Quality of work life and competitive advantage at the Ministry of Finance, Kenya
Quality of work life is proposed as one of the method that an organization can use to enhance its employees' productivities in order to gain competitive advantage. This requires continuous monitoring of employees attitudes to ensure that positive attitudes are maintained at all times; which can be achieved by organizations inculcating quality of work life concept in their work designs. The purpose of this research is an attempt to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between quality of work life and competitive advantage and whether by enhancing quality of work life of employees an organization can indeed gain a competitive edge over its competitors. The study identifies four important variables whose existence/non-existence would determine the quality of work life enjoyed by employees, namely, working conditions, adequate and fair compensation, training and development and opportunity for growth. This was followed by face to face interviews with five senior top officials of the Ministry of Finance. The data collected was then analyzed using content analysis and presented as descriptive notes. The study established that the availability and functionality of dimensions of quality of work life in the Ministry of Finance impacts on employees' wellbeing whose competencies are used as tools for gaining competitive advantages. This is based on the premise that when quality of work life is available and functional in an organization, it creates positive employee attitude which transforms into enhanced work performance and increased productivity. The research study also found that though the working conditions are good, they are not optimal, hence this affects the productivity of employees and ultimately the efficiency of the organization. The study further established that the Ministry's compensation in terms of salaries, allowances and fringe benefits are both adequate and fair in'relation to the private sector compensation and the economic situations prevailing in the country presently. Indeed all higher level management are well paid than lower level employees. Although the Ministry provides competitive opportunities for its staff to undergo internal and external training it must, however, be recognized that, those employees who solely rely on the Ministry to be trained and developed may lose because promotions do not come always. The study noted that employees in the lower level management have little opportunity to fully utilize their newly acquired skills and knowledge because they have limited scope of responsibility. Moreover, the study found that the Ministry provides employees with competitive and equal opportunities for growth through internal promotion or redeployments, which are available for all the staff who meet the necessary qualifications. This research adds to the existing literature which suggests that if properly conducted, performance oriented programs such as quality of work life would enhance an organization's competitiveness.