A multilevel model of patient safety culture: cross-level relationship between organizational culture and patient safety behavior in Taiwan's hospitals


H.-F. Ng, Department of Computer Science and Information Engineering, Asia University, 500, Lioufeng Rd., Wufeng, Taichung 41354, Taiwan, R.O.C. E-mail: pang@asia.edu.tw



As health-care organizations endeavor to improve their quality of care, there is a growing recognition of the importance of establishing a culture of patient safety. The main objective of this study was to investigate the cross-level influences of organizational culture on patient safety behavior in Taiwan's hospitals.


The authors measured organizational culture (bureaucratic, supportive and innovative culture), patient safety culture and behavior from 788 hospital workers among 42 hospitals in Taiwan. Multilevel analysis was applied to explore the relationship between organizational culture (group level) and patient safety behavior (individual level).


Patient safety culture had positive impact on patient safety behavior in Taiwan's hospitals. The results also indicated that bureaucratic, innovative and supportive organizational cultures all had direct influence on patient safety behavior. However, only supportive culture demonstrated significant moderation effect on the relationship between patient safety culture and patient safety behavior. Furthermore, organizational culture strength was shown correlated negatively with patient safety culture variability.


Overall, organizational culture plays an important role in patient safety activities. Safety behaviors of hospital staff are partly influenced by the prevailing cultural norms in their organizations and work groups. For management implications, constructed patient priority from management commitment to leadership is necessary. For academic implications, research on patient safety should consider leadership, group dynamics and organizational learning. These factors are important for understanding the barriers and the possibilities embedded in patient safety. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.