Quality of work

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Highest precision thanks to concentration and steady hand (ceramic painter in Valencia)

Quality of work is in quality management , the quality of a manpower services work results . In colloquial language , quality of work is also used in the sense of “quality of working conditions ”. It becomes an expression of a high quality of work and life in a company or city.

The quality of work is an object of knowledge, especially in ergonomics and business administration .


While the volume of work reflects the amount of goods or services produced within the working time , the quality of work relates to the quality of a product or service. In the case of recruitment tests, the Duden understands the number of correctly completed tasks. The work quality is closely related to that of object carriers ( working people or machines ) provided work power and the resulting qualitative work result . The quality of work thus makes a decisive contribution to product quality . The norm of the work tasks and work processes to be performed is regulated in most companies and authorities by work instructions or service instructions . The general rule is that a product or service must meet the specified quality standards in order to bring about customer satisfaction . Ideally, the end products comply with the requirements of the work instructions.


Already under King Hammurabi I around 1700 BC there was Precise regulations on the size and weight of bread, the norms of which had to be adhered to under threat of punishment. From 1880 onwards, the engineer Frederick Winslow Taylor's work studies were primarily concerned with the analysis of the production process down to the smallest work process in order to shorten the throughput time of work objects and also to enable specialization through the division of labor . A side effect of this was a short-term increase in the quality of work. However, due to the resulting monotony, specialization can lead to concentration disorders in the long term , which reduce the quality of work and increase rejects .

In modern times , around 1900, quality control was used to sort out defective products. In 1908, Henry Ford faced the challenge of mass- producing cars. To do this, he used assembly line production in automobile manufacture for the first time . "A growing distribution and differentiation of hand movements, constant flow and movement in work - that is the essence of true production". Ford and Taylor coined the term quality inspection based on statistics to control the optimization of processes around 1930 . The physicist Walter Andrew Shewhart began in 1924 with statistical methods in the US-American industry via random samples from ongoing production processes for product quality and in 1931 published a book about this which contained methods for daily monitoring and evaluation of production and measures for sustainable quality improvement.

A study published in 1976 by the sociologist Dieter Grunow showed that the quality of work appeared in 62% of all performance appraisals, based on specialist knowledge (80%), diligence and commitment (74%), behavior towards superiors and employees (72%) and reliability (64%) %) in fifth place. Only then were resilience (58%), work speed (54%), organizational and planning skills (48%) and willingness to take responsibility (45%) ranked.

Factors influencing the quality of work

The following factors have an influence on the quality of work of an individual employee :

The quality of work is promoted by the existing key qualifications of the employees such as willingness to perform , diligence , precision , a sense of order , reliability , perseverance , accuracy , concentration , work motivation or a low tendency to make mistakes . It is impaired by psychological stress , high workload , bad working atmosphere , stress , distraction or operational disruptions . A higher work pace (expressed in terms of work intensity ; see cycle time ) can have a negative effect on the quality of work. The lists contain both the endogenous factors originating from and influencing the employee , such as diligence, and exogenous factors such as operational disruptions. Already occurs one of the factors influencing negative effect, it can lead to defective production with resulting failure costs come.

The quality of work also depends on the course of the work curve and is therefore not constant over the course of the day or week, but is subject to more or less large fluctuations. The quality of work is best during the performance peaks in the morning and afternoon ( day curve ) and on Tuesday morning or Friday afternoon ( week curve ).

Control of the quality of work

The quality of work is through service supervisors / skilled supervisors as part of its supervisory duties to monitor regularly. This detective quality control serves on the one hand to ensure product quality and on the other hand to assess the employees. Depending on the scope of the control, it can be carried out either in the form of a total control or as a random check. A preventive quality control serves to prevent a decline in work quality through preventive measures such as high requirements for the qualification and qualification of the staff , elimination of weak points in the production process and precise harmonization of individual work processes within the scope of work preparation .

