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The study focuses it scope into investigating the relations that exist between leadership and Management skills of First Line Managers (FLMs) working in elderly care and their work environment. Findings of the study will contribute greatly to improving the working conditions of FLMs and consequently raising the quality and efficiency of services provided to the elderly. The study is highly relevant in today's society which:
The study investigates the role of FLMs in Egypt and Sweden. It takes a sample of 49 FLMs in each country. The sample taken from Sweden is composed of only female FLMs, not a proper representation of Sweden's population. Statistics show that Sweden had 86 men to every 100 women as at July 2000. Egypt is represented by a sample that only represents a third of its governorates, thus the samples chosen were not a proper representation of Egypt and Sweden.
Questionnaires consisting of five instruments were used for data collection. These questionnaires were translated to Arabic in Egypt for greater comprehension by the FLMs. This was the first time the instruments used were being translated into Arabic, thus despite the caution exercised in translation there is no guarantee to the validity of the data collected. (Thang , 2006)
The study employs Cronbach's test, which is a reliable measure of the reliability of factors. The study records low values of lower than 0.7 for job satisfaction and structural empowerment in both countries meaning the reliability of these two factors is questionable. But after performing a chi test, which is a test to determine whether the distribution of observed frequencies differed from that expected from theory( Silverman , 2004), and Mann Whitney's U test which is used to asses two independent samples of observation which have equally large values( Black , 2009), the validity of the data could be confirmed. A larger sample would have provided a better value of Cronbach's test, since accuracy of the test improves with larger sample sizes and higher values. ( Wallnau, 2008)
Results of the study indicate that there exists a statistically significant difference between FLMs working in Egypt and Sweden when it came to the factors achievement orientation and organizational view with higher values being recorded in Egypt. There were no significant differences in the two countries when it came to interpersonal skills and group management factors.(Abdelrazek , 2010)
Statistical differences were found in regard to structural empowerment. In factors such as resource, JAS, ORS, global empowerment and total score Egypt recorded higher values compared to Sweden. FLM's in Egypt recorded a higher job satisfaction compared to their counterparts in Sweden in all factors except criticism. Sweden recorded a higher value when it came to internal motivation. There was no significant difference in the two countries in psychosomatic health. (Abdelrazek , 2010)
The results indicate a positive statistical correlation between all study variables except psychosomatic health which only correlated to psychological empowerment and job satisfaction. (Abdelrazek , 2010)
Critique of the findings
The high values of self assessed leadership and management skills, and psychological empowerment is evidence of a link between the two. The correlation between the two is also supported by Houghton's publication, which supports the notion that for psychological empowerment one of the specific circumstances that must exist is a positive self assessment(Houghton , 2005) in addition to Viitanen and Konu whose works have been cited in the study.
The study exposes a relationship between psychological empowerment and seniority of post, as was the case in Egypt, where senior nurses recorded higher values for psychological empowerment compared to other nurses of lower rank. T. Kanai in his journal supports the existence of this relationship, he notices a trend where psychological empowerment increased with an increase in rank and decreased with lower positions in the organization of businesses( Kanai , 2000). He emphasizes on the need of an organization structure that is brief, which benefits from the psychological empowerment of its employees by running efficiently and cost effectively.
Egypt recorded higher values compared to Sweden for most of the study variables. This has been linked to Egyptian culture. Egyptian work etiquette demands that Egyptians respect their jobs, treat their clients with respect, honor and hospitality .It also emphasizes the need to obey the sentiments of your employer (Goldschmidt, 2004). Thus cultural differences between Egypt and Sweden work to the advantage of Egypt. Fewer levels of management, results in greater psychological empowerment, in accordance to T. Kanai's theory. The coupling of these two factors results in Egypt recording better values.
FLMs in Egypt reported opportunity to be the most empowering structure of structural empowerment, while those in Sweden reported access to information to be the most empowering. This finding is similar to that obtained from a Magnet hospital in the U.S, where nurses' perception of access to information was one of the most liberating factors in structural empowerment.
The study revealed moderate relation between FLMs self assessed Leadership and Management skills and structural and psychological empowerment. The findings are in support of Kanai and Houghton's theories. With seniority of post, one gains structural and psychological empowerment, thus a person's self rating on leadership and management is bound to increase.
Strong positive relationships exist between job satisfaction and Leadership and management skills and structural development (Smith , 2008). The relation supports Houghton's theory that with increase in a person's self rating and job satisfaction leadership and management skills are also bound to increase.( Houghton, 2005)
The study is well complimented by the works of great researchers of good repute. Results and analysis from the study correspond closely to numerous other research papers conducted by researchers of good repute. An indication of the high levels of professionalism, coherency and accuracy exercised during the research.