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Perceptual factors in quality of work life of Indian employees.


It is evident from history that, work occupies an important place in the life of human beings. How people have thought and felt about the working experience has also been an age-old concern for both workers and managers. The expression quality of working life (QWL QWL Quality of Work Life
QWL Quality of Working Life
QWL Quantum Well Laser
) was probably coined originally at the first international conference on QWL at Arden House in 1972 (Davis and Cherns 1975). Mills (1978) probably coined the term quality of working life and suggested that it had moved permanently into the vocabulary of unions and management, even if a lot of people using it were not exactly sure what territory it covered. During the twentieth century, our social science conceptualizations regarding work have been labelled scientific management, human relations human relations nplrelaciones fpl humanas , socio-technical systems theory, and now possibly holistic learning organizations. In the present study, we are concerned with how an employee perceives a high-quality working-life experience in India. There are a number of reasons why investigation of the perceptions of quality of working life for employees requires thorough research.

Review of Literature

It is found that there are numerous literatures available on this concept. For example, in Duncan Gallie (2003), there is a comparison of employees' perceptions of the quality of working tasks, the degree of involvement in decision making, career opportunities, and job security to see whether the Scandinavian countries have a distinctive pattern from other European Union countries. It was found that on the aspects of working life that were most central to the reform programmes, the results were consistent with the view that there could be societal so·ci·e·tal  
Of or relating to the structure, organization, or functioning of society.

so·cie·tal·ly adv.

 effects deriving from the policy orientations of the major economic interest groups.

Another empirical study was done to predict QWL in relation to career-related dimensions (Raduan Che Rose et al. 2006). The sample consists of 475 managers from the free trade zones on Malaysia for both multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium industries (SMIs). The results indicate that three exogenous Exogenous

Describes facts outside the control of the firm. Converse of endogenous.
 variables are significant: career satisfaction, career achievement, and career balance, with 63 per cent of the variance in QWL.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Rama J. Joshi (2007), to find out the issue of representation of legitimate interests of women workers in its entirety and make suggestions to help policy makers to improve the QWL of women workers, specifically in banking, insurance, PSUs, and hospitals, it was found that the level of satisfaction of women employees with QWL in their respective organization was quite high.

The study of Md Mosharraf Hossain Khondaker Mosharraf Hossain is a First class and List A cricketer from Bangladesh. He was born on 20th November 1981 in Dhaka and is a left handed batsman and slow left arm orthodox bowler. He is sometimes known by his nickame Rubel.  and Md Tariqual Islam (1999) investigates the correlation between QWL and job satisfaction, QWL and performance, and job satisfaction and performance. A total number of sixty-three nurses were selected from three government hospitals on a stratified stratified /strat·i·fied/ (strat´i-fid) formed or arranged in layers.

Arranged in the form of layers or strata.
 random sampling basis. The findings reveal that there was significant positive correlation Noun 1. positive correlation - a correlation in which large values of one variable are associated with large values of the other and small with small; the correlation coefficient is between 0 and +1
direct correlation
 between QWL and job satisfaction. A significant positive correlation was also found between QWL and performance, and job satisfaction and performance. QWL had the highest contribution to performance. Perceptions of QWL and job satisfaction were significantly higher among the respondents in small organizations than in larger ones. Morning shift nurses perceived higher QWL and job satisfaction than those in the night shift. Night shift nurses were suffering from more security problems than the nurses of other shifts. Thus, it is suggested to keep the hospitals lighted to certain extent and allow nurses to work in small groups. This would provide the nurses not only a feeling of security but also an opportunity to interact with each other, which in turn would lead to improved and congenial con·gen·ial  
1. Having the same tastes, habits, or temperament; sympathetic.

2. Of a pleasant disposition; friendly and sociable: a congenial host.

 working relationship in the hospitals.

Martin Lees and Sandra Kearns (2005) outline the systematic approach used at Bluewater Health in Sarnia, Ontario Sarnia is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada (city population 71,419, census area population 88,793, in 2006). It is the largest city on Lake Huron and is located where the three upper Great Lakes empty into the St. Clair River. , to recognize the importance of job quality in work life and progresses, for a diagnosis to the implementation of improvements, with positive outcomes.

