To examine whether general practitioners (GP) working in primary health care have lower organizational commitment compared with physicians working in other health sectors. The authors also tested whether psychosocial factors (job demands, job control, and colleague consultation) explain these differences in commitment between GPs and other physicians.
Cross-sectional postal questionnaire. Setting and participants. A postal questionnaire was sent to a random sample of physicians (n = 5000) drawn from the Finnish Association database in 2006. A total of 2841 physicians (response rate 57%) returned the questionnaire, of which 2657 (545 GPs and 2090 other physicians) fulfilled all the participant criteria.
Organizational commitment was measured with two different indicators: intention to change jobs and low affective commitment.
GPs were less committed to their organizations than other physicians. Work-related psychosocial factors (high job demands, low job control, and poor colleague consultation) were all significant risk factors for low organizational commitment.
The evidence collected suggests that policies that reduce psychological demands, such as job demands and low control, may contribute to better organizational commitment and, thus, alleviate the shortages of physicians in primary care. Furthermore, giving GPs a stronger say in decisions concerning their work and providing them with more variety in work tasks may even improve the quality of primary care. The strategies for workplace development should focus on redesigning jobs and identifying GPs at higher risk, such as those with especially high job strain.
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