|dc.identifier.citation||Claire Blacklock, Amy Darwin, Mike English, Jacob McKnight, Lisa Hinton, Elinor Harriss, Geoff Wong. The social networks of hospital staff: A realist synthesis.Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 2022, Vol. 27(3) 242–252||en
|dc.description.abstract||Objectives: The social ties people have with one another are known to influence behaviour, and how information is
accessed and interpreted. It is unclear, however, how the social networks that exist in multi-professional health care
workplaces might be used to improve quality in hospitals. This paper develops explanatory theory using realist synthesis to
illuminate the details and significance of the social ties between health care workers. Specifically we ask: How, why, for
whom, to what extent and in what context, do the social ties of staff within a hospital influence quality of service delivery,
including quality improvement?
Methods: From a total of 75 included documents identified through an extensive systematic literature search, data were
extracted and analysed to identify emergent explanatory statements.
Results: The synthesis found that within the hospital workforce, an individual’s place in the social whole can be understood
across four identified domains: (1) social group, (2) hierarchy, (3) bridging distance and (4) discourse. Thirty-five contextmechanism-outcome configurations were developed across these domains.
Conclusions: The relative position of individual health care workers within the overall social network in hospitals is
associated with influence and agency. As such, power to bring about change is inequitably and socially situated, and subject
to specific contexts. The findings of this realist synthesis offer a lens through which to understand social ties in hospitals.
The findings can help identify possible strategies for intervention to improve communication and distribution of power, for
individual, team and wider multi-professional behavioural change in hospitals.||en