Research by Saipin Narongrit and Supit Thongsri (2001) deals with the quality of work life and organizational commitment. The objectives of this research were to study the level of the asset management organization, Thaitoyo Denso Company Limited's staffs' quality of work life and organizational commitment, to compare the organizational commitment according to personal factors, and also to analyse the factors affecting organizational commitment. The population consisted of all the two hundred employees in Thaitoyo Denso Company Limited. Data were collected by using questionnaires and analysed by using SPSS/FW computer program. The statistics used for analysing the data were percentage, mean, standard deviation test at the 0.05 percentage level of significance, and Pearson product moment correlation coefficients at the 0.01 percentage level of significance. It was found that the levels of the staffs' quality of work life were moderate. Personal characteristics like sex, age, status, education, position, staff salary, and line function caused no difference. All factors of quality of work life had positive correlation with organizational commitment.

Burton J. Cohen cohen
 or kohen

(Hebrew: “priest”) Jewish priest descended from Zadok (a descendant of Aaron), priest at the First Temple of Jerusalem. The biblical priesthood was hereditary and male.
, Susan C. Kinnevy, and Melissa E. Dichter (2007), in their study, compare the quality of work life of child protective investigators in two very different organizational settings--a public child welfare agency child welfare agency Child psychiatry An administrative organization providing protection to children, and supportive services to children and their families  and a law enforcement agency Noun 1. law enforcement agency - an agency responsible for insuring obedience to the laws
FBI, Federal Bureau of Investigation - a federal law enforcement agency that is the principal investigative arm of the Department of Justice
. Legislation passed in Florida in 1988, transferred responsibility for investigations from the Department of Children and Families (DCF DCF

See: Discounted Cash Flows
) to the Sheriff's Offices (SO) in four countries. The survey was conducted of investigators in the four experimental countries and in four comparison countries where DCF was still conducting investigations. The finding indicates that while both groups had similar demographic characteristics and perceptions of their role, the investigators who worked for the SO experienced a higher quality of work life than those who worked for the DCF.

The aim of the study of Michael Maccoby (1984) is to identify the job satisfaction of employees and supervisors of Bell System over a five-year period. He found that the employees and supervisors were satisfied with their pay and benefits and were also motivated to work productively, but they were dissatisfied with the technology in use and felt too much supervisory control Supervisory control is a general term for control of many individual controllers or control loops, whether by a human or an automatic control system, although almost every real system is a combination of both. . They believed they were mismanaged, pushed around, not listened to, and that the spirit of service was being eroded e·rode  
v. e·rod·ed, e·rod·ing, e·rodes
1. To wear (something) away by or as if by abrasion: Waves eroded the shore.

2. To eat into; corrode.
 by the drive to increase profit.

The research of Efraty and Sirgy (2004), on quality of work life was conceptualized in terms of need satisfaction stemming from an interaction of workers' needs of survival, social needs, ego needs, and self-actualization needs and those organizational resources relevant for meeting them. It was hypothesized that need satisfaction is positively related to organizational identification, job satisfaction, job involvement, job effort, and job performance and negatively related to personal alienation alienation, in property laws: see tenure.

In the social sciences context, the state of feeling estranged or separated from one's milieu, work, products of work, or self.
. A survey study was conducted based on a sample of 219 service deliverers to the elderly in a large Midwestern city. It was found that the results were consistent with the hypotheses. Managerial implications were also discussed.

Table 1 presents a summary of a number of previous studies indicating the various factors deemed to be of significance for employees.

Given the many perspectives illustrated in Table 1, what constitutes a high quality of work life (QWL) for people? That is, what are the important factors comprising a high QWL for future and current Indian workers? Surely, groups of people from varied socio-cultural contexts will view QWL in a variety of ways, which are determined, in part, by local values and conditions. The findings of a literature search for various features defining QWL led to an identification of two general factors, namely, work/work environment and employee welfare and well-being. Within the first factor are included such features as democracy (Cooper 1988), task content/physical features of the job (Kalra and Ghosh 1984; Kahn 1981), quantity and quality of leisure time created by the job (Kirkman Kirk´man

n. 1. A clergyman or officer in a kirk.
2. A member of the Church of Scotland, as distinguished from a member of another communion.
 1981), and promotion (Kahn 1981; Macarov 1981). The second factor mainly emphasizes employee welfare and well-being. Hofstede (1980) identified four broad dimensions of culture that he named individualism individualism

Political and social philosophy that emphasizes individual freedom. Modern individualism emerged in Britain with the ideas of Adam Smith and Jeremy Bentham, and the concept was described by Alexis de Tocqueville as fundamental to the American temper.
, power distance, masculinity masculinity /mas·cu·lin·i·ty/ (mas?ku-lin´i-te) virility; the possession of masculine qualities.

