The Shared Experience of Caring: A Study of Care-workers’ Motivations and Identifications at Work
Ageing and Society
Cambridge University Press
© Cambridge University Press 2015
This article presents an analysis of long-term care workers’ work motivation that examines the way this is shaped by the social contexts in which they operate. We conducted a thematic analysis of 19 in-depth interviews with care-workers. Three core themes were identified as underpinning their motivation: those of ‘fulfilment’, ‘belonging’ and ‘valuing’, and together these contributed to a central theme of ‘pride’. We also found an overarching theme of ‘shared experience’ to be integral to the way in which care workers made sense of their motivation and work experience. We draw on the social identity approach to provide a conceptual framework through which to understand how this shared experience shapes careworkers’ motivation and the quality of care they deliver. In particular, we note the importance that care-workers’ attach to their relationships with clients/patients and highlight the way in which this relational identification shapes their collective identification with their occupation and organisation and, through this, their motivation.
European Social Research Council
Somerset Care Ltd.
Published online 12 October 2015