The dynamics of employer-worker relationships and their implications on the child caregiving style of foreign domestic workers (FDW) in Singapore
Yeo, Tsiu Wen
Date of Issue2016
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
This paper examines how the relationship between foreign domestic workers (FDW) and employers have implications on the child caregiving style that FDWs take on. Using boundary work and emotional labour as key frameworks, the research explores how boundaries of hierarchy and control are maintained using boundary work, and the effects of agency (or lack thereof) on the emotional labour and dissonance of FDWs, which ultimately influences their child caregiving style. Singaporean employers and FDWs hired by Singaporeans (from different households) were interviewed individually. Key findings show that FDWs tend to adapt their caregiving styles according to the employer-worker relationship, the agency that she is allowed, and the degree of emotional dissonance that she has to manage. The consequential caregiving style that FDWs take on has two possibilities: a caregiving style that is altered to fit what is deemed as appropriate by their employers, or using their own caregiving style based on instinct and experience to interact with the children. The paper also suggests that the caregiving style adopted under the conditions of the employer-worker relationship could contribute to emotional distress and explain why FDWs have emotional outbursts.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University