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More I than we – the effect of organisational identification in the Australian aged care workforce

Richard Olley (Health Services Management, Griffith University School of Medicine, South Brisbane, Australia)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 29 July 2022

Issue publication date: 27 January 2023




This paper aims to determine the effects of leadership style (LS) on organisational identification (OID) in aged care provider organisations to inform talent management strategies for the sector, which has quite severe workforce shortages.


This paper reports on a mixed-methods study. Study 1 was quantitative in approach that measured responses to an online questionnaire containing the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire and the Identification with a Psychological Group scale. The analytical strategy provided results that demonstrated the socio-demographic characteristics of the sample, the reliability and distributions of data and calculated the correlations between the factors of the deployed tools. The relationship between the factors that comprise both tools was measured, and any differences between the two natural groups were labelled leaders and raters. Study 2 was qualitative in approach, using interpretive phenomenological analysis to provide an in-depth analysis of phenomena.


The results and findings of this study are that OID was not evident in the quantitative or qualitative samples. There are recommendations for future research relating to the social capital of organisations and the use of social media to determine how these could be harnessed in support of workforce recruitment and retention strategies.

Research limitations/implications

This research was conducted in Australia with participants from the workforces of aged care providers in three eastern states of Australia. The results and findings may be limited to the Australian aged care context. The researcher evaluated the limitations of this research relating to: Methodology: There may be an overstatement of the strength of the relationships between variables among those motivated to participate in the survey in the quantitative study; Transferability: The qualitative study required the researcher to be thorough in describing the research context, and it may be that those who wish to transfer the results of this study to a different context are responsible for making the judgement on the suitability of the transfer; Credibility: The qualitative analysis was not designed to directly reflect a relationship between each leader and their direct report raters’ experiences; and Confirmability: The researcher maintained an awareness and openness to the dynamism of the results. Frequent reflection and self-criticism about preconceptions that may have affected the research were recorded in field notes after each interview.

Practical implications

Aged care providers who must compete in the labour market for staff may use the results and findings of this research to inform recruitment and retention strategies relating to brand recognition and loyalty and social capital strategies.

Social implications

Providing an appropriate, skilled and well-led workforce will assist in providing the appropriate level of aged care service at a high standard of quality and safety that will benefit the community as a whole.


To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this paper reports on original research conducted following ethical clearance in part fulfilment of a successful conferral of a Doctor of Philosophy programme. After an extensive search of the literature, no research reports returned that examined LS and OID in the aged care service provision.



Olley, R. (2023), "More I than we – the effect of organisational identification in the Australian aged care workforce", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 36 No. 1, pp. 140-152.



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