Can Employees' Past Helping Behavior Be Used to Improve Shift Scheduling? Evidence from ICU Nurses

31 Pages Posted: 5 Apr 2022

See all articles by Zhaohui (Zoey) Jiang

Zhaohui (Zoey) Jiang

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business

John Silberholz

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business

Yixin (Iris) Wang

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Gies College of Business

Deena Costa

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Michael Sjoding

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - University of Michigan Medical Center (Michigan Medicine)

Date Written: February 14, 2022

Abstract

Employees routinely make valuable contributions at work that are not part of their formal job description, such as helping a struggling coworker. These contributions, termed organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), have been studied from many angles in the organizational behavior literature. However, whether an employee's past helping behaviors can be used to improve shift scheduling decisions remains an under-explored operations question. We define two measures of past helping behavior for members of a shift - the total past helping of each employee and the past helping between each pair of employees - and hypothesize that they are associated with shift performance. We empirically confirm our hypotheses with detailed scheduling and patient outcome data from six ICUs at a large academic medical center, using the hospital's electronic medical records to identify cases of one nurse helping another. Our empirical results indicate that both measures of past helping are predictive of patient length of stay (LOS), more so than the broadly studied notion of team familiarity. Counterfactual analysis shows that relatively small changes in shift composition can yield significant reduction in total LOS, indicating the managerial significance of the results. Overall, our study suggests the potential value of shift scheduling using data on past helping behaviors, which may have promise far beyond the selected application to ICU nursing.

Keywords: Nurse scheduling, organizational citizenship behavior, hospital operations, empirical operations

Suggested Citation

Jiang, Zhaohui (Zoey) and Silberholz, John and Wang, Yixin (Iris) and Costa, Deena and Sjoding, Michael, Can Employees' Past Helping Behavior Be Used to Improve Shift Scheduling? Evidence from ICU Nurses (February 14, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4034746 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4034746

Zhaohui (Zoey) Jiang

Carnegie Mellon University - David A. Tepper School of Business ( email )

5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

John Silberholz

University of Michigan, Stephen M. Ross School of Business ( email )

701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States

Yixin (Iris) Wang (Contact Author)

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Gies College of Business ( email )

1206 South 6th Street
IL 61820

Deena Costa

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

Michael Sjoding

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - University of Michigan Medical Center (Michigan Medicine) ( email )

1500 East Medical Center Drive
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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