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WOMEN, QUALITY OF WORKLIFE AND JOB SATISFACTION: THE INTERRELATIONSHIP

Ms. Harmeet Kaur

Abstract

This paper would highlight the various values, attitudes & beliefs of women regarding job
anxiety in their formal work organizations & particularly balancing their work & personal life.
The paper will also focus on factors affecting quality of work life and job satisfaction among
females in present business scenario. More stress would be given to issues related to women
and growth in present business scenario.

QUALITY OF WORK LIFE

Work is an integral part of every day life. If a person is spending 8 hours at work daily, it means
he is spending 1/3rd of entire life at work. So the type of work we do, the circumstances, working
conditions under which we work and the output which we yield (which is financial as well as self
fulfillment or of job security etc.), all this will influence the overall quality of our life. Ultimately,
quality of work life is bound to become the quality of life. The term QWL refers to the
favourableness or unfavourableness of a total job environment for people.QWL is the extent to
which workers can satisfy important personal needs through their experiences in the
organization. Its focus is on the problem of creating a human work environment where
employees work cooperatively and contribute to organizational objectives.

Beginning in the seventies and during the next two decades a constellation of principles and
methods had evolved into a movement called Quality of Work Life (QWL). The quality of work
life is a "broad expression covering a vast variety of programmes, techniques, theories, and
management styles through which organisations and jobs are designed so as to grant workers
more autonomy, responsibility, and authority than is usually done. To simplify somewhat, the
general objective is to arrange organisations, management procedures, and jobs for maximum
utilisation of individual talents and skills, in order to create more challenging and satisfying work
and improve organisation effectiveness" (Jenkins, 1981: p.7). Emergence of concern for QWL
can be traced to the revival of interest in the larger area of 'quality of life' in most of the countries
of the world. This is so because the two terms are closely related to each other. Life at work is
an integral part of total life space (Lawler III et. al, 1980). The QWL may therefore be
conceptualised as a sub-set of the quality of life, which is all-inclusive notion of life and living
conditions (Mukherjee, 1980; Szalai and Andrews, 1980). To quote Beinum (1974), it is the
quality of the content of relationship between human beings and their work.

Women today form an important constituent of the labour force in India. As the labour force
participation of women increased over the years, especially in professions and services, so has
the social scientists' and policy makers' concern with the linkages between QWL and gender
issues. Walker's (1975) QWL involved the task, physical work environment and the social
environment within the organisation, the administrative system of the establishment and the
relationship between life and job. Sayeed and Sinha (1981) focussed upon economic benefits,
physical working conditions, mental state, career orientations, advancement, job stress, effect
on personal life, union management relations, self respect, etc. The sex composition of the
workplace determines the extent and type of 'work life' that women and men experience at work.
Gutek (1985) examined socio-sexual interaction in work settings in terms of sex-role spillover,
which means the carryover into the workplace of gender based expectations for behaviour. The
physical and social environment at the place of work affects the QWL. The effects on women
are different in female dominated, male dominated, or in integrated workplaces.

Thus not only does the term QWL have different connotations to different persons the factors
contributing to QWL are also varied. To a worker on the assembly line it may simply mean a fair
day's work, safe working" conditions, and a supervisor who treats him/her with dignity. To the
young professional it may mean opportunity for advancement, career growth, being able to
utilise one's talents, etc. To an academician it may mean being able to satisfy important
personal needs, etc. Thus, many factors contribute to QWL such as

(a) Adequate and fair remuneration

(b) Safe and healthy working conditions

(c) Security of employment

(d) Opportunity for growth and advancement

(e) Promotion prospects

(f) Nature of supervision

(g) Application of principles of natural justice and equity


(h) Respect at work

A review of the above factors reveals that often the conditions that contribute to motivation will
also contribute to QWL. In the case of women employees special measures for their protection,
availability of child care facilities like creche, no discrimination in recruitment and equal
treatment on the job, etc. assume additional importance.

JOB SATISFACTION

In the words of Feldman and Arnold, “Job satisfaction is the amount of overall positive effect or
feelings that individuals have towards their jobs.”

According to Andrew, J. Du. Brins, “Job satisfaction is the amount of pleasure or contentment
associated with a job. If you like your job intensely, you will experience high job satisfaction. If
you dislike your job intensely, you will experience job dissatisfaction.”

Job satisfaction is a multi-variable and indescribable concept. There are number of factors that
influence job satisfaction of employees. These factors can be classified into two categories.
They are

a) Organizational and
b) Personal variables.

a) The organizational determinants of job satisfaction plays a very important role.


The employees spend major part of their time in organisation so there are number of
organisational factors that determine job satisfaction of the employees. The job satisfaction in
the organizations can be increased by organising and managing the organisational factors. The
organisation determinants of job satisfaction are as follows:-

• Wages
• Nature of work
• Working conditions
• Job content
• Organizational level
• Opportunities for promotion
• Work group
• Leadership styles

b) The personal determinants also help a lot in maintaining the motivation and personal factors
of the employees to work effectively and efficiently. Job satisfaction can be related to
psychological factors and so numbers of personal factors determine the job satisfaction of the
employees. They are as follows:-

• Personality
• Age
• Education
• Gender differences

The job satisfaction can also be determined by other factors like learning, skill autonomy, job
characteristics, unbiased attitude of management, social status etc. It is important for managers
to consider all these factors in assessing the satisfaction of the employees and increasing their
level of job satisfaction.

