Deakin University

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The impact of characteristics of nurses' relationships with their supervisor, engagement and trust, on performance behaviours and intent to quit.

journal contribution
posted on 2017-01-01, 00:00 authored by John Rodwell, John Mc Williams, A Gulyas
AIMS: The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of characteristics of nurses' relationship quality with their manager on engagement and trust, onto in-role or discretionary behaviours and intent to quit. BACKGROUND: Nurses having a good relationship with their manager are seen as important, yet the mechanisms of how such relationships are beneficial, or which aspects of the relationship are important, is less clear. Two possible mechanisms are through the nurse being more engaged in work, or through building their trust in their employer. In turn, engagement and trust may impact in-role and discretionary behaviours as well as staff retention. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. METHOD: An online survey in 2013 of 459 nurses across Australia. RESULTS: Structural analyses indicated that the affect dimension of relationship quality was negatively related to engagement, whereas contribution and respect were positively related to engagement. The affect and respect aspects were positively related to trust. Engagement positively related to discretionary and in-role behaviours. Engagement and trust were negatively related to quit intention, as was the loyalty dimension of the nurses' relationship with their supervisor. However, perceptions of variability in their team's relationship quality with their leader was negatively related to trust and positively related to intent to quit. CONCLUSIONS: Nurse managers with a nuanced understanding of social exchange at work are likely to maintain more engaged, well-performing and stable nursing teams. In particular, a willingness by the supervisor to come to their nurses' defence and having a consistent standard of relationship quality across their nurses is likely to improve nurse retention.



Journal of advanced nursing






190 - 200




Chichester, Eng.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2016, Wiley