How institutions matter for job characteristics, quality and experiences

A comparison of home care work for older people in Australia and Sweden
This article seeks to understand a puzzling finding: that workers in publicly funded home care for older people in Australia, compared to those in Sweden, feel that they are better able to meet their clients' needs, that their workplaces are less pressed, and that their work is less burdensome and more compatible with their family and social commitments. This finding seems to challenge expectations fostered by comparative sociological research that job quality and care services are inferior in Australia compared to Sweden. Informed by comparative institutionalist theory and care research, the structures and dynamics of the care systems in the two countries are analysed, along with findings from the NORDCARE survey of home care workers conducted in Sweden in 2005 (n=166) and Australia in 2010 (n=318). Differences in the work and working conditions in the two countries are explained by the dynamic interaction of national institutional and highly gendered sector-level effects.

Source: Meagher, G., Szebehely, M., & Mears, J. (2016). Work, Employment & Society.

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