The mediating effects of structural empowerment on job satisfaction for nurses in long-term care facilities.
OBJECTIVE The authors tested a model linking specific leader-empowering behaviors to staff nurse perceptions of workplace empowerment, occupational stress, and work effectiveness in a recently-merged Canadian acute care hospital. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA An integration of Kanter's organizational empowerment theory and Conger and Kunungo's model of the leader empowerment process constituted the theoretical framework for the study. Few published studies were found in which specific leader behaviors were linked empirically to staff nurses' workplace empowerment. METHODS Staff nurses (n = 537) were surveyed shortly after a merger of two large tertiary hospitals. Structural equation modeling techniques were used to test the proposed model. RESULTS Leader-empowering behaviors significantly influenced employees perceptions of formal and informal power and access to empowerment structures (information support, resources, and opportunity). Higher perceived access to empowerment structures predicted lower levels of job tension and increased work effectiveness. The amount of explained variance in the final model was 42%. CONCLUSIONS Support for the model tested in this study highlights the importance of nurse managers' leadership behaviors within current turbulent healthcare organizations.