Being There No Matter What: Working in Publicly Provided Homecare Services

Keywords: Health, Working Environment & Wellbeing, Gender, Ethnicity, Age and Diversity, Organization & Management

Abstract

The aim of this article is to critically explore how formal and informal work practices interplay with gender in the shaping of homecare service’s work environments. An ethnomethodological view on doing gender is applied in combination with theories about challenges in relational work.The material is drawn from two projects represented by (i) a cooperative inquiry about Swedish homecare service’s work environments, with homecare service workers and first-line mangers (seven included in this article) and (ii) six semi-structured interviews with employees from a national work environment authority. The analytic procedure was qualitatively based using an abductive approach when looking for cohesive themes. Gendered organizational shortcomings that interplayed with the shaping of the work environments were lack of clear work descriptions, boundaries for work, resources for embodied work, and limited knowledge about risk assessment in relational work.

Author Biographies

Annika Vänje, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Assoc. professor, Division for Ergonomics. E-mail: annivn@kth.se

Karin Sjöberg Forssberg, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)

Ph.lic, Division for Ergonomics. E-mail: karinsf@kth.se

References

Aagaard Nielsen K. and Svensson L. (2006). Action and Interactive Research: Beyond Practice and Theory, Maastricht: Shaker Publishing.

Acker J. (1990). Hierarchies, jobs, bodies: a theory of gendered organizations, Gender and Society 4(2): 139-158. doi: 10.1177/089124390004002002

Acker J. (2006). Inequality regimes: gender, class, and race in organizations, Gender & Society 20(4): 441-464. doi: 10.1177/0891243206289499

Acker J. (2009). From glass ceiling to inequality regimes, Sociologie Du Travail 51(2): 199-217. doi: 10.1016/j.soctra.2009.03.004

Antonovsky A. (1990). A somewhat personal odyssey in studying the stress process, Stress Medicine 6(2): 71-80. doi: 10.1002/smi.2460060203

Armstrong P. and Messing K. (2014). Taking gender into account in occupational health research: continuing tensions, Policy and Practice in Health and Safety 12(1): 3-16. doi: 10.1080/14774003.2014.11667794

Aronson J. and Neysmith SM. (1996). “You're Not Just in There to Do the Work": depersonalizing policies and the exploitation of homecare workers' labor, Gender & Society 10(1): 59-77. doi: 10.1177/089124396010001005

Beer M. and Nohria N. (2000). Cracking the code of change, Harvard Business Review 78(3): 133-141

Bolin M., & Olofsdotter G. (2019). Bringing organizations back in: going from healthy work to healthy workplaces, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 9(4): 3-17. doi: 10.18291/njwls.v9i4.117779

Braun V. and Clarke V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology, Qualitative Research in Psychology 3(2): 77-101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Brignall S. and Modell S. (2000). An institutional perspective on performance measurement and management in the ‘new public sector’, Management Accounting Research 11(3): 281-306. doi: 10.1006/mare.2000.0136

Budgeon S. (2014). The dynamics of gender hegemony: femininities, masculinities and social change, Sociology 48(2): 317-334. doi: 10.1177/0038038513490358

Clarke V. and Braun V. (2018). Using thematic analysis in counselling and psychotherapy research: a critical reflection, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research 18(2): 107-110. doi: 10.1002/capr.12165

Däldehög A.-S. (ed). (2012). Genusmedvetet ledarskap: resan från ickefråga till tillväxtfråga (Leadership and Gender Awareness: a journey from non issue to a question of growth), Malmö: Liber.

England K. and Dyck I. (2011). Managing the body work of homecare, Sociology of Health and Illness 33(2): 206-219. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2010.01331.x

EU-OSHA. (2019). Third Third European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER 3), In: EU-OSHA (ed) European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks, EU Publications Office: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, 15. https://osha.europa.eu/en/publications

Fine M. (2005). Individualization, risk and the body: sociology and care, Journal of Sociology 41(3): 247-266. doi: 10.1177/1440783305057077

Frisby W., Maguire P. and Reid C. (2009). The `f' word has everything to do with it: How feminist theories inform action research, Action Research 7(1): 13-29. doi: 10.1177/1476750308099595

Gherardi S. (1994). The gender we think, the gender we do in our everyday organizational lives, Human Relations 47(6): 591-610. doi: 10.1177/001872679404700602

Gherardi S. (2015). How the turn to practice may contribute to working life studies, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 5: 13-25. doi: 10.19154/njwls.v5i3a.4831

Gustavsen B. (1992). Dialogue and development: theory of communication, action research and the restructuring of working life, Assen, Van Gorcum.

