A study to explore the impact of working in a social enterprise on employee health and wellbeing in Greater Manchester

Chandler, James 2016, A study to explore the impact of working in a social enterprise on employee health and wellbeing in Greater Manchester , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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BACKGROUND: Adverse psychosocial work environments, i.e. a lack of ‘good’ work, are implicated in the aetiology of mental and physical health problems that represent a significant, and in some cases growing, public health burden and cost to the UK economy. The contribution that an increased provision of ‘good’ work can make to improving population health, and addressing inequalities, is recognised by local and national government. There is some theoretical support, and limited empirical evidence to suggest, that social enterprises – organisations with social aims that use profits for that purpose – may provide ‘good’ work that positively impacts upon employee health and wellbeing. AIMS: This study aimed to explore the impact of working in a social enterprise on employee health and wellbeing through the lens of ‘good’ work. METHODS: A mixed-methods approach was used. Stage One involved a ‘mapping’ exercise of the Greater Manchester (GM) social enterprise sector. This provided a sampling frame for subsequent stages. In Stage Two, social enterprise employees (n = 21) in the region were interviewed. The findings informed the development of a questionnaire, designed to assess employees’ health, wellbeing and work quality. The questionnaire was distributed in Stage Three, to all organisations identified by the mapping exercise. Results were compared to data provided by a national survey of UK employees and the general population. RESULTS: The mapping exercise found 177 active GM social enterprises. The interviews suggested social enterprises provide ‘good’ work and highlighted potential pathways through which working in a social enterprise might positively impact upon health and wellbeing. The questionnaire results provided support for the interview findings and indicated, in comparison to national data, that GM social enterprise employees (n = 212) have significantly more control over work, support at work, job satisfaction and job-related wellbeing. The findings contributed to the development of a conceptual model and partly evidence how working in a social enterprise may lead to improved health and wellbeing outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, this study suggests that social enterprises provide ‘good’ work environments that, in a number of ways, could be conducive to employee health and wellbeing. This is a notable finding given the contribution ‘good’ work can make to population health and adds to the understanding of how working in a social enterprise might impact on employee health and wellbeing.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Coffey, Margaret (Supervisor) and Dugdill, Lindsey (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences
Funders: University of Salford
Depositing User: JDB Chandler
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2017 13:04
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 23:31
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/40753

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