Positive emotions at work: a study on home care workers for older people

Holden-Peters, Jan Jordi (2005) Positive emotions at work: a study on home care workers for older people. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis takes a rare and exploratory look at the experience of positive emotions in work settings, examining their causes and consequences. It begins by reviewing and offering a critique of previous organisational research related to this topic, which has tended to focus on the rather narrow concept of job satisfaction. In line with a recent theory of workplace affect (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996), it is argued that a more in-depth look at positive emotions as momentary reactions to events may improve our understanding of how workplace positive affect is linked to various organisational outcomes.

A two-part study was carried out within a sample of home care workers for older people. In the first part, a qualitative diary study (n = 9) was conducted to explore in real-time the types of events that produce positive emotions at work on a day-to-day basis, and to explore the cognitive and behavioural outcomes of these emotions. Based on the findings of this study, a larger scale quantitative diary study (n = 77) was designed and conducted with the aim of examining the patterns of relationships between these variables.

It was found that the most common sources of positive emotions in care workers were related to social interactions with clients and, to a lesser extent, to task performance; a number of dispositional factors were found to influence the intensity of positive emotional experiences. Positive emotions were in turn found to predict the likelihood of a wide range of beneficial individual and organisational outcomes (including increased motivation, creative insights and favourable attitudes towards the job). In the light of the findings, it is tentatively argued that we may be able to meaningfully distinguish between socially-oriented and task-oriented positive emotional experiences at work.

This thesis reaches the conclusion that differentiating between positive emotions (as temporary states) and job satisfaction (as a relatively stable attitude) may improve the specific predictive power of each of the two separate sets of constructs. It is argued that this research, although directed at a specific occupational population, may to some extent apply to other occupations.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Cox, T.R.
Griffiths, A.J.
Keywords: Work, psychological aspects, emotions, home care services, older people, home care employees
Subjects: H Social sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Institute of Work, Health and Organisations
Item ID: 11198
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 14:48
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2017 17:28
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/11198

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