Diaries from the front line - formal supervision and job quality among social care workers during austerity

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This article analyses perceptions of job quality among social care workers (CWs), captured as part of cultural probe research, and comparing experiences across the public, private and voluntary sectors. We confirm the continuing degradation of extrinsic components of job quality, while noting that intrinsic factors sometimes mitigate negative impacts on CWs. Specifically, we highlight the importance of supervisory support as a source of feeling valued, coping, learning, critical reflection and intrinsic reward. However, we also note that this arguably crucial component of CW job quality has come under pressure in an era of austerity, while flatter organisational structures and limited pay incentives raise barriers to progression into supervisory roles. The article concludes by identifying sector-specific priorities for policy and practice in order to repair job quality in social care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-201
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Resource Management Journal
Issue number1
Early online date12 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • job quality
  • social care
  • diaries
  • austerity

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