Negative aspects, staff dissatisfaction and problems related to internal organisational factors of working in elderly care are well-known and documented. Much less is known about positive aspects of working in elderly care, and therefore, this study focuses on such positive factors in Swedish elderly care. We combined two theoretical models, the effort-reward imbalance model and the Transformational Leadership Style model. The aim was to estimate the potential associations between employee-perceived transformational leadership style of their managers, and employees' ratings of effort and reward within elderly care work.
The article is based on questionnaires distributed at on-site visits to registered nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists (high-level education) and assistant nurses (low-level education) in nine Swedish elderly care facilities. In order to grasp the positive factors of work in elderly care, we focused on balance at work, rather than imbalance.
We found a significant association between employees' effort-reward balance at work and a transformational leadership style among managers. An association was also found between employees' level of education and their assessments of the first-level managers.
We conclude that the first-level manager is an important actor for achieving a good workplace within elderly care, since she/he influences employees' psychosocial working environment. We also conclude that there are differences and inequalities, in terms of well-being, effort and reward at the work place, between those with academic training and those without, in that the former group to a higher degree evaluated their first-level manager to perform a transformational leadership style, which in turn is beneficial for their psychosocial work environment. Consequently, this (re)-produce inequalities in terms of well-being, effort and reward among the employees at the work place.