The Quality of Working Life:

An Important Issue for Managers of the Federal Work Force

FPCD-78-39: Published: Jul 3, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 3, 1978.

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A review of the literature suggested four major causes for the increasing importance of the quality of working life (QWL): the declining rate of productivity increase, the restricted growth environment, the deteriorating quality of goods and services, and the changing nature of the work force. The QWL is discussed from three perspectives--reasons for concern over QWL, evidence available regarding benefits from improving QWL, and implications for the Federal Government.

Concern about QWL has led to major workplace innovations throughout the industrialized world; in particular, considerable efforts to improve the QWL have been advanced in Western Europe. Since 1969, the Department of Labor has periodically assessed the QWL of a national cross-section of the labor force. Differences exist among experts in and out of Government concerning the potential impact of QWL-related activities, but increasing interest in QWL appears warranted. The QWL among Federal employees must be presumed to approximate that of the overall U.S. work force, and the concern for productivity must also apply to this group. A key indicator of effectiveness or productivity of Government is public reaction which in recent years has not been favorable. The level of QWL among Federal employees should be assessed and periodically monitored.

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  • employment icon, source: GAO

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Labor
    GAO-19-395SP: Published: Apr 3, 2019. Publicly Released: Apr 10, 2019.

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