In these recessionary times, the question of the quality of life at work may seem rather misplaced for France, given the concerns of the almost three million current jobless who would presumably be content in many cases just to have employment, without worrying about its qualitative dimensions. Yet, as Hubert Landier shows here, this is a major issue for developed societies, in which aspirations to well-being and a better quality of life are increasingly to the fore, as a result of the increased concern with non-material needs. And it is also an essential element in the smooth economic and social functioning of companies which, not having grasped this issue of quality of life at work as quickly as they should, are now paying for it in terms of absenteeism or low levels of employee engagement.
Hubert Landier argues that this situation can be remedied and individuals’ aspirations to a better quality of occupational life can be met, if there is action, crucially, at the level of company governance, by promoting social dialogue and genuinely involving employees and their representatives in strategic decision-making and the company’s business plan. This is an ambitious reform of company operation that has already been tried many times without success, but one for which there is still an evident need.