Hallgrímsdóttir H.K., Teghtsoonian K. and Brown D. (2008). Public policy, caring practices and gender in health care work, Canadian Journal of Public Health 99(2): 43-47. doi: 10.1007/bf03403804

Heron J. and Reason P. (2001). The practice of co-operative inquiry: Research ‘with’rather than ‘on’people:179-188. In: Reason P. and Bradbury H. (eds), Handbook of Action Research - Participative Inquiry & Practice, London: SAGE.

Hirdman Y. (1988). Genussystemet: teoretiska funderingar kring kvinnors sociala underordning (The Gender Order: theoretical reflections on women´s social subordination), Maktutredningen, Uppsala: Maktutredningen.

Hochschild A.R. (1990). Ideology and emotion management: A perspective and path for future research. In: Kemper T.D. (ed), Research agendas in the sociology of emotions: 117-142. Albany: State University of New York Press.

Hochschild A.R. (2003). The Managed Heart: Commercialization of Human Feeling : Twentieth Anniversary Edition with a New Afterword, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Husso M. and Hirvonen H. (2012). Gendered agency and emotions in the field of care work, Gender, Work & Organization 19(1): 29-51. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0432.2011.00565.x

Hussein S. (2018). Job demand, control and unresolved stress within the emotional work of long-term care in England, International Journal of Care and Caring 2(1): 89-107. doi: 10.1332/239788218x15187915863909

International Labour Organization. (2016). Women at Work: Trends 2016, Geneva: ILO.

Jenkins J. and Finneman T. (2018). Gender trouble in the workplace: applying Judith Butler’s theory of performativity to news organizations, Feminist Media Studies 18(2): 157-172. doi: 10.1080/14680777.2017.1308412

Johansson K. and Abrahamsson L. (2018). Gender-equal organizations as a prerequisite for workplace learning, The Learning Organization 25: 10-18. doi: org/10.1108/tlo-05-2017-0050

Kamp A., Klemsdal L. and Gonäs L. (2013). Working in the public sector: introduction to the thematic issue, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 3(2): 1. doi: 10.19154/njwls.v3i2.2547

Keisu B.-I., Öhman A. and Enberg B. (2016). What is a good workplace? Tracing the logics of NPM among managers and professionals in Swedish elderly care, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 6: 27-46. doi: 10.19154/njwls.v6i1.4884

Kines P., Lappalainen J., Mikkelsen K.L., et al. (2011). Nordic Safety Climate Questionnaire (NOSACQ-50): a new tool for diagnosing occupational safety climate, International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics 41(6): 634-646. doi: org/10.1016/j.ergon.2011.08.004

Kmec J.A. and Gorman E.H. (2010). Gender and discretionary work effort: evidence from the United States and Britain, Work and Occupations 37(1): 3-36. doi: 10.1177/0730888409352064

Korvajärvi P. (1998). Gendering Dynamics in White-collar Work Organizations, Tampere: Univ.

Kosny A. and MacEachen E. (2010). Gendered, invisible work in non-profit social service organizations: implications for worker health and safety, Gender, Work & Organization 17(4): 359 – 380. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2009.00460.x

Kvale S. and Brinkmann S. (2009). InterViews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing, Los Angeles: Sage Publications.

Kvande E. (2003). Doing gender in organizations : theoretical possibilities and limitations, In Gunnarsson E., et al. Where have all the structures gone? Doing gender in organizations. Examples from Finland, Norway and Sweden, Stockholm: Stockholm University.

Madsen A. Å. (2018). Long-term sickness absence among professionals: investigating gender, socioeconomic position and care work, Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies 8(4): 45 - 69. doi: 10.18291/njwls.v8i4.111928

Maguire P. (2006). Uneven ground: Feminisms and action research, In Reason P. and Bradbury H. (eds) Handbook of Action Research - Participative Inquiry & Practice: 60-70. London: SAGE.

Martin-Matthews A. and Sims-Gould J. (2011). My home, your work, our relationship: elderly clients’ experiences of homecare services. In: Benoit C. and Hallgrimsdóttir H. (eds) Valuing care work: Comparative perspectives on Canada, Finland and Iceland: 107-124. Canada: University of Toronto Press. doi: 10.3138/9781442689992.