Employee evaluation

The quality of work is an essential criterion in employee evaluation within the framework of the job reference or an official assessment . The assessment of the quality of work is an internal means of quality assurance or improvement, is intended to assess the quality of work performance of workers and thus serves - like the entire assessment - as proof of qualification and, under certain circumstances, as the basis for wages . Bonus rules ( piecework wages) can reward the amount of work achieved by the employee, while a premium deduction is intended to ensure that a minimum quality of work is maintained. The yardstick for assessing the quality of work is the average of the employees in the company or in a smaller organizational unit (e.g. department ). This average value can be used as a reference value for example the error rate :

Is negatively deviated from the average value of the error rate is a qualitative underperformance before, the below-average evaluation score justifies. If the performance of an employee does not only lag significantly behind those of comparable employees in the short term and if it falls well below the average performance, one can speak of poor quality performance. With her, the relationship between performance and consideration is severely impaired.

Legal issues

An employee fulfills his contractual obligation under the employment contract if he works with adequate use of his personal capabilities . The Federal Labor Court (BAG) commented on the legal question of work quality in December 2003 as follows: "If the work performance in the contract, as is usually the case, is not described in terms of quantity and quality, or is not described in more detail, the content of the performance promise is based on the one hand Work content to be determined by the employer by exercising the right of direction and on the other hand according to the personal, subjective performance of the employee. The worker has to do what he should and do it as well as he can. The obligation to perform is not rigid, but dynamic and is based on the performance of the employee. An objective yardstick is not to be used ... The person obliged to do the duty owes the 'work', not the 'work' ”. The work success of the employee must meet certain requirements in terms of quality and quantity. In the case of a negative deviation, there is poor performance , which represents a breach of contract and can entitle the employer to take measures under labor law , including termination . In the opinion of the BAG, in the case of qualitative inferior performance , the error frequency cannot be taken as a basis. So are activities possible in which even a single error in such far-reaching consequences entails that a notice relevant breach of contract is much more likely to accept than other errors (eg. As the pilot of a passenger plane forgets the required verification in the refueling of the aircraft).

According to a judgment of the BAG from January 2008, a dismissal due to poor quality of work is only legally permissible if the employee has performed below average over a longer period of time and either produces less or makes significantly more mistakes than the average employee in the company or if he able to perform better according to his or her personal abilities. In the case cited, it was about a shipping worker in a mail-order department store who had an error rate between 4.01 ‰ and 5.44 ‰, while the average error rate of the 209 comparable employees employed was only 1.34 ‰. In the judgment, the BAG made it clear that the long-term clear excess of the average error rate, depending on the actual number of errors, type, severity and consequences of the incorrect work performance, can be an indication that the employee is accusingly violating his contractual work obligations .

With the prevailing opinion, the case law on underperformance as a reason for termination ( English low-performer termination ) is consistent. If the employee performs a job that is significantly below average, this may under certain circumstances socially justify a behavior-related or personal termination within the meaning of Section 1 KSchG .


Is to distinguish whether the poor quality of work in front of the sales notice or not the faulty products / services. If the poor performance is noticed by quality assurance , the reject only leads to internal damage ( failure costs ). If the defect remains undetected, there are customer complaints with the result that the defect is remedied due to warranty liability , free replacement product, product recalls , damage to the image or the lack of new business .

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Angelika Rodatus / Barbara Kettl-Römer / Hans-Georg Willmann, Duden Ratgeber work folder for recruitment tests , 2013, p. 60
  2. Emma Auch-Dorsch / Monika Raidl-Dengler / Katrin Hegendörfer (eds.), Quality Management in Psycho-Therapeutic Practice , 2006, p. 15
  3. Manfred Schulte-Zurhausen, Organization , 1995, p. 155
  4. ^ Henry Ford, Mein Leben und Werk , 1923, p. 104
  5. ^ Walter Andrew Shewhart, Economic Control of Quality of Manufactures Product , 1931, p. 36 ff.
  6. Dieter Grunow, Personnel Assessment: Empirical Investigation of Personnel Assessment Systems in Business and Administration , 1976, p. 172
  7. Hanns Peter Euler, The conflict potential of industrial work structures , 1977, p. 206
  8. BAG, judgment of December 11, 2003, Az .: 2 AZR 667/02 - juris Rn. 90
  9. Oliver Vollstädt / Daniela Turck / Patrick Wiederhake / Ivonne Faerber, dealing with difficult employees , 2016, p. 57
  10. BAG, judgment of January 17, 2008, Az .: 2 AZR 536/06
  11. BAG, judgment of January 17, 2008, Az .: 2 AZR 536/06 = NZA 2008, 693; BAG, judgment of February 10, 2005, Az .: 2 AZR 584/03 = NZA 2005, 1207