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Extrinsic and intrinsic determinants of quality of work life

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The objective of this research was to test whether extrinsic, intrinsic or "prior" traits best predict satisfaction with quality of work life (QWL) in health care. Extrinsic traits are salaries and other tangible benefits; intrinsic traits include skill levels, autonomy and challenge. Prior traits are those of the individuals involved, such as their gender or employment status. A survey of employees was conducted in seven different health-care settings located in the south central region of Ontario, Canada. A total of 65 questions were gathered into scales measuring such factors as co-worker support, supervisor support and teamwork and communication. These were factor-analyzed into intrinsic and extrinsic variables, and regressed against a satisfaction scale, with socio-demographic variables included. Based on the results, the following conclusions can be drawn: objectively identifiable traits of an organization ‐ pay, benefits and supervisor style ‐ play the major role in determining QWL satisfaction. Decision-makers with an interest in improving QWL in a health-care institution can focus on these traits and pay correspondingly less attention to enhancing staff autonomy or discretion.

Keywords: Canada; Factor analysis; Health care; Quality of working life; Surveys

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-06-01

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