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Cultivating a thriving childcare workforce: a theory-driven qualitative analysis

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Following a positive organizational framework, this study fills a gap in the human service literature by examining what works to boost childcare workers' ability to thrive in their jobs. Drawing from Spreitzer, Sutcliffe, Dutton, Sonenshein, and Grant's model of thriving at work, this study examines effective mechanisms (affirming work conditions, cultivated job resources, and work engagement) that facilitate positive experiences at work for childcare providers. Qualitative data was collected from seven focus groups (n = 26) of childcare providers. Key findings suggest affirming work conditions that offer decision-making discretion about one's approach to care and a climate of trust and respect – particularly with parents – are instrumental to provider engagement. Most notably, findings also highlight the importance of understanding and harnessing the positive attributes of the meaning making process to develop intrinsic motivation and foster team-orientation. This enhances childcare providers' ability to engage and thrive in their jobs, ultimately ensuring quality child care. These findings, as well as implications for organizational management are discussed.
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Keywords: childcare workers; comportamiento organizacional positivo; el compromiso laboral; experiencias positivas en el trabajo; herramientas laborales desarrolladas; job resources; los proveedores de cuidado infantil; positive organizational behavior; supportive work conditions; work engagement

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Catalyst, New York, NY, USA 2: School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, USA

Publication date: July 3, 2014

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