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DECISION AUTHORITY AMONG DENTISTS FROM DENMARK AND SWEDEN

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Comparison of decision authority among

dentists from Denmark and Sweden

Berthelsen H1, Söderfeldt B1, Pejtersen JH2, Hjalmers K1, Bergström K1.

1 Department of Oral Public Health, Faculty of Odontology, Malmö University, Sweden 2National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark

In 2008, a questionnaire was sent to 1835 general dental practitioners, randomly selected from the dental associations in Sweden and Denmark (17% of the eligible population). The response rate was 68% after two

reminders.

Eight items about influence were measured on an ordinal scale. Principal Component Analysis was applied and based on the resulting two factors, additive indices were established to measure decision authority: “general

influence” (6 items) and “influence on scheduling appointments” (2 items).

ANOVA with Tukey's HSD test was used for comparison between groups based on nationality and sector for dentists with/without managerial

responsibility. For analyses without equal variances, Kruskal-Wallis test was applied.

Karasek and Theorell define job control as the worker's control over work tasks and performance during the working day. This study aims to analyze differences in job control as decision authority over

aspects of the work among general dental practitioners from Denmark and Sweden.

Influence on scheduling appointments

 In both Denmark and Sweden, dentists working in the public sector reported significantly lower influence on scheduling appointments than private practitioners (p≤0.01).

 Comparing dentists from the same sector across countries showed no significant differences, nor were there any differences after

controlling for leader responsibility.

General influence

 For dentists without leadership tasks, similar results were seen as for influence on scheduling appointments.

 In contrast, Swedish managers reported significantly higher

scores on general influence than their Danish colleagues (p≤0.05).

Factor analysis

Principal Component Analysis of the variables describing influence on the work resulted in a two

factor solution explaining 69% of the variance.

The first factor was interpreted as general influence, organized 6 variables, had an Eigenvalue of 4.519, and factor loadings

0.68-0.86.

The variables were combined into an additive index: general

influence (range 0-100) with a mean of 72.2, standard

deviation 26.2 (SD) and having a Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.89 .

The second factor was interpreted as influence on scheduling

appointments, organized 2 variables, had an Eigenvalue of

1.022 and factor loadings 0,83-0,90.

The variables were combined into an additive index: influence

on scheduling appointments (range 0-100) with a mean of

67.4, standard deviation 27.8 (SD) and having a Cronbach’s alpha value of 0.77.

The Karasek stress model views work strain as a balance between demands and control over work.

Differences in decision authority were found

between general dental practitioners working in the public and the private sector in Sweden as well as in Denmark. The results may reflect

different management cultures as well as

different structural organizations of the work. Securing decision authority in dentistry is

important for the working environment of dentists, especially when meeting the

changing needs of the population.

hanne.berthelsen@mah.se

Funding

:

The Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research, Malmö University, The Danish Dental Association,

Letterstedtska Föreningen

References

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