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Quality of Work Life in the Indian Context: An Empirical Investigation

* D.R. Saklani Introduction The concern for QWL was first noticed in the early 1970s. It was seen as the latest revolution that was taking place in the relationship between men and work. Two drastic changes in this relationship have been noticed in the past - the first one resulted from with the use of machine power (the replacement of muscle power by machines in the 19th century) and the second one resulted from the explosion of information technology (replacing programmable human mental processes by computers). The third revolution is now taking place - that of humanisation of work (Hofstede in Cooper and Mumford, 1979). The genesis of the concern for QWL can be found in the humanistic tradition within the social sciences that tries to highlight the employees need for meaningful and satisfying work and for participation in decisions that influence their work environment. Therefore, from a historical perspective this concern for QWL in organisations can be seen as the latest,
Since the emergence of the concern three decades ago, interest in the field of Quality of Work Life (QWL) is continuing to grow. However, there has been little effort to analyse and assess the concept in a systematic manner, particularly in the Indian context. This paper is an attempt to empirically evaluate the importance of various QWL factors pertaining to employees and to measure the status of their existence in work organisations. The required data was generated with a standard instrument having a sufficient degree of psychometric adequacy. The sample comprised 294 respondents of both managerial and non-managerial categories drawn from 24 organisations of different types. Rejecting the commonly held stereotype, evidence has been found to suggest that apart from monetary considerations, employees in India accord a high value to the factors that satisfy self-esteem and self-actualisation needs of a higher order. Similarly as against the observations of earlier researchers, the existing status of QWL in Indian organisations is not poor.

* Commerce Department, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, University of Delhi

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and, in many ways, the culmination of a string of reform movements that have attempted during the past several decades, to protect the rights and interest of workers (Hackman and Suttle, 1977, 6). The concept of QWL is very close to the concept of human resource development (HRD). The traditional approach to HRD led to the dehumanisation of work as the emphasis was more on machines than on people. The human relations movement restored the balance and brought forth the significance of human beings in organisations. However, it was Herzberg who was the first to notice the failure of individual training to suit the job as a change strategy. Herzbergs distinction between hygiene factors and motivators advocated the use of job as a medium for developing and changing organisations through the programme of job enrichment. Later on, Davis proposed the concept of job design, satisfying the techno-social requirements of the job. This was followed by work reorganisation as an extension of the job design idea under the Sociotechnical Approach of the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London. At the core of all these programmes was the value of treating people in organisations as human beings and helping them to grow, develop and take part in the decision-making processes. The goal was to humanise the organisations. Various terms such as, humanisation of work, industrial democracy, workplace democracy, work redesign, organisational redesigning, participative work and, later on, QWL were used interchangeably to describe the same thing. The interest in the field of QWL has survived the period of the past three decades. In fact, it is growing in most of the countries of the world. Initially, it was the purported failure of the existing job satisfaction measures to explain the simultaneous existence of a high level of job satisfaction and certain problems of employee behaviour that led to the emergence of interest in QWL.
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Job satisfaction measures of American employees in the 1970s revealed the existence of such embarrassing situations, for instance, see Taylor (1977, 243) and this trend, apparently, was not exclusively an American phenomenon (Cherns, 1975). Interest in the area of QWL got a major fillip from the viewpoint where it is seen as a panacea for many organisational problems. Finally, the current thinking that business organisations must reconcile their profit motive with certain social responsibilities seems to have sustained the interest in the area of QWL. Improvement in QWL is considered necessary not only because it contributes to organisational efficiency and to a fall in negative employee behaviour but also because justice and fair play demand it. Moreover, the discharge of this social responsibility by organisations is not merely a means to some end but is an end in itself. (Mullins, 1996, 535). Improvement in QWL has many desirable effects (Hackman and Suttle, 1977). QWL programmes in Scandinavia (e.g., Volvo) as well as the United States (e.g., The General Motors, Tarrytown, New York plant), for example, were undertaken as a response to extreme organisational problems involving employee alcoholism, absenteeism, tardiness, turnover and grievances filed by the unions (Pfeiffer and Jones, 1980, 258). These programmes of General Motors at Tarrytown led to an increase in sales volumes, dramatic improvement in the quality of performance, decline in absenteeism, turnover, number of grievances, and disappearance of labour unrest (Millor, 1978 and Guest, 1979). Similarly, there is evidence to suggest that the QWL programmes of General Foods Topeka Plant and Volves Kalmer Plant resulted in the improvement of job satisfaction, involvement, commitment and productive efficiency of employees. These programmes were also successful in containing the behavioural problems of absenteeism, strikes, accidents and excessive turnover, and in imbibing positive attitudes among operators at the plant level
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(Lawler et al, 1974). Participation in decision making, freedom to communicate, expression of warmth, human dignity, commitment and individual esteem were also reported to be high (Schrank, 1974). Research on QWL programmes offer substantial evidence in favour of their effectiveness (Simmons and Mares, 1987). Plants based on participative and QWL principles are more effective than traditionally managed plants (Lawler, 1978). These programmes encouraged workers to participate with management in making decisions about problems and opportunities in the workplace, as a way of increasing organisational effectiveness, and improving worker satisfaction, commitment and performance (Nadler and Lawler, 1983). Research has provided empirical support to the contention that enhanced QWL leads to improved employee satisfaction and fulfilment, increased mutual trust, improved employee-supervisor relationships, reduced stress and improved health, reduced counterproductive attitudes and behaviours, increased job security, reduced grievances, better utilization of human resources, deeper sense of worker responsibility, reduced labour-management conflict, increased productivity, bolstered strength of unions in given settings and a strengthened position of companies in competitive markets (Steers and Porter, 1983). Many of these positive outcomes of improvement in QWL have been substantially corroborated by cross-nation experiences (Gani and Ahmed, 1995; Runcie, 1980; Dwivedi, 1995; Venkatachalam and Velayudhan, 1997). Results of a study showed that a high level of QWL was associated with a high level of job satisfaction in many aspects of working life (Wilcock and Wright, 1991). Perceptions of QWL are positively and significantly related to organisational commitment (Weiner, 1982). A study by Fields and Thacker (1992) suggested that company commitment increased only when participants perceived QWL efforts as successful, but union commitment increased irrespective of the
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perception of QWL success. It was found to be a significant predictor of the organisational commitment of managers (Anuradha and Pandey, 1995). Statement of Problem With rising levels of education and consequent aspirations and growing employee consciousness of their rights, it has become imperative for Indian organisations to be more and more concerned about the quality of work life (QWL). The traditional master-slave pattern of relationship or even the carrot and stick approach are fast yielding place to supportive, consultative and participative approaches treating employees not merely as heads but assets which should always sharpen rather than stagnate. In the industrialised society of America and Western countries there has been a conscious effort on the part of both management and the government as far as the systematic evaluation and improvement of QWL is concerned. In the other industrialising countries of the world there has also been a perceptible shift in favour of QWL. In India, the concern for QWL in its explicit form found manifestation in the mid 1970s. In line with the trend elsewhere, a brief lull was followed by a phase of intense activity in the next decade. In the Indian context, a revival of the concern for QWL was all the more remarkable because of its timing. Its reemergence coincided with the onset of the period of transition in the economy. Changes in economic policies, globalisation of the economies of the world, and the consequent compulsion of facing competition both in domestic and international markets pose a serious challenge to all concerned viz., employers, employees and the government. This, coupled with ever-changing technology and increased access to information, has necessitated the studying of organisations with respect to their productivity, efficiency and quality of service rendered. Today, there is a need to improve the performance of work organisations in India. All this demands a new work culture and a high level

