Complexity science and the dynamics of climate and communication: reducing nursing home turnover.

Journal Article (Multicenter Study;Journal Article)


Turnover in nursing homes is a widespread problem adversely affecting care quality. Using complexity theory, we tested the effect of administrative climate, communication patterns, and the interaction between the two on turnover, controlling for facility context.

Design and methods

Perceptions of administrative climate and communication were collected from 3,449 employees in 164 randomly sampled nursing homes, and they were linked to secondary data on facility characteristics, resource allocation, and turnover. We used hierarchical regression to test the hypotheses.


Climate and communication both affected turnover, but lower turnover was dependent on the interaction between climate and communication. In nursing homes with reward-based administrative climates, higher levels of communication openness and accuracy explained lower turnover of licensed vocational nurses and certified nurse assistants, relative to nursing homes with an ambiguous climate. Adequate staffing and longer tenure of the nursing director were also important predictors of turnover.


Although context is important, managers can also influence turnover by addressing climate and communication patterns and by encouraging stable nursing leadership.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Anderson, RA; Corazzini, KN; McDaniel, RR

Published Date

  • June 2004

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 378 - 388

PubMed ID

  • 15197292

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC2271037

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1758-5341

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0016-9013

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/geront/44.3.378


  • eng