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Trust in leaders, work satisfaction and work engagement in public hospitals

Ole Kristian Sandnes Håvold (Østfold University College–Campus Frederikstad, Fredrikstad, Norway)
Jon Ivar Håvold (NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Ålesund, Norway)
Richard Glavee-Geo (NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Ålesund, Norway)

International Journal of Public Leadership

ISSN: 2056-4929

Article publication date: 7 December 2020

Issue publication date: 12 April 2021

Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the relationship between trust in leaders and work satisfaction on work engagement in public hospitals.

Design/methodology/approach

Survey data were collected from 137 employees working in two medium-sized public hospitals. A model based on a review of the literature was developed and tested using variance-based structural equation technique.

Findings

Work engagement is significantly influenced by trust in leaders and work satisfaction. Work satisfaction partially mediates the relationship between trust in leaders and work engagement. Furthermore, personal development, affiliation and belonging and basic needs for job fulfilment significantly influence work satisfaction. Likewise, basic needs for job fulfilment and co-workers' empathy significantly influence trust in leaders.

Practical implications

This study indicates that in public hospitals satisfaction and trust in a leader have a substantial influence on work engagement, highlighting the importance of a good trust relationship in the workplace. It is also important for leaders to understand that increased work engagement leads to a well-motivated workforce, improved work performance, low absence from work due to sick leave and a good patient experience.

Originality/value

Not much research has been done on the direct effects of trust and satisfaction on engagement. Moreover, the study contributes to the existing literature through the development and testing of the “work engagement model”.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Conflict of interest: The authors declare no conflict of interest.The authors thanks for the comments and suggestions from two anonymous reviewers and the editor.

Citation

Håvold, O.K.S., Håvold, J.I. and Glavee-Geo, R. (2021), "Trust in leaders, work satisfaction and work engagement in public hospitals", International Journal of Public Leadership, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 145-159. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPL-07-2020-0061

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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