Staff morale in the merger of mental health and social care organizations in England


P. Gulliver
Injury Prevention Research Unit
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine
PO Box 913
New Zealand


Following the closure of the last Victorian asylum in Somerset, the health authority and county council undertook a review of mental health services. A major outcome of this review was the creation of an integrated mental health and social care provider. The current paper explores the impact of this integration on the morale of staff members involved, using a conceptual model derived from the literature on organizational behaviour. During the year immediately following integration, the average ratings on all measures of role clarity and job satisfaction reduced. For staff members involved in the integration, by far the largest group of whom were mental health nurses, job satisfaction was related to team role clarity, team identification, emotional exhaustion and gender. These effects of the integration on staff morale are discussed in light of the wider research into the determinants of job satisfaction and the conditions for success in merging organizations. The study has significant implications for managerial and professional leadership during organizational change.