A sensemaking exploration of work-eldercare crisis and the co-construction of informal work-eldercare policies

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Frank, Kristal L
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Management, c2013
This study will contribute to existing work–family research by bringing a rich emic understanding of caregivers’ experience with work-eldercare crisis. I adopted Weick’s theory of organizational sensemaking (1995) as method and methodology for this research. I collected data via open-ended, semi-structured interviews with employees who balance full-time employment with caregiving for an elderly person; then I subjected the transcribed texts to a detailed thematic analysis. This analysis helped me identify three main themes that reflect the processes participants use to ‘make sense’ of their experiences. The results of this study suggest that caregivers enact the work environment to attempt creating balance—and to enlist support and assistance—by strategically engaging in interpersonal interactions with others at work about their eldercare activities. They combine past experience with the knowledge obtained from these interactions to develop heuristic scripts, and then use them to enable understanding and guide future behaviour and actions. This study demonstrates that sensemaking is a useful analytical framework through which to examine employees’ experience of the work-family interface. The findings of this research offer insight into the processes involved in the social construction of informal organizational policies; the implications provide a foundation to develop better models of organizational response towards employees’ work-eldercare needs
xi, 171 leaves ; 29 cm
Older people -- Care -- Alberta , Caregivers -- Alberta , Work and family -- Alberta , Dissertations, Academic