Dans le cadre de cette étude, neuf propriétaires de petites entreprises suédoises du secteur du nettoyage ont été interrogés sur leurs points de vue et expériences personnels concernant les responsabilités de l’employeur en matière de gestion de la sécurité et de la santé au travail.
Nine Swedish small business owners in the cleaning sector were interviewed regarding their personal views and experiences concerning employer responsibilities in relation to occupational safety and health management for this study. The analysis is guided by a qualitative content analysis exploring strategies applied to responsible leadership. We found that there was one specific behavioural pattern that stood out above all others. Small business owners regularly implemented a form of responsible leadership we call management by values. Management by values was applied using three strategies building employee relationships, rational management and transferring responsibility. This managing style can be both a strength and a weakness for the employees working conditions. The strengths are that the owners are supporting, guiding, and communicating in their leadership with their employees while the weaknesses can be that they, the owners, base their occupational safety and health management on values rather than knowledge. As a result, there is a transference in responsibilities from the small business owners to their employees for measures related to the working environment. The conclusions of the study are that by applying management by values, the small business owners seem to promote good psychosocial working conditions in their enterprises while showing a lack of knowledge about occupational safety and health management. This might mean a risk that systematic approaches will not be applied to physical working environment conditions regarding safety issues.