Nursing under inconsistent organizational conditions: evidence of double bind situations?

Max Visser, Max Visser, Beatrice van der Heijden, Hans Martin Hasselhorn

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Organizations exhibit differences in their ability to achieve consistency in espoused norms and values, instrumental policies, rules and routines (so-called organizational conditions), on the one hand, and employee attitudes and behavior (so-called employee outcomes), on the other hand. Although previous research has pointed out that inconsistency in organizational conditions negatively affects employee outcomes, there is a lack of knowledge about the processes mediating the relationship between organizational conditions and employee outcomes. In this paper, we develop the concept of ‘double bind situation’ to account for possible mediation processes, and empirically study it using a large sample of Dutch nurses. Our results indicate that, although three of the four distinguished characteristics of the double bind situation (i.e. intensity of the relationship, incongruence of messages, and being prevented from withdrawal) show the expected direction and strength of impact, they account for only 20 percent explained variance in negative employee outcomes (negative affectivity and personal burnout). We conclude with a discussion of some practical, theoretical and methodological implications of our study.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2011
Event7th International Conference of the Dutch HRM Network 2011: Evidence based HRM - Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 10 Nov 201111 Nov 2011
Conference number: 7


Conference7th International Conference of the Dutch HRM Network 2011


  • METIS-279779
  • IR-99981


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