مدیران میانی شهرداری: محیط کار روانی اجتماعی در یک تقسیم بندی مبتنی بر جنسیت نیروی کار
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|34598||2000||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Scandinavian Journal of Management, Volume 16, Issue 2, June 2000, Pages 189–208
The purpose of the reported study was to explore how 245 municipal middle managers perceived their psychosocial and physical work environments, and to examine psychosomatic reactions and job satisfaction in departments engaged in different types of activity, also to compare male and female managers in these respects. The way in which psychosomatic reactions and job satisfaction were related to the psychosocial and physical work environments was also investigated. The results indicated a difference between departments depending on the type of activity. Departments concerned with care and education, i.e. care of the elderly, child care and schools showed a tendency to lower values for psychosocial work environment factors and more psychosomatic reactions than the departments geared more towards maintenance and production, i.e. street maintenance, the power plant department and the recreation office. In the departments concerned with children female managers were in a majority. In the street maintenance department, the recreation office and the power plant department, male managers predominated. Compared to the men, the women had a higher level of education, lower salaries, more reactions of a psychosomatic nature, lower job satisfaction and a less satisfying psychosocial work environment. The only department with an equal number of male and female managers was the schools department. Here there were no differences between men and women in the factors studied. Two partial correlations were computed in order to separate the importance of type of activity and sex to the work environment factors and outcome variables. This indicated that the type of activity was more important than biological sex. The gendering of work activities is therefore also discussed and further investigations are suggested.
In a time of organizational change and reduced budgets in the Swedish public sector, it is relevant to ask what the psychosocial work environment is like in municipal organizations. In spite of ideas about the “flat” organization, the municipal organization is generally characterized by several decision levels with varying authority and powers. An important function is performed by the middle managers. They are the people who pass on information, both upwards and downwards, and who supposedly promote changes and development. However, organizational changes and the general reconstruction of work roles have also affected the function of the middle managers, and certain tasks have been removed from the middle managers to the workers and/or to specialists. These changes have several causes, such as the improvement of more democratic organizations and on increase in the independence and co-determination of the workers. But there were economic reasons as well, such as slimming the organizations in order to cut down expenses and, it is hoped, to become more effective. Nonetheless the middle managers still hold an important position in the municipal service organization as managers, communication mediators and change agents. The middle manager's position is at the crossroads between politicians and top managers, subordinates, and the public. A number of studies have been conducted to describe the psychosocial work climate of the middle manager in the public sector to identify certain features of this function. Some authors (Katz & Kahn, 1966; Boalt Boethius, 1991) have stressed the position of being in the “middle” as a cause of conflict. The middle manager is trapped between the demands of clients, superiors and subordinates, often without possessing the necessary authority or powers to handle the situation. Kahn (1973) has suggested the concepts of the role conflict, which refers to different, and sometimes incompatible demands or expectations from others; role overload, referring to a conflict in which expectations are not incompatible but there are simply too many of them, and role ambiguity, which could be described as a lack of individual control and skill discretion. These concepts are often used to describe the specific dilemmas of the middle manager's position, and they are associated with job-related stress as well. On the other hand, if compared with their subordinates, the middle managers do have more control over their work, and do experience a higher degree of job satisfaction (Rubenowitz, 1991). In a study of Swedish and British municipal middle managers in schools and eldercare, Schartau (1993) emphasizes the freedom in this position, the tendency to bend the rules and to exploit the system, as against the classical problems of role conflict, role overload and role ambiguity suggested in middle management theory. Greenglass and Marshall (1993) emphasize the lack of gender perspective in mainstream psychology research on management. However, there are a number of comparative studies of male and female managers in terms of health and stress (see, for instance, the work of Davidson & Cooper, 1992). Frankenhaeuser (1991) refers to several studies which show that differences in stress responses between men and women are diminishing as employment conditions become more similar, but that similarities in the paid work situation do not persist after working hours. Comparisons between male and female managers have shown that