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Table of Contents   
ORIGINAL ARTICLE  
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 1299-1305
Applying artificial neural network approach to predict nurses' job performance based on personality traits and organizational factors


1 Health Policy Research Center, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran
2 Department of Healthcare Management, School of Health, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran
3 School of Paramedicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran

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Date of Web Publication6-Nov-2017
 

   Abstract 


Background: The main goal of every organization is to provide the best quality product or service which mostly depends on its employees' performance. Among various factors, both indoor environmental features in an organization and personality traits of working staff play important role in on job performance. Objective: The purpose of current study was to describe the effect of personality traits and organizational factors on nurses' job performance through applying neural network approach. Materials and Methods: This analytical, cross-sectional study was conducted among nursing staff working in inpatient medical departments of a training hospital in Yazd Province in 2016. The study questions were answered through analysis of data obtained from three standard questionnaires. Collected data were entered in SPSS version 20 and analyzed by artificial neural network approach. Results: Findings revealed that from study participants' viewpoint the highest mean score regarding to indoor organizational factors was given to helpful mechanism dimension (5.54 ± 0.79) while the least was mentioned for targeting (5.35 ± 0.81). In association with personnel personality traits, the highest and least mean scores were relatively dedicated to conscientiousness (44.5 ± 4.3) and neuroticism (31.8 ± 4.3). Results of comparing significance coefficients in neural networks depicted that from all study dimensions, agreeableness and reward have got the most importance on job performance (100% and 81.2%) while accountability and helpful mechanisms have got the least (28.5% and 16.5%). Conclusion: Strengthening staff personality traits and environmental factors of a hospital can play an effective role in improving nurses' job performance. Therefore it is suggested that hospital managers help employees to improve their performance through providing a productive work environment and manage the workplace in accordance with important organizational factors mentioned by staff and as well their personality and behavioral patterns.

Keywords: Artificial neural network, indoor environmental factors, job performance, personality traits

How to cite this article:
Khanjankhani K, Askari R, Rafiei S, Shahi MA, Hashemi F, Shafii M. Applying artificial neural network approach to predict nurses' job performance based on personality traits and organizational factors. Ann Trop Med Public Health 2017;10:1299-305

How to cite this URL:
Khanjankhani K, Askari R, Rafiei S, Shahi MA, Hashemi F, Shafii M. Applying artificial neural network approach to predict nurses' job performance based on personality traits and organizational factors. Ann Trop Med Public Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2019 Dec 5];10:1299-305. Available from: http://www.atmph.org/text.asp?2017/10/5/1299/217523



   Introduction Top


The main goal of every organization is to provide the best quality product or service which mostly depends on its employees' performance.[1] In fact performance as a key factor plays a significant role in organizational success and improvement. This factor not only demonstrates the status of organization against competitors but also shows the distance from determined goals. To attain success and overcome existing obstacles, managers should create a strong relationship with their employees and direct them toward job fulfillment. If the workforce are not motivated to accomplish their responsibilities in an effective manner, the organization would not achieve success.[2] Job performance is defined as “work related activities expected from a worker and how well the activities are done.”[3] Campbell declared that performance is a means to reach a job goal or set of objectives in an organization.[4] Among organizations with different specialties, hospitals are the main healthcare provider institutions which attempt to survive in a competitive environment through presenting optimal performance.[5] Nursing staff as one of the key therapeutic groups in hospitals have direct continuous contact with patients. Therefore quality of healthcare services provided by them has significant impact on treatment process and hospital performance indicators.[6] Several studies have done to identify contributing factors on nurses' job performance. Some of the main distinguished features included personal characteristics, job satisfaction, employee competency, recognition of personnel achievement, social support, communication and feedback, leadership style and organizational climate.[7],[8],[9] Among known factors, many researches have focused on the important role of organizational structure and personality traits regarding to job performance.[10],[11],[12] Literature supported the hypothesis that a significant relationship existed between organizational environment, personality traits and job outcomes.[13],[14],[15] Judge et al (2007) in a study analyzing the relationship between five personality traits and job satisfaction revealed that such traits were regarded as probable measures to determine work related behaviors.[16] Kumar et al. and Singh and Singh found that five personality traits had major influences on employees' organizational behavior.[17],[18] Similarly Malik et al. and Sjahruddin et al. (2013) confirmed the findings and emphasized on the role of personality traits in predicting the employees' performance.[19],[20] Zimmerman mentioned conscientiousness as the most predictive factor of job performance.[21]

These five personality types include conscientiousness, extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness and openness to experience.[22] High conscientiousness employees are almost those who are logical, reliable and risk averse.[23] Those who are sociable, gregarious, self-confident, energetic and motivated are mainly characterized as extraversion. Neuroticism is defined as a preference to experience unpleasant emotional feelings such as anxiety, depression, embarrassment and lack of confidence more easily.[24] Appreciation of emotion, risky situations, new ideas or experience and inquisitiveness are regarded as openness which reflects the degree of creativity and a preference for innovation and novelty. Agreeableness is also about an existence of a tendency to be sympathetic and supportive rather than doubtful and aggressive.[22],[23],[24]