1. The quality or condition of being masculine.

, and uncertainty avoidance.

Thus, the present research seeks to describe how Indian workers view QWL. In so doing, we hope to be more enlightened as to what Indian employees value and expect to be present at the workplace in order that work may be seen as a quality of working life experience.

Research Methodology


Data were collected by means of structured questionnaires from 332 employees of the organization under study. The completed questionnaires were collected by the authors. The response rate for employees was 66.4 per cent. This high response rate is probably due to the commitment of senior management to the study and the conscientious con·sci·en·tious  
1. Guided by or in accordance with the dictates of conscience; principled: a conscientious decision to speak out about injustice.

 follow-up of the organizational representative for the project. The sample comprised predominantly Indians (94.3 per cent) and included 53.5 per cent females. About half of the employees (51%) worked for organizations operating in the financial sector while about one quarter of the respondents worked for companies in the transport business. Seventy-six per cent of the respondents had at least a diploma and/or a first degree from a university. The majority of respondents were in middle management (34.6 per cent) and junior management (36.1 per cent) with 80 per cent of the sample holding 'A' level certificates and/or higher educational attainment Educational attainment is a term commonly used by statisticans to refer to the highest degree of education an individual has completed.[1]

The US Census Bureau Glossary defines educational attainment as "the highest level of education completed in terms of the

Measurement Device

A thirty-five item questionnaire, derived and adapted from an earlier QWL study (Miller 1978), was used to measure QWL. Respondents were asked to rate the extent to which they perceived the importance of each QWL item in their work situation. The scale employed a five-point Likert format ranging from (1) 'very low importance' to (5) 'very high importance'. Sample items include 'A work situation in which there are opportunities for me to use my abilities'; 'A job which provides me with adequate challenge'; and 'A work situation in which my co-workers are committed to the organization and its future'. A fuller sample of items may be seen in Table 2. The scale's Cronbach alpha coefficient is .94.


The underlying dimensions of the QWL construct was examined using principal components factor analysis with varimax rotation. Table 2 shows the results of the factor analysis. Four main factors were derived and were respectively labelled favourable work environment, personal growth and autonomy, rewarding nature of the job, and stimulating opportunities and co-workers. Cronbach's (1951) alpha for the four factors of the QWL questionnaire are .93, .92, .88 and .79 respectively. The total variance explained by the four factors is 62.5 per cent. The QWL items which are loaded on the four factors in the present study are consistent with those reported by Levine (1983).


The results from the present study suggest four underlying dimensions of QWL: supportive management and favourable work environment, personal growth and autonomy, the nature of the job, and stimulating opportunities and co-workers. These dimensions encompass the concepts identified by Kirkman (1981), Helzel et al. (1973), Portigal (1974), Levine (1983), as well as many of the features of work listed by Walton (1974) and Davis (1983). The present four-factor model provides useful benchmark measures of QWL in India and represents a more parsimonious par·si·mo·ni·ous  
Excessively sparing or frugal.

 approach in contrast with the sixteen QWL dimensions reported in the original General Motors QWL study (Miller 1978).

Employees viewed a high QWL as one in which there were no negative impacts on personal life and such a high QWL would also exhibit an absence of inappropriate work demands. One might view a low QWL as one in which there are predominantly negative features in the working environment.

Factor 1 also includes an expectation for a high level of predictability in the work environment and this is in contradiction to the finding of Hofstede (1980) for low uncertainty avoidance countries. Since India scored lowest on uncertainty avoidance in the Hofstede (1980) study, one would have predicted less emphasis on predictability than was found in this sample.

Factor 2 may be described as personal growth and autonomy in that employees prefer a positive impact on personal life and an opportunity to develop close personal ties while they attempt to achieve their career goals. Achieving some level of personal growth may be quite related to the quality of communication in the organization. King (1992) proposed that organizations could improve the quality of working life through improving the nature and quality of communication of the mission and vision through the use of team briefings as a first step in the process of employee participation. This attitude seems to be expressed in the importance attached to such issues in the present sample.

Factor 3 focuses more on the rewarding nature of the job itself. Employees prefer meaningful jobs that provide adequate challenge without compromising their values. Such high QWL jobs must have good benefits, pay well, provide assistance for planning one's career, and exist in a work context that is perceived to be fair.

