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Measuring social capital of hospital management boards in European hospitals: A validation study on psychometric properties of a questionnaire for Chief Executive Officers.



The commitment of hospital managers plays a key role in decisions regarding investments in quality improvement (QI) and the implementation of quality improvement systems (QIS). With regard to the concept of social capital, successful cooperation and coordination among hospital management board members is strongly influenced by commonly shared values and mutual trust. The purpose of this study is to investigate the reliability and validity of a survey scale designed to assess Social Capital within hospital management boards (SOCAPO-B) in European hospitals.


Data were collected as part of the EU funded mixed-method project "Deepening our understanding of quality improvement in Europe (DUQuE)" from 210 hospitals in 7 European countries (France, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey). The Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) completed the SOCAPO-B scale (six-item survey, numeric scale, 1='strongly disagree' to 4='strongly agree') regarding their perceptions of social capital within the hospital management board. We investigated the factor structure of the social capital scale using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses. Internal consistency was assessed using Cronbach's alpha, while construct validity was assessed through Pearson's correlation coefficients between the scale items.


A total of 188 hospitals participated in the DUQuE-study. Of these, 177 CEOs completed the questionnaire(172 observations for social capital) Hospital CEOs perceive relatively high social capital among hospital management boards (average SOCAPO-B mean of 3.2, SD = 0.61). The exploratory factor analysis resulted in a 1-factor-model with Cronbach's alpha of 0.91. Pearson's correlation coefficients between the single scale items ranged from 0.48 to 0.68.


The SOCAPO-B-scale can be used to obtain reliable and valid measurements of social capital in European hospital management boards, at least from the CEO's point of view. The brevity of the scale enables it to be a cost-effective and tool for measuring social capital in hospital management boards.

Trial registration

This validation study was not registered.

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