Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of the Arts


School of Communication and Media

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Christopher McKinley

Committee Member

Christine Lemesianou

Committee Member

Todd Kelshaw


Communication plays an integral role in the functioning of health care organizations. More specifically, health care professionals’ communication competency may significantly influence work-related outcomes. This study examines the impact of competency on health care professionals’ job satisfaction and tendency to report on-thejob errors. In addition, this study examines whether more collaborative organizational cultures, as well as the extent health care professionals identify with their organizational role, moderates the relationship between communication competency and work-related outcomes.

A cross-sectional online survey addressing these concepts was administered to 145 health care professionals. Results showed that competency was a significant positive predictor of job satisfaction, even after controlling for the culture of the facility and one’s level of professional role identity. In addition, results also showed that higher levels of a collaborative organizational culture perceived by health care professionals predicted increased job satisfaction and a greater likelihood to report on-the-job errors. Role identity was found to moderate the relationship between communication competency and job satisfaction, such that only at high levels of role identity did competency significantly predict greater job satisfaction. A similar relationship emerged when examining the link between competency and error reporting, although this outcome only approached conventional levels of significance. Finally, while not a central focus of this study, a significant relationship was found between the years of experience as a health care professional and the reporting of error. The greater the number of years of health care experience was negatively associated with error reporting. This unexpected finding is concerning because it suggests that the longer a health care worker has been in her profession, the less likely she is to report on-the-job errors.

Overall, the findings from this study underscore the importance of communication skills within the medical environment. This study provides an understanding of how the relationship between communication competency and other organizational factors such as collaborative culture and role identity may significantly affect health care professionals attitudes and behaviors. By continuing to explore such relationships, researchers and practitioners may gain knowledge about the factors that contribute to a more positive work environment for health care professionals, as well as to a safer and more effective health care organization as a whole. These discoveries can hopefully be used to improve the organizational structure within health care institutions and thus, positively influence the experiences of employees within hospitals and other health care facilities as well as those being treated by these individuals.

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