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of motivation and commitment to the job and organisational goals on the part of employees. This cannot be attained unless adequate measures are taken to enhance QWL in work organisations. Continued concern for QWL has resulted in a plethora of literature in this area. However, its review reveals that, there has been little effort as far as the systematic evaluation of QWL in Indian industry is concerned. An institutional Indian approach to the problem is yet to evolve (Gani, 1993; Gani and Ahmed, 1995). Most of the work in the area of QWL is in the form of articles and books touching upon the theoretical aspects of the concept. There are sporadic efforts to link the concept to the realities of life. There are a number of theoretical and research gaps. Because of its broad and comprehensive nature, there are a lot of ambiguities about the concept of QWL and, hence, there is no general consensus regarding its meaning, scope and issues covered. It means different things to different people. As a consequence, various studies in the area have focused on different facets of QWL (Ledford and Lawler, 1987; Sengupta, 1985; 1994; Srinivas, 1993, 1994; Venkatachalam and Velayudhan, 1997; Karrir and Khurana, 1997). Therefore, we urgently need to enrich our knowledge as to what quality of life exactly means, what its dynamic relationship is with social, habitational and individual structures. For the systematic evaluation of QWL, it is imperative first to demarcate its broad domain, then to develop the construct, and to design an appropriate instrument for its measurement. The task of examining issues providing theoretical underpinnings to the concept and demarcating its domain clearly, the process of construct development and design of the instrument have been discussed elsewhere (Saklani, 2003). The rationale of the present study lies in the systematic evaluation and analysis of QWL in Indian organisations.

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Purpose of the Study The present study was undertaken with the following specific objectives in mind:

a)

To assess the importance of various QWL factors to employees in organisations;

b) c)

To measure the existence of QWL in organisations in India; To examine the relevance of various QWL factors in terms of their contribution to the composite score; and

d)

To identify the areas having potential for improving employee motivation.

Hypotheses of the Study In line with the purpose of study, certain hypotheses were formulated on the basis of available knowledge. In Indian organisations issues relating to biological and social needs are more important in comparison to others. Organisational studies suggest that, in the Indian context, environmental factors (such as, physical environment, safety and other working conditions) and relational factors (such as, work group relations, and labour-management relations) are more important with regard to QWL (Srivastva and Verma , 1978; Kalra, 1981; Mehta, 1982; Sharma and Rajan, 1983; Kalra and Ghosh, 1984). This is in contrast to Western society where job conditions (like meaningful work) are more significant in relation to QWL (Jackson, 1973; Cherns, 1975; Mottaz, 1981). In a study of 150 workers and 50 managers at the HMT unit located in Kashmir, Gani and Ahmed (1995) found that adequate
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financial returns from the job, besides desire for job security, better working conditions and advancement opportunities continued to be major considerations in the employees working life. Keeping in view these considerations, in the Indian context, the following can be posited: The fulfilment of lower order needs is paramount to people in organisations in India (H 1). The existing state of QWL in Indian organisations leaves much to be desired. Chakroborty (1980) has concluded that from the available literature it is clear that the existing level of QWL in our organisations is far from satisfactory. Findings of a study reveal that the state of perceived QWL in Indian industries in all dimensions is considerably poor (Singh, 1984). In the light of the above, it can be hypothesised as below: The existing state of QWL in organisations in India is of a low level (H 2). Different groups of components (factors) differ from each other as far as their contribution to overall QWL is concerned. There seem to be two sets of reasons for this: one, differences in the importance of different issues to people in organisations and two, the devotion of more effort and attention both by employers and unions towards the improvement of those aspects of work life which are of immediate concern to employees. Therefore, the following can be proposed: In terms of their contribution to composite QWL score, the dimensions satisfying lower order needs are more significant as compared to the dimensions fulfilling higher order needs (H 3).

