Stress on the Ward - An Empirical Study of the Nonlinear Relationship between Organizational Workload and Service Quality

43 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2011

See all articles by Roman Mennicken

Roman Mennicken

Landschaftsverband Rheinland

Ludwig Kuntz

University of Cologne

Stefan Scholtes

Judge Business School

Date Written: August 1, 2011

Abstract

We discuss the impact of organizational workload on professional service outcomes, such as survival rates in hospitals. The prevailing view in the literature is that service quality deteriorates when organizational workload increases. In contrast, we argue that the relationship between workload and service outcomes is nonlinear and that there is a quality-optimal workload level. Whilst outcomes deteriorate with increasing workload when workload levels are already high, they will improve if workload increases from a low level. We reach this hypothesis by combining three perspectives: the queuing theory perspective, with its focus on congestion, a discretionary choice perspective, with a focus on decisions made by professionals in response to changes in workload, and an endocrinological perspective, with a focus on the subconscious effects of workload on worker performance through the cognitive impact of stress hormones. Using a patient census of 1.4 million patients in 624 departments across 101 hospitals, we provide empirical support for the nonlinearity hypothesis in the context of hospital survival rates. We further discuss the implications for hospital capacity planning and the wider implications for service operations management.

Keywords: service quality, service outcomes, organizational workload, hospital capacity planning, behavioral operations, stress

JEL Classification: I12, M11, M54

Suggested Citation

Mennicken, Roman and Kuntz, Ludwig and Scholtes, Stefan, Stress on the Ward - An Empirical Study of the Nonlinear Relationship between Organizational Workload and Service Quality (August 1, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1923589 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1923589

Roman Mennicken (Contact Author)

Landschaftsverband Rheinland ( email )

Kennedy-Ufer 2
Cologne, 50679
Germany

Ludwig Kuntz

University of Cologne ( email )

Albertus-Magnus-Platz
Cologne, 50923
Germany

Stefan Scholtes

Judge Business School ( email )

Trumpington Street
Cambridge, CB2 1AG
United Kingdom

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
103
Abstract Views
674
rank
256,558
PlumX Metrics