At the same time many researches have focused on the influence of organizational factors on personnel job performance. Literature declared that in order to appropriately use human resources in an organization, it is required to provide a secure physical and mental health environment. Developing inspiring plans to achieve job enrichment, delegating work tasks in accordance with personnel characteristics, providing job security, paying attention to staff training and continuous promotion were mentioned as significant organizational factors in this regard.[25],[26] Weisbord believed that the main factors causing a considerable drop in employees' motivation and performance belonged to organizational characteristics and work environment. Therefore he suggested that identification and solving the existing problems must be thoroughly done by the same individuals to provide them a learning opportunity leading to success. Weisbord's model proposed six main areas of concern regarding to organizational factors including purpose, structure, relationships, rewards, leadership and helpful mechanisms which can be used to identify existing problems or probable gap between current and desirable condition.[27] These six factors mainly focus on the desired situation for an organization which has been planned to be achieved, the way of coordinating conflicts among staff, the incentive for accomplishing delegated tasks, having access to adequate coordinating techniques, leadership, hierarchical levels of authority and formal relations prevailing among functional groups of the organization.[28] Studies performed with similar objectives revealed a direct relationship between desirable working condition provided for personnel and improvement in their job performance. Golshiri et al. and Kinzl et al. were among researches conducted in this respect and affirmed defined relations.[29],[30] According to the same subject importance in the field of healthcare and hospital setting, this study was designed to assess the effect of personality traits and organizational factors on nurses' job performance through applying neural network approach. Artificial neural networks are among significant forecasting methods that are derived from mathematical models of the brain. They make multifaceted nonlinear relations between the dependant variable and its predictors. Although the model is able to detect complex nonlinear relationships between dependent and independent variables, it does not require sophisticated statistical training.[31]


   Materials and Methods Top


This analytical, cross-sectional study was conducted among nursing staff working in inpatient medical departments of a training hospital affiliated by Yazd University of Medical Sciences in Iran in 2016. Those working in operating room department were excluded from the study due to rigid rules of health and safety which limited the researchers' entrance to the ward. Based on Cochran's sample size formula, 89 nurses with at least 1 year of clinical care work experience were included in the study using a simple randomized method. Three standard questionnaires including “indoor environmental factors” in an organization, “five personality traits” regarding to working staff and “employee job performance” were used to gather data regarding to study objectives.

The Weisbord questionnaire developed in 1976 was used in the research. The instrument consists of 35 questions which has been organized in seven organizational factors including strategy and purpose, structure, rewards, communication and internal relationships, leadership, helpful mechanisms and attitude toward change. Answers were given based on a five-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). Validity and reliability of the questionnaire were reported by Weisbord to be 0.8 and 0.87.[27] In a similar study conducted by Sinaki and Naghavi (2017) in Iran the reliability coefficient was calculated to be equal to 0.85 and its content validity was checked by a group of academic members in management faculty of Allameh Tabataba'i University.[32]

Measures of personality traits in this research have been analyzed based on five personality questionnaire developed by John and Srivastava in 1999.[33] The instrument consists of 44 questions adopted in five dimensions including openness to experience (10 items), conscientiousness (9 items), extraversion (8 items), agreeableness (9 items) and neuroticism (8 items). Validity of the data collection tool has been approved in similar studies and its reliability was calculated in a range of 0.79–0.88.[34],[35] Respondents were asked to rate their agreement concerning to different items on a five point Likert scale ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).

Job performance questionnaire developed by Paterson in 1970 was the third questionnaire used in the study. The data collection instrument contains 15 questions organizing in a four scale of seldom, sometimes, often and always. In similar studies validity and reliability of the questionnaire were checked. Golabli et al. used Cronbach's alpha to report the reliability of job performance questionnaire. The calculated measure of 0.84 represented a desirable reliability.[36] Content validity of the instrument was also checked in an expert panel to address any unclear parts and modify it in to a complete and comprehensible version. The questionnaires were distributed among nurses who voluntarily accepted to participate in the study and fill out the questions. Before asking them to complete three given questionnaires, two researchers who had been trained before, explained the study objectives to them. Collected data were entered in a SPSS Statistics software version 20.0 (IBM) and analyzed through the use of descriptive statistical methods and artificial neural network to extract the significance coefficients.


   Results Top


Demographic characteristics of study participants showed that the most frequency of participants belonged to the age group of 25–29 years old (48.3%) while the number of nurses in the age group of 40–44 years old was the least frequent (4.5%). 97.8% of nurses had bachelor degree and 48.3% were not nonpermanent employees regarding to employment status. The most and the least participants of the research respectively belonged to emergency department and women's surgical unit (12.4% and 3.4%). 64% of the nurses were female and 58.4% had lower than 5 or more than 25 years' work experience.

