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The Importance of a High-Performance Work Environment in Hospitals


  • [Correction statement added after first online publication 20 June 2012: The columns for Table 2 (page 9) were published in incorrect order. The table has been altered and is now correct.]

Address correspondence to Dana Beth Weinberg, Ph.D., Associate Dean of Social Sciences, Associate Professor, Queens College and The Graduate Center-CUNY, Department of Sociology, 65-30 Kissena Blvd, Flushing, NY 11367; e-mail:



To examine the benefits of a high-performance work environment (HPWE) for employees, patients, and hospitals.

Study Setting

Forty-five adult, medical-surgical units in nine hospitals in upstate New York.

Study Design

Cross-sectional study.

Data Collection

Surveys were collected from 1,527 unit-based hospital providers (68.5 percent response rate). Hospitals provided unit turnover and patient data (16,459 discharge records and 2,920 patient surveys).

Principal Findings

HPWE, as perceived by multiple occupational groups on a unit, is significantly associated with desirable work processes, retention indicators, and care quality.


Our findings underscore the potential benefits for providers, patients, and health care organizations of designing work environments that value and support a broad range of employees as having essential contributions to make to the care process and their organizations.