Free Essay

Quality of Work Life

In: Business and Management

Submitted By monikaminocha
Words 7435
Pages 30
Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, Vol. 14 (1) 81–95 (2004)
© 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/hfm.10053

Improving Performance and Quality of Working
Life: A Model for Organizational Health
Assessment in Emerging Enterprises
Christin Shoaf
Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Program, University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, OH 45221, U.S.A.
Ash Genaidy
Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Program, University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, OH 45221, U.S.A.
Waldemar Karwowski*
Center for Industrial Ergonomics, Department of Industrial Engineering,
University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, U.S.A.
Samuel H. Huang
Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering Program, University of Cincinnati,
Cincinnati, OH 45221, U.S.A.
ABSTRACT
The organization of work has been addressed through numerous perspectives by a diverse set of disciplines. While job stress research has focused on the promotion of worker well-being, contemporary business-improvement initiatives (e.g., lean manufacturing, six sigma) have sought to optimize effectiveness through work processes. However, these two aims, although traditionally viewed as contradictory, are actually interdependent variables in the determination of long-term profitability. The concept of organizational health blends the pursuit of individual wellness with organizational effectiveness to yield a strategy for economic resilience. This article introduces a novel model for organizational health assessment using a systemic approach that addresses work factors at the individual, job, process, and organizational levels. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

1.

INTRODUCTION

Corporate financial success and a healthful organizational environment have been long viewed as juxtaposed concepts. The conventional paradigm dictates that if resources are devoted to worker well-being, fewer resources will be available to contribute to corporate profit. At the managerial level, work and health are often interpreted as a choice between productive work practices and those practices which are safe and healthy (Cox & Cox,
1993). However, statistics reveal the cost burden that the lack of worker health imposes on the United States economy. Evanoff & Rosenstock (1994) reported that estimates of
*Correspondence should be sent to: Waldemar Karwowski, Center for Industrial Ergonomics, Department of
Industrial Engineering, Lutz Hall, Room 445, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292. E-mail: karwowski@louisville.edu 81

82

SHOAF ET AL.

the annual direct and indirect medical costs associated with occupational stress in the
United States have ranged from $80 billion to $150 billion. These estimates do not include the additional costs incurred from lost productivity.
Furthermore, research in recent years has begun to recognize the significant role of employee health in the performance of the organization as a whole (e.g., Lindstrom, Schrey,
Ahonen, & Kaleva, 2000; Sauter, Lim, & Murphy, 1996; Sauter, 2002; Zink, 2002). Sauter et al. (1996) acknowledged that organizational performance and worker well-being are mutually reinforcing and introduced a model developed by the National Institute of
Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for use in their investigation of “healthy” work organizations. Zink (2002) asserted that human resources are the most relevant enabler of success of a company. Rapid changes in the organization of work due to the indoctrination of work improvement efforts in corporate cultures (e.g., lean manufacturing, six sigma), together with the new demographics of the American work population (e.g., increasing numbers of women, minorities, and aging workers) have far outpaced the knowledge regarding the implications of these changes on the quality of working life (Sauter, 2002).
As such, this area has been established as one of the 21 priority research items under the
National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA).
While the physical and mental demands form the job content of the overall work-system model, the organizational environment together with the physical environment form the context in which work tasks are executed (Shoaf, Genaidy, & Shell, 1998). However, an organizational environment model which aims to optimize work outcomes (i.e., productivity, quality) while seeking to optimize the quality of life of the work-system participants has received little attention in the scientific research arena (Genaidy, Karwowski, & Christensen, 1999; Karwowski et al., 1994). Furthermore, the set of parameters, which constitute the organizational environment as well as the concepts underlying a model’s development, have been the subject of vigorous debate and terminological confusion.
The objective of this article was to develop a model for organizational health assessment to address the subsystems of factors, which interact to form the culture (the shared meanings and values) and climate (the work practices) within the totality of the work environment. Preliminary evidence suggests both positive and negative effects of changing organizational practices on the safety and health of workers (Berg, 1999; Jackson &
Mullarkey, 2000; Smith, 1997). As a result of these conflicting findings, NIOSH suggests that an important focus of research should be the clarification of circumstances (for whom and under what conditions) in which these practices protect or increase the risk of harm to workers (Sauter, 2002).
To address this need, a model of the organizational work system, these factors and their interrelationships must be developed. Although several recent efforts have documented correlations between various work factors and individual /organizational well-being measures (e.g., Lim & Murphy, 1999; Lindstrom et al., 2000; Sauter et al., 1996), a comprehensive organizational-systems model from which to empirically define pathways to promote health is required. This article aims to fill this need. However, prior to describing the Organizational Health Model, the evolution of the organizational health concept will be reviewed.
2.

EVOLUTION OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL HEALTH CONSTRUCT

In the many years American businesses enjoyed in the absence of global competition, a healthy corporation was simply a by-product of an environment with a lack of obvious

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

83

physical or chemical hazards. The Occupational Health and Safety Act, effective in 1971, was enacted to ensure safe and healthful working conditions. As a result, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes and monitors compliance to safety and health standards. In the occupational-health perspective at this time, a healthful organization constituted one that did not violate the enacted standards.
The roots of the organizational health concept in the United States began in the 1960s, presented through the humanistic researchers’ concerns regarding how employees were treated in the work organization (Argyris, 1958, 1964; Herzberg, Mausner, & Snyderman, 1959; Maslow, 1965; McGregor, 1960; Porter & Lawler, 1967; Vroom, 1964). Their work linked job content to individual well-being in the context of the effective organization. Argyris (1958, 1964) questioned the ability of an organization to meet the needs of its employees while remaining competitive. McGregor’s (1960) descriptions of Theory X
(authoritarian management) and Theory Y (democratic management) asserted that the role of the organizational environment is critical in determining effectiveness as well as utilizing worker potential. Herzberg et al. (1959), Maslow (1965), Porter and Lawler (1968), and Vroom (1964) explored the interactions between individual motivation and performance. These theories formed the basis for numerous intervention efforts aimed at improving various aspects of organizational health.
What is organizational health? In the aftermath of several popular corporate improvement programs such as the total quality management (TQM) and downsizing, the term
“organizational health” has emerged in both the occupational health and mainstream business literature (Cox & Howarth, 1990; Jaffe, 1995; Rosen, 1991; Sauter et al., 1996;
Williams, 1994), heralding a blending of the traditionally paradoxical values of productivity versus health and safety. Effectiveness, a universal organizational goal, can be regarded as a composite of the following factors: product quality, customer service, flexibility, initiative taken by employees, and capacity to meet deadlines (Gardell, 1987).
Jaffe (1995) characterized organizational health as implying an expanded notion of organizational effectiveness. He offered a contextual definition of organizational health stating that a company can be healthy for (a) its own livelihood by growing and being efficient, adaptable, and coherent; (b) stockholders by increasing the value of stock; (c) employees, offering a healthy work environment as well as meeting their highest growth needs for meaning and participation; (d) suppliers and customers by offering good products and services; and (e) the community by assuming concern for its viability as well as for the environment. Jaffe added that the needs of all the benefactors of organizational health must be balanced to ensure success. Rosen (1991) described a healthy company as one that holds a core set of humanistic values: commitment to self-knowledge and development, firm belief in decency, respect for individual differences, spirit of partnership, high priority for health and well-being, appreciation for flexibility and resilience, and passion for products and process.
Although these descriptions provide an ideology for and list of benefactors of organizational health, they fail to define the components of an organization that interact to create its level of well-being. Williams (1994) cited the four elements of organizational health as environmental factors, physical health, mental (psychological) health, and social health; the details of interventions describe a holistic approach to employee health. Yet, he myopically equated the health of the employee to the health of the organization. To effectively assess organizational conditions for healthy work, other aspects of the work system—physical job demands, mental job demands, and physical environment demands as well as individual characteristics—must be considered simultaneously.

