An Empirical Study of the Interface between Healthcare Facility Design and Human Resource Management
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Expected growth in healthcare needs resulting from the Affordable Care Act and growing population of older citizens is challenging owners and operators of hospitals to improve quality of care and reduce operational costs. Although many factors drive hospital operating expenses, this study looked specifically at human resource-related expenses. Previous studies have shown that implementing human resource practices improves performance outcomes at individual and organizational levels. Organizational psychologists suggest that human resource practices improve employee motivation and performance because they convey the message that an organization values employees’ contributions and cares about their well-being, which can be reciprocated with higher levels of motivation and commitment toward the organization. Healthcare environmental studies also suggest that a safe and high-quality work environment sends a similar message to employees. More than 700 healthcare professionals from 10 acute-care hospitals participated in this cross-sectional study. Structural equation modeling found that employees’ satisfaction with their physical work environment and human resource practices reduced their job-related anxiety and improved their job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Perceived organizational support mediated part of these relationships. The author also found a small but positive interaction effect between the physical work environment and human resource practices. Examination of different spaces within a facility showed that work spaces and staff rest areas had a considerable influence on job attitudes of employees, while the impact of patient areas was negligible. Multigroup analysis indicated that the influence of the physical work environment on employees newer to the facility and the organization and on nightshift staff members was stronger. Results also highlighted the importance of attention to caregiver needs for a safe and comfortable work environment. Among the 27 different environmental features investigated in this study, finishing materials and indoor air quality had the highest levels of association with employees’ overall evaluation of their environment, regardless of their individual characteristics. Additionally, employees highly valued furniture design and thermal comfort. In comparison, features that addressed the visual quality of the work environment, such as window views and pieces of artwork, were found to have smaller associations with employee evaluations.
human resource management
hospital design and operation
Sadatsafavi, Hessamaldin (2014). An Empirical Study of the Interface between Healthcare Facility Design and Human Resource Management. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from