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Research Design and Methodology Basic requirements in the process of research involving the use of an abstract concept like QWL are (1) clarity and precision of the concept(s) used, and (2) their ability to bridge the gap between the theoretical-conceptual level and the empirical-observable level. If these two conditions are not satisfied, a concept cannot be measured and used for generating the required data. In order to carry out research in a systematic manner, it is imperative to develop the construct for operationalising the study. Without completing this task, it is not possible to design appropriate instrument(s) for assessing the phenomenon under consideration. Construct development involves three steps: one, defining the concept at the theoretical-conceptual level; two, identifying the factors (dimensions) constituting it and three, giving operational meaning to the dimensions. As mentioned earlier, the process of construct development has been described in detail elsewhere. However, it is necessary to point out here that, in the present study, the construct was developed by adopting the interactionist view of behaviour. There have been two perspectives to motivational explanation of behaviour at work: individual and organisational. According to the individual perspective, variation in organisational behaviour is a function of individual differences and, according to the organisational perspective, that of organisational conditions and practices. Under the former, the assumption is that the work environment is given; and under the latter, the individual motives (differences) are given. Individual differences have received tremendous attention in explaining motivation and performance in organisations. Various psychologists tried to explain behaviour in organisations with reference to individual needs, desires and aspirations. There was little effort to learn about the organisational side of the equation (Hackman, 1976). This trend was arrested in the seventies

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with the emergence of interest in concepts like, organisational climate and QWL. There was a growing realisation that, in reality, behaviour depends upon the dynamic interaction between individual and organisational characteristics. The two interact in a complex manner and jointly determine organisational behaviour (Schein, 1965 and Lawler III, 1976 cited in Sharma, 1987). Now, it is a recognised fact that the subjective perceptions of people about their work environment (i.e., working conditions and management policies and practices) cannot be ignored as these affect the quality of their work experiences. Thus, QWL is determined not by personal or situational characteristics alone but by the interaction between these two sets of factors by the closeness of the individual organisation fit (Hackman and Suttle, 1977). Keeping this in view, an extensive review of the relevant literature was undertaken. It was found that the various definitions of the concept of QWL can be broadly placed under two approaches (Lawler, 1982 and Dubrin, 1984). One approach defines QWL in terms of the existence of a certain set of working conditions and management practices and the other, in terms of the impact (affective reactions) these have on the well being of an individual employee. The first approach is comparatively less subjective it is based upon the perceptions about realities prevailing at the workplace. The second approach, because of differences among people in terms of their desires and expectations, is quite subjective. Different viewpoints about the concept can further be classified as (a) global, and, (b) restricted (Boisvert and Theriault, 1977). Global viewpoints of QWL take into account the role of work in ones life outside the workplace as well. Restricted viewpoints, on the other hand, are concerned with life at the
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workplace only. QWL is closely related to the more general term quality of life in that life at the workplace affects life outside the workplace as well. The former is a major component of the latter (Lawler, Nadler and Camman, 1980). Further, QWL is a generic phrase that is multi-faceted and comprehensive in nature. It is a measure of the quality of human experience which is a matter of the individual organisation interface (Guest, 1979). Recommendations from the National Seminar on Improving Quality of Working Life, organised by the National Productivity Council in New Delhi in 1982, emphasise the need for enlarging the scope and coverage of QWL in India in several directions and areas. In the light of the above, using the first approach that is based upon the global view of the concept, QWL has been defined, for the purpose of the present study, as: the existence of a work environment which is a matter of certain humanistic and life-enhancing work experience characteristics, as perceived by people in the organisations. Certain working conditions and management practices such as, reasonable pay, healthy physical environment, employees welfare, job security, equal treatment in job related matters, grievance handling, opportunity to grow and develop, good human relations, participation in decision making and balance in life are some of the key components of this humanistic and life-enhancing work environment. QWL covers a wide range of issues both financial and non-financial relating to work context, work content and work relations. There is a plethora of literature highlighting the factors (dimensions) critical for the assessment of QWL (Walton, 1973; Morton, 1977; Rosow, 1980; Carlson, 1978; Kalra and Ghosh, 1984; Srinivas, 1994; and Gani and Ahmed, 1995). Recognising the comprehensive and multifaceted nature of QWL, twenty two dimensions were initially identified for the analysis of the concept.

