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Linkages between Organization Climate and Work Outcomes: Perceptual Differences among Health Service Professionals as a Function of Customer Contact Intensity

Author: DENNIS J. SCOTTI and JOEL HARMON
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 36 No. 4

The delivery of high-quality service, rendered by health service professionals who interact with customers (patients), increases the likelihood that customers will form positive evaluations of the quality of their service encounters as well as high levels of customer satisfaction. Using linkage theory to develop our conceptual framework, we identify four clusters of variables which contribute to a chain of sequential events that connect organization climate to personal and operational work outcomes. We then examine the perceptual differences of service professionals, grouped by intensity of customer contact, with respect to these variables.
National data for this project were obtained from multiple sources made available by the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA). Cross-group differences were tested using a series of variance analyses. The results indicate that level of customer-contact intensity plays a significant role in explaining variation in perceptions of support staff, clinical practitioners, and nurses at the multivariate and univariate levels of analysis. Contact intensity appears to be a core determinant of the nature of work performed by health service professionals as well as their psychological responses to organizational and customer-related dynamics.
Health service professionals are important resources because of their specialized knowledge, labor expense, and scarcity. Based on findings from our research, managers are advised to survey employees’ perceptions of their organizational environment and design practices that respond to the unique viewpoints of each of the professional groups identified in this study. Such tailoring should help executives maximize the value of investments in human resources by underwriting patient satisfaction and financial sustainability.

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