PurposeThis paper examines job satisfaction and participation in decision making in three home health aide facilities with different organizational structures (worker-owned for-profit, for-profit with no participation or ownership by workers, and nonprofit).
Design/methodology/approachMore than 600 surveys were completed by home health aides across the three facilities. The author also engaged in participant observation during training sessions and other meetings and conducted a small number of interviews with caregivers and agency management.
FindingsHome health aides at the worker-owned, participative decision making organization were significantly more satisfied with their jobs than those at the other agencies. Results for the other agencies were not significantly distinguishable from one another.
Research limitations/implicationsThis study involved respondents from one of each type of business. A study across several of each type of organization would allow more focus on the effects of the structural characteristics of the organizations.
Practical implicationsIn the United States, the work that home health aides perform provides a valuable service to society. On behalf of caregivers and those for whom they provide care, conditions of the work need improvement. If participative democratic workplaces provide better outcomes, they should receive more attention from lawmakers, the business community, and researchers.
Social implicationsThis research highlights the working conditions of the people (primarily women) who perform this work. The poor compensation received is a reminder of inequality in opportunity for some workers and of the value placed on this type of caring labor.
Originality/valueThis research is unique in its focus on work environment and outcomes in home health care across nonprofit, for-profit, and worker-owned for-profit organizations. The findings of different job satisfaction outcomes from the others in the worker-owned organization and similar outcomes in the nonprofit and conventional for-profit organizations are also unique.