175708 Roles of leadership and organizational climate in staff turnover Intentions in New Mexico

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 9:06 AM

David Sommerfeld, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA
Gregory Aarons, PhD , Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego, San Diego, CA
Introduction: Staff turnover is a pervasive problem across organizations and industries. In behavioral health service settings turnover can result in decrements in organizational functioning and negatively impact continuity of care. Leadership and organizational climate can impact intentions to leave an organization and turnover. This study examined leadership, organizational climate and turnover intentions among administrators, staff and clinical service providers in New Mexico during early system change. Methods: Participants (N=192) were administrators, staff, and providers (physicians, psychologists, social workers) who serve behavioral health consumers in New Mexico. Measures: Participants completed measures rating organizational leadership, organizational climate and turnover intentions. Structural equation modeling analyses were used to examine full and partial mediation models of the impact of leadership on turnover intentions, mediated by empowering and demoralizing organizational climates. Results: Analyses supported a full mediation model (χ2(50)=107.21, CFI=.95, TLI=.93, RMSEA=.077, SRMR=.074) in which more positive leadership was associated with stronger empowering climate (p<.001) and weaker demoralizing climate (p<.001). Empowering climate was negatively associated with turnover intentions (p<.05) while demoralizing climate was associated with stronger intentions to leave the organization (p<.001). There was not a significant direct effect of leadership on turnover intentions (p=.32). Thus the full mediation model was supported. Discussion: These findings support the notion that more positive leadership is a precursor of organizational climate and that organizational climates impact staff intentions to leave the organization. The importance of leadership at multiple organizational levels should be recognized and addressed to improve system change efforts and implementation of behavioral health service innovation.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the relationships of leadership, organizational climate and staff turnover intentions in the early phase of system change. 2. Describe the use of structural equation modeling in mediation analysis

Keywords: Mental Health System, Mental Health Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a post-doctoral fellow working with a study investigator.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.