Supervisory Leadership Style Influence on Subordinate Stress: A Cross-Cultural Study of the Benefits of Transformational Supervision
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Type of Work90 pages
DepartmentDivision of Applied Behavioral Sciences
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships between transformational leadership (TFL), role stressors (role ambiguity and role conflict), and work strains/outcomes (anxiety, affective commitment, and turnover intentions) in nurses across three countries: U.S.A., Spain, and Germany. Specifically, I tested whether the relationship would be better understood as a mediated process, by which supervisory TFL indirectly decreased job strain via decreasing role stressors, or as a moderated process, in which TFL acted as a moderator of the relationship between role stressors and job strains. Finally, I assessed whether the relationships between work stress and TFL worked similarly within each country. Archival data were used from a total sample of 544 nurses (296 from two U.S. hospitals, 131 from diverse Spanish hospitals and primary care centers, and 117 from a German nursing home). Study results show that TFL negatively influenced anxiety and turnover intentions, and positively influenced affective commitment, via role conflict and role ambiguity when controlling for country of origin. The only significant interaction found was the effect of TFL and role conflict on anxiety. Role stressors mediated supervisory TFL’s negative effects on work strains in Germany and U.S.A., similar to the overall findings. In the Spanish sample TFL did not relate to either role stressor, turnover intentions, or affective commitment. A small, negative relationship with anxiety disappeared when role ambiguity and conflict were also added into the regression. Supervisory TFL can be beneficial to nurses’ well-being, and this relationship is best understood as one in which role stressors mediate the relationship between TFL and nurse strain, rather than one in which TFL moderates the relationship between stressors and strain. However, the effects of TFL on the work stress process may differ depending on cultural contexts. The cross-sectional nature of the study notwithstanding, the present study lays the foundation for future work related to leadership styles and work stress across different cultural contexts. Additional limitations and future directions are also discussed.
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