QUALITY OF WORK LIFE AND JOB SATISFACTION

The QWL approach considers people as an ‘asset’ to the organization rather than as ‘costs’. It
believes that people perform better when they are allowed to participate in managing their work
and make decisions. This approach motivates people by satisfying not only their economic
needs but also their social and psychological ones. To satisfy the new generation workforce,
organizations need to concentrate on job designs and organization of work. Further, today’s
workforce is realizing the importance of relationships and is trying to strike a balance between
career and personal lives.

Technological advances further help organizations to implement these programs successfully.


Organizations are enjoying the fruits of implementing QWL programs in the form of increased
productivity, and an efficient, satisfied, and committed workforce which aims to achieve
organizational objectives. The future work world will also have more entrepreneurs and they will
encourage and adopt QWL programs.
Most research studies in the field focus on two sets of factors having a bearing on job
satisfaction and motivation and ultimately on quality of work life: organisation driven factors and
individual driven factors. Under the first category such policies and procedures that deal with
retaining the employees such as training and education advancement opportunities, grievance
handling, monetary benefits, participative management, safety and security, welfare measures
and recognition and appreciation may be highlighted. To a large extent QWL in the organisation
becomes conducive if policies on the above mentioned issues are designed and implemented in
a proactive manner leading to high degree of satisfaction with them.

The second set of factors having a bearing on QWL may be termed individual driven factors.
Individual driven factors are those that are very much governed by individual idiosyncrasies,
likes and dislikes. These generally include managerial style, delegation, communication and
interpersonal relations. The quality of work culture, to a large extent is influenced by these
variables as they directly deal with people management.

By and large the studies in this area show the effect of organisation and individual driven factors
on satisfaction and commitment of employees to their jobs/organisation. Indirectly the emphasis
has been on the QWL conditions and feelings. Direct studies on QWL have been few and far
between specially with respect to women workers. Most studies focus on the linkage of QWL
with some of the outcome variables such as performance, productivity, job satisfaction, etc.
QWL has been found to be important for job performance, job satisfaction, labour turnover,
labour management relations and such other factors which play a crucial role in determining the
overall well being of any industrial organisation (Hoque and Rahman, 1999). Several researches
have been conducted in the field. Haque (1992) examined the relationship between QWL and
job satisfaction and found that QWL led to greater job satisfaction. Hossain and Islam (1999)
found that there existed a positive relationship between QWL and job satisfaction among
government hospital nurses in Bangladesh. In another study Hussain (2000) found that public
sector bank employees were in a better position in terms of their job satisfaction than private
sector bank employees. Wadud (1996) found that QWL was significantly higher among the
private sector women employees than their counterparts in the public sector.

GENDER ISSUES IN ATTAINING BETTER QUALITY OF WORK LIFE

According to a study conducted by Nadezhda Daskalova (ISTUR), Bulgaria in the framework of


the project ‘QUALITY of life in a changing Europe’ aimed to review gender differences in quality
of work and life. The survey findings show that men are in more privileged positions at work,
while women are more committed to the company . Gender differences are registered
concerning most of the study’s indicators of work quality, including autonomy, job satisfaction,
supervisor support, job security and work–life balance .

Main findings

Figure 1: Gender differences at work

Source: Differences between men and women in work quality, 2008

Figure 2: Gender differences in perceived characteristics of work quality


Note: The scale runs from a low of one to a high of seven.

Source: Differences between men and women in work quality, 2008

When perceptions influence thought than facts, the result is nothing but bias - Bias in the
matters of capability, career advancement and recognition. Almost 40 analytical studies have
disproved these claims and have established that women and men are at par with each other.

Is gender bias hindering a woman's career advancement?

Hindrances that women face:

• She is taken less seriously


• She is considered unfit and is denied challenging roles
• Her leadership capabilities are undermined
• She faces gender discrimination from the time of recruitment
• Reports say that at least 30% of women are facing pay bias
• Her family responsibilities are considered as hurdles to her professional commitment
• Her career goals are considered less important compared to her male counterparts
What can corporates do?

• Let efficiency and capability be judged on the basis of performance and not on the basis
of gender
• Provide equal opportunities for men and women for growth in your organization
• Implement equal opportunity policies
• Cultivate a work culture wherein employees do not discriminate each other
• Encourage women to take up challenging responsibilities
• Avoid gender bias while recruiting
• Avoid disparities in the matters of pay
• Have laws and policies in place which punishes discrimination and sexual harassment.

CONCLUSION

Women's employment in the organised sector has been growing over the years. The growth
in women's employment has been more marked in the public sector. Though the proportion
of women to total employment has been small, women do constitute an important segment
of the labour market and their contribution is considered valuable in many sectors and jobs.
It is, therefore important for the employers to take steps to enhance the QWL of women
employees along with that of male employees. In similar vain trade unions have a special
responsibility to take up the specific women's issues with the management along with the
issues common to all. This will help in enhancing the QWL of women employees.
References:

• Armstrong,M(2006),A Handbook of Human Resource Management ,10th Edition,Kogan


Page, London.

• Joshi, Rama J. Quality of work life of women workers: role of trade unions; Indian
Journal of Industrial Relations , January 1, 2007

• Nadezhda Daskalova, Gender differences in quality of work and life; Institute for Social
and Trade Union Research (ISTUR),Bulgaria, Nov 2009

• Anita Singhal; (2008) Top Tips for Improving the Quality of your Work Life.

• Lawler III E and Porter L. (1966). Managers pay and their satisfaction with their pay.
Personnel Psychology. XIX.