84

SHOAF ET AL.

However, little research has been devoted directly to the concept of organizational health, especially in the United States. In the strictest sense, most work-improvement efforts are only tangentially related to the organizational health construct in that the majority of these approaches are aimed primarily at optimizing performance (improving effectiveness) rather than the quality of work life for all participants. Conversely, job-stress research has considered individual and job characteristics as they relate to individual measures of health
(e.g., physical symptoms) (Sauter, 2002).
Overall, previous efforts to address human effectiveness in conjunction with consideration for worker well-being can be classified into three categories according to the variable identified for intervention: the individual, the job, and the organizational framework.
Notably absent from this classification is the process-based orientation. Numerous contemporary work-improvement efforts, such as statistical process control, lean manufacturing, reengineering, and six sigma, regard the optimization of the process as paramount.
However, these methods, focused on the pursuit of effectiveness, have failed to consider the effects of process improvements on the quality of working life for work participants.
Figure 1 depicts the relationship between the individual, job, and organizational orientations that guide the pursuit of organizational health. Work improvement strategies can be classified according to these three orientations. Although no organizational health interventions can be classified as process-based, this category is included in the model for completeness. In this model, strategy boundaries are diffuse due to the likely overlap between classifications. The large circle (organization) circumscribes the smaller circles
(individual, job, and process), as the intervention in the larger circle is broader in scope and therefore affects the intervention in the smaller circle. For example, organizational interventions such as restructuring a manufacturing area into an autonomous work group can alter both the scope of a job as well as the individual’s role. Table 1 provides a review of the classification of orientations.
The orientation of the United States’ research on workplace health has been overwhelmingly individual-focused, not surprisingly congruent to its cultural ideology. This orientation implicitly assumes that the aggregation of individual physically and psychologically healthy workers equals a healthy company. The majority of empirical research advancing the development of organizational health concepts in the United States has primarily resulted as an outgrowth of job stress studies. Overall, these studies have focused on individual health as affected by workplace demands. Historically, in the occupational stress research tradition, wellness strategies were exclusively aimed at the individual’s physical

Figure 1

Orientations of organizational health.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

TABLE 1.

85

Review of Approaches to Organizational Health

Variable
Individual

Form of Intervention

Reference

Health promotion

Matteson & Ivancevich (1988)
Murphy (1988)

Significance of leader

Schein (1985)
Covey (1990)
Bennis & Townsend (1995)

Job

Job redesign
(including enrichment, enlargement, rotation)

Herzberg et al. (1959)
Maslow (1965)
Porter & Lawler (1968)
Hackman & Lawler (1971)
Hackman & Oldham (1975)
Griffin (1982)

Organization

Autonomous groups

Trist & Bamforth (1951)
Gardell (1981)
Gardell (1982)
Sandberg (1982)

and mental health. Consequently, the most common interventions recommend development of individual coping strategies such as stress-management training and employeeassistance programs (Murphy, 1988). Common elements of workplace health promotion include smoking cessation, hypertension screening and control, stress management, nutrition and weight control, exercise and fitness, and drug and alcohol programs (Matteson
& Ivancevich, 1988). However, wellness promoting strategies also must refer to the improvement of intrinsic job factors and therefore serve a dual purpose of attempting to better work life on both the individual as well as organizational planes.
Wellness-promotion strategies seek to bolster individual and organizational resilience by increasing inherent capability. On the individual level, capability may be developed through the practice of conflict-resolution skills or support networks. On the organizational level, work may be designed such that self-determination, social interaction, and professional responsibility are central concepts (Gardell, 1987). Lindstrom (1994) cited job characteristic criteria as well as strategies for good work organization, such as mastery of work, management of change processes, support of employees by occupational health services, and emphasis on career stage and future perspectives. Inclusion of wellnesspromoting strategies must emphasize the prerequisite for active job content and worksetting design in creating a robust organization. In this manner, the traditional paradigm of healthy work as that in which stress and harm are absent is expanded.
Another individual-based orientation emphasizes the leader’s importance in the formation of a healthy company (Bennis & Townsend, 1995; Covey, 1990; Schein, 1985).
This perspective largely attributes the creation and existence of an organization to its founders or leaders. Thus, the leader’s personal characteristics and management style are viewed as the primary catalysts for organizational well-being. Gardell (1987) cautioned against focusing preventative strategies primarily on the individual as this emphasis translates a larger organizational problem into a private one.
Job redesign also has been used as a means for improving health. Job characteristics that support healthful work conditions are defined, and then the job is modified to possess

86

SHOAF ET AL.

these characteristics. Generally, the job is considered as an independent entity, in isolation from the organizational context. In this perspective, the job is used as the medium thorough which to affect individual motivation. For example, Hackman and Lawler (1971) defined five job characteristics for meaningful work: skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy, and feedback. The Job Diagnostic Survey (JDS; Hackman &
Oldham, 1975) was developed to assess jobs based on the five aforementioned job characteristics. The job characteristics defined by Hackman and Lawler (1971) provided a set of variables that could be manipulated to increase job meaning and therefore worker motivation.
Job enrichment adds complexity often by allowing greater worker autonomy. Techniques such as job enlargement (expanding the scope of the job by adding more task variety) and job rotation (alternating task assignments) are additional examples of job-based interventions (Griffin, 1982). Job-based approaches use task redesign as the means to affect individual worker satisfaction (see Figure 1). Critics of this orientation argue that these efforts may not succeed as psychological differences between individuals are not addressed (Hulin, 1971).
Efforts focused primarily on the improvement of work life through organizational variables began in Scandinavia around the mid-1960s, and soon thereafter social science research and health research united in the investigation to improve quality of work life
(Lindstrom, 1994). The orientation in Scandinavian countries as well as Finland has tended to focus more on the resources and structure of the work environment itself rather than the individual worker or job process. In the organizational orientation, interventions such as the establishment of autonomous production groups are used to incorporate considerations of job demands, individuals’ self-determination, resources (technical, organizational, social, personal), and autonomy. Collective control allows groups to create their own distinctive adaptive strategies. The importance of these efforts to improve quality of work life has been further emphasized in the Swedish Work Environment Act, effective since 1977, which states that “jobs shall be designed so that the employees themselves can influence their work situation” and “working conditions shall be adapted to the mental and physical capacity of human beings.”
Organization-based interventions (Gardell, 1981, 1982; Sandberg, 1982) redesign the
“job” by changing its overall structure within the context of the work organization. In their terminology, “job redesign” has been enlarged to “work reform.” Conceptually, this approach emerged from sociotechnical design theory (Trist & Bamforth, 1951), which advocates that work should be organized in groups that have control over decision making and are responsible for a complete work cycle. To encourage autonomy and social support, interdependent autonomous work groups were implemented, therefore magnifying the individual’s role within the context of the work environment. Several advantages of autonomous work groups are cited in Gardell (1981):

