Employee participation in the development and improvement of their own work activities and daily production tasks has been strongly emphasised by the 'quality movement'. From this point of view, the quality perspective, and in particular development work, are supportive of improved working conditions and ergonomics. This paper proposes a classification of development work in relation to participative problem solving. Further, the introduction of development work was found from a theoretical point of view to be consistent with improvement in the characteristics that represent good and rewarding work. Several empirical studies in the field confirm that improvements in work and company performance take place as a result. There is also criticism of development work, which largely focuses on the difficulties of integrating such concepts into organisational structures and of making developments long-lasting. In addition, stress, intensification of work and increased pressure are also mentioned as possible harmful outcomes. It is concluded that the development work concept is an important innovation with great potential, but the organisational models and applications need to be further developed for the future. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
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