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However, after a careful analysis of the responses of the pilot survey conducted for the purpose, and also the views of people in industry and those engaged in research, the number of factors was reduced to thirteen. These include adequate and fair compensation; fringe benefits and welfare measures; job security; physical working environment; work load and job stress; opportunity to use and develop human capacity; opportunity for career growth; human relations and social aspect of life; participation in decision-making; reward and penalty system administration; equity, justice and grievance handling; work and total life space (balance in life) and image of organisation in the society (social relevance of work life). As a final step in the process of construct development, the QWL factors were given operational meaning by identifying their real life indicators. After developing the construct, the task of scale development (instrument design) - capturing the underlying meaning of QWL factors through contextually relevant sample items - was undertaken. Like construct development, this too has been described at length elsewhere (Saklani, 2003). However, it is imperative to point out here that the final scale used in the present study comprised of sixty-three items which were selected after a comprehensive analysis of the initial pool of ninety seven items generated at the pre-testing stage of the instrument. In line with the definition of the concept adopted in the study, items (QWL statements) for the scale were constructed by taking QWL conditions (QWL-C) as a basis of measurement. Sashkin and Lengermann (1984) contend that QWL can be assessed with the help of the scales containing items based on either of the two: QWL conditions (QWL-C); and QWL feelings (QWL-F). As mentioned earlier, QWL- C as a basis of measurement comprises of a set of objective indicators that reflect prevailing working conditions and management policies and practices at the work place. This
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approach allows for the drafting of QWL statements in such a manner that they are descriptive of empirical realities, evoking their cognition or recall, and leaving little scope for the influence of opinions and affective reactions. A five-point disagreement-agreement continuum indicating very poor to 'very good' status of QWL was used for recording responses on the 'items'. Only definitely favourable 'items' were included in the instrument. To be specific, a Likert-type Summated Scale was developed for assessing the existence of QWL, an attitudinal concept. This type of scaling technique not only helps in avoiding any kind of confusion among the respondents, but also makes it easier to calculate a respondents total score under a factor by the simple procedure of addition of the scores of relevant 'items' directly. A scale developed in this fashion has been found to be considerably free from both random and non-random errors of measurement. Various statistical properties indicate the success achieved in standardising the instrument. Results of the analysis carried out for the purpose revealed the existence of a sufficient degree of psychometric adequacy, meeting the requirements of reliability as well as validity of the instrument. Reliability, a measure of internal consistency of an instrument, has two aspects: one, relationship of an item score across the items and two, relationship of an item score across the respondents. Reliability analysis for checking the relationship of item score across the items was conducted both at the level of the entire QWL scale and at the level of each dimension of the scale. Composite reliability of the scale, estimated with the help of two popularly known methods, was found to be considerably high. The values of the co-efficients derived from the tests contained under these methods were Cronbach Alpha () = .9056, Guttman Split-half = .8850 and Spearman Brown Prophecy Formula = .8852. The existence of positive and high values of these coefficients is
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reflective of the capability of the items included in the instrument to elicit consistent and reliable responses capturing the same characteristic or phenomenon, i.e., QWL. Not only should the items be internally consistent at the level of the entire instrument but also at the level of each dimension for the sample as a whole. This is a necessary condition for constructing a composite index relating to each factor (dimension). Results of the item-item correlation analysis carried out for this purpose has revealed that all the co-efficients are positive and statistically significant at the 0.01 level of significance. Further, the average reliability of the items under various clusters, as captured by the Cronbach Alpha (), has also been found to be sufficiently high and more than the acceptable level of 0.4. It ranges from 0.54 to 0.79. Relationship of an items score across the respondents was estimated by assessing the adequacy of inter-rater agreement. Differences in the evaluation of items should not arise due to the difference in understanding and perceptions of the meaning by different individuals. Perceptual agreement must precede aggregation of responses (Sharma, 1987). Values obtained with the help of a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) provide an insight into this property of the instrument (Roberts, Hulin and Rousseau, 1978; Sharma, 1987). Results of the analysis indicate that for the sample as a whole there is a sufficient degree of inter- rater agreement. For each of the thirteen dimensions of QWL between mean scores are substantially greater than within mean scores. Further, all the intra-class correlation (ICC) co-efficients are positive and F- ratios are statistically significant at 0.003 level of significance. The instrument used for measuring the existence of QWL, in the present study, possesses both aspects of content validity (i.e., face validity and sampling
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validity) in ample measure. On the face of it, the instrument developed here appears to be representing the concept of QWL. Various dimensions and items constituting the scale have sufficient literature in their support (for instance, see Walton, 1973; Morton, 1977; Rosow; 1980 and Carlson, 1978). These also have the approval of co-researchers and respondents. Many of these dimensions have already been used by researchers in the Indian context (Kalra and Ghosh, 1984; Srinivas, 1994; Gani and Ahmed, 1995). Construction of the items (QWL statements) in the scale is based on the work done by Cacioppe and Mock (1984) and Camman et al (1983). Sampling validity, the other aspect of content validity, requires the researcher to become acquainted with all the items that are known to belong to the content population of a concept (Nachmias and Nachmias, 1976). Although it is impossible to specify exactly how many items need to be developed for any particular content population, it is always preferable to construct too many items rather than too few (Carmine and Zeller, 1979). Therefore, as mentioned earlier, after a careful analysis of a pool of twenty two dimensions and ninety seven items generated initially at the pre-testing stage, thirteen dimensions consisting of sixty three items were finally chosen for analysis of the concept under consideration. An item validity index generated from item-item total correlation analysis and a dimension validity index constructed with the help of item totalcomposite score correlation analysis have furnished enough empirical credence to these aspects of validity. All the co-efficients were found to be positive and, statistically, highly significant (p-value < 0.001). This implied that all the items do belong to the factor under which they were included and also that different factors indeed represent the underlying concept of QWL. Further, it is imperative to point out here that responses obtained on the Important Factor Information Schedule (IFIS), have also provided enough empirical
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support to the contention that only contextually relevant factors were included in the instrument. Thus, whereas the existence of various QWL factors was measured with the help of a Likert-type Summated Scale, their importance to employees was evaluated through the IFIS. Respondents were asked to tick a minimum of five factors out of the thirteen given in the schedule which they thought were important to them in their work life. Using the technique of convenience-cum-quota sampling, the required data was collected in a sample survey methodological situation with the help of a questionnaire containing a Personal Information Schedule (PIS), an Important Factor Information Schedule (IFIS) and QWL items. The entire data bank is based on the responses elicited from the sample of 294 employees comprising 192 (about two-thirds) managerial and 102 (about one-third) non-managerial respondents drawn from 24 different organisations having their establishments in and around the National Capital Territory of Delhi. The number of respondents drawn from each organisation varies from a minimum of one to a maximum of thirty two. The inclusion of employees of different status in the investigation provided a balance to the sample. The need for this was felt all the more in the face of the likelihood of marked differences in the structure of their needs, aspirations and perceptions. Keeping in view the objectives of the study, due care was taken to give the sample a representative character. Therefore, organisations of diverse background were selected for carrying out the study. When classified on the basis of ownership, sixteen organisations belong to the private sector and eight to the public sector. From the point of view of the nature of activity pursued, seventeen organisations are manufacturing and seven are service-oriented. Taking origin as the criterion, nineteen organisations fall in the category of domestic and five in the category of foreign organisations. Table 1 gives a birds eye view of the distribution of both managerial and
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non-managerial respondents across different types of organisations.