• Within a group setting, the individual can expand his or her possibilities for attaining some amount of freedom and competence at work;
• the possibilities for learning, variation, and all-around use of human resources will be improved;
• the individual and the group will be able to achieve wider control over the work system and work methods; and
• human contact and solidarity between people will be more likely.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

87

Karasek and Theorell (1990) later formulated a model using three factors to characterize work: job demands, job control, and social support. They concluded that high-demand– low-control jobs resulted in higher incidence of health problems than jobs that are high demand–high control, thus validating Gardell’s (1982) previous experiments on workplace autonomy and participation on which his interventions were based. Critics of the sociotechnical approach argue that this orientation does not go far enough to affect organizational change in that it does not address the employees’ beliefs regarding organizational goals, priorities, and behaviors, except in regard to job content and social relationships
(Schneider, Brief, & Guzzo, 1996).
Recent efforts to describe the environment for organizational health suggest debate among research communities over the emphasis of worker or process, and individual level factors versus structural, organizational level factors. Lindstrom (1994), of the Finnish
Institute of Occupational Health, cites job characteristics such as optimal quantitative and qualitative workload, opportunities for control at work, clarified work balanced by other roles, and supportive social interactions as the psychosocial criteria for good work organization, and also cites organizational strategies to support these criteria. Sauter et al.
(1996), of NIOSH, presented a model which wholly ignores job-level factors (e.g., workload, autonomy, role stress) and shifted all emphasis to “macro-organizational” characteristics (e.g., climate, values).
Lack of attention to all four variables (individual, job, process, and organization) in intervention strategies can result in a failure to improve the level of work performance as well as quality of work life. Cox and Cox (1993) explained that health problems may arise because jobs, technology, and work environments have not been systematically designed with workers in mind due to management practices, organizational culture, or failure to develop workers’ knowledge skills and attitudes. For example, extended work hours due to staff reductions may increase the risk of physical injury. Frankenhauser (1991) recommended that individual-oriented programs need to be supplemented by organizationwide changes that may involve altering the conditions under which people work, the tasks they perform, and the rewards they obtain. Gardell (1987) concluded that “preventative psychosocial work” must proceed on both the individual as well as the organizational planes. This strategy, calling for the collaboration of orientations, marks the starting point for the organizational model’s development.
3.

ORGANIZATIONAL HEALTH MODEL DEVELOPMENT

With the recent emergence of the concept of organizational health, researchers have acknowledged the significance of the role of worker well-being in the establishment of a healthy as well as effective workplace. Several areas of study have fed the idea’s germination, notably the humanistic organizational research and the job-stress research traditions. However, the concept suffers from the lack of a holistic approach on two levels.
First, current descriptions of organizational health must be enlarged to include all components of the work system (e.g., physical, mental, organizational, environmental) as well as their interactions. Second, although some researchers (Elo, 1986; Cox & Cox, 1993;
Lindstrom, 1994) identified criteria for good work organization, this work has not yet been integrated within a systemic framework that lends itself to practical industrial application. Analogous to biological health, the determination of healthy work is based on a system of interrelated components functioning together, seeking balance. To assess organizational health, the resulting work-system equilibrium must be quantified.

88

SHOAF ET AL.

Figure 2 depicts the Human–Organizational Health Model, which describes the relationships between elements of the organizational environment. The company’s values and organizational goals drive the establishment of work practices and policies. Processes dictate the job content, that is, the mental, physical, and environmental demands on the worker. Resources act to encourage worker well-being (e.g., meaningful job characteristics, mentoring, training, advancement opportunities) act to offset the negative effects of the demands on workers (e.g., fatigue, boredom) and consequently, simultaneously encourage successful achievement of organizational goals. A methodology for achieving balance among the key elements of the work system is detailed in Genaidy, Karwowski, and Shoaf (2002). The interrelationships between work-system components ultimately determine the state of the organization’s health. Culture is the premise upon which the climate, the everyday operations, is based. These daily practices (climate), in turn, affect the culture. The model is predicated upon the occurrence of two outcomes: effectiveness in achieving the desired goal and the wellness as described by the quality of work life of the members. Therefore, the definition of organizational health blends the historically paradoxical objectives of optimizing performance and overall well-being. This section details the model’s components and explains their interrelationships.
3.1. Culture
References to organizational culture abound in both scholarly and mainstream literature.
Culture can be casually defined as “how things are done around here” (Martin, 1982).
Organizational culture is a relatively new area of study that has experienced recent popularity through business self-help books (Collins & Porras, 1994; Deal & Kennedy, 1982;
Peters & Waterman, 1982), which target work culture as a variable for manipulation in the pursuit of effectiveness. Much academic work has been devoted to the definition and description of the concept; however, little effort has focused on the empirical study of culture in the contemporary work organization. Although comprehensive book-length explications of the concept have been accomplished (Schein, 1985, 1992; Trice & Beyer,
1993), there has been little research on methodology for practical application or reported experience substantiating the theoretical views in industry. The concept of organizational culture has suffered from the lack of a focus, causing theoretical efforts to remain inaccessible to the industrial work environment.

Figure 2

Organizational health work system model.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

89

The problem of defining organizational culture is based on the fact that the concept of the organization is itself ambiguous (Schein, 1992). The many definitions of culture are divergent in scope, overlap with other concepts (notably, climate), and sometimes contradict other definitions; however, most include reference to both beliefs (values) and actions (behavior). However, to evaluate the complex interrelationships of the work system, the interactions that form the context through which individuals interpret their experiences must be evaluated. Culture constitutes a significant variable in the model of organizational life. For the purposes of this study, culture will be defined as the shared values (what is important) and beliefs (the why behind what happens) which guide the behavior of its members.
Values are common to nearly all of the varied definitions in the culture literature (Denison, 1996; Schein, 1992). Values central to an organization’s being can be revealed in two ways. First, they may be enacted as ideologies represented in the way business is conducted. Second, central values may be espoused through formal means of communication (i.e., written company literature, speeches). If values are enacted without being stated, they must be deciphered by organization’s members. Therefore, espoused values provide a clearer declaration. When well defined and continually expressed, central values serve as the precepts which structure behavior.
Many researchers (Deal & Kennedy, 1982; Peters & Waterman, 1982) have fallen victim to the trap of advocating a prescribed set of values as a recipe for corporate success.
Many mainstream business books, although written from the perspective of the corporate environment, tend to offer generic “quick fixes,” often proposing that their exists a model culture for effectiveness and suggesting that any organization’s current culture is malleable enough to achieve the prescribed ideal. Furthermore, these mainstream writings generally lack scientific credibility in that they are based on anecdotal evidence, use a relatively small sample size, and ignore psychometric issues such as data reliability and validity.
However, while convenient to assume, central values, like personal values, cannot be dictated or imposed. Central values result from the genesis of a company’s history, emerging from the organization’s leaders and members. As the company grows, articulation of the central values is essential for reinforcement in incumbent members and instilling in new members. Collins and Porras (1994) reported that visionary companies usually possess between three and six central values. Some examples of well-known, visionary companies and their central values are: Wal-Mart–customer service, Procter and Gamble– product quality and honest business, and Hewlett-Packard–respect and concern for the individual (Collins & Porras, 1994).
The work culture is further shaped by an organization’s goals. Organizational goals are the specific actions the company strives to accomplish. Consequently, they function as the impetus for the company’s strategic plans. To be authentic and deserving of full commitment from the organization’s members, organizational goals should reinforce the central values held. For example, General Electric’s goal of training every employee in six sigma methodology and basing promotional consideration on the completion of training reflects their espoused high regard for quality (Henderson & Evans, 2000). Goals that conflict with an organization’s central values are likely to result in dissent among its members, therefore hindering the potential for achievement.
Organizational goals in conjunction with central values constitute the organization’s strategic intent. The attainment of the strategic intent, while influenced by many factors
(i.e., resources, market, competition), is initially fueled by its clear communication and strength of the bond between the central values and organizational goals. These elements

