Leadership and the Elder Care Home Sector

Personal Life vs Work Life of Health Care Workers
  • Published: August 2003
  • Format: Perfect Bound Softcover(B/W)
  • Pages: 234
  • Size: 6x9
  • ISBN: 9781412005470
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This study was undertaken to explore whether current leadership in the elder care home sector promotes a balance between personal and work life of healthcare staff. A case study approach was used to carry out the study using structured interviews, semi-structured interview and participant-observation as major data collection methods. The sample, a combination of enrolled nurses, experienced and inexperienced carers, were representative of the employees in care homes studied. This consisted of 18 subjects, 10 from a private care home and 8 from a charity care home. The structured interviews consisted of all 18 participants and the semi-structured interviews consisted of 6 participants from the 18 (2 carers and 1 nurse from each setting). For participant observation both homes were observed for 8 days from the three months spent in each. During interviews data were collected on the leaders style, leaders role, staff home life and work life and leaders support. During participant-observation the work environment, climate, leader and staff interaction were observed and key points were recorded. The data were analysed using the Ethnograph v4.0, a program for the analysis of text-based data. For the research purpose a codebook of 99 codes that would identify different aspects of the data in the interviews and participant observation was created. Content and thematic aproach were taken towards analysis using the computer software.

The result from this study showed that (1) staff are seen to prefer their leader to be democratic as there is room for negotiation, participation, consideration and understanding; (2) the staff's perception of the leader is an individualistic as well as every aspect of their needs being met due to variables such as age, gender, marital status, experience, dependants, education, position and language; (3) the level of effect of leadership style on the individual is dependent on individual circumstances; (4) the extent to which the staffÕs personal and work life balance are not promoted depends in the different combination of leadership style of the leader as leader is not autocratic, democratic or laissez-faire at all times; (5) the more democratic the leaders are, the more understanding and flexible they are in promoting a balance between personal and work life of their followers; (6) staff with different personal circumstances and background view their leaders differently; (7) none of the staff want their leader to be liberal; (8) staff psychosocial needs are not with leadership high in autocratic approach.

These findings have implications for nurse training and education, and leadership development. Trained appropriately and applying the results and recommendations from this study, the leaders will assist towards staff retention, increase productivity and increase the quality of care in the elder care home sector, and promote a healthy and cost effective workforce.

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