The Intersection of Multiple Focal Climates: Safety Climate and Service Climate in a Healthcare Context

Open Access
Kern, Julie
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
November 19, 2010
Committee Members:
  • Alicia Grandey, Dissertation Advisor
  • Alicia Grandey, Committee Chair
  • Kevin Murphy, Committee Member
  • Susan Mohammed, Committee Member
  • Laura Klein, Committee Member
  • Goal Conflict
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Climate
  • Safety Climate
  • ServiceCclimate
  • Safety Outcomes
The current study examines the impact of multiple focal climates operating simultaneously in a single organization. More specifically, the study focuses on two specific climates that are especially relevant to the Healthcare Industry; safety climate and service climate. The relationships between safety and service climate and safety and service outcomes, respectively, were examined in a healthcare context. In addition, competing theoretical arguments were presented to predict the effect of the interaction between service and safety climate on overall patient satisfaction and patient safety outcomes. These hypotheses were empirically examined using a sample of 32 nursing units from two hospitals. Contrary to predictions, conventional significance failed to support the direct relationships between service and safety climate and service and safety related outcomes, respectively. However, safety climate was found to moderate the relationship between service climate and overall patient satisfaction. The form of the interaction revealed that service climate has a strong positive relationship with patient satisfaction when safety climate is low and a weaker positive relationship with patient satisfaction when safety climate is high. In other words, safety climate serves to constrain the effectiveness of service climate in improving patient satisfaction. These findings support the goal conflict explanation of the intersection between service and safety climates. Implications are discussed and post hoc analyses are used to help explain some of the null findings.