Correlates of Peer, Supervisor, and Patient Communication Effectiveness Satisfaction
Blau, Gary, Cook, Kory Ward, Tatum, Donna Surges, Journal of Allied Health
Using a sample of 200 medical technologists over a 4-year period, this study investigated whether peer, supervisor, and patient communication satisfaction facets were related but distinct referents. Confirmatory factor analyses on the medical technologist sample and a second independent sample of 85 medical/health professionals supported the distinctiveness of these three referents. Correlational differences between communication satisfaction referents were found. Specifically, professional withdrawal intent, gathered twice before communication satisfaction, had stronger negative relationships to patient versus peer communication satisfaction. Job satisfaction and organizational withdrawal intent also exhibited correlational differences to communication satisfaction referents. One unexpected finding across both samples was that there was higher communication satisfaction with patients of the opposite versus same sex. J Allied Health 2005; 34:40-46.
COMMUNICATION SATISFACTION has been generally defined as "an individual's satisfaction with various aspects of communication in his or her organization."1 Empirical research has indicated that communication satisfaction can he multidimensional.1,2 Prior research has found communication satisfaction to he positively related to "outcomes" such as joh satisfaction, organizational commitment, and joh performance and negatively related to intent to leave one's organization.3-7 However, the research de_sign used in these studies was cross-sectional, leaving open the interpretation of reverse causation,8 that is, that communication satisfaction could also be'viewed as the "outcome" variable. This study used a longitudinal research design to investigate correlates of three different facets of communication satisfaction (supervisor, peer, and patient) using a unique sample (medical technologists [MTs]). The goal of this study was to Jemonsttate that peet, supervisor, and patient communication satisfaction are distinct facets of communication satisfaction. Correlates of these facets tested included job satisfaction, professional withdrawal intent, organizational withdrawal intent, and perceived gender discrimination.
Communication satisfaction has been operationalized in many different ways, including as a multidimensional construct. Probably the most popular multidimensional measure of communication satisfaction is based on the work of Downs and Hazen.2 They originally found eight factors within their scale: general organizational perspective, personal feedback, organizational integration, supervisory communication, communication climate, horizontal communication, media quality, and subordinate communication. However, subsequent research using this scale questioned this eight-factor structure,1 and one study4 indicated more support for a simpler three-factor solution, that is, general organizational, dyadic (involving others such as supervisor, peer, and subordinate), and feedback.
Another multidimensional measure of communication measured different perceived qualities of communication (e.g., trust, overload, direction) and concluded with a oneitem measure of satisfaction with communication in the organization.9 Research has generally measured communication satisfaction and job satisfaction using distinct scales.2,10 However, some research integrates communication satisfaction as a facet of overall job satisfaction. For example, Specter's11 nine-facet job satisfaction measure includes a four-item measure of communication satisfaction, which emphasizes the "organization" as its referent; a sample item is "the goals of this organization are not clear to me" (reverse scored). Measuring communication satisfaction as a facet of overall job satisfaction is also consistent with the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire,12 which has a five-item facet called "company policies and practices." A sample item from this facet is "the way employees are informed about company policies. …