Managing Organized Insecurity: The Consequences for Care Workers of Deregulated Working Conditions in Elderly Care

  • Lene Ede Department of Social and Psychological Studies, Karlstad University
  • Ulla Rantakeisu Department of Social and Psychological Studies, Karlstad University
Keywords: Health, working environment & wellbeing, Employment, wages, unemployment & rehabilitation, Work/life balance, Organization & management

Abstract

Part-time work is more than twice as common among women than men in Sweden. New ways of organizing working hours to allow for more full-time jobs have been introduced for care workers in elderly care, which means unscheduled working hours based on the needs of the workplace. The aim of the study is to analyze how the organization of the unscheduled working hours affect employees’ daily lives and their possibility to provide care. The Classic Grounded Theory method was used in a secondary analysis of interviews with employees and managers in Swedish municipal elderly care. The implementation of unscheduled working hours plunged employees into a situation of managing organized insecurity. This main concern for the care workers involved a cyclic process of first having to be available for work because of economic and social obligations to the employer and the co-workers, despite sacrifices in the private sphere. Then, they had to be adaptable in relation to unknown clients and co-workers and to the employer, which means reduced possibilities to provide good care. Full-time jobs were thus created through requiring permanent staff to be flexible, which in effect meant eroded working conditions with high demands on employee adaptability. Solving the part-time problem in elderly care by introducing unscheduled working hours may in effect be counter-productive.

Author Biographies

Lene Ede, Department of Social and Psychological Studies, Karlstad University

 

PhD student. email: lena.ede@kau.se

Ulla Rantakeisu, Department of Social and Psychological Studies, Karlstad University

PhD, Associate Professor

Published
2015-06-26
How to Cite
Ede, L., & Rantakeisu, U. (2015). Managing Organized Insecurity: The Consequences for Care Workers of Deregulated Working Conditions in Elderly Care. Nordic Journal of Working Life Studies, 5(2), 55-70. https://doi.org/10.19154/njwls.v5i2.4793
Section
Articles