The term “quality of work life” (QWL) was first introduced in 1972 during an international labour relations conference. QWL received more attention after United Auto Workers and General Motors initiated a QWL program for work reforms.
Robbins (1989) defined QWL as “a process by which an organization responds to employees needs by developing mechanisms to allow them to share fully in making the decisions their design their lives at work”
QWL has been well recognized as a multi-dimensional construct and it may not be universal or eternal. The key concepts captured and discussed in the existing literature include job security, better reward system, higher pay and opportunity for growth, participative groups, and increased organizational productivity among others.
For the purpose of this study , QWL is defined as the favourable conditions and environments of a workplace that support and promote employees satisfaction by providing them with rewards, job security and growth opportunities.
It is almost impossible today to pick up a newspaper of news-magazine without finding a reference to quality of work/working life. In the search for improved productivity, manager and executives alike are discovering the important contribution of QWL. QWL entails the design of work systems that enhance the working life experiences of organizational members, thereby improving commitment to and motivation for achieving organizational goals. Most, often, this has been implemented through the design of jobs that afford workers more direct control over their immediate work environment.
According to J. LIoyd Suttle, “Quality of work life is the degree to which members of a work organization are able to satisfy important personal needs through their experiences in the organization.” More specifically, QWL may be set into operation in terms of employees” perceptions of their physical and psychological well-being at work. It includes virtually every major issue that labor has fought for during the last two decades.
Quality of Working Life is a term that had been used to describe the broader job-related experience an individual has.
Whilst there has, for many years, been much research into job satisfaction, and, more recently, an interest has arisen into the broader concepts of stress and subjective well-being, the precise nature of the relationship between these concepts has still been little explored. Stress at work is often considered in isolation, wherein it is assessed on the basis that attention to an individual’s stress management skills or the sources of stress will prove to provide a good enough basis for effective intervention. Alternatively, job satisfaction may be assessed, so that action can be taken which will enhance an individual’s performance. Somewhere in all this, there is often an awareness of the greater context, whereupon the home-work context is considered, for example, and other factors, such as an individual’s personal characteristics, and the broader economic or cultural climate, might be seen as relevant. In this context, subjective well-being is seen as drawing upon both work and non-work aspects of life.