Table 1
Distribution of Respondents Across Different Types of Organisations ORGANISATIONS (N=24) RESPONDENTS Managerial Non-managerial Total (N=192) (N=102) (N=294) Private Ownership Public Nature of activity Manufacturing Service Domestic Foreign 84 136 56 149 43 59 56 46 78 24 143 192 102 227 67 108 43 151

Origin

Findings and Discussion Importance of Various QWL Factors (Dimensions) to Employees Rejecting the null hypothesis that employees in India are predominantly concerned with factors fulfilling lower order needs, the findings of the study make it abundantly clear that they, in fact, attach more importance to the satisfaction of their higher order needs. The commonly held stereotype also appears to be challenged by the low importance ranking accorded to the factors having job context i.e., work environment (both physical and non-physical).
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As is clear from Table 2, highly important components comprise of both financial and non-financial factors relating to job content as well as job context. A closer look at the most important factors in the table indicates that employees in India not only have a yearning for more money but also for the realisation of goals of a higher order. Exploitation of the development potential through a job that provides meaning to life and continued growth (enhancing status) occupy the first two positions respectively in the rank order of the thirteen parameters. In addition, proper administration of a reward and penalty system giving due recognition to merit and penalising non-performance and indiscipline seems to be highly valued by employees. Participation in decision-making and job security, in that order, have emerged as two very important factors. The image of the organisation; work and total life space; work load and job stress; equity, justice and grievance handling, and relational and social aspect of work life fall in the category of important components of QWL. The physical work environment has emerged as the only moderately important factor. Interestingly, all the factors relating to the latter comparatively less important categories pertain to organisation and work situation therein. In brief, money, growth, self-development, enforcement of reward and penalty system, ability to influence decision making processes and security are the cherished goals of employees in India. Essentially, all these components of QWL concern the enlightened self-interest of individuals. On the basis of these findings it can be reiterated that, apart from materialism, employees in India accord high significance to non-materialistic goals in life. In fact, higher order needs of self-esteem and self-actualisation seem to enjoy pride of place in their estimation. These findings are similar to the observations made in the Western societies. Jackson (1973), Cherns (1975) and Mottaz (1981) have reported that in the Western world, work and the job themselves rank quite
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Table 2
Importance of Various QWL Factors to Employees FREQUENCY RANK QWL COMPONENTS DISTRIBUTION ORDER (N=294) NUMBER PERCENTAGE 235 79.9* 3 Adequate and fair compensation (D-1) 210 71.4* 5 Fringe benefits and welfare measures (D-2) Job security (D-3) 168 57.1** 7 Physical work 102 34.7**** 13 environment (D-4) Work load and job 114 38.8*** 10 stress (D-5) Opportunity to use and 236 80.3* 2 develop human capacity (D-6) Opportunity for 238 81.0* 1 continued growth (D-7) Human relations and 108 36.5*** 12 social aspect of work life (D-8) Participation in decision 185 62.9** 6 making (D-9) Reward and penalty 215 73.1* 4 system (D-10) Equity, justice and 110 37.4*** 11 grievance handling (D-11) Work and total life 126 42.9*** 9 space (D-12) Image of organisation 133 45.2*** 8 (D-13)

