Quality of Work Life Survey Results Announced

Posted: March 24, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Catherine Ferraro

To continue the dialogue between Mason and its employees, the Quality of Work Life Task Force conducted a Quality of Work Life (QWL) survey of Mason employees in June and October 2006 to ask them a series of detailed questions regarding work/life at Mason.

In two separate groups, a total of 5,379 employees were contacted across eight job categories on each of the four campuses and 1,546 were returned. The 2006 QWL survey was the first time all Mason employees were invited to participate, and the total of those participating in the survey was four to five times larger than in the past. In 2003, a total of 769 surveys were distributed and 259 returned, and in 2000, a total of 600 surveys were distributed and 395 were returned.

According to the survey, overall job satisfaction continues to climb with nearly three quarters (74.2%) of employees indicating they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with their jobs.

As in past surveys, employees at all levels valued the autonomy they have in their jobs, which can be seen in several areas including support for flexible work hours, the opportunity to use a variety of skills, develop new ideas and the chance to work independently. Generally, employees in each job category indicated that they had more support from and connectedness to their individual departments or offices than the university as a whole.

In comparison to the 2003 survey, there were very few items that reached the threshold where 50 percent or more of the participants indicated dissatisfaction. Some of the areas that caused dissatisfaction or stress included salary, personal finances, managing household responsibilities and finding affordable housing. However, the percentage of participants who indicated that they were satisfied or very satisfied in the area of salary increased from the 2003 survey from 25 to 36 percent.

Parking and commuting were a particular source of stress for adjunct and wages categories while university budget concerns were seen as a stressor for administrative and tenured faculty.

The survey also utilized the Work-Family Culture (WFC) scale, designed to measure the extent to which Mason supports and values the integration of employees’ work and family lives. Scores for the WFC were higher at the office or department level than at the university level, and nearly all job categories reported WFC to be moderately above the neutral point at both levels indicating that there is support for work/life balance at the university.

“Final Four Fever” and other events associated with the 2006 NCAA tournament was found to contribute to both employees’ perception that Mason cares about them as well as employees’ organizational commitment to Mason over and above other aspects of the job. As a result, the significant increase in organizational commitment since the 2003 QWL survey may be because of the effects of the Final Four Fever.

Gender differences were rare; however, men reported being more stressed by managerial responsibilities and women reported being more stressed by managing household responsibilities.

For more information about the 2006 QWL survey, contact Janet Walker at jwalker8@gmu.edu.

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