90

SHOAF ET AL.

describe the medium of culture that influences the constitution of the climate. For organizational goals to be realized, effective work processes must be designed and maintained. Processes, in turn, must be enacted by individuals who perform various jobs in support of the process goals. Figure 3 illustrates how the four orientations (i.e., individual, job, process, and organizational) influence organizational health.
3.2. Climate
Organizational climate, colloquially defined as “the way things are done around here”
(Schneider & Gunnarson, 1991), is a multidimensional concept which has experienced a long, prolific history in the research literature. Although more advanced a concept than organizational culture in terms of practical application and empirical inquiry, organizational climate also has been subject to controversy regarding its definition and has assumed varying levels of focus in terms of the content it includes. Organizational climate, a concept indigenous to the field of organizational psychology, has functioned as an instrument for quantifying environmental influences on individual motivation, satisfaction, and workplace behavior through the summary of perceptions.
From the beginning of the concept’s explication, data collection and empirical analysis have been key components of the majority of studies. The breadth of the organizational climate topic results in a limitless set of elements that constitute the work environment.
Thus, organizational climate as a general concept for study can include a myriad of potential dimensions for assessment. As a result, content critical for assessment may be ignored or the list of dimensions may grow so large that assessment is impossible. Schneider
(1990) noted that the representation of climate as an abstract construct lacks a strategic focus. Climate without reference to a specific outcome (i.e., safety, quality, creativity)

Figure 3

Organizational health across four orientations.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

91

has no content boundaries as well as no definitive purpose for assessment and therefore lacks practical utility. Thus, it is essential to assess climate within the context of organizational, process, individual, and job goals.
In recent years, numerous researchers have directed their efforts toward developing assessments to measure climates for a specific type of environment. Several studies have demonstrated the utility of this focus through industrial application. Zohar (1980) tested an assessment measure of a safety climate. Other measures available for the assessment of a specific climate or work outcome include conflict resolution (Renwick, 1975), motivation (Litwin & Stringer, 1968) and leadership (Fleishman, 1953), job satisfaction
(Guion, 1973; Pritchard & Karasick, 1973), and organizational performance (Lawler, Hall,
& Oldham, 1974).
As the purpose of this article was to develop a model for the assessment of organizational health, a practical and clear definition is needed which recognizes all variables in the determination of organizational climate. Therefore, the definition presented by Schneider and Gunnarson (1991) stating that organizational climate refers to “the themes that employees believe describe their organization based on the practices, procedures and rewarded behaviors that employees see happening to them as well as around them” will be used in this article.
For the purpose of work-system assessment, climate is more fully characterized by inclusion of job demands and resources. Job demands encompass the physical and mental task requirements as well as environmental conditions the worker may be exposed to
(e.g., noise, vibration). Resources are factors in the work climate that act to encourage the worker to achieve job goals and job satisfaction. In the work system, resources may be individual based (e.g., smoking-cessation programs), job based (e.g., expansion of task content), process based (e.g., improved work techniques), or organization based (restructuring of departments).
The relationship between culture and climate has caused much confusion and has been the subject of a multitude of debates in the research literature (Czarniawska-Joerges, 1992;
Denison, 1996). While some researchers have described one concept in terms of that it is not the other (Trice & Beyer, 1993), many culture researchers have wholly ignored organizational climate in their work. These two concepts, which obviously interlock in practical application, have been developed academically in parallel.
However, several researchers have acknowledged that culture and climate are distinct
(Reichers & Schneider, 1990; Rousseau, 1988). Some have attempted to describe the relationship between culture and climate by stating that culture includes climate (Burnside, Amabile, & Gryskiewicz, 1988; Ekvall, 1991). However, this explanation fails to establish an area of demarcation between the two concepts. With greater clarity, Schneider
(1985, 1987) described culture and climate as complimentary topics, and explained that climate research focuses on the what and how organizational activities and behaviors are rewarded while culture focuses on the underlying reasons why the activities and behaviors happen. In this way, culture “informs” climate by helping individuals define what is important and structure their experiences (Ashforth, 1985). Hence, climate can be viewed as a manifestation of culture.
Organizational climate, although subject to some debate regarding definition and details of operationalization issues, has proved a viable instrument for characterization of the work environment, especially for those work settings with a specific theme. However, the full potential of the climate concept can be realized best through its coupling with the organizational culture concept. While progress has been made in clarifying the relation-

92

SHOAF ET AL.

ship between the two, work to integrate the concepts has not progressed beyond theoretical discussions. As these two concepts when paired are capable of wholly describing the context for behavior in the work setting, it is essential that both be considered in the characterization of the organizational environment. This study will utilize the concepts of culture and climate in a model to describe the organizational environment to develop an analysis framework and methodology for the promotion of organizational health in the industrial work environment.
In the Organizational Health Model (Figure 2), culture explicitly drives the climatic conditions. Therefore, the climate represents how the culture is operationalized on a surface level. In this model, the factors selected to describe climate are those relevant to the two outcomes of interest: effectiveness as related to specific performance goals and organizational wellness as related to the quality of working life. Culture, as the essential values upon which an organization is based, provides a deep-rooted structure from which everyday policies, practices, and goals can be grounded. When this progression occurs, the organization’s values are enacted, reinforced, and clarified through its practices. In a study at a U.S. manufacturing company, values and organizational climate were found to influence organizational effectiveness while work practices were found to influence worker satisfaction and stress (Lim & Murphy, 1999). Although the distinction between “climate” and “practices” was not clarified in this research, this effort provides evidence of the significance of these work-system components in the determination of organizational health. Furthermore, numerous researchers have noted the positive effects of the congruence between cultural values, organizational goals, and daily practices. Morgan (1986) argued that a healthy organization requires its culture to be consistent with its structure, policies, and procedures. Schneider et al. (1996) proposed that what people believe is the culture and experience is the climate ultimately determines whether sustained change is accomplished. Collins and Porras (1994), in their study of the distinguishing characteristics of visionary, high-performing companies, found that organizational alignment so that members receive a consistent set of signals to reinforce the desired behavior and achieve desired progress was perhaps the key finding of their 5-year research. In evaluating a proposed practice, Collins and Porras asserted that the key question is not “Is the practice good?” but “Is this appropriate for us—does it fit with our ideology and ambitions?”
4.