NOTE : * Most important (total =5), Decision rule - with score above 65% ** Very important (total =2), Decision rule - with score above 50% to 65% *** Important (total =5), Decision rule - with score above 35% to 50% **** Moderately important (total=1), Decision rule - with score above 20% to 35%

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high in the QWL. Further, it appears that employees have a strong desire for performance-reward linkage, fixing of accountability and responsibility for non-performance, enforcement of discipline and participation in the process of decision making. These employees are inner-directed and look for both financial as well as non-financial incentives. A comparatively lesser value of the physical work environment appears to indicate that, today, issues pertaining to this aspect of life at work are not as serious as these used to be in the past to employees in India. Similarly, the less than expected relevance of the relational and social component of QWL is perhaps not out of tune with present day realities. Today, individualism is gaining pre-eminence and organisational life is becoming a pure exchange relationship. These findings are contrary to the results reported by Sharma and Sundara Rajan (1983) which show the high importance of social needs for better labour management relations in the Indian context. These findings also contradict the assertions made by Srivastava and Verma (1978) that, for Indian workers, good relations with co-workers is the second most important factor at the work place. This also explodes the myth about the influence of the traditional joint family system nurturing affiliation values. The roots of the joint-family system themselves have become weak under the sway of individualism and nuclear dual-career families. In fact, it may be a significant indicator of the fast erosion of the value attached to the need for affiliation of the society in general. Existence of QWL: Overall and Component-wise Table 3 presents the findings of the univariate analysis as a tool of inferential statistics. Rejecting the null hypothesis, findings of the study indicate that the overall level of QWL of organisations in India is not poor. It is more than the
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average level (P< .001). However, it is imperative to point out here that this can in no way be construed to mean good, or ideal, state of QWL of organisations in India. Component-wise, also, the picture is not very different. None of the factors have recorded poor existence of QWL. A series of t-tests conducted for the purpose reveal that QWL in most of the dimensions is either average or above average. Although three dimensions seem to be indicating the below average status of QWL, in no way can they be interpreted to be of a poor level. Notwithstanding this, the status of QWL cannot be termed as good on any of the thirteen dimensions under consideration. Respondents have rated job security, physical work environment and organisational image as being of a substantially high order. At the same time, compensation level, opportunity for growth and participation in decision making have been viewed as better than the average. These findings can be interpreted as signifying the success of trade unions and various legislative efforts of the government of India in ensuring a certain level of living standard, apart from economic security, to the working class. These are also indicative of the success achieved in improving physical conditions at the work place, opportunities for growth, and participation in decisions affecting ones work life. Further, there is a positive perception of employees who consider their organisations to be socially responsible in matters, such as, product quality, customer complaint handling, waste disposal and policies relating to the recruitment of manpower. Viewed in its entirety, it may also be a reflection of an attitudinal change with growing professionalism in management. However, it is in contradiction with the popular perception that employers in India do not command a good image in society.
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Table 3
Relative Contribution of Two Groups of Components in the Composite QWL Score
MEAN STD. STD. VARIANCE T-VALUE SIGNIFICANCE SCORE DEV. ERROR Level (N=294) (p-value) OVERALL 3.18 .39 .02 .15 7.73 P<.001* D-1 3.47 .64 .04 .41 12.66 P<.001* D-2 3.09 .85 .05 .73 1.77 P>.05 D-3 3.72 .71 .04 .51 17.22 P<.001* D-4 3.73 .74 .04 .55 16.81 P<.001* D-5 2.84 .56 .03 .32 -4.90 P<.001* D-6 3.04 .59 .03 .34 1.09 P>.20 D-7 3.25 .61 .04 .37 7.08 P<.001* D-8 2.76 .57 .03 .32 -7.189 P<.001* D-9 3.12 .64 .04 .41 3.22 P<.001* D-10 3.06 .72 .04 .52 1.43 P>.10 D-11 2.94 .72 .04 .52 -1.33 P>.10 D-12 2.77 .93 .05 .86 -4.19 P<.001* D-13 3.52 .53 .03 .28 16.70 P<.001* QWL

Note: 1. Degree of freedom = 292


2. * Indicates significant values 3. Decision rule in univariate analysis is taken as .01 level of significance