[Table 1] depicts the mean score and standard deviation of different dimensions regarding to internal environment factors of the study hospital. The obtained total score was 5.54 ± 0.93, from which the highest mean score was given to helpful mechanism dimension (5.54 ± 0.79) and the least was mentioned for targeting (5.35 ± 0.81).
Table 1: Mean scores of internal environment factors in the hospital

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Mean score and standard deviation of five personality traits are shown in [Table 2]. As data confirm, the most and the least scores from nurses' viewpoint were respectively given to conscientiousness and neuroticism (44.56 vs. 31.81).
Table 2: Mean scores of nurses' personality traits

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The total score regarding to nurses' job performance was also calculated to be 63.25 ± 4.8. Then using artificial neural network, the importance coefficients regarding to each of the three study variables divided in different contributing dimensions were measured [Table 3]. Among demographic characteristics, educational level and work unit constituted the most and the least important factors (68.33% vs. 4.9%). Concerning personality traits, agreeableness was mentioned as the most and conscientiousness as the least important factors (100% vs. 28.5%). Ultimately dimensions of rewards and helpful mechanisms respectively had the most and the least importance among others (81.2% vs. 16.5%).
Table 3: Importance coefficients of demographic, personality traits and environmental factors

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[Figure 1] compares all study variables. As data confirm agreeableness and work unit got relatively the most and the least importance.
Figure 1: Comparison of the important coefficients of study variables

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[Figure 2] compares total average scores of study questionnaires. Findings reveal that the most and the least importance was relatively given to internal environment factors in an organization and work unit.
Figure 2: Comparison of the important coefficients of demographic factors and organizational variables

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   Discussion Top


Study findings revealed that among all study variables, the most important one which played a significant role in nurses' job performance was internal environment factors in a hospital. Furthermore from participants' viewpoint the agreeableness got the most importance. Several studies have been conducted to assess workforce performance and its contributing factors. Mrayyan and Al-Faouri in a study aimed to evaluate nurses' professional and job commitment revealed that one way to influence job performance is to modify personnel workplace.[37] Another research mentioned rewards as a predictive factor and emphasized on its role in determining nurses' work success.[38] AbuAlRub in a study entitled job stress, job performance and social support among hospital nurses found that a supportive culture in a workplace decreases employees' stress and promote their job performance in a more effective manner. The researcher also mentioned communication and internal relationships as significant factors in this regard.[39] Literature supported the idea that effective communication in an organization, having control on working environment factors, autonomy, self-promotion, self-acceptance and meaningful life increase employees' job performance.[40] Similarly Chen et al. confirmed the existence of positive relations between organizational communication, commitment and performance.[41] Another influencing factor regarding to internal work environment was leadership which Martiz (1995) reported its effectiveness on subordinates' desire to promote high level of performance.[42] In this regard Salacuse affirmed that nowadays leaders need to run an organization participatory and involve their subordinates in the work decision making processes.[43]

Hogan and Holland in a research conducted in 2003 used theory to evaluate personality and job performance relations. They found that among five personality traits the one with most influence on job performance was emotional stability.[44] Hormann and Maschke (1996), Dunn et al (1995) and Judge et al (2007) confirmed the finding and declared that employees who are emotionally stable have more reasonable ideas and perform their job tasks more effectively.[16],[45],[46] Similarly our findings mentioned neuroticism as an important contributing factor and found that from study participants' viewpoint having stability in emotion and behavior had a significant role in their job performance. Literature declared that a successful job performer in an organization is a conscientious one with emotional stability and readiness to change.[47] Extraversion and openness also got the highest importance scores and were categorized as high significant factors while dissimilar to our findings agreeableness got the lowest score.[48] In line with our study results Sackett and Walmsley mentioned conscientiousness and agreeableness as highly important factors which support workforce willingness to perform their tasks in an effective manner.[49] Witt et al. in a study conducted in 2002 assessed the interactive effect of conscientiousness and agreeableness on job performance. Research findings emphasized that being low in agreeableness would lead to lower levels of job performance.[50]


   Conclusion Top


Working environment plays a significant role in encouraging employees to accomplish their task job. This study supported the idea and mentioned both work environment and personality traits as significant factors which play role in employees' job performance. Therefore the main responsibility of organizational authorities is to provide a pleasant working environment and consider employees' attitude and personality traits in assigning work responsibilities and the way of dealing with them. To this purpose, mangers should provide employees incentive rewards, provide them the opportunity for improvement and suitable workplace for effective communication also define meaningful tasks and delegate them according to personnel competency and qualification.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
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Correspondence Address:
Milad Shafii
Health Policy Research Center, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd
Iran
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ATMPH.ATMPH_334_17

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