Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

An Examination of Nurses' Work Environment and Organizational Commitment

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

An Examination of Nurses' Work Environment and Organizational Commitment

Article excerpt


The United States health care system is under great pressure for change. According to a study of 13 high income countries, the United States is the highest spender on health care which is 17.1% of gross domestic product or $9,086 per person. Despite the high spending on health care, the United States has the lowest life expectancy and highest infant mortality rate of those countries included in that study (Squires & Anderson, 2015). Therefore, the industry seems to face divergent goals of reduction of costs while improving the quality of patient care within an environment of constantly changing technology.

Hospitals attempt to decrease costs by reducing the number of nurses to patients. Recent studies point to the relationship between nurse staffing and safe patient care (Nursing Shortage, n.d.). According to Aiken, Clarke, Sloane, Sochalski, and Silber (2002), nurses reported greater job dissatisfaction and emotional exhaustion when they were responsible for more patients than they felt they could safely care for. Cost reduction efforts through higher patient loads for nurses may result in nurses having a negative perception of their work environment. These negative perceptions of the work environment may also result in nurses having negative organizational commitment.

Research on organizational commitment suggests that work environment, organizational climate, and culture are factors associated with the development and orientation of employee organizational commitment (Jernigan, Beggs & Kohut, 2002; Erdogan, Bauer, Truxillo & Mansfield, 2012; Meyer, Stanley, Herscovitch & Topolnytsky, 2002; Pfeffer &Veiga, 1999; Dessler, 1999). Understanding how antecedents such as work environment relate to organizational commitment is important for researchers and practicing managers. Such knowledge may provide a framework for understanding how attitudes evolve and could form a basis for developing strategies to support organizational commitment, employee motivation, and other managerial decision making. Van Rooy, Whitman, Hart, and Caleo (2011) contend that understanding how employee attitudes either directly or indirectly impact firm performance is critical. Understanding the dynamics of employee attitudes adds to our understanding of organizational performance.

Two major factors driving changes in the health care industry are the Affordable Health Care Act and the aging Baby Boomer population. The amount and complexity of changes and of regulations in the health care industry make it an important industry to study. Nurses are on the front line in health care and are viewed as the linking pin between the health care establishment and individual patients. Therefore, nurses also seemed to be important subjects to study. Knowledge of nurses' perceptions of their work environment and their organizational commitment could provide meaningful data to aid in the formulation of effective and efficient strategic plans. Perhaps, this research study might contribute to the accomplishment of the goals of decreasing costs and increasing the effectiveness of the health care industry.


The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between nurses' perceptions of their work environment and their organizational commitment.


Organizational Commitment

In spite of occasional criticism (Baruch, 1998; Klein, Molloy & Brinsfield, 2012), organizational commitment remains a focus of research interest. Over the past twenty years, researchers have examined organizational commitment from many perspectives (e.g., Loke, 2001; Meyer, et al., 2002; Mathieu & Zajac, 1990). Topical research investigations have addressed the nature of the relationship of organizational commitment and job or work satisfaction (Bateman & Strasser, 1984; Vandenberg & Lance, 1992; Jernigan, et al., 2002), intention to leave the organization (Jaros, Jermier, Koehler & Sincich, 1993; Vandenberg & Nelson, 1999; Hatton, Emerson, Rivers, Mason, Mason, Swarbrick, Mason, Kiernan, Reeves & Alborz, 2001), the influence of personal characteristics on dimensions of organizational commitment (Abdulla & Shaw, 1999), intrinsic motivation and affective commitment (Eby, Freeman, Rush & Lance, 1999), bases and foci of commitment (Clugston, Howell & Dorfman, 2000; Morin, Vandenberghe, Turmel, Madore & Maiano, 2013), human resource practices (Herrbach, Migonac, Vandenberghe & Alessia, 2009; Whitner, 2001), the dimensionality of commitment (Penley & Gould, 1988; Allen & Meyer, 1990; Meyer, Allen & Smith, 1993; Jaros, et al. …

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