CONCLUSION

In this article, an overall framework for organizational health assessment is described.
Recently, rapid changes in the organization of work precipitated by work process improvement initiatives, coupled with changes in worker demographics, have necessitated the need to assess the impact of these changes on long-term work performance. Contemporary work-improvement strategies such as lean manufacturing and six sigma have focused their efforts to optimize process performance while largely ignoring the effects of these new work practices on workers. However, human performance plays an integral role in the determination of organizational effectiveness. The organizational health assessment model introduced in this article proposes a new paradigm for optimizing work in which the individual’s health, safety, and satisfaction is viewed as the precursor of process and organizational effectiveness.
Work system interventions can be crafted only from data-driven evidence of the safety, performance, and health consequences currently faced by workers in the contemporary

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

93

work environment. The Organizational Health Model introduced here provides a framework for health surveillance in industries with contemporary organizational practices (e.g., lean manufacturing, six sigma) and changing worker demographics (e.g., increasing numbers of women, ethnic minorities, and aging workers). In the Organizational Health Model, culture—represented by an organization’s values and goals—constitutes a company’s strategic intent. Climate driven and reaffirmed by the culture establishes the context for behavior (performance) and state of being (wellness) in the work setting. Further development of this model will serve to structure the gathering of empirical data, thus fostering the process of designing both healthy and competitive enterprises.

REFERENCES
Amabile, T.M., Conti, R., Coon, H., Lazenby, J., & Herron, M. (1996). Assessing the work environment for creativity. Academy of Management Journal, 39(5), 1154–1184.
Argyris, C. (1958). The organization: What makes it healthy? Harvard Business Review, 36(6),
107–116.
Argyris, C. (1964). Integrating the individual and the organization. New York: Wiley.
Ashforth, B.E. (1985). Climate formation: Issues and extensions. Academy of Management Review, 10(4), 837–847.
Bennis, W., & Townsend, R. (1995). Reinventing leadership. New York: Morrow.
Berg, P. (1999). The effects of high performance work practices on job satisfaction in the United
States steel industry. Industrial Relations, 54(1), 111–135.
Burnside, R.M., Amabile, T.M., & Gryskiewicz, S.S. (1988). Assessing organizational climates for creativity and innovation. In Y. Ijiri & R.L. Kuhn (Eds.), Methodological review of large company audits (pp. 169–186). Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
Collins, J., & Porras, J. (1994). Built to last. New York: Harper.
Covey, S.R. (1990). Principle-centered leadership. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Cox, T., & Cox, S. (1993). Psychosocial and organizational hazards at work. European Occupational Health Series, No. 5. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office (Europe).
Cox, T., & Howarth, I. (1990). Organizational health, culture and helping. Work Stress, 4(2), 107–110.
Czarniawska-Joerges, B. (1992). Exploring complex organizations: A cultural perspective. Beverly
Hills, CA: Sage.
Deal, T., & Kennedy, A. (1982). Corporate cultures. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Denison, D. (1996). What is the difference between organizational culture and organizational climate? A native’s view on a decade of paradigm wars. Academy of Management Review, 21(3),
619– 654.
Ekvall, G. (1991). The organizational culture of idea management: A creative climate for the management of ideas. In J. Henry & D. Walker (Eds.), Managing innovation (pp. 73–79). Newbury
Park, CA, Sage.
Elo, A.L. (1986). Assessment of psychic stress factors at work. Helsinki: Institute of Occupational
Health.
Evanoff, B.A., & Rosenstock, L. (1994). Psychophysiologic stressors and work organization. In L.
Rosenstock & M.R. Cullen (Eds.), Textbook of clinical occupational and environmental medicine (pp. 717–729). Philadelphia: Saunders.
Fleishman, E.A. (1953). Leadership climate, human relations training and supervisory behavior.
Personnel Psychology, 6, 205–222.
Frankenhauser, M. (1991). A biophysical approach to work life issues. In B. Gardell & G. Johansson (Eds.), Working life (pp. 57–81). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Gardell, B. (1981). Strategies for reform programmes on work organization and work environment.
In B. Gardell & G. Johansson (Eds.), Working life (pp. 112–118). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Gardell, B. (1982). Work participation and autonomy: A multilevel approach to democracy at the workplace. International Journal of Health Services, 12(4), 527–558.
Gardell, B. (1987). Work organization and human nature. Stockholm: Uppsala.

94

SHOAF ET AL.

Genaidy, A., Karwowski, W., & Christensen, D. (1999). Principles of work system performance optimization: A business ergonomics approach. Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 9(1), 105–128.
Genaidy, A., Karwowski, W., & Shoaf, C. (2002). The fundamentals of work system compatibility theory: An integrated approach to the optimization of human performance at work. Theoretical
Issues of Ergonomics Science, 3(4), 346–368.
Griffin, R.W. (1982). Task design: An integrative approach. Dallas: Foresman.
Guion, R.M. (1973). A note on organizational climate. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 9, 120–125.
Hackman, J.R., & Lawler, E. (1971). Employee reactions to job characteristics. Journal of Applied
Psychology, 55, 259–286.
Hackman, J.R., & Oldham, G.R. (1975). Development of the Job Diagnostic Survey. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 60, 159–170.
Henderson, K.M., & Evans, J.R. (2000). Successful implementation of six sigma: Benchmarking
General Electric company. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 7(4), 260–281.
Herzberg, F., Mausner, F., & Snyderman, B.V. (1959). The motivation to work. New York: Wiley.
Hulin, C.L. (1971). Individual differences and job enrichment. In J.R. Maher (Ed.), New perspectives in job enrichment (pp. 159–191). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Jackson, P.R., & Mullarkey, S. (2000). lean production teams and health in garment manufacture.
Journal of Occupational Health and Psychology, 5(2), 231–245.
Jaffe, D.T. (1995). The healthy company: Research paradigms for personal and organizational health.
In S.L. Sauter & L.R. Murphy (Eds.), Organizational risk factors for job stress (pp. 13– 40).
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Karasek, R., & Theorell, T. (1990). Healthy work: Stress, productivity and the reconstruction of working life. New York: Basic Books.
Karwowski, W., Salvendy, G., Badham, R., Brodner, P., Clegg, C., Hwang, L., et al. (1994). Integrating people, organizations, and technology in advanced manufacturing. Human Factors and
Ergonomics in Manufacturing, 4(1), 1–19.
Lawler, E.E., Hall, D.T., & Oldham, G.R. (1974). Organizational climate: Relationship to organizational structure, process, and performance. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 11, 139–155.
Lim, S., & Murphy, L. (1999). The relationship of organizational factors to employee health and overall effectiveness. American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 36(Suppl. 1), 64– 65.
Lindstrom, K. (1994). Psychosocial criteria for good work organization. Scandinavian Journal of
Work and Environmental Health, 20, 123–133.
Lindstom, K., Schrey, K., Ahonen, X., & Kaleva, S. (2000). The effects of promoting organizational health on worker well-being and organizational effectiveness in small and medium-sized enterprises. In L. Murphy & C. Cooper (Eds.), Healthy and productive work (pp. 83–104). London: Taylor & Francis.
Litwin, G.H., & Stringer, R.A. (1968). Motivation and organizational climate. Boston: Harvard
Business School.
Martin, J. (1982). Stories and scripts in organizational settings. In A. Hastorf & A. Isen (Eds.),
Cognitive social psychology (pp. 255–305). New York: Elsevier-North Holland.
Maslow, A.H. (1965). Eupsychian management. Homewood, IL: Irwin-Dorsey Press.
Matteson, M.T., & Ivancevich, J.M. (1988). Health promotion at work. In C.L. Cooper & I. Robertson (Eds.), International review of industrial and organizational psychology. Chichester, England: Wiley.
McGregor, D.M. (1960). The human side of the enterprise. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Morgan, G. (1986). Images of organization. Harmondsworth, England: Sage.
Murphy, L.R. (1988). Workplace interventions for stress reduction and prevention. In C.L. Cooper
& R. Payne (Eds.), Causes, coping and consequences of stress at work (pp. 301–339). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. (1971). The Occupational Health and Safety Act. Washington, DC.
Peters, T.J., & Waterman, R.H. (1982). In search of excellence. New York: Harper & Row.
Porter, L.W., & Lawler, E.E. (1968). Managerial attitudes and performance. Homewood, IL: Irwin.

