Should I stay or should I go? The role of leadership and organisational context for hospital physicians’ intention to leave their current job
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Background Physician turnover is a concern in many health care systems globally. A better understanding of physicians’ reasons for leaving their job may inform organisational policies to retain key personnel. The aim of this study was to investigate hospital physicians’ intention to leave their current job, and to investigate if such intentions are associated with how physicians assess their leaders and the organisational context. Methods Data was derived from a survey of 971 physicians working in public hospitals in Norway in 2016. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis. Results We found that 21.0% of all hospital physicians expressed an intention to leave their current job for another job. An additional 20.3% of physicians had not made up their mind whether to stay or leave. Physicians’ perceptions of their leaders and the organisational context influence their intention to leave their hospital. Respondents who perceived their leaders as professional-supportive had a significantly lower probability of reporting an intention to leave their job. The analysis suggests that organisational context, such as department mergers, weigh in on physicians’ considerations about leaving their current job. Social climate and commitment are important reasons why physician stay. Conclusions A professional-supportive leadership style may have a positive influence on retention of physicians in public hospitals. Further research should investigate how retention of physicians is associated with performance related to organisational and leadership style.