Discrepancies in assessing home care workers’ working conditions in a Norwegian home care service: differing views of stakeholders at three organizational levels
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Health Services Research 2015, 15(July 2015) 10.1186/s12913-015-0945-6
Background: The present study is a follow-up study of factors contributing to an undesirable quality of work environment and sick leave rate in the home care services in a Norwegian municipality. The underlying assumption is that organizational discrepancies in the perceptions and appraisals of significant factors and processes in an organization have detrimental effects on the management of the organization and on work environment conditions. Thus, the study aim is to explore potential organizational discrepancies in the appraisals of factors relating to home care workers’ working conditions. Methods: The study, using a mixed-methods design, comprised six home care units. It included survey responses of home care workers (80 respondents, response rate 54 %) and qualitative descriptions of stakeholders’ appraisals of organizational issues gathered through semi-structured interviews (33 interviews with stakeholders at three organizational levels). Results: Employees at different organizational levels in the home care services expressed divergent appraisals of factors related to the working conditions of home care workers, including impact of organizational measures (i.e. time pressure, work tasks, a new work program, organizational changes, budget model, budget allocation and coping strategies). Survey responses supported interview descriptions by home care workers. Results suggest that organizational discrepancy serve as an important barrier to a sustainable, well-functioning organization in general and to quality-enhancing changes to work procedures in particular. Conclusions: It is recommended to improve communication channels and facilitate the exchange of information across levels to ensure a common understanding of matters significant to the organization of the home care services and to the work environment of home care workers. The prevalence and impact of organizational discrepancy should be included in organization research, particularly when exploring explanatory factors of an unhealthy organization.