Keeping in view the average status of QWL on certain dimensions, it can be contended that, although employees have been able to secure participation in decision making concerning issues affecting wages and salaries, security of income and physical work environment, they have still to go a long way. Despite their being high on three out of four such dimensions, employees probably have not been able to secure jobs that are meaningful, challenging, interesting and free from undue interference from the boss. Employers in India, it seems, are yet to come forward in a big way to shoulder the social
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responsibility of improving the lot of employees by undertaking various kinds of welfare measures. There appears to be a lack of strong motivation for employees to work hard. Neither the rewarding of high performance nor the penalising of bad conduct/ low performance looks to be the characteristic feature of work life in India. An adverse effect thereof gets reflected, perhaps, in equity, justice and the grievance handling mechanism. Respondents have perceived the status of this aspect of work life too as that of average level only. Such an atmosphere at the work place forces people to resort to activities aimed primarily at keeping the boss happy. In the absence of a sound grievance redressal mechanism, it gives rise to the malaise of favouritism and nepotism in organisations at a wider scale. People with good public relation skills derive undue advantage especially when it comes to work assignment, transfer, promotion and the distribution of other rewards. Surprisingly, QWL is below average in the case of work load and job stress, social relationships, and work and total life space components of work life. Organisations in India usually operate in a work schedule which is fixed in nature. Concepts such as flexi-time and flexi-place are yet to become common practice. This, coupled with long working-hours, perhaps, is the major cause of imbalance in the life of the employee rendering him/her incapable of performing other life responsibilities. In the area of social relationships, on the other hand, it seems that the lack of socio-emotional support and the general tendency of people at the work place to overlook ones skills, potential, and real worth are the main causes of below average status of QWL. Deep rooted distrust, lack of informal interaction, use of an espionage system, absence of community feeling, status differentials, acceptance of an individual in the organisational life on the basis of his superficial ability to influence others, are probably the hallmark of organisations in India. Further, the wrong
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notion that long working-hours mean more productivity, and the promotion of relational and social life interferes with performance, still appear to be dominating the thinking of top management in India. All this, along with a high concern for effecting immediate efficiency and cost effectiveness in order to survive in a highly competitive environment, most likely, leads to the neglect of issues of the long-term implications impinging on optimum level of job stress, human relations and harmony in work, and total life space. Relative Significance of Various Qwl Components This issue has been examined in terms of the relative contribution of various QWL dimensions towards an overall QWL score. One can have some idea of this from the values given in the earlier table containing data relating to the existence of QWL in organisations. However, for the sake of simplicity and better understanding, the various QWL dimensions are being reduced to two broad categories. Group one consists of all those dimensions, which apparently lead to the satisfaction of lower order (LD) needs. These include D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D7 and D8. Group two comprises of all such dimensions that result in the fulfilment of higher order (HD) needs. D6, D7, D9, D10, D11, D12 and D13 are the QWL components, which fall in this category. D7 has been included in both the groups of dimensions as it presumably fulfils both lower and higher needs. Results of the bivariate analysis carried for this purpose are given in Table 4. Rejecting the null hypothesis, on the basis of this evidence, it can be contended that the two groups of dimensions do not differ from each other significantly as far as their contribution to the overall QWL score is concerned. Differences in the mean scores of LD and HD have been found to be insignificant at the .05 level of significance (T-value=1.86, P=.064). From this point of view, both sets of dimensions are equally important.
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In other words, employees are able to satisfy their lower order and higher order needs in equal measure. These observations seem to be contrary to the popular belief that, in the Indian context, employees have neither the desire nor the scope for the fulfilment of their esteem and self-actualisation needs.

Table 4 Relative Contribution of Two Groups of Components in the Composite QWL Score
Component Group LD HD Mean Std. Std. Value Deviation Error 3.20 3.15 .42 .51 .025 1.86 .030 .064 T-Value P-Value

Note:1. Degree of freedom=293


2.Decision rule in bivariate analysis is taken as .05 level of significance

An Integrated View: The Gap and Implications In order to know what is likely to have a greater impact on employee motivation and hence, requires the maximum attention of top management, the data were subjected to further analysis. In order to make the two sets of data generated in different ways comparable, they were assigned a rank order. Table 5 provides specific insight into the chasm between the importance of a factor to employees and the status of its existence in the organisations. As is clear from the table, the maximum gap (negative difference -where existence is less than importance) is in the areas of opportunity to grow and develop human capacity, growth in career terms, administration of reward and penalty system taking due note of ones achievements and failures, fringe benefits and welfare schemes, and work and total life space ensuring balance in life. In other words, issues
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relating to these aspects of work life must catch the attention of the top management on a priority basis. From this point of view, next in order are compensation package, elements of workload and job stress, and aspects of relational and social life. Because of the not-so-good level of QWL on components comprising of issues of high concern to employees, there exists a wide divergence between expectations and fulfilment, which must obviously impinge upon employee motivation. Work and total life space appears to be of considerable significance from this point of view, notwithstanding the comparatively lower values obtained by this component of QWL on both importance and existence. The disparity between the actual and the expected, in this case, is substantially large. Keeping in view these revelations, it can here be contended that greater job autonomy, feedback and job redesigning are some of the measures which must be considered by the management on an urgent basis. Provision of content to job, and enabling the use and development of human capacity by trying out the concepts of job enlargement and job enrichment on a wider scale, at the operative level, will possibly give a big push to employee motivation in organisations in India. Issues affecting opportunities for continued growth in career terms appear to be of no less significance in this regard. Allocation of work keeping in mind ones area of interest, career counselling, training and development activities, and proper manpower planning can go a long way in improving this aspect of work life. Contrary to popular belief, the efficient administration of reward and penalty system, too, seems to offer a great scope for boosting employee motivation in a milieu which seemingly promotes disregard for merit, rules and discipline. Therefore, strict enforcement of discipline norms, application of rules to all, promotion on the basis of objective criteria giving due recognition

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to merit are some of the measures which need to be uniformly followed by organisations in India. In addition, there is a need to enlarge the range of fringe benefits and other welfare measures in organisations. Free or subsidised canteen, conveyance, medical, childrens education, accommodation and such other programmes are likely to have a favourable impact on employee motivation. In the face of changing composition of the work force, the

