Well-structured teams and the buffering of hospital employees from stress

Health Serv Manage Res. 2011 Nov;24(4):203-12. doi: 10.1258/hsmr.2011.011013.


Membership in well-structured teams, which show clarity in team and individual goals, meet regularly, and recognize diverse skills of their members, is known to reduce stress. This study examined how membership of well-structured teams was associated with lower levels of strain, when testing a work stressors-to-strains relationship model across the three levels of team structure, namely well-structured, poorly structured (do not fulfill all the criteria of well-structured teams) and no team. The work stressors tested, were quantitative overload and hostile environment, whereas strains were measured through job satisfaction and intention to leave job. This investigation was carried out on a random sample of 65,142 respondents in acute/specialist National Health Service hospitals across the UK. Using multivariate analysis of variance, statistically significant differences between means across the three groups of team structure, with mostly moderate effect sizes, were found for the study variables. Those in well-structured teams have the highest levels of job satisfaction and the least intention to leave job. Multigroup structural equation modelling confirmed the model's robustness across the three groups of team structure. Work stressors explained 45%, 50% and 65% of the variance of strains for well-structured, poorly structured and no team membership, respectively. An increase of one standard deviation in work stressors, resulted in an increase in 0.67, 0.70 and 0.81 standard deviations in strains for well-structured, poorly structured and no team membership, respectively. This investigation is an eye-opener for hospitals to work towards achieving well-structured teams, as this study shows weaker stressor-to-strain relationships for members of these teams.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure / prevention & control*
  • Personnel, Hospital*
  • State Medicine
  • Stress, Psychological / prevention & control*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom