More than a Feeling: The Role of Empathetic Care in Promoting Safety in Healthcare

48 Pages Posted: 17 Apr 2016

See all articles by Carrie R. Leana

Carrie R. Leana

University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business

Jirs Meuris

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: April 11, 2016

Abstract

In this paper we use inductive and deductive methods to explore the role of empathy in care-giving jobs: Specifically, the relationship between empathetic care and patient safety. We argue that empathetic care is evidenced by extra-role behavior, emotional engagement, and relational richness between paid caregivers and clients. We develop our model using qualitative interviews with paid caregivers, and test it using quantitative case studies in six skilled nursing facilities. We find that empathetic care predicts patient safety, but only under some circumstances. Specifically, we find that patient load, overtime work, and financial hardship dampen the otherwise positive relationship between empathetic care and safety. We discuss the implications of these findings for the design of care jobs.

Suggested Citation

Leana, Carrie R. and Meuris, Jirs and Lamberton, Cait Poynor, More than a Feeling: The Role of Empathetic Care in Promoting Safety in Healthcare (April 11, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2763335 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2763335

Carrie R. Leana (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Katz Graduate School of Business ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Jirs Meuris

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Management and Human Resources ( email )

Madison, WI
United States

Cait Poynor Lamberton

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

Marketing Department
Philadelphia, PA
United States

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