Which subscale of Organization Climate had the greatest dispersion of scores?

Measures of dispersion, or measures of variability, are descriptive statistical techniques conducted to identify individual differences of the scores in a sample. These techniques give some indication of how scores in a sample are dispersed, or spread, around the mean. The measures of dispersion indicate how different the scores are or the extent that individual scores deviate from one another. If the individual scores are similar, dispersion or variability values are small and the sample is relatively homogeneous, or similar, in terms of these scores. A heterogeneous sample has a wide variation in the scores, resulting in increased values for the measures of dispersion. Range and standard deviation are the most common measures of dispersion included in research reports.

The simplest measure of dispersion is the range. In published studies, range is presented in two ways: (1) the range includes the lowest and highest scores obtained for a variable, or (2) the range is calculated by subtracting the lowest score from the highest score. For example, the range for the following scores, 8, 9, 9, 10, 11, 11, might be reported as 8 to 11 (8–11), which identifies outliers or extreme values for a variable. The range can also be calculated as follows: 11 − 8 = 3. In this form, the range is a difference score that uses only the two extreme scores for the comparison. The range is generally reported in published studies but is not used in further analyses (Grove, Burns, & Gray, 2013).

The standard deviation (SD) is a measure of dispersion and is the average number of points by which the scores of a distribution vary from the mean. The SD is an important statistic, both for understanding dispersion within a distribution and for interpreting the relationship of a particular value to the distribution. When the scores of a distribution deviate from the mean considerably, the SD or spread of scores is large. When the degree of deviation of scores from the mean is small, the SD or spread of the scores is small. SD is a measure of dispersion that is the square root of the variance. The equation and steps for calculating the standard deviation are presented in Exercise 27, which is focused on calculating descriptive statistics.

Research Article


Roch, G., Dubois, C. A., & Clarke, S. P. (2014). Organizational climate and hospital nurses’ caring practices: A mixed-methods study. Research in Nursing & Health, 37(3), 229–240.



Roch and colleagues (2014) conducted a two-phase mixed methods study (Creswell, 2014) to describe the elements of the organizational climate of hospitals that directly affect nursing practice. The first phase of the study was quantitative and involved surveying nurses (N = 292), who described their hospital organizational climate and their caring practices. The second phase was qualitative and involved a study of 15 direct-care registered nurses (RNs), nursing personnel, and managers. The researchers found the following: “Workload intensity and role ambiguity led RNs to leave many caring practices to practical nurses and assistive personnel. Systemic interventions are needed to improve organizational climate and to support RNs’ involvement in a full range of caring practices” (Roch et al., 2014, p. 229).

Relevant Study Results

The survey data were collected using the Psychological Climate Questionnaire (PCQ) and the Caring Nurse-Patient Interaction Short Scale (CNPISS). The PCQ included a five-point Likert-type scale that ranged from strongly disagree to strongly agree, with the high scores corresponding to positive perceptions of the organizational climate. The CNPISS included a five-point Likert scale ranging from almost never to almost always, with the higher scores indicating higher frequency of performing caring practices. The return rate for the surveys was 45%. The survey results indicated that “[n]urses generally assessed overall organizational climate as moderately positive (Table 2). The job dimension relating to autonomy, respondents’ perceptions of the importance of their work, and the feeling of being challenged at work was rated positively. Role perceptions (personal workload, role clarity, and role-related conflict), ratings of manager leadership, and work groups were significantly more negative, hovering around the midpoint of the scale, with organization ratings slightly below this midpoint of 2.5.



Scale and Subscales (Possible Range) M SD Observed Range
Organizational Climate
 Overall rating (1–5) 3.13 0.56 1.75–4.67
 Job (1–5) 4.01 0.49 1.94–5.00
 Role (1–5) 2.99 0.66 1.17–4.67
 Leadership (1–5) 2.93 0.89 1.00–5.00
 Work group (1–5) 3.36 0.88 1.08–5.00
 Organization (1–5) 2.36 0.74 1.00–4.67
Caring Practices
 Overall rating (1–5) 3.62 0.66 1.95–5.00
 Clinical care (1–5) 4.02 0.57 2.44–5.00
 Relational care (1–5) 2.90 1.01 1.00–5.00
 Comforting care (1–5) 4.08 0.72 1.67–5.00

Roch, G., Dubois, C., & Clarke, S. P. (2014). Research in Nursing & Health, 37(3), p. 234.

Caring practices were regularly performed; mean scores were either slightly above or well above the 2.5 midpoint of a 5-point scale. The subscale scores clearly indicated, however, that although relational care elements were often carried out, they were less frequent than clinical or comfort care” (Roch et al., 2014, p. 233).


Study Questions

1. Organizational Climate was measured with which type of scale? What level of measurement was achieved with this scale? Provide a rationale for your answer.

2. The mean () is a measure of __________________ ___________________ of a distribution, while the standard deviation (SD) is a measure of _______________________ of its scores. Both  and SD are __________________________ statistics.

3. What is the purpose of the range, and how is it determined in a distribution of scores?

4. What subscales were included in the description of Organizational Climate? Do these seem relevant? Provide a rationale for your answer with documentation.

5. Which Organizational Climate subscale had the lowest mean? What does this result probably mean?

6. What were the dispersion results for the Organization subscale in Table 2? What do these results indicate?


7. Which aspect or subscale of Organizational Climate has the lowest dispersion or variation of scores? Provide a rationale for your answer.

8. Is the dispersion or variation of the ratings on Jobs more homogeneous or heterogeneous than the other subscales? Provide a rationale for your answer.

9. Which subscale of Organization Climate had the greatest dispersion of scores? Provide a rationale for your answer.

10. What additional research is needed in this area?