Quality of work
The web instrument starts with a rating of the Need for Recovery. The user then rates their working conditions in four areas. One of these areas is Quality of work. Quality of work reflects well-being or personal satisfaction from the perspective of being able to do as good a job as the individual would like. In other words, it relates to feeling satisfied because you can do your work in a way that enables you to achieve what you consider a sufficiently high level of quality.
Quality of work is based on four questions published by Aronsson et al. (2010). Point calculation is reversed for questions 2 and 3.
- Do you have adequate resources to perform your work in a way that is satisfactory to you?
- Do you ever feel inadequate over not being able to give the help or support that you would like to?
- Do you have so much to do that you don’t get around to doing as good of a good job as you would like?
- Are you satisfied with the quality of the work you do?
Quality of work and Need for Recovery
The web instrument discussed is based on a working environment and health survey that registers working environment characteristics and measures of health. By the end of the study in spring 2018, approximately 1300 respondents from four different occupational areas had filled in the survey on five occasions over 2 years. Of all working environment measures, a lower score in Quality of work, both in the baseline survey in 2016 and the final survey in 2018, was shown to have the strongest relationship with a high Need for Recovery after work among all of the working environment scales.
Previous research on the importance of perceived quality of work
In Sweden, research into the opportunity to feel satisfied with the quality of work results was included when investigating why people have been healthy for a long time, “long-term healthiness” (Aronsson et al., 2004). Long-term healthiness relates to low measures of sickness absence coupled with low measures of sickness presence for a truer measure of number of days sick. In a study by Vingård et al. (2000), analysis of factors for “long-term healthiness” also showed that the most significant working environment conditions for good health were to be very often satisfied with how the work tasks could be performed, thinking that you have a good job, and feeling appreciated by co-workers.
Hodson (1998) investigated Pride in work or Pride in work results and found that Pride in work results has strong links to the work situation rather than being a “personality trait”. Pride in work results can be summarised in terms of being able to complete the task with high quality and has great significance to the employee’s self-esteem, perception of success, and joy. Frankenhäuser (1977) also argues that stress in working life, from a psychological standpoint, relates to humans’ basic need to face evolving challenges at work and to feel proud of what they do.
In his doctoral thesis on human care professions, Pousette (2001) emphasises the importance of having the opportunity to “do good for others”. Without this, there is a risk of the employee experiencing a conflict between what is considered well-done work based on professional ethics/education, their own desire to meet the client’s needs, and lack of available resources. In their quest to live up to the idea of a job well done based on professional ethics/education, even when there are resource shortages, the employee exerts more effort than they can actually handle, which leads to stress. In the same vein, Eklöf (2017) describes a phenomenon (mainly in the areas of school, medical care and nursing) where the employees risk being affected by Ethical stress. Ethical stress may relate to being forced to work at such a low level of quality and being forced to make decisions that are morally “wrong” but necessary in relation to available resources. Eklöf (2017) also describes what it is in the work that can create both well-being for the individual and benefit (in the form of good work results), i.e. being able to do something where the results can be seen, that also has significance for other people and where the individual has the ability to refine/improve their efforts through their own observations.
Aronsson G., Lindh . T (2004) Långtidsfriskas arbetsvillkor: En populationsstudie Arbete Hälsa nr 2004:10.
Aronsson G., Wanja Astvik, W., Gustafsson K. (2010) Arbetsvillkor, återhämtning och hälsa– en studie av förskola, hemtjänst och Socialtjänst. Arbete Hälsa nr 2010;44(7).
Eklöf, M. (2017) Psykosocial arbetsmiljö. Begrepp, bedömning och utveckling. Studentlitteratur: Lund.
Frankenhaeuser, M. (1977), Quality of life: Criteria for behavioral adjustment. International Journal of Psych, 12: 99–110. doi: 10.1080/00207597708247381
Randy Hodson R. (1998) Pride in task completion and organizational citizenship behaviour: Evidence from the ethnographic literature, Work & Stress, 12:4, 307-321, DOI:10.1080/02678379808256869
Pousette A. Feedback and Stress in Human Service Organizations. Department of Psychology, University of Gothenburg, Sweden: 2001.
Vingård E, Josephson M, Aronsson G & Nilsson M (2000) Psykosocial arbetsmiljö i Gotlands kommun – en studie av nedvarvning, återhämtning och friskfaktorer. HAKuL project Stockholm: Karolinska Institutet, Report 2000:2. ”