Health factors in different organizational forms
What contributes to a healthy workplace?
This study focuses on what contributes to the good health of employees in the social care work sector and, accordingly, what factors counteract illness. The study analyses what employees said they felt contributes to a "healthy" workplace.
Comparisons are also planned between three different types of organizations with different formal conditions - small private companies, large private companies and municipal organizations.
Different factors have an effect
Many factors act together to form a healthy workplace - both formal factors, such as the size of the organization and working conditions, and informal factors, such as leadership and culture.
Research shows that performance is influenced by an interplay between the requirements of the work and individual circumstances. Imbalance between these can lead to ill health. Individual circumstances concern, e.g., age, education, gender, heredity, lifestyle, experience. The requirements of the work are related to the working environment, the organization of the work and the labour market.
An individual's social life is also of significance - it can counteract ill health but also involve the risk of illness, e.g., in the case of a divorce.
Leadership is an important factor. Research shows that "healthy" leadership has positive effects in the form of increased enthusiasm, commitment and contentment, but that it also has a direct effect on the worker's health in both the short and long-term.
The effect of the organization
Only a small number of studies have scrutinized how organizations affect health. In order to understand the connection between organizations and health, it is important to investigate how a worker perceives his/her work and workplace. This can lead to better understanding of how health and ill health arise.
The focus of the project is the workers' perceptions and experiences surrounding their own life situation and the conditions which contribute to their well-being. Qualitative interviews are, therefore, the method of choice for personnel within the field of social care work.
Data will be continually analysed, concerning the interviewee's perceptions of health factors, leadership and how leaders contribute to a working life which promotes good health. The perceptions will be compared between employees in different forms of organization.
The study is planned to take place over a period of two years, beginning autumn 2012.
Annika Strömberg, University of Gävle
Åsa Vidman, University of Gävle