Saf Health Work.  2017 Mar;8(1):19-28. 10.1016/

Exploring Supervisor-Related Job Resources as Mediators between Supervisor Conflict and Job Attitudes in Hospital Employees

  • 1Department of Work and Organisational Psychology, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland.
  • 2National Centre of Competence in Research, Affective Sciences, University of Geneva, CISA, Geneva, Switzerland.
  • 3Health Care Research Institute AG, Zurich, Switzerland.


Conservation of resources theory assumes loss of resources as a cause of job strain. In hospital work, conflicts with supervisors are tested to predict lower resources, that is, supervisory social support, participation possibilities, and appreciation. All three resources are expected to predict, in turn, experienced stress (job strain) and lower job satisfaction, lower affective commitment, and a higher resigned attitude towards the job (job attitudes).
The sample included 1,073 employees from 14 Swiss hospitals (n = 604 nurses, n = 81 physicians, n = 135 medical therapists, and n = 253 technical and administrative staff). Of the total sample, 83.1% were female and 38.9% worked full-time. The median tenure was between 7 years and 10 years. Constructs were assessed by online questionnaires. Structural equation modeling was used to test mediation.
Structural equation modeling confirmed the negative association of conflict with supervisors and job resources. Tests of indirect paths to resources as a link between conflicts with supervisors and job attitudes were significant. For nurses, social support, participation and appreciation showed a significant indirect path, while among medical technicians the indirect paths included social support and appreciation, and among physicians only appreciation showed a significant indirect path. In medical therapists no indirect path was significant. Job resources did not mediate the link between conflict with supervisors and stress in any occupational group.
Conflicts with supervisors are likely to reduce job resources and in turn to lower job attitudes. Work design in hospitals should, therefore, address interpersonal working conditions and conflict management in leadership development.


appreciation; job resources; job satisfaction; participation; social support
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