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Social networks and performance.

Heiligers, P., Jong, J. de, Groenewegen, P. Social networks and performance. European Journal of Public Health: 2006, 16(Suppl. 1) 166. Abstract. 14 th Eupha conference "Politics, Policies and /or the Public's Health", Montreux, 16-18 November 2006.
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Background: Teams of medical specialists are involved in several changes which have an impact on the organization of work. Technical developments, hospital fusions, the integration of part-time working doctors all influence organizational aspects. Changes in work arrangements like the introduction of part-time work can affect both formal and informal organization. This study will focus on the influence of part-time working on social networks of doctors. First this study gives insight on differences in informal networks with and without part-time working doctors. Are part-time and fulltime doctors clustered in separate subgroups? Are there remarkable differences in the structure and density of networks with and without part-time doctors? And second this study will focus on the question whether differences in social networks between teams with and without part-time doctors influence performance. Methods: Observations in 29 teams in different hospitals and individual questionnaires were performed. 10 teams of surgeons, 12 teams of internists and 7 teams of radiologists participated. Structural arrangements and operating procedures were observed (by 2 observers). Central subject in the questionnaire was the impact of part-time work on the informal organization: on communication, consultancy and trust, furthermore performance was asked for. The response of individual doctors was high (91%, N = 226). The influence of social networks on performance will be performed by multilevel analyses to find team differences. Results: Preliminary results show that generally teams with part-time doctors are affected by the growth of the team (maximum 21 doctors). In the informal organization the density of networks was less in teams with part-time doctors. The intensity (or frequencies) of contacts did not differ between both types of teams. A global inspection on individual scores on performance showed low differences between doctors in teams with part-time doctors and fulltime teams, but differences at team level still have to be performed. Conclusions: Based on preliminary inspection of data differences in the informal organization was found between teams with part-time doctors and teams with only fulltime doctors. Team differences will be examined by multilevel analyses and differences in network positions between fulltime and part-time doctors will be explored with network analyses. (aut. ref.)