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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(7), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15071345

The Importance of External Contacts in Job Performance: A Study in Healthcare Organizations Using Social Network Analysis

1
SALBIS Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Leon, Campus of Ponferrada s/n, 24401 Ponferrada, León, Spain
2
School of Economics and Management, University of Leon, Facultad de Económicas y Empresariales, Campus de Vegazana, 24071 León, Spain
3
NIHR School for Primary Care Research, Centre for Primary Care, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
4
School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
5
Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southampton, University Road, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
6
Division of Nursing and Midwifery Sciences, Centre for Research and Innovation in Care (CRIC), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Antwerp, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 June 2018 / Revised: 21 June 2018 / Accepted: 23 June 2018 / Published: 27 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Networks and Health)
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Abstract

There is evidence that relations between physicians and nurses within healthcare institutions might be shaped by informal aspects of such relations and by links to people external to the organization, with an impact on work performance. Social network analysis is underutilized in exploring such associations. The paper aims to describe physicians’ and nurses’ relationships outside their clinical units and to explore what kind of ties are related to job performance. A network analysis was performed on cross-sectional data. The study population consisted of 196 healthcare employees working in a public hospital and a primary healthcare centre in Spain. Relational data were analysed using the UCINET software package. Measures included: (i) sample characteristics; (ii) social network variables; and (iii) team performance ratings. Descriptive statistics (means, medians, percentages) were used to characterize staff and performance ratings. A correlational analysis was conducted to examine the strength of relationships between four different types of ties. Our findings suggest that external ties only contribute to improving the performance of physicians at both the individual and team level. They are focused on the decision-making process about the therapeutic plan and, therefore, might need to seek advice outside the workplace. In contrast, external ties are not relevant for the work performance of nurses, as they need to find solutions to immediate problems in a short period of time, having strong ties in the workplace. Social network analysis can illuminate relations within healthcare organizations and inform the development of innovative interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: healthcare providers; job performance; social network analysis; relationships healthcare providers; job performance; social network analysis; relationships
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Marqués-Sánchez, P.; Muñoz-Doyague, M.F.; Martínez, Y.V.; Everett, M.; Serrano-Fuentes, N.; Van Bogaert, P.; Vassilev, I.; Reeves, D. The Importance of External Contacts in Job Performance: A Study in Healthcare Organizations Using Social Network Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1345.

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