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excess resources, organizational slack, space, staff, time



  1. Mallidou, Anastasia A.
  2. Cummings, Greta G.
  3. Ginsburg, Liane R.
  4. Chuang, You-Ta
  5. Kang, Sunghyun
  6. Norton, Peter G.
  7. Estabrooks, Carole A.


Background: In the theoretical and research literature, organizational slack has been largely described in terms of financial resources and its impact on organizational outcomes. However, empirical research is limited by unclear definitions and lack of standardized measures.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the psychometric properties of a new organizational slack measure in health care settings.


Methods: A total of 752 nurses and 197 allied health care professionals (AHCPs) employed in seven pediatric Canadian hospitals completed the Alberta Context Tool, an instrument measuring organizational context, which includes the newly developed organizational slack measure. The nine-item, 5-point Likert organizational slack measure includes items assessing staff perceptions of available human resources (staffing), time, and space. We report psychometric assessments, bivariate analyses, and data aggregation indices for the measure.


Findings: The findings indicate that the measure has three subscales (staff, space, and time) with acceptable internal consistency reliability (alphas for staff, space, and time, respectively:.83,.63, and.74 for nurses;.81,.52, and.76 for AHCPs), links theory and hypotheses (construct validity), and is related to other relevant variables. Within-group reliability measures indicate stronger agreement among nurses than AHCPs, more reliable aggregation results in all three subscales at the unit versus facility level, and higher explained variance and validity of aggregated scores at the unit level.


Practice Implications: The proposed organizational slack measure assesses modifiable organizational factors in hospitals and has the potential to explain variance in important health care system outcomes. Further assessments of the psychometric properties of the organizational slack measure in acute and long-term care facilities are underway.