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Sense-giving in health care: the relationship between the HR roles of line managers and employee commitment

Shipton, H and Sanders, K and Atkinson, C and Frenkel, S (2015) Sense-giving in health care: the relationship between the HR roles of line managers and employee commitment. Human Resource Management Journal, 26. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

In this article, we examine line manager prioritisation of HR roles and the consequences for employee commitment in a health-care setting. Our analysis is based on a quantitative, multi-actor study (509 employees and 67 line managers) in four Dutch hospitals. Using sense-giving as a theoretical lens, we demonstrate that, in addition to the effects of high commitment HRM, prioritising the Employee Champion role alone and the Employee Champion and Strategic Partner roles in combination is associated with higher employee commitment. We argue that through performing roles that are evocative of deep-seated values, such as excellent patient care and concern for others, line managers can have a positive effect on staff attitudes. In a sector often beleaguered by staff turnover, exhaustion and burnout, we offer an important, empirically based framework that has the potential to improve employee commitment and, from there, enhance performance.

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