Factor 4 emphasizes the importance of the existence of stimulating opportunities and co-workers. The findings show that the employees thought it was very important to have an opportunity to use their abilities and apply their knowledge to learn new things and to work with co-workers who were not disinterested Free from bias, prejudice, or partiality.

A disinterested witness is one who has no interest in the case at bar, or matter in issue, and is legally competent to give testimony.
 in their job but were rather both interested and committed to the organization.

In sum, four factors of QWL were found with this sample of employees. The first factor relates to a favorable fa·vor·a·ble  
1. Advantageous; helpful: favorable winds.

2. Encouraging; propitious: a favorable diagnosis.

 working environment. A high QWL job is one in which there is an efficient work situation, a management that is concerned about helping subordinates solve problems and actively assists on work problems, no negative impact on personal life, and an absence of inappropriate work demands.

Factor 1 emphasizes that good performance is recognized in addition to rewards being based upon performance while employees are respected and treated like mature people. This is congruent con·gru·ent  
1. Corresponding; congruous.

2. Mathematics
a. Coinciding exactly when superimposed: congruent triangles.

 with the notion of a meritocracy mer·i·toc·ra·cy  
n. pl. mer·i·toc·ra·cies
1. A system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement.

. Thus, a high-QWL work situation is one in which there is a great deal of management support. The second QWL factor was labelled personal growth and autonomy. For there to be a high QWL, employees in this sample also wanted competent supervision and a management that actively assisted them on solving work problems and was also concerned about their personal problems. A high-quality work life was perceived to be one in which there was an opportunity to develop close personal ties and achieve career goals with an absence of excessive job stress. In a high-QWL there should be a positive impact on personal life, an opportunity to be involved in decision as well as an acceptable level of physical comfort. Jobs seen to exist within high-QWL work situations are those in which there is minimal negative impact on one's personal life, and hopefully one which has a positive impact on one's personal life. These preferred qualities of work life are broadly similar to those expressed by workers in the industrialized in·dus·tri·al·ize  
v. in·dus·tri·al·ized, in·dus·tri·al·iz·ing, in·dus·tri·al·iz·es
1. To develop industry in (a country or society, for example).

 West (Miller 1978; Kirkman 1981; Metz 1982; Mirvis and Lawler 1984; Cooper 1988). The third QWL factor identified has been labelled rewarding nature of the job. Work situations providing adequate levels of pay and other benefits are perceived as being high-QWL work environments. As socio-economic conditions change, it is expected that the importance of this factor will also change. The fourth and last factor identified was the perception of stimulating opportunities and co-workers. It is clear from the findings that the aspiring Indian job entrant en·trant  
One that enters, especially one that enters a competition.

[French, from present participle of entrer, to enter, from Old French; see enter.
 seeks a relatively high level of security, career opportunities, personal development, and reward incentives in his/her working environment. We would expect that these dimensions comprising QWL that were found in the present sample are consistent with the rapid economic growth and increasingly higher levels of educational standards in India.


Future research needs to redress Compensation for injuries sustained; recovery or restitution for harm or injury; damages or equitable relief. Access to the courts to gain Reparation for a wrong.

REDRESS. The act of receiving satisfaction for an injury sustained.
 this imbalance especially since there may well be cultural differences in value dimensions as suggested by Hofstede (1980). Additionally, other industries should be studied to examine the extent to which the present results can be generalized across industries. Given the major changes of the socio-technical systems in the work context and greater society, further work needs to be carried out to examine the extent to which perceptions of QWL may have changed as well. Thus, this paper has made an earnest attempt to find out the Perceptual Factors in Quality of Work Life in India.


Cohen, Burton J., Susan C. Kinnevy, and Melissa E. Dichter, (2007), 'The quality of work life of child protective investigators: A comparison of two work environments', Child and Youth Services Review, 29, pp. 474-89

Cooper, C., (1988), Humanizing the work place in Europe: An overview of six countries, Personal Journal, 59, pp. 488-91.

Cronbach, L., (1951), 'Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests', Psychometrika, 16, pp. 297-334.

Davis, L., (1983), 'Learning from the design of new organizations', in H. Kolodny and H. van Beinum (eds), The quality of working life and the 1980s, New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
: Praeger, pp. 65-86.

Davis, L., and A. Cherns, (eds), (1975), The quality of working life, New York: Free Press.

Efraty, David, and M. Joseph Sirgy, (2004), 'The effects of QWL on employee behavioral responses', by Springer springer

a North American term commonly used to describe heifers close to term with their first calf.
, Netherlands, 22, pp. 31-47.

