The settings for this study included six independent and distinct health care organizations providing varying levels and types of care. All six organizations were affiliated with the St. Joseph's Health System (SJHS) located in five Central West Ontario communities. Collectively, the SJHS is one of the largest corporations in Canada devoted to health care. At the time of the study (2000), the SJHS employed 5,486 full, part and casual time (non physician) staff. Additional information about of each of the six organizations and their respective communities is provided in Table .
Characteristics of the Organizations within the St. Joseph's Health System.
Items included in the "Quality of Work Life Survey 2000" were selected after a review of the literature and extensive consultation between research team members and the QWL Task Force (a management group consisting of representatives from each of the six SJHS organizations). The initial selection of items was influenced by a recently published Canadian study [13
] and reports from two meta-analyses [1
]. The QWL Task Force then refined these items to consider, among other things, issues of accuracy, relevance, readability, grammar, potential for offensiveness, and appearance of cultural or gender bias. After several months of development, the instrument was pretested on a small group of staff at two of the participating organizations (Site 2 and Site 4 – see Table ). This pretesting was done to ensure that individuals could follow the instructions associated with the format, to obtain estimates of the time required to complete the survey instrument, to identify items that were poorly written or ambiguous, and to identify an appropriate implementation strategy. The questionnaire and implementation strategies were revised accordingly.
The final 65-item survey contained nine sections representing topic areas considered relevant to assessing QWL in the SJHS. Eight scale scores were developed from the individual items (see below and Additional File
: Statistically Significant Organization Specific (Univariate) Predictors of Job Satisfaction).
The Co-worker and supervisor support
section included 10 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. A 3-item supervisor social support scale included questions about supervisor helpfulness, concern about the welfare of employees, and ability to facilitate effective interaction among employees. Co-worker support was measured by a 7-item scale reflecting the extent to which co-workers were seen as competent, understanding, and supportive of employees. Both scales where adapted from Woodward et al. (1999) [13
The Teamwork and Communication
section included 9 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. For determining teamwork, a 7-item scale was adapted from Taylor and Bowers (1972) to measure the extent to which one's work unit coordinates efforts, solves problems and works together effectively [14
]. A 2-item scale developed for this project measured how communication was practiced within the organization.
The Job Demands and Decision Authority
section included 15 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. It included a 4-item scale adapted from Brosnan and Johnson (1980) to measure clarity regarding responsibilities, workloads and conflicting demands [15
]. There was also a 9-item scale adapted from Karasek et al. (1998) to measure the extent to which respondents' jobs gave them autonomy or decision-making latitude [16
], and 2 questions which reflected the demands of one's work [17
The Characteristics of Your Organization
section included 6 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. This section was adapted from Woodward et al. (1999) and included a 4-item scale that inquired about the extent to which the organization encouraged the best efforts from staff, and how employees were treated [14
]. Two additional questions examined the extent to which staff were kept informed, and organizational recognition of employee contributions.
The Patient/Resident Care section included 5 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. The questions (developed for this project) were used to measure employees' perceptions of the quality and timeliness of care provided for patients and residents at their respective organizations.
The Compensation and Benefits section included 10 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. These questions were developed for this project to determine employee satisfaction concerning a number of employee benefits and level of pay.
The Staff Training and Development section included 6 closed-ended and 1 open-ended questions. These questions (developed for this project) measured the extent to which each organization supports its staff in training, educational development and opportunities for advancement.
The Overall Impressions of Your Organization section included 4 closed-ended and 4 open-ended questions. All of the questions (developed for this project) assessed staffs' impressions of and overall satisfaction with their organization. The question "Overall, how satisfied are you with your job?" was used as the outcome variable in this study.
The Staff Socio-Demographic Information section included 10 closed-ended questions (developed for this project) to collect information on gender, age, marital status, education, length of employment, supervisory status, time spent on job activities, job status and job classification.
Within each of the first 8 sections, employees were asked to circle the response that best described their feelings using 5-point Likert scales. Employees were also asked for written comments pertaining to each of the sections and were provided space to comment on other issues they felt were important.
