The meaning of working in the context of the financial crisis : the case of paid workers within non-profit AIDS care organisations in the Durban Metropolis.
Background. Meaning of working studies suggest that working, beyond providing an opportunity to make money, contributes to an employee’s identity, fulfilment, self-esteem and other important psychological needs. The Meaning of working model offers one approach to explore how social and cultural norms shape what work means to individuals. The current study is situated within in the context of the recent global financial crisis which has caused turmoil in many organisations including those in the non-profit sector. The study explores the meanings workers in AIDS care non-profit organisations in the midst of the crisis and the subsequent socio-economic context. Aim. This is an interpretative phenomenological study which aims to explore how workers in AIDS care organisations make sense of their work within a unique socio-economic context occasioned by the financial crisis. Method. The study was conducted in semi-rural areas and townships of Durban Metropolis and the vicinity. Using a snowballing technique, project managers, HBC facilitators and a nurse (N=14) were recruited and interviewed using a topic guide containing semi-structured questions drawn from Westwood and Lok (2003) MOW model. Findings. Findings suggest that due to the financial crisis these organisations have undergone restructuring causing them to apply various strategies including social entrepreneurship strategies in order to survive. It was also found that participants generally regard working as central to their lives and complementary to other important life roles due to the fundamental nature of AIDS care work being linked to religion, community and family. Findings also caution that due to the high value they attach to working, there are various negative consequences for worker’s well-being and health which should be considered by health care policy makers.
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