The association of leadership styles and empowerment with nurses' organizational commitment in an acute health care setting: A cross-sectional study

Samirah A. Asiri, Wesley W. Rohrer, Khaled Al-Surimi*, Omar O. Da'ar, Anwar Ahmed

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: The current challenges facing healthcare systems, in relation to the shortage of health professionals, necessitates mangers and leaders to learn from different leadership styles and staff empowerment strategies, so as to create a work environment that encourages nursing staff commitment to patients and their organization. This study intends to measure the effects of nurses' overall perception of the leadership style of their managers, and psychological empowerment on their organizational commitment in acute care units, in National Guard Health Affairs, Riyadh City, Saudi Arabia. Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey, where the data was obtained from nurses at King Abdulaziz Medical City. Hard copy questionnaires were distributed to 350 randomly selected nurses. Three hundred and thirty two (332) were completed, representing a response rate of 95 %. Three validated survey instruments were used to obtain the data: (1) The Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), formulated by Bass and Avolio (1997), (2) The Psychological Empowerment Scale developed by Spreitzer (1995) and (3) The Three-Component Model of Employee Commitment developed by Meyer and Allen (1997). A theoretical model that conceptually links leadership, empowerment, and organizational commitment was used. The SPSS program version 19 was employed to perform descriptive and inferential statistics including correlation and stepwise multiple regression analysis. Results: Overall most nurses perceived their immediate nursing managers as not displaying the ideal level of transformational leadership (TFL) behaviors. Nurses' commitment appeared to be negatively correlated with TFL style and perceived psychological empowerment. However, commitment was positively correlated with the Transactional Leadership (TAL) style. Analysis, also, showed that commitment is significantly associated with the nurse's nationality by region: North American (P = 0.001) and Arab (p = 0.027). The other important predictors of commitment include TAL (P = 0.027), Laissez-faire Leadership (LFL (P = 0.012), and autonomy (P = 0.016). The linear combination of these predictors explained 20 % of the variability of the nurses' commitment. Conclusion: The study findings suggest that leadership styles and employee empowerment could play an instrumental role in promoting organizational commitment of nurses working in acute health care settings, at least in the Saudi Arabian context.

Original languageEnglish
Article number38
JournalBMC Nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 9 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Organizational commitment
  • Psychological empowerment
  • Transactional leadership
  • Transformational leadership


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