IMPROVING PERFORMANCE AND QUALITY OF WORKING LIFE

95

Pritchard, R.D., & Karasick, B.W. (1973). The effects of organizational climate on managerial job performance and job satisfaction Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 9, 126–146.
Reichers, A.E., & Schneider, B. (1990). Climate and culture: An evolution of concepts. In B. Schneider
(Ed.), Organizational climate and culture (pp. 5–39). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Renwick, P.A. (1975). Perception and management of superior–subordinate conflict. Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, 13, 444– 456.
Rosen, R. (1991). The healthy company. Los Angeles: Tarcher.
Rousseau, D.M. (1988). The construction of climate in organizational research. In C.L. Cooper &
I. Robertson (Eds.), International review of industrial and organizational psychology (pp. 139–
158). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Sandberg, T. (1982). Work organization and autonomous groups. Lund, Sweden: CWK Gleerup.
Sauter, S.L., Lim, S.Y., & Murphy, L.R. (1996). Organizational health: A new paradigm for occupational stress research at NIOSH. Journal of Occupational Mental Health, 4(4), 248–254.
Sauter, S.L. (2002). The changing organization of work and the safety and health of working people: Knowledge gaps and research directions (DHHS Publication No. 2002–116). Cincinnati,
OH: Department of Health and Human Services.
Schein, E.H. (1985). Corporate culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schein, E. (1992). Organizational culture and leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schneider, B. (1985). Organizational behavior. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 573– 611.
Schneider, B. (1987). The people make the place. Personnel Psychology, 40, 437– 453.
Schneider, B. (1990). The climate for service: An application of the climate construct. In B. Schneider
(Ed.), Organizational climate and culture (pp. 383– 412). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Schneider, B., Brief, A.P., & Guzzo, R.A. (1996). Creating a climate and culture for sustainable organizational change. Organizational Dynamics, 24(4), 7–19.
Schneider, B., & Gunnarson, S. (1991). Organizational climate and culture: The psychology of the workplace. In J.W. Jones, B.D. Steffy, & D.W. Bray (Eds.), Applying psychology in business
(pp. 542–551). Lexington, MA: Heath.
Shoaf, C., Genaidy, A.M., & Shell, R.L. (1998). A perspective on work system analysis: Classification and evaluation of methods. Ergonomics, 41(6), 881–898.
Smith, V. (1997). New forms of work organization. Annuals Review of Sociology, 23, 315–339.
Trice, H.M., & Beyer, J.M. (1993). The culture of work organizations. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Simon & Schuster.
Trist, E.L., & Bamforth, K.W. (1951). Some social and psychological consequences of the longwall method of coal-getting. Human Relations, 4, 3–38.
Vroom, V.H. (1964). Work and motivation. New York: Wiley.
Williams, S. (1994). Ways of creating healthy work organizations. In C.L. Cooper & S. Williams
(Eds.), creating healthy work organizations (pp. 7–24). Chichester, England: Wiley.
Zink, K.J. (2002, September). Human factors, management, and society. The IEA-Chilean Symposium: Developing ergonomics in a development world. Santiago, Chile.
Zohar, D. (1980). Safety climate in industrial organizations: Theoretical and applied implications.
Journal of Applied Psychology, 65, 96–102.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Quality of Work Life

...Title - QUALITY OF WORK LIFE-AN OVERVIEW MEANING OF QWL Quality of work Life is a Person’s life. It covers a person’s feelings about every dimension of work including economic rewards and benefits, security, working condition, Organizational and interpersonal relations and its intrinsic meaning in person’s life. Therefore we can simply say Q.W.L. is a concern not only to improve life at work, but also life outside work. VARIOUS DEFINITIONS OFQUALITY OF WORK LIFE First definition 1969-1972 Quality of Work Life = Variable Second definition 1969-1975 Quality of Work Life = Approach Third definition 1972-1975 Quality of Work Life = Methods Fourth definition 1975-1980 Quality of Work Life = Movements Fifth definition 1979-1982 Quality of Work Life = Everything Sixth definition Quality of Work Life = Everything ORIGION OF THE CONCEPT * After Industrial Revolution, the importance of human factor reduced because of the vast mechanization. Various problems like job dissatisfaction, boredom, bsenteeism, lack of commitment etc came up. * Most management theories give emphasis on production, manipulating the skills of employees. * Tavy stock Institute of Human Relations me research on “workers problems in Industrial world” and they produced a study approach called Socio-technical system in which they gave great importance to “ job design” to satisfy human needs adequately and the need for Q.W.L. in an organization was emphasized. Quality of Work Life plays......

Words: 3381 - Pages: 14

Premium Essay

Quality of Work Life

...Employee’s Perception of Quality of Work Life: The concept of the ‘Quality of Working Life’ is imprecise and thus problematic to operationalize. Historically, it can be traced back to the quality of working life movement that largely consisted of a number of industrial psychologists in response to a perceived disenchantment with the organization of work in the late1960s and early 1970s (Walton, 1973; Stjernberg, 1977; Littler and Salaman, 1984). QWL has also been associated with organizational changes aimed at increasing the levels of job enlargement (greater horizontal task flexibility) and job enrichment (greater vertical task flexibility including the taking on of new responsibilities including those formerly undertaken by supervisory or managerial personnel). Crucially, the idea is that of attaining higher levels of participation and thereby motivation by improving the attractiveness of the work itself rather than through improving the terms and conditions of work (Herzberg et al, 1959: 52). Walton (1973) has given focus on the following factor of QWL: · A just rewards system with minimum guarantees; · A safe and healthy physical and psychosocial work environment; · Job design based on the needs of both workers and their organisations; · Employment security with prospects for internal career advance; · A working climate with a positive social atmosphere and social integration; · Clearly articulated individual right; · Worker participation in decision......

Words: 984 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Quality of Work Life

...QUALTIY WORK LIFE INTRODUCTION Quality of Work Life is becoming an increasingly popular concept in recent times. There is an all round demand for developing the humanised jobs which can satisfy workers’ higher needs, employ their higher skills and make them better citizens, spouses and parents. Quality of work life is one of the most interesting approaches in organization. Employees at the grass-root level experience a sense of frustration because of low level of wages, poor working conditions, unfavourable terms of employment, in human treatment by their superiors over their conditions of employment, inter-personal conflicts, role conflicts, job pressures, lack of freedom in work, absence of challenging work etc The jobs need to be excellent both from the point of view of technology and human needs. The traditional job design needs to be replaced by enriched job design. This demand for redesigning of jobs has come to be known as quality of work life. It enjoys management to treat workers as human resources that are to be developed rather than simply used. MEANING:- The quality of work life refers to the favourableness of job environment that are excellent for people as well for the economic health of the organization and also their attitudes towards the work environment, skills and knowledge acquired, their inter-relationship with their colleagues, subordinates and supervisor, their organizational commitment, job satisfaction, job motivation, their socio-economic......

