Social capital, operationalized as perceived trust, reciprocity and recognition has in earlier research shown to be important for employees´ job satisfaction and to health care staffs´ engagement in clinical improvements of patient safety and quality of care as well as job satisfaction, health and wellbeing. Since social capital has an impact, it is of interest to investigate which factors that influence workplace social capital. Research findings shows that leadership has great importance to staffs´ health and wellbeing, and affects a number of factors in the work environment factors as job satisfaction and work engagement. If and how leadership is associated with social capital is rarely described in previous research. However the few studies performed indicate that there are associated correlations between leadership and social capital, and leadership quality and social capital. Leadership within healthcare sector has been in focus when working with redesign of care processes and it would be of interest to investigate the role of leadership and the quality of leadership with respect to social capital. The aim was to assess the importance of leadership for workplace social capital in hospital settings.
Materials and methods
This study was a longitudinal cohort study. Questionnaires to physicians, nurses, assistant nurses at five Swedish midsize hospitals was used to collect data (T0, n=865, T1, n=908). Bivariate, multivariate analyses was used and a mixed model repeated measurement for the longitudinal analyses (n=477) were performed.
Relationship between staffs perceived quality of leadership and staffs´ social capital was found (R = 0.58, p-value <0.0001). Results of the analysis showed significant differences in levels of social capital between the groups of low, medium and high levels in quality of leadership. The differences between the groups sustained over time where the group with high levels in quality of leadership remained higher in levels of social capital than the other groups. Same pattern were seen in the other groups.
Leadership quality were related to-, had importance for- and influenced workplace social capital among health care staff.