McCann L., Granter E., Hassard J., et al. (2015). “You can't do both—something will give”: limitations of the targets culture in managing UK health care workforces, Human Resource Management 54(5): 773-791. doi: 10.1002/hrm.21701

Meagher G., Szebehely M. and Mears J. (2016). How institutions matter for job characteristics, quality and experiences: a comparison of home care work for older people in Australia and Sweden, Work, Employment and Society 30(5): 731-749. doi: 10.1177/0950017015625601

Meldgaard Hansen A. (2016). Rehabilitative bodywork: cleaning up the dirty work of homecare, Sociology of Health and Illness 38(7): 1092-1105 doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12435

Messing K. (1998). One-eyed Science: Occupational Health and Women Workers 71, Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Messing K. and de Grosbois S. (2001). Women workers confront one-eyed science: building alliances to improve women's occupational health, Women & Health 33(1-2): 125-141. doi: 10.1300/j013v33n01_08

Nyström J. (2005). The definition of partnering as a Wittgenstein family‐resemblance concept, Construction Management and Economics 23(5): 473-481. doi: 10.1080/01446190500040026

Olofsdotter G. and Landén A.S. (2014). Gender as headline and subtext: problematizing the gender perspective in an occupational health project, Vulnerable Groups & Inclusion 5(1): 23261. doi: 10.3402/vgi.v5.23261

Pollitt C. and Dan S. (2011). The impacts of the New Public Management in Europe: A meta-analysis, Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future.

Pousette A., Larsman P., Eklöf M., et al. (2017). The relationship between patient safety climate and occupational safety climate in healthcare – A multi-level investigation, Journal of Safety Research 61: 187-198. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsr.2017.02.020

Purkis M., Ceci C. and Bjornsdóttir K. (2011). Patching up the holes: analysing paid care work in homes, In Benoit C. and Hallgrimsdóttir H. (eds) Valuing care work: Comparative perspectives on Canada, Finland and Iceland: 107-124. Canada: University of Toronto Press. doi:10.3138/9781442689992

Reason P. and Bradbury H. (2001). Handbook of Action Research: Participative Inquiry and Practice, London: SAGE.

Regnö K. (2013). Det osynliggjorda ledarskapet: kvinnliga chefer i majoritet (Women managers in majority), Dissertation, Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology.

Reitz M. (2017). Analyzing and communicating action research data: practical approaches to conveying the quality and texture of experience, Action Research 15(4): 424-440. doi: 10.1177/1476750316660364

Ringblom L. (2019). Utmanad ordning?: en studie av kön och jämställdhetsarbete i den svenska gruvindustrins arbetsorganizationer (Challenging the Gendered Order? A study of gender and gender equality work in the Swedish mining industry), Dissertation, Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet.

Rosso C. B. and Saurin T. A. (2018). The joint use of resilience engineering and lean production for work system design: a study in healthcare, Applied Ergonomics 71: 45-56. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2018.04.004

Strandell R. (2020). Care workers under pressure – a comparison of the work situation in Swedish home care 2005 and 2015, Health & Social Care in the Community 28(1): 137-147. doi: 10.1111/hsc.12848

Simpson R., Hughes J. and Slutskaya N. (2016). Embodying Dirty Work, In Gender, Class and Occupation: Working Class Men doing Dirty Work: 23-4, London: Palgrave. doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-43969-7_2

Svensson L. et al. (2002). Interaktiv forskning - för utveckling av teori och praktik (Interactive research - for development of theory and practice) 7, Stockholm: Arbetslivsinstitutet.

Szebehely M. (2005). Omsorgsvardag under skiftande organisatoriska villkor : en jämförande studie av den nordiska hemtjänsten, Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv 8(2): 49 - 66. doi: 10.7146/tfa.v8i1.108539

Toulmin S. and Gustavsen B. (1996). Beyond Theory: Changing Organizations Through Participation, Philadelphia, Penn.: John Benjamins Publ.

Vänje, A. (2005). Knäcka koderna: praxis kring kön, industriell organisation och ledarskap (Breaking the Codes: Praxis concerning gender, industrial organization and leadership) Dissertation, Luleå: Luleå tekniska universitet.

Vänje A. (2013). Under The Magnyfying Glass: Gender perspective in work environment and work organisation, Knowledge Compilation 2013:1, Swedish Work Environment Authority, www.av.se.

West C. and Zimmerman D. (1987). Doing gender, Gender and Society 1(2): 125-151. doi: 10.1177/0891243287001002002

Published
2021-01-05
How to Cite
Vänje, A., & Forssberg, K. (2021). Being There No Matter What: Working in Publicly Provided Homecare Services. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies. https://doi.org/10.18291/njwls.123740
Section
Articles