Table 5
Gap Between the Importance and Existence of QWL (N = 294) QWL IMPORTANCE Component EXISTENCE DIFFERENCE
RANK ORDER

FREQUENCY R A N K MEAN (in percentage) ORDER VALUE

D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 D-5 D-6 D-7 D-8 D-9 D-10 D-11 D-12 D-13

79.9 71.4 57.1 34.7 38.8 80.3 81.0 36.5 62.9 73.1 37.4 42.9 45.2

3 5 7 13 10 2 1 12 6 4 11 9 8

3.47 3.09 3.72 3.73 2.84 3.04 3.25 2.76 3.12 3.06 2.94 2.77 3.52

4 7 2 1 11 9 5 13 6 8 10 12 3

-1 -2 5 12 -1 -7 -4 -1 Nil -4 1 -3 5

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importance of child day-care centres in this context should not be underestimated. Finally, the findings of the study also appear to indicate that top management in organisations cannot ignore the role of balance in work and total life space in influencing employee motivation. The existing mind-set of management in India must give way to a modern outlook. Longer and more working hours do not necessarily imply higher productivity. This kind of work schedule, on the contrary, may have a telling effect on the health of employees in the long run. Inability to pursue other life interests and perform other life roles may become a major source of unhappiness and tension and affect employee efficiency adversely at the work place. Therefore, it is also in the interest of organisations to evolve such policies and programmes that ensure a balance in the lives of employees. A flexi-work schedule (involving the techniques of flexi-time and flexi-place), resort to transfer of an employee only when it is unavoidable, streamlining of working hours and a five-day week are some of the steps which can be envisaged with this end in view. It is pertinent to note here that most of the QWL components which seem to be highly significant from the viewpoint of employee motivation consist of the factors resulting in the satisfaction of the needs of a higher order. This is in sharp contrast to the popular belief that employees in India are motivated mainly by incentives in the form of money, physical material gains and their equivalents. On the contrary, it is observed here that, now, it would perhaps be better for employers in the organised sector to accord greater attention towards issues which have a bearing on employees higher order self esteem and self-actualisation needs in order to achieve the desired behaviour in organisations.
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Concluding Observations The result of the study make it abundantly clear that, apart from financial factors affecting primarily the material well-being of a person outside the work place, many non-financial issues (relating to both job content and job context) which satisfy higher order needs of self-esteem and self- actualisation have emerged as being highly important to employees in organisations in India. As against the commonly held stereotype, many factors fulfilling biological and social needs at the work place are relatively less important to the present-day work-force in organisations. Contrary to the popular belief, the status of QWL in the organisations under study is not of a low level. It is, in fact, somewhat better than the average level as measured on a five-point scale. Dimension-wise as well, it is either average or above-average in most of the cases. QWL is higher than the average standard in about half of the total dimensions considered in the study. However, its overall as well as dimension-wise existence is far from the ideal mark. It cannot even be considered as good. Notwithstanding all this, it can be contended that trade unions and legislative efforts of the government have met a fair degree of success in improving the lot of the working class in India. Today employees appear to be better paid and seem to enjoy continuity of income with growth opportunities. There has been a substantial improvement in the physical environment comprising of elements such as, hygiene, safety and comfort at the work place. This seems to have been greatly facilitated by the enhanced opportunities for participation in the processes of decisionmaking. However, organisations in India seem to be characterised by a myopic vision with a focus on quick gains, overlooking the aspects adversely affecting manpower efficiency in the long run. The below average status of QWL on components, including issues having a bearing on the optimum level of job
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stress, state of human relations and balance in life amply substantiates this assertion. Further, even in areas of high relevance to employees, organisations in India are yet to go a long way. QWL on opportunities to use and develop human capacity, administration of reward and penalty system, and fringe benefits and welfare measures have been found to be of average level only. Finally, the status of the grievance-redressal mechanism aimed at ensuring equity and justice has also been perceived to be far below the satisfactory level. Interestingly, the results of the study also reveal that organisations broadly offer equal opportunities for the satisfaction of both higher order and lower order needs. Differences in the contribution of the two sets of factors classified from this point of view in the composite QWL score have been found to be statistically insignificant. An integrated picture of the importance of various QWL components to employees and their state of existence highlights that there is a substantial mis-match in a large number of areas. In other words, there appears to be a great possibility of improving employee motivation. In this context, it can be contended that organisations in India would probably gain a lot if top priority is accorded to the elements of content in job. Greater job autonomy, feedback, role clarity and job redesigning (using the concepts of job-enlargement and job-enrichment) are some of the ways that are likely to provide a big boost to employee motivation. Provision of training and development facilities, career counselling, proper allocation of work (keeping in mind ones area of interest) and sound manpower planning aimed at improving career prospects are also of high significance in this regard. Of no less relevance are the issues pertaining to the efficient administration of the reward and penalty system in organisations. Strict adherence to the norms governing merit recognition, discipline enforcement and application of rules seems to be another potent
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tool for enhancing employee motivation. Further, there is a need to streamline work load and other factors contributing to job stress so that there is a balance in work and total life space of employees. Notwithstanding its being not high on both the importance and the existence scales, work and total life space component of QWL too seems to be relevant from this point of view. Finally, the management cannot disregard the role of various fringe benefits and welfare measures affecting the well being of employees families in any scheme aimed at improving motivation in organisations.

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