The effect of structural empowerment and perceived organizational support on middle level nurse managers' role satisfaction

Allison Patrick, Heather K Spence Laschinger
Journal of Nursing Management 2006, 14 (1): 13-22

BACKGROUND: The restructuring of Canadian health care organizations during the past decade has reduced the visibility of nursing leadership. This has resulted in job conditions that have disempowered nurse managers and influenced their ability to create positive work environments, mentor potential nurse leaders, and gain satisfaction in the leadership role. These conditions threaten the retention of a cadre of high quality nurse leaders in today's chaotic health care setting.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between structural empowerment and perceived organizational support and the effect of these factors on the role satisfaction of middle level nurse managers.

METHOD: A secondary analysis was conducted as part of a larger study of 126 middle level nurse managers working in Canadian acute care hospitals, randomly selected from the Ontario provincial registry. Eighty-four nurse managers responded to a questionnaire mailed to their home addresses.

RESULTS: Structural empowerment was positively associated with middle level nurse managers' perceived organizational support. The combination of empowerment and perceptions of organizational support were significant predictors of middle level nurse managers' role satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings support R.M. Kanter's (1977, 1993; Men and Women of the Corporation. Basic Books, New York) contention that empowering work conditions have an impact on employees' feelings of support and sense of accomplishment at work. Positive perceptions of organizational support may play an important role in retaining current middle managers, and possibly attracting future leaders to management positions.

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