The Correlation between Ethical Climate and Job Satisfaction of the Nurses in Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences

Fariba Borhani, Forouzan Atashzadeh Shoorideh, Mohammad Amin Pour Hossein Gholi, Sakineh Maani



Background and Aim: Ethical climate is defined as the understanding of how to deal with ethical issues and what ethical behavior is. It is recognized as a manipulable organizational variable to improve healthcare environment and to provide an ethical decision-making situation. Manpower is one of the most important factors in organizations in today's competitive world. Therefore, meeting the needs and demands of the staff and their job satisfaction are two of the most important issues that organizations need to take into consideration. Job satisfaction is defined as a consistent set of feelings about one’s job. This feeling is achieved when employees’ desires, needs and experiences are met through the job when entering the organization so that there is a balance between the employees’ expectations and fulfillment of those expectation, resulting in the positive attitude of the staff toward their jobs which brings about their job satisfaction. An appropriate ethical climate can lead to increased job satisfaction is an organization. The present study aimed to investigate the correlation between ethical climate and job satisfaction of the nurses in Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted on 79 nurses working in teaching hospitals affiliated to Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences in 2013. The data was obtained using demographic, Victor and Cullen’s ethical climate, and Job Descriptive Index questionnaires. Victor and Cullen’s ethical climate questionnaire, consisting of 26 questions, measures the ethical climate in five dimensions (regulatory atmosphere, interest atmosphere, professionalism atmosphere, independence atmosphere, and instrumental atmosphere). Job Descriptive Index, which includes 39 questions, on the other hand, measures the five aspects of job satisfaction- the nature of work, supervisors, promotion, salaries and cooperation. In this study, data analysis was carried out by running STATA version 13 software at the significance level of 0.05, using mean and frequency indices to describe qualitative variables as well as Pearson correlation coefficient.

Ethical considerations: Verbal consent for participation was obtained from the participants and they were ensured of the confidentiality of information and anonymity of the questionnaires.

Findings: The average age of the participants was 35.7 ± 7.81- 84.8 percent females and 15.2 percent males. Overall, 37.9 percent of the participants were married and 83.5 percent had a bachelor’s degree and 18.5 percent a master's. Only 22.8 percent of the participants had a history of participation in nursing ethics workshops. The average work experience of participants in the study was 11.2 year (SD: 9.7, 95% Confidence Interval: 9.50-13.05 years). Professionalism atmosphere, with an average of 34.3, was the prevailing atmosphere in the studied hospitals and independence atmosphere, with an average of 2.90, was reported as the least ethical climate in the hospitals studied. The highest job satisfaction of the participants was related to supervision, with a mean of 3.54, and the lowest job satisfaction was associated with the payment with a mean of 2.02. All aspects of job satisfaction had a significant direct relationship with the interest atmosphere. There was also a significant direct relationship between all dimensions of job satisfaction with the professionalism atmosphere. Just like professionalism and interest atmosphere, all aspects of job satisfaction had a significant direct relationship with the regulatory atmosphere. Nevertheless, independence atmosphere did not present a significant relationship with any of the dimensions of job satisfaction. Instrumental atmosphere, on the other hand, revealed a significant positive correlation with some aspects of job satisfaction including the job and the salaries. Pearson correlation coefficient showed a statistically significant correlation between the dimensions of work environment ethical climate and job satisfaction of the nurses in most aspects except for the independence atmosphere.

Conclusion: The results of the study indicated a significant relationship between the ethical climate and job satisfaction of the nurses in such a way that the more the ethical climate was appropriate from the nurses’ perspective, the higher their job satisfaction was. According to research, the more the interest, professionalism and regulatory atmosphere prevail, the higher the job satisfaction parameters, such as the satisfaction of the supervisor, work, colleagues, promotion and payment, are. Thus, to increase this atmosphere in hospitals, nursing managers can promote this atmosphere by reducing the tensions and conflicts between the members, involving them in decision makings and planning, and holding informal meetings to acquaint the staff with each other. Professionalism atmosphere with the highest average displayed that, as Maslow pointed out, the nurses pay attention to a higher level of needs for their job satisfaction. However, given that the second prevailing atmosphere was the instrumental atmosphere- which is based on self-interest, corporate profits, and productivity- some strategies which can be used in the hospitals to reduce this atmosphere include observing the ethical principles and using the development of personal ethics as a measure of progress and selection in hospitals. Using the Code of Ethics, moral codes, and personal and social ethics education as well as meeting the requirements of the basic needs can reduce self-centeredness among nurses and lead them towards higher needs. To promote personal ethics among nurses, it is expected that organizations respect the opinions of their employees and apply these suggestions in order to improve the ethical climate and organizational productivity if they do not violate the principles of the organization and society. Since a significant correlation was observed between most dimensions of ethical climate and job satisfaction, it can be concluded that improving the prevailing ethical climate can lead to increased levels of job satisfaction and productivity in most organizations.

Please cite this article as: Borhani F, Atashzadeh Shoorideh F, Pour Hossein Gholi MA, Maani S. The Correlation between Ethical Climate and Job Satisfaction of the Nurses in Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. Med Ethics J 2017; 10(38): 51-58.


Ethical climate; Job Descriptive Index; Satisfaction; Nurses

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