Ethical leadership and decision authority effects on nurses' engagement, exhaustion, and turnover intention.J Adv Nurs. 2021 Jan; 77(1):198-206.JA
The aim of the present study was to investigate emotional exhaustion, work engagement, and turnover intention in the nursing profession by exploring the antecedent effects of ethical leadership and job components such as decision authority.
Emotional exhaustion, low work engagement, and high turnover intention are prevalent issues in the nursing profession. The experience of feeling overworked has led to feelings of burnout and low morale among nurses in Ireland, which has prompted the authors to identify potential variables that reduce these outcomes-in this case, ethical leadership and decision authority.
A descriptive, cross-sectional survey design was used across three hospital sites.
A cross-sectional sample of 89 nurses was recruited from three Irish hospitals to capture the experience of nurses between December 2017 - February 2018. Hypotheses were tested using path model analysis.
Ethical leadership positively predicted decision authority among nurses. Ethical leadership also had an indirect effect on all three outcome variables (work engagement, exhaustion, and turnover intention). Further effects were noted in relation to the mediators in relation to the three outcome variables. Decision authority had a positive effect on work engagement and related to lower turnover intention.
The present study demonstrated the role of ethical leadership as a mechanism to positively affect job control and work experience outcomes for nurses at work. Ethical leadership style in hospitals and providing nurses with the authority to make decisions can improve their work experience and help to engage, support, and retain nurses.
The study found support for the positive role of ethical leadership in relation to decision authority and as a positive predictor of work engagement, negative predictor of emotional exhaustion, and turnover intention among nurses.