Words: 1698 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

The Effects of Work Life Balance and Ethics on Quality of Service

...Research Work-Life Balance An audit of staff experience at Oxford Brookes University By Simonetta Manfredi and Michelle Holliday The Centre for Diversity Policy Research, Oxford Brookes University Work-Life Balance: An audit of staff experience at Oxford Brookes University ISBN 1 873576 70 6 Published by The Centre for Diversity Policy Research, Oxford Brookes University Wheatley Campus Oxon. OX33 1HX http://www.brookes.ac.uk/business/research/cdpr DiversityCentre@brookes.ac.uk All rights reserved. Except for the quotation of short passages for the purposes of criticism and review, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission of the publisher. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data. A catalogue record of this publication is available from the British Library. Printed in Great Britain 2004. Authors: Simonetta Manfredi Co-Director, The Centre for Diversity Policy Research, Oxford Brookes University Michelle Holliday Equal Opportunities & Diversity Co-Ordinator, Oxford Brookes University Work-Life Balance: An audit of staff experience at Oxford Brookes University Page no. Contents 1 Acknowledgements 2 Executive Summary 2 1 5 Introduction: 1.1 Purpose of the report 1.2 What is work-life balance? 1.3 Why does work-life......

Words: 18377 - Pages: 74

Premium Essay

Zara

...QUALITY OF WORK LIFE IN HYPERCITY EXECUTIVE SUMMARY The Quality of working life refers to the relationship between a worker and his environment, adding the human dimension to the technical and economic dimensions within which work is normally viewed and designed. QWL relates to the facilities and conditions in which workers have to work. The main purpose of doing this project is to understand what good quality work life means to employees in the retail sector and how it affects the organization. It speaks about how an organization should keep their employees happy by providing them quality work life. The fast changing rapidly growing Indian retail industry faces a major challenge for any employer. As it relates to Quality of work life, the recent changes in retail trading conditions and working conditions has further aggravated the employee performance. Work is an integral part of our everyday life, as it is our livelihood or career or business. On an average we spend around twelve hours daily in the work place, that is one third of our entire life; it does influence the overall quality of our life. It should yield job satisfaction, give peace of mind, a fulfillment of having done a task, as it is expected, without any flaw and having spent the time fruitfully, constructively and purposefully. Even if it is a small step towards our lifetime goal, at the end of the day it gives satisfaction and eagerness to look forward to the next day. A happy and...

Words: 9428 - Pages: 38

Premium Essay

Hrm 586 Course Project

...[pic] Quality of work life programs: are they nothing more than a fad? HRM 586 Labor Relations [pic] Abstract As the economy of the world continue to struggle due to stiff competition and rapid global expansion, labor organizations in every country of the world continue to find ways and means to help their respective workforces develop their skills and knowledge, as well as improve their health and wellness. Strategic implementation of quality work life programs and activities have all been critically evaluated by experts to determine their effectiveness on the organizations as a whole, meaning, how those programs will benefit not only the employees but the companies as well. The objective of this project is to inform the public and concerned entities about the kinds of plans and programs that public and private organizations have extended to their workforce to improve the quality of their life within and outside of the workplace. This paper will also try to evaluate the success of these projects and will try to offer other options and related programs to achieve a more favorable outcome for the whole organizations. Table of Contents Abstract 1 Purpose 5 Basic Issues and Research Questions..........................................................................................5-6 Literature review 6-13 Recommendations 13-18 Conclusion 18-20 References 21-22 Quality of Work Life Programs: Are They......

Words: 5499 - Pages: 22

Free Essay

Ethnic of Work Life Balance

... “Weinstein’s The Ethics of Work-Life Balance” In his short essay “The Ethics of Work-Life Balance,” Bruce Weinstein argues that one of the five fundamental ethical principles is fairness. He states that people’s work-to-life imbalance is not fair, both to others and themselves. In the past, as Freud said, work and love were essential components of a happy life, but people overwork in order to feed their family and pay bills, nowadays. He claims that being a good manager should mean being a good human being. This means knowing not only how to manage one’s career, but also one’s life by giving due time to family, friends, community, self, and spirit. I agree with Weinstein’s argument that workers should balance their work-life and social life because an imbalance harms people’s health, produces low quality work, and damages relationships with loved ones. People should have time to work and also a time to leave the work behind. Weinstein is right when he argues that workers should have a balanced work and social life because work-life imbalance harms people’s health. A stressful job can lead to unhappiness that seeps into people’s leisure life and leads to bad health. A recent study showed that people who are stressed out by their jobs have a higher risk for dementia later in life. This is bad news for the American worker, who often has long hours and can often sacrifice his/her work-life balance on the way to climbing to the top of the corporate ladder. Healthline explains......

Words: 1237 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Are U.S. Workers Overworked

... Page Abstract or Introduction 3 Quality of Life 3 Who does the ethical dilemma impact 5 Alternatives/Recommendations 6 Action Plan 7 References 9 ii Introduction Many people across the world want to have the best quality of life for themselves and for their families. In measuring their quality of life, many would look at how much they earn per year, how many cars they own, what size of home they live in, and the material goods they have as having a good quality of life. But what some may not realize is that they are actually measuring their standard of living. Quality of life is subjective and may be different from one person to the next. The amount of income one may bring home a year may come with a price. Long hours spent at work in order to bring home a decent income may satisfy some, if they are single. But for those who have families, time spent outside of work is cut short due to being overworked. While the income may be enough to buy everything a family wants and needs, one needs to look at their family’s happiness and health, as well as their own. In some countries, there are limits to the amount of hours one can work in a week which is less than 40 hours a week. Some European nations have limited the workweek to 35 hours and any work beyond those hours would be considered overtime. In......

Words: 1891 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Effects of Insomnia

...categories which include lifestyle, health and environment. Experiments were carried out to see how insomnia affects quality of life and the conclusion reached was that people suffering from insomnia report greater quality of life impairment in contrast to people without insomnia. Sleep disturbance can exacerbate the condition, disrupt treatment, cause further complications and add to the social disability associated with chronic illness. Insomnia can result in mental illness and can have a huge impact when it comes to efficiency of a subject. Personally traits can be a major differentiating point when it comes to comparison between subjects with and without insomnia however personality differences between insomniacs and controls might rather be state-dependent instead of trait-dependent. Treatment of insomnia can be by two major ways namely pharmacotherapy and nonpharmacologic interventions. Herbal treatment as per 82% of Canadians are also very effective when it comes to treating insomnia. Rest and little exertion can also play a vital role when it comes to curing insomnia. Effects Of Insomnia On Quality of Life Insomnia is derived from the Latin word which means “no sleep”. A recent report estimates that 60 to 70 million American suffer from some form of sleep problems and that sleep deprivation costs $150 billion a year higher stress and reduced work place productivity. Insomnia is defined as difficulty initiating, or maintaining sleep at least 3 nights per......