Because of the diversity of organizations and staff within the SJHS, it was decided by the QWL Task Force, organization administrators and researchers that the implementation of the survey would be customized to best fit each of the organizations. It was felt that a varied approach would be more feasible for the organizations and that this would help maximize response rates. Although the procedures were not identical, all of the organizations provided as a minimum: advance notification (written or voice mail) of the survey to all staff (eligibility was based on whether the worker was active on the organization's pay roll at the time of the study and was not a physician); access to questionnaires for all staff (the QWL Task Force felt that each staff member in the SJHS should have the opportunity to complete a questionnaire); one or more reminder notices (e.g., letters, newsletters, voice mail, personal communication); and sealed drop off boxes for completed questionnaires. Pilot testing of the questionnaire revealed that employees felt that tracking individual employees for the purpose of follow-up (i.e., to increase response rate), violated the perception of anonymity and confidentiality. Therefore, to help ensure anonymity and confidentiality, follow-up attempts were limited to general reminder notices to all staff.
All closed-ended (or quantitative) responses were entered directly from the questionnaires into SPSS (version 10.0.5 for Windows, SPSS, Inc., Chicago, 1999). Prior to data analysis, most of the survey questions were re-coded. Questions which asked participants to select one response within a five point scale (never to always; very dissatisfied to very satisfied; very poor to very good; no, definitely not to yes, definitely) were collapsed into two categories. For example, for the response scale (1=very dissatisfied, 2=dissatisfied, 3=not sure, 4=satisfied, 5=very satisfied) those who indicated they were either satisfied or very satisfied were re-coded as "satisfied" while all others were re-coded "not satisfied" by default. In several instances, it was appropriate to combine two or more of the questions into a composite scale score. See "Questionnaire Development" section and Additional File
: Statistically Significant Organization Specific (Univariate) Predictors of Job Satisfaction for additional details on how the composite scale scores were calculated. In total, there were eight scale scores (supervisor social support; co-worker support; teamwork; communication; role clarity; decision latitude; organization/staff relations; patient/resident care). Scale scores were generated by summing the participant responses (i.e. one to five) for all questions that made up the scale. In the rare situation where a participant failed to answer one or more of the questions that made up a scale score, missing values were replaced with mean values for that organization. Scale scores were categorized into meaningful dichotomous categories prior to analysis (e.g., satisfied or not satisfied).
For the purpose of this study, QWL was operationally defined using the global question "Overall, how satisfied are you with your job?". Employees rated job satisfaction from very dissatisfied to very satisfied using a five point scale (very dissatisfied, dissatisfied, not sure, satisfied, very satisfied). For the analysis, however, those indicating they were either satisfied or very satisfied were considered to be "satisfied" with their jobs. All others were considered "not satisfied" with their jobs.
Prior to analysis, study researchers reached a consensus on which survey questions to include as potential predictors of job satisfaction. In total, there were eight scale scores and 32 questions that were rationalized a priori as potential predictors of job satisfaction. Data from each of the organizations, as well as all of the organizations combined (representing the SJHS), were analyzed separately to identify predictors of job satisfaction. T-test, chi-square analyses and, when appropriate, Fisher exact tests were used to determine which of the variables were statistically associated with job satisfaction i.e., were potential predictors of job satisfaction. Descriptive information (numbers and percentages) for each of the variables was calculated by whether or not staff were satisfied with their jobs. In addition, p-values, odds ratios, and 95% confidence intervals for the odds ratios were calculated for each potential predictor of job satisfaction.
Separate logistic regression analyses were used to identify the best predictors of job satisfaction for each organization and for all organizations combined (SJHS). Only variables which had a statistically significant association with job satisfaction were included in these analyses. Adjusted odds ratios and corresponding 95% confidence intervals are reported for each organization and the SJHS. The logistic regression analyses produces odds ratios which have been simultaneously adjusted for all other variables in their respective final models. The goodness of fit of the logistic regression models were assessed using the rho-squared statistic [18
]. A rho-square value between 0.20 and 0.40 suggests a very good fit of the model. A probability level of <0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. SPSS and Epi-Info (version 6.04a, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, 1995) were used for statistical computations.