female managers report more psychosomatic reactions and a heavier total workload, including both paid and unpaid work. Physiological and self-reported data both indicate that female managers tend to “wind up” after work, while male managers relax and unwind (Frankenhaeuser et al., 1989; Ekvall, Frankenhaeuser & Parr, 1994). Although similarities between men and women are found in the same work situation, it is not always easy to find workplaces with both male and female managers. Because of the gender-based division of labor, men and women work in different areas. In the Swedish private sector only 9% of managers are female, whereas in the public sector 29% of them are female (SCB, 1993). In studies of parts of the public sector where female managers are in the majority, such as child care and eldercare, the specific problems of limiting the work tasks and being a leader rather then a colleague in relation to subordinates, have been emphasized (Boalt Boethius, 1991; Stieng, 1993). These findings could be compared with the conclusion drawn by Davidson and Cooper (1983), in Shattering the Glass Ceiling, 1992), namely that female executives had difficulty in delegating — which seems to reflect another aspect of management. However, several comprehensive comparative studies of men and women fail to consider the particular work situation and the impact of a certain work activity. In a number of studies the gendering of work has been stressed, and the way it affects work life for both men and women (Czarniawska-Joerges, 1994; Acker, 1994; Aaltio-Marjosola, 1994; Kvande & Rasmussen, 1994). Some studies show that social gender and biological sex coincide in most, but not all cases, in organizational settings (Sahlin-Andersson, 1994). It has also been shown that the gender relations in organizations are more than merely biological, and that the construction of social gender differs between organizations. A model widely used to describe and analyze the psychosocial work environment is the demand/control model. Karasek (1979) developed this model, also referred to as the Job Strain model. The model describes two dimensions. One, decision latitude (control), combines of task authority (autonomy) and task variety (skill discretion), and the second, an orthogonal psychological job demand factor, consists of the assessed workload demands. There is an interaction between the two factors, control and demand, and the model describes four combinations in the work experience: high-strain jobs, low strain- jobs, active jobs and passive jobs. A high level of demands in combination with a low level of control is characteristic of a high-strain job. A high-strain job situation is associated with an increase in certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and myocardial infarction, and to an increase in mental strain symptoms ( Karasek, Baker, Marxer, Ahlbom & Theorell, 1981; Haan, 1985; Alfredsson, Spetz & Theorell, 1985). The combination of high levels of control and few demands is characteristic of a low-strain job and is predicted to give less risk of illness. The active job situation is associated with high performance and challenges, but without negative psychological strain. The demands are high, but so too are the control levels. The passive job situation is signified by low control and low demands. This situation is likely to reduce motivation and the possibilities of learning ( Karasek & Theorell, 1990). In addition to these two factors, a third facto — social support from superiors and workmates — has also been found to be crucial in preserving health or reducing strain in stressful situations ( Johnson & Hall, 1988). A more general concept of organizational support, including training opportunities, encouragement, acceptance and challenging job assignments, has also been related to job satisfaction among female managers in Norway and Canada ( Richardsen, Mikkelsen & Burke, 1997). Healthy work conditions, promoting learning and development, would mean an active job situation with high demands, and with a high level of control and adequate social support as well. This allows the worker the opportunity to plan and face challenges, as well developing new skills and receiving social support in stressful situations (Karasek & Theorell, 1990). Thus, the psychosocial work environment is important to both physical health and job satisfaction. Having recognized that the individual's position in the organization, the type of activity (departments), gender1 and the psychosocial work environment (including the perception of the physical work environment) are all important factors in relation to health and job satisfaction, our purpose in the study reported here was to explore the relations between these factors among middle managers in an average-sized Swedish municipality. We also wanted to test the importance to health and job satisfaction of some demographic variables such as years in managerial work, number of subordinates, salary, education and age, and to make comparisons between departments and between men and women in these respects. Thus, the main question concerns the way psychosomatic reactions and job satisfaction are related to the type of activity (department) and to gender and psychosocial work environment factors, including the physical work environment. In addition, the importance of some demographic variables in relation to these factors will be tested. We believe that the issues addressed here should help us to understand more about the relation between gendered activities, management and health.