Words: 5148 - Pages: 21

Premium Essay

Employee Work Life

...employee Quality of Working Year Title of Report Life Summary report and data analysis of the Quality of Working Life survey carried out June to July 2007 for: Type of Analysis University of Essex Wivenhoe Park Colchester Essex CO24 3SQ UK STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL Prepared by Portsmouth Applied Psychology Unit Department of Psychology King Henry 1st Street Portsmouth, PO1 2DY, UK www.qowl.co.uk QoWL PO Box 778 Portsmouth P01 9DQ United Kingdom September, 2007 Essex QoWL - UNIV Report dvl1 se ab se dvl4 final3 oct 1st Dr Darren Van Laar Director Executive Summary University of Essex Quality of Working Life survey (June to July, 2007) What is Quality of Working Life? QoWL Ltd PO Box 778 Portsmouth P01 9DQ United Kingdom T: +44 (0)8454 75 76 95 Quality of Working Life (QoWL) is a measure of how good your work is for you. Quality of Working Life is more than just job satisfaction or work happiness, but the widest context in which an employee would evaluate their job. The QoWL Survey and Data Set The QoWL survey tool encompasses three important questionnaires: 1. The QoWL Core Scale, which looks at the six core factors associated with Quality of Working Life, such as job satisfaction, work-life balance, and working conditions. 2. The QoWL Workplace Outcome Scale, which provides data related to a variety of specific outcomes related to Quality of Working Life such as intention to stay, perceived productivity, and pride in the organisation. 3. The HSE......

Words: 7397 - Pages: 30

Free Essay

The Difference Between Good and Bad Jobs in Australia

...century, employers are only beginning to realise just how important job quality is for the success of an organisation. Job Quality is broadly defined as the employee’s experience of work & non-work processes, pay and implicit abilities that determine the employee’s orientation towards achieving the business objectives. A significant issue within Australia is the desire for full-time work not being met by certain age groups due to factors of the economy such as the recession. Furthermore, a two-way interference between work and life is another cause to factor in for poor job quality within Australia. Moreover, certain industries in Australia are infamous for the issue of having poor pay—high workload. This paper aims to critically define what job quality is and targets the central causation of poor job quality by looking at recent trends within Australian organisations. The paper then explores several human resource practices to tackle the identified issues within Australia. The aspects of Job quality are multidimensional and thus there are multiple definitions to job quality. It centrally follows the idea that factors affecting employee morale and work performance have substantial effects on the organisation’s ability to meet objectives. Assessing the quality of work is a subjective process that is undertaken by managers and thus there are no set certified standards for assessing job quality. Different circumstances, experiences and expectations of employees......

Words: 1719 - Pages: 7

Premium Essay

Concussions in Sports

...Mr. Fuhrman 9 May 2012 Leadership Paper Over the course of my life, there have been many influential people that have influenced me and made an impact on my life in some way. However, of all these people, there is one person that stands out in my life as more influential than any other. This person is my dad Jerry. My dad has been influential in my life because he has always been there for me every step of the way and has always encouraged me. Simply put, my dad possesses many qualities of a leader. One leadership quality that my dad possesses is that he is intelligent. He has demonstrated this quality to me because I have taken notice that he always makes the best decision possible when he is confronted with a problem. He also helps me to make my own decisions when I have a problem of my own. A second leadership quality that my dad has is that he is cooperative and works well with others. For example, my dad and I are always working together on things around the house. I know that my dad has good cooperative leadership skills because he is always working with others during his job, and he works well with others to complete his tasks at work. Third, my dad has initiative to complete his work. Instead of someone having to tell him what needs done, he just goes out and does whatever work needs to be completed. This has had a major impact on my life because I also take initiative to complete my work. I feel that a good leader has to have initiative and take control of......

Words: 727 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Worklife Balance

...Under Pressure Implications of Work-Life Balance and Job Stress Human Solutions™ Report | 2006–07 Fall 2006 Dear Valued Customer: Welcome to the first Human Solutions™ Report: Under Pressure. Implications of Work-Life Balance and Job Stress. The report was written by Graham Lowe, PhD, a thought leader in the arena of workplace health and productivity. This is the first of a series of empirical reports that we will publish for you on an annual basis, each on a relevant and timely topic or theme. The Human Solutions™ Report stems from our pledge to bring you relevant and practical recommendations concerning your most significant human capital-related issues. And it reflects our attempt to counter the wealth of unsubstantiated and potentially misleading information about workforce issues circulating in the general media and other sources. In this Human Solutions™ Report , we analyze two comprehensive Canadian workforce surveys using key questions pertaining to work-life balance and job stress. We recognize that quality of work-life is a pressing business issue for you and a necessary ingredient for a successful business strategy. Yet to craft effective solutions to work-life issues, it is paramount that you have solid evidence on the scope and nature of the problems that are faced. This is what the Report endeavours to provide. As a customer whose opinions are important to us, we welcome your feedback. As well, we look forward to hearing about topics and issues you......

Words: 5663 - Pages: 23

Free Essay

Big Five Personality at Work

...Personality at Work Javier Jimenez MGT/312 10/06/15 Catherine Levitt Workplaces can be an upsetting spot to be, however having the capacity to encourage off the identities of your colleagues and administration make 'things go smoother. They say a decent workplace is similar to an all-around oiled machine; every apparatus turning in the right course and easily, this is just conceivable if the identity qualities are working with one another appropriately. This takes administration and collaborators having the capacity to peruse and assess the distinctive identities inside of the workplace. Human assorted qualities is a vital subject in today's reality. There is an expanding measure of social and social differing qualities in the work environment. Individuals from hugely distinctive foundations, childhoods, social impacts and races are put together in a business domain. As this pattern keeps on developing it is basic that representatives and administrators figure out how to cooperate and work with individuals that are very different from themselves. Based on these results it has permitted me to see where I lie with these identity characteristics. For instance I discovered that I was exceptionally extraversion. This implies that I tend to experience positive enthusiastic states and like my general surroundings and myself; otherwise called positive affectivity. I realize that me having this characteristic particularly with the occasions of my life as of......

Words: 862 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Work Life Balance

...The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/0142-5455.htm Quality of work life and career development: perceptions of part-time MBA students Jessica Li College of Information, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas, USA, and Quality of work life and career development 201 Received 19 April 2010 Revised 8 November 2010 Accepted 10 November 2010 Roland K. Yeo Kuwait Maastricht Business School, Salmiya, Kuwait Abstract Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine what employees perceive as positive and negative aspects of their work, and how these affect their perceptions of the quality of work life (QWL) and their career development decisions. Design/methodology/approach – This is a qualitative study using data collected from an online discussion forum. Thematic and textual analysis was performed to identify core themes associated with perceptions of QWL and career development. Data analysis was based on the researchers’ interpretations of narratives based on the online postings of 140 part-time MBA students and guided by the literature. Findings – Four major themes emerged as domains of tensions within which employees operated to construct meanings around their work life. These include: internal and external tension, private and public tension, self and otherness tension, and present and future tension. Career development support, flexibility and autonomy in job design as well as flexibility in career......

Words: 9993 - Pages: 40