This presentation examines the diverse theories, concepts and practices that address the quality of jobs, work environments and individuals’ work experiences. On this broad canvas, we can identify points of convergence around key sets of determinants and outcomes. However, a common conceptual vocabulary is lacking, which impedes cross-fertilization across disciplines and between researchers and practitioners. The most promising opportunity for an integrated approach is around the connection between work environments, employee well-being and organizational performance. Practitioners and policy-makers need a basic model explaining these complex dynamics. By taking up this challenge, researchers would help ensure that future decisions to improve job quality are informed by evidence.
Graham Lowe is president of The Graham Lowe Group Inc., a workplace consulting and research firm. He is also a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta, a research associate at Canadian Policy Research Networks, and a member of IWH’s Scientific Advisory Committee. His new book, Creating Healthy Organizations, will be published in early 2010 by University of Toronto Press.