Organizational stress in the hospital: development of a model for diagnosis and prediction

Health Serv Res. 1985 Feb;19(6 Pt 1):753-74.


A model of organizational stress in the hospital was developed and tested. The model utilized measures of organizational climate, supervisory practices, and work group relations as predictors of the amount of role conflict and ambiguity that nurses perceived in providing patient care. Role conflict and ambiguity were treated as variables that intervene between organizational variables and the level of stress that the nursing staff experienced. Nursing stress was viewed as a direct cause of job dissatisfaction and as an indirect cause of absenteeism among the nursing staff. Data from 158 registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and nursing assistants on seven nursing units in a 1,160-bed private teaching hospital were used to estimate the parameters of a structural equation model. The model was used to predict the results of a survey feedback project designed to change the supervisory style used on the units. Pre- and posttest data from four surgical units were used to validate the model. The findings suggest that, as predicted, supervisory practices that led to more open expression of views and joint problem solving resulted in reduced role conflict, ambiguity, and stress; increased job satisfaction; and lower levels of absenteeism among the nursing staff.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Hospitals, Teaching / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Indiana
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Nursing, Supervisory
  • Psychological Tests
  • Role
  • Stress, Psychological*