This paper is a report of a study, which examines the moderating effect of collective efficacy on the associations between physical workload, intention to leave and sickness absence.
The positive association between physical workload and both intention to leave and sickness absence in the healthcare sector is well-established. However, knowledge is limited with respect to how social contextual factors such as collective efficacy moderate these associations.
A questionnaire was distributed over a 4-month period in 2006/2007 to all employees at elderly care centres in 35 Danish municipalities who were asked to rate their groups' collective efficacy. The final sample consisted of 6929 female employees from 290 work groups. Employees were predominantly healthcare helpers and assistants, but also nurses and other healthcare professionals participated in the study. Information on collective efficacy was aggregated to work group level.
Collective efficacy moderated the association between physical workload and intention to leave, i.e. employees with high levels of physical workload had lower intention to leave if they worked in a group with high levels of collective efficacy and higher intention to leave if they worked in a group with low levels of collective efficacy. No moderating effect of collective efficacy on the association between physical workload and sickness absence was found.
Our findings suggest that enhancing the sense of collective efficacy might be a mean for organizations and managers to reduce intention to leave, but further research is needed.