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First impressions count for new hospital staff

Does the way in which new hospital staff adapt to their role affect their ability to do the job? Research led by UQ Business School, in partnership with a large Queensland hospital, is examining how well they make the transition.

One of the first papers from the project, which is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage grant, examined ‘institutional logics’ among staff who were new to the sector.

Two sets of institutional logics exist in healthcare - the clinical approach that puts patients’ interests first, and the managerial approach that aims to increase efficiency.

Traditionally the clinical approach has dominated although, with the drive for increased efficiency, clinicians are increasingly required to deliver more innovative and cost-effective services.

The researchers surveyed new staff on their first day of employment and then again six weeks later, examining the degree to which their expectations about institutional logics were met - or whether there was a “logics conflict” because their actual experiences in the organisation did not match their prior expectations.

They found that when newcomers’ expectations were exceeded, they were more likely to trust and identify with the organisation, and consequently had greater belief in their ability to perform their job. However, when their expectations were not met, they identified and trusted the organisation less over time, and their belief in their ability to do their job declined.

The results highlight the important role of institutional logics in shaping the outcomes for new staff.

The project continues and is now investigating the transition that technical or specialist staff make when moving into a team leadership role.

Are you an organisation in need to solve a business issue? Contact Victor Callan, Nicole Gillespie, Terry Fitzsimmons and Neil Paulsen to know more about their work and benefit from their expertise.