Effects of organizational and role variables on job satisfaction among physician executives

Eileen Carol Sherman, Marquette University


The purpose of this research is to test role theory with this unique population of physicians and explore the "fit" between the physician and his or her role as an executive. The study will be conducted by comparing a group of physician executives to a group of "traditional" health care executives in terms of how role conflict and ambiguity influence stress and job attitudes. Two perceived structural components, participation of decision making and hierarchy of authority have also been included. Since physician managers often work within a bureaucracy they are subject to hierarchical control and more explicit rules and procedures than in their traditional role. These two components potentially add insight into this study because until managers know more about the sources of role conflict and ambiguity, corrective action can not be undertaken. One hundred sixty physician executives were compared to 160 non-physician executives (N = 320). The physician group was compared to the non-physician group in relation to organizational and role variables and the effect of these variables on role stress, job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Demographic data was also collected on both samples. The data obtained were analyzed using discriminant analysis, hierarchical regression and path analysis. Significant differences were found between the two groups on perceived structure, role conflict and ambiguity and the effects of these variables on job satisfaction. Physician executives were older, had less management experience and supervised fewer FTE's than non-physician health care executives. For both groups role conflict and role ambiguity were positively related to stress as well as job satisfaction. A positive significant relationship was seen on path analysis between participation in decision making and job satisfaction/organizational commitment in the physician executive group. Both groups showed significant negative relationships on path analysis between perceived hierarchy of authority and job satisfaction/organizational commitment. This relationship was significant based on the raw correlation and after stress and the role variables were accounted for. Overall, the study results do indicate that as a set, organizational and role variables have a significant effect on stress, job satisfaction and organizational commitment in the physician executive and the non-physician health care executives. This study suggests that improvements in communication and assistance in decreasing the level of role conflict and ambiguity is necessary for the physician to perform in his or her role as the executive. On a theoretical level this research allowed for an extended test of role theory, specifically as it applies to the management of health care. This is the first time a study such as this has been conducted on a sample of physician executives. Only through shared meaning and understanding can the physician executive be an effective team member of a role set which has traditionally been considered foreign. Health care systems will only survive under management teams that can accomplish a shared understanding of each others' roles. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Recommended Citation

Sherman, Eileen Carol, "Effects of organizational and role variables on job satisfaction among physician executives" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9601776.