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Keywords:

  • greedy organization;
  • home-based care for the elderly;
  • decentralization in public care;
  • gendered work;
  • New Public Management in Norway

One of the strategies of the modernization of public services is the decentralization of responsibilities and organizing work in autonomous co- operative teams with varied tasks. The empowerment of the public service workers in the front line is therefore a strategy in local government in Norway today. Under the assumption that women have ‘natural’ skills in caring, workers on the lowest levels are given responsibility for care and nursing. A study of the decentralization of public care for the elderly in their homes showed that being given interesting tasks and increased responsibility mobilized the efforts of the care workers. However, since the power of resources has been centralized, this has led to an intensification of work. In gendering the relevant discourses by explaining women's experiences of an over-heavy workload as a result of their ‘mothering’ and their inability to set limits, women care workers were constructed by their managers as unprofessional and not to be taken seriously. This has made the public care organization a greedy organization for the women care workers.