Maintaining people in work may be the focus of occupational health, yet the need for care in general and rehabilitation support, in particular, places a range of pressures on families. Flexible working and policies to support carers remain partial and inadequately applied and used. Why does it prove difficult, if not impossible, to created links across the social science and policy arenas of health, work, and care? This study builds on previous research on organisations, care and works to address the partial and short-term nature of evidence selection. Furthermore, how time and space considerations can be encouraged in the analysis of social science evidence and the formation of policy will be examined.
We build on a theoretical framework developed from a study on workplace policies designed to facilitate caring activities among low-paid female retail workers. Two broad concepts emerged: care-scapes – the formal policy terrain navigated by employees in relation to their needs and responsibilities; and caring-scapes – the caring responsibilities that govern employees’ behaviours in relation to their employer and each other. Care policy design and implementation is influenced by the need to ‘keep the shop open’, while employees’ behaviours are influenced by the need to maximise income whilst fulfilling caring roles. This understanding allows us to explore aspects of employee behaviours, revealing nuances around reciprocity, discretion, unspoken rules and hidden forms of entrapment.
From this, ideas have emerged around ‘care ecologies’ and ‘care accounts/economies’, as well as direct challenges to policy. Our paper, ‘Bonfire of the policies’ – presented at the WES annual conference – identified that policy solutions are irrelevant or inadequate in meeting.
Background research informing the K4U occupational health case study
2014-2020, Revitalising the Health Equity Agenda, McKie L., Schreker T., Bambra C., Cartwright N. - ESRC Seminar Series, £27,698
2010–2011, Staff Engagement, Absence and Turnover, McKie L. and MacPherson I.A. - Centrica/British Gas, £25,000
2010–12, Intellectual Capital, Work and Well-being,Galabova L., McKie L., Edgar D., Ahonen G., Majewsky, I. and Hogg G. - EU, Marie Curie Fellowship, £160,500
2008–11, The Quest for Well-being in Growth Industries, Hearn J., Tallberg T. Gripenberg P., Jyrkinen M., Niemisto C. and McKie L. et al. - Academy of Finland, 218,350€
2008–10, Age, Gender and Diversity: Women Managers and Policies in Organisations in Finland and Scotland, Jyrkinen M. Mentor, Hearn J. and McKie L. - Academy of Finland Fellowship, 189,000€
2005–09, Organisational ‘Carescapes’: Policies and Practices of Care in Business Organisations, McKie L., Bowlby S. and Hogg G. - Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), UK, £153,984
2005–06, Work-life Balance Across the Lifecourse: Proofing Policies and Practices, McKie L., Rankine L., Airey L., Hogg G. and Beattie R. - EU, European Social Fund, £72,575
2004–07, Gender Related Family-Work Balance and Well-Being in Scottish Companies, McKie L., Backett-Milburn K., Hogg G. and Airey L. - EU, European Social Fund, £167,507
2005, Ethics of Care: Implications for Research, Policy and Practice, McKie L., Bowlby S., Hopkins D., Hughes B., Watson N. and Wilkinson, H. - ESRC Seminar Series, UK, £14,884
2003–04, Women in Their Fifties: Well-being, Ageing and Anticipation of Ageing, McKie L., Backett-Milburn K. and Airey, L. Sociology and Social Policy RAE Monies, School of Law and Social Sciences, - Glasgow Caledonian University, UK.