Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jane Cloutterbuck

Second Advisor

Ling Shi

Third Advisor

David Keepnews


This study examined the relationship between nurse manager leadership behaviors and styles, staff nurse work-related empowerment and staff nurse retention, in acute care hospitals in Massachusetts: correlates and predictors. Staff nurse retention is vital for ensuring access to safe quality patient care. Nurse managers are believed to play a key role in creating a culture of retention for staff nurses, with the ultimate goal of assuring high quality and safe patient care. This research examines nurse manager leadership from the perspective of the staff nurse, and offers insight into how nurse manager leadership affects staff nurse reported empowerment and staff nurse retention, measured as job satisfaction, organizational commitment and intention to leave. This quantitative exploratory study was conducted utilizing a cross-sectional survey research design, and guided by Roy's Adaptation Model. A random sample of 204 staff nurses working in unionized acute care hospitals in Massachusetts were analyzed for this study. The key variables -leadership (transformational, transactional and passive/avoidant), empowerment (psychological, structural and global), and retention (job satisfaction, organizational commitment and intention to leave), were examined using Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ) 5X-short, Conditions of Work Effectiveness Questionnaire (CWEQ) -II, Psychological Empowerment Scale (PES), and Organizational Commitment Questionnaire (OCQ) instruments. Nurse manager leadership and staff nurse empowerment were illustrated to be significantly associated with staff nurse retention. Nurse manager leadership was also found to be significantly associated with both psychological and structural empowerment in staff nurses. Study results also indicated transactional leadership behaviors were to be as significantly associated with staff nurse empowerment, as transformational leadership, in some instances more so. These results provide additional support for the importance of effective nurse manager leadership to staff nurse empowerment and staff nurse retention. These results also provide evidence of the need for closer examination of interrelations of leadership behaviors, psychological and structural empowerment and retention.


Free and open access to this Campus Access Dissertation is made available to the UMass Boston community by ScholarWorks at UMass Boston. Those not on campus and those without a UMass Boston campus username and password may gain access to this dissertation through resources like Proquest Dissertations & Theses Global or through Interlibrary Loan. If you have a UMass Boston campus username and password and would like to download this work from off-campus, click on the "Off-Campus UMass Boston Users" link above.