Gallie, Duncan, (2003), 'The Quality of working life: Is Scandinavia Different?', Oxford Journal, 19, pp. 61-79.

Helzel, M., R. Joyner, J. Goodale, and R. Burke, (1973), Development of a quality of working life questionnaire, Item discrimination study, Ottawa: Department of Labour.

Hofstede, G., (1980), Culture's Consequences, Beverly Hills Beverly Hills, city (1990 pop. 31,971), Los Angeles co., S Calif., completely surrounded by the city of Los Angeles; inc. 1914. The largely residential city is home to many motion-picture and television personalities. : Sage.

Hossain, Md Mosharraf, and Md Tariqual Islam, (1999), 'QWL and Job Satisfaction of Nurses in Government Hospitals in Bangladesh', Indian Journal of Industrial Relations industrial relations
Relations between the management of an industrial enterprise and its employees.

industrial relations
Noun, pl

the relations between management and workers
, 34(3), pp. 33-4.

Joshi, Rama J., (2007), 'QWL of women workers: Role of Trade Unions', Indian Journal of Industrial Relations, 42, pp. 3-5.

Kahn, R., (1981), Work and Health, New York, Wiley.

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  • The Monthly Labor Review http://www.bls.
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Sirgy, M., David Efraty, Philip Siegel, and Dong Jin Lee, (2001), 'A new Measure of Quality of Work Life (QWL) Based on Need Satisfaction and Spillover spill·o·ver  
1. The act or an instance of spilling over.

2. An amount or quantity spilled over.

3. A side effect arising from or as if from an unpredicted source:
 Theories', Social Indicators Research, 55 (Sept), pp. 241-302.

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P. Kameswara Rao * P. Venugopal **

* Professor, Department of Business Administration, Kalasalingam University, Anand Nagar Anand Nagar is a census town in Dhubri district in the state of Assam, India. Demographics
As of 2001 India census,[1] Anand Nagar had a population of 5026. Males constitute 52% of the population and females 48%.
, Krishnankoil (India). Email:

** Sr. Lecturer, Sambhram Institute of Technology, Bangalore (India). Email:
Table 1: QWL factors from previous research

                                Factors Identified
                   Work Environment              Employee Welfare

Cooper (1988)      democracy                     security equity

Hofstede (1980)    individualism, Power          cultural differences
                   distance, masculinity,        in value dimensions
                   and uncertainty

Davis (1983)       supportive management &       equitable pay
                   favourable work environ-
                   ment, personal growth
                   and autonomy, the nature
                   of the job and stimu-
                   lating opportunities, &

Kahn (1981)        task content; supervision,    autonomy and control;
                   resources; promotion;         relations with
                   work conditions;              co-workers; wages
                   organizational context

Kalra and          safe and healthy working      employee welfare;
Ghosh (1984)       conditions; physical          job security
                   environment; absence of
                   undue work stress

Kirkman (1981)     job mobility                  pay
                   quantity and quality of
                   leisure time created by

Lippitt and        organizational environment    healthy social
Rumley (1977)      physical environment          relations
                   features of job itself

Macarov (1981)     chance to advance             seniority

Mirvis and         work environment              employee welfare
Lawler (1984)

Walton (1974)      safe and healthy work         adequate and
                   conditions opportunity        compensation
                   to use abilities future       social integration
                   growth opportunity
                   work relevance to society

Table 2: Loadings of QWL Items on the four sub-scales

Scale            Item No     F1          F2          F3          F4

Percentage                   37.2        10.4        8.2         6.7
of explained

Cumulative                   37.2        47.6        55.8        62.5
of explained

Nature of         4            .625
Job and          14            .537
Career            5            .528
Progress         32            .503
                 12            .503
                  7            .476
                 29            .459
                 10            .448
                 22            .408
                 20            .403
                 15            .386
                 13            .360
                 35            .356
                  6            .345
                 11            .345

Management       24                        .342
Support          26                        .788
                 25                        .656
                 28                        .525
                 27                        .416
                 34                        .370
                 16                        .369
                 23                        .358

Rewards          17                                    .767
                 18                                    .654
                 31                                    .475
                  9                                    .452
                  8                                    .439

Impact of        20                                                .531
Work on          22                                                .479
Personal         19                                                .441
Life             21                                                .404
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Author:Rao, P. Kameswara; Venugopal, P.
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Jan 1, 2009
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