Some Measures Practised to Improve Co-Worker's Questionnaire Surveys. Some exemplified experiences and insights that are fetched mainly from the Swedish health-care sector
The three authors have in this article (preprint not yet completed due to the retirement of one of two of the authors) gathered some experiences and insights dealing with so-called co-worker's questionnaires surveys concerning work and work environment matters, as have been and still are practised within e.g. all Swedish public hospital (as well as also within some other private and public sectors). This understanding is brought forward to substantiate some deductions on how such questionnaire surveys ought to be organised to make them more valuable for practitioners as well as for scientists (some examples from the author's world are confirming this argumentation). Particular so about research results gained from work within Skaraborgs Sjukhus, i.e. the four hospitals that are located in Falköping, Lidköping, Mariestad and Skövde with approximate 4 500 employees. In short, this particular research and development work gradually, more or less, forced us to scrutinise the organisation of these four hospitals in some specific ways. Such scrutinising was inescapable necessary for us due to at least two reasons.
Firstly, due to the fact the earlier ways to organise such questionnaire surveys in this particular case 2011, were in fact to some extent rather useless (however, we have only been dealing with two latest such questionnaire surveys, which were carried out in 2013 and 2015). And secondly, the feedback mechanisms proved also earlier to be questionable. One principal point was that such questionnaire surveys are usually dutifully (without due considerations) delegated to external consulting firms, this without very many reflections (as was also the case within the Skaraborgs Sjukhus). Consulting companies that (somewhat incisively formulated) regularly are not taking advantage of distinct possibilities, which will also be explained and exemplified in this article. Another important principal point was and is still the fact that the organisation within Swedish hospitals of a certain size, are indeed problematic to understand (even for external expertise like us). On short example, it was only, during the earlier questionnaire survey (carried out within Skaraborgs Sjukhus in 2013) to some extent possible to supply the consulting firm in question, with information of each organisational unit. Such units were, according to practice, defined by the so-called responsibility number and denotation of the unit as well as a name of the responsible manager or managers. But, to connect this information to the name and number of each employee to these organisational units were impossible.
These statements may appear to be curious for some readers, but they will also be explained more in-depth. The characteristics just (briefly) sketched above, will thus be explained and exemplified. Thereby will it be possible for practitioner and scientist to: (1) To carry out cyclic co-worker's questionnaire surveys in ways that make them more valuable. Thereby, making it feasible to illuminate work and work environment matters far more constructive than otherwise. Since our approach allows us to synthesise about individual respondents' organisational belonging, can also illumination be achieved about entirely new aspects of the questionnaire data (points that were not at hand during a particular period). (2) Consider certain formal co-operation procedures regarding long-term ownership of questionnaire data with e.g. the university will. In practice, will this make comparisons with other hospitals possible (longitudinal and latitudinal meta-analyses is e.g. one such feature, i.e. analyses over several years and also comparisons between different hospitals).
Even though this research and development work in all respects was not possible to fully implement in the health-care case discussed, were still some positive results gained. Results such as (1) correct organisational schemes (without the earlier mentioned troublesome anomalies) were found out, (2) to get routines that resulted in a far more correct list of managers from the HR Department and (3) the co-worker's questionnaire survey dealt in 2015 with was improved (but it was still organised by the external consultant firm in question). Moreover, (4) the results from an inventory of the building facilities, which were used by the authors as a sort of reference for us to deal with other matters, were entrusted to the manager of the IT Department. As well as, also assigned to the manager of the other public organisation that was responsible for the building facilities (this was a database comprising e.g. approximate 30 000 rooms). As hinted, two of the three authors are now retired, this may not Skaraborgs Sjukhus be able to implement all of the research results so far gained (among other things, it is an extensive operation, and new or revised information system are required).
A comment (in order to be explicit): Note that by means of this specific method to organize questionnaire surveys (including complementary data collection) it is feasible to couple (softer) questionnaire data to (harder) technical data (i.e. the operators perception of work and work conditions to parameters like product flow patterns and buffer functions and positions) (see the authors' other publications).
reconstruction of information systems