The association of vertical and horizontal workplace social capital with employees' job satisfaction, exhaustion and sleep disturbances: a prospective study

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Elisabeth Framke, Ole Henning Sørensen, Jacob Pedersen, Thomas Clausen, Vilhelm Borg, Reiner Ernst Rugulies

Workplace social capital (WSC) may be beneficial for employees’ health and well-being; however, most studies have analyzed WSC on the individual and not the workplace level. We test whether higher compared to lower levels of vertical WSC (WSC between employees and superiors) and horizontal WSC (WSC between employees), measured at the workplace level, is prospectively associated with higher levels of employees’ well-being.
Using data from an intervention study, we analyzed associations between workplace aggregated vertical and horizontal WSC at baseline with job satisfaction, exhaustion and sleep disturbances at 24-months follow-up. The sample included 606 municipal pre-school employees (71 workplaces). We adjusted for individual and workplace characteristics, baseline scores of outcomes, intervention status, and the interaction of exposure with intervention status. We used the Genmod procedure in SAS with a repeated statement to account for correlation of individuals within workplaces. We repeated analyses using individual-level WSC measurements.
Higher levels of vertical and horizontal WSC at baseline predicted a higher level of job satisfaction (0.20, p = 0.01 and 0.24, p = 0.01, respectively) and a lower level of exhaustion (− 0.33, p = 0.04 and − 0.43, p = 0.04) at follow-up in the most adjusted model. Analyses with individual-level measures yielded similar results and further showed an association of a higher level of horizontal WSC with a lower level of sleep disturbances.
Higher levels of vertical and horizontal WSC were prospectively associated with better well-being of employees in municipal pre-schools. Workplaces may thus consider focusing on improving WSC as a means for ensuring or improving employees’ well-being.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Archives of Occupational and Environmental Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)883-890
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

    Research areas

  • Employee health, Employee well-being, Social capital, Vertical, Horizontal, Aggregated measures

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