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The mediating role of organizational subcultures in health care organizations

Peter Lok (ITLS, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia)
Jo Rhodes (Macquarie Graduate School of Management, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia)
Bob Westwood (UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 1 November 2011




This study aims to investigate the mediating role of organizational subculture between job satisfaction, organizational commitment (dependent variables) and leadership, culture (independent variables) in health care organizations.


A survey on nurses from 26 wards from various types of hospital was used. A total of 251 usable returns were collected for the analysis (i.e. response rate of 63 per cent). Structural equation analysis was conducted to obtain the best fit model and to determine the direction of the causal effect between job satisfaction and commitment, and the role of subculture as a mediating variable, between commitment of its other antecedents.


Comparisons with alternative models confirmed satisfaction as an antecedent of commitment and the role of subculture as a mediating variable. The results of this study contribute to the clarification of the causal relations of the antecedents of commitment, and highlight the important role of local leadership and subculture in determining employees' job satisfaction and commitment.

Research limitations/implications

The results of this study should not be generalized to other industries and other national cultural context. Furthermore, a longitudinal study may be necessary to determine the causal relationship of variables used in this study.

Practical implications

The findings could provide managers with valuable insight to focus their limited resources on improving the level of organizational commitment via the mediating role of organizational culture.


The research findings provide managers with a new lens to examine organizational culture using the three perspectives of: bureaucratic, supportive, and innovative. Furthermore, the results could renew interest in developing other organizational subculture models that determine the relationship between organizational subculture and commitment



Lok, P., Rhodes, J. and Westwood, B. (2011), "The mediating role of organizational subcultures in health care organizations", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 25 No. 5, pp. 506-525.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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