working life or any of its sub-components in such a way as to produce real benefits, be they for the individual or the organisation. Quality of working life has been differentiated from the broader concept of quality of life. To some degree, this may be overly simplistic, as Elizur and Shye,(1990)[3] concluded that quality of work performance is affected by quality of life as well as quality of working life. However, it will be argued here that the specific attention to work-related aspects of quality of life is valid. Whilst quality of life has been more widely studied[4], quality of working life, remains relatively unexplored and unexplained. A review of the literature reveals relatively little on quality of working life. Where quality of working life has been explored, writers differ in their views on its core constituents. It is argued that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts as regards quality of working life, and, therefore, the failure to attend to the bigger picture may lead to the failure of interventions which tackle only one aspect. A clearer understanding of the inter-relationship of the various facets of quality of working life offers the opportunity for improved analysis of cause and effect in the workplace. This consideration of quality of working Life as the greater context for various factors in the workplace, such as job satisfaction and stress, may offer opportunity for more cost-effective interventions in the workplace. The effective targeting of stress reduction, for example, may otherwise prove a hopeless task for employers pressured to take action to meet governmental requirements. -------------------------------------------------

[edit]Models and components of quality of working life
Various authors and researchers have proposed models of quality of working life which include a wide range of factors. Selected models are reviewed below. Hackman and Oldham (1976)[5] drew attention to what they described as psychological growth needs as relevant to the consideration of Quality of working life. Several such needs were identified : * Skill variety,

* Task Identity,
* Task significance,
* Autonomy and
* Feedback.
They suggested that such needs have to be addressed if employees are to experience high quality of working life. In contrast to such theory based models, Taylor (1979)[6] more pragmatically identified the essential components of...
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