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Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Oct;49(10):1266-76. doi: 10.1016/j.ijnurstu.2012.05.012. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

The influence of authentic leadership on newly graduated nurses' experiences of workplace bullying, burnout and retention outcomes: a cross-sectional study.

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Distinguished University Professor and Arthur Labatt Family Nursing Research Chair in Health Human Resources Optimization, Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing, The University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond Street, Health Sciences Addition Room 41, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C1.



Retaining skilled and engaged nurses is critical during a time of shortage, however growing reports of workplace bullying threaten nurses' health and wellbeing, especially the transition of newly graduated nurses entering the profession. High rates of burnout and turnover among new nurses puts additional strain on limited financial resources in healthcare organizations and can compromise the quality of care provided to patients.


The purpose of this study is to test a model linking authentic leadership to new graduate nurses' experiences of workplace bullying and burnout, and subsequently, job satisfaction and intentions to leave their jobs.


This study employed a cross-sectional survey design with 342 new graduate nurses (defined as less than two years of practice experience) working in acute care hospitals in Ontario, Canada. Participants completed a questionnaire with measures of authentic leadership, workplace bullying, burnout, job satisfaction and turnover intentions. The model was tested using path analysis techniques within structural equation modeling.


The model fit indices suggested that the original hypothesized model did not adequately fit the data (χ(2)=33.59, df=5, p=.000, χ(2)/df=6.72, IFI=.937, CFI=.937, RMSEA=.130), thus an additional theoretically justified direct path from authentic leadership to job satisfaction was added, which improved the fit substantially (χ(2)=5.26, df=4, p=.261, χ(2)/df=1.32, IFI=.997, CFI=.997, RMSEA=.030). Authentic leadership had a negative direct effect on workplace bullying, which in turn had a direct positive effect on emotional exhaustion. Authentic leadership also influenced job satisfaction indirectly through bullying and emotional exhaustion. Authentic leadership, workplace bullying and emotional exhaustion all had significant direct effects on job satisfaction, which in turn, was related to lower turnover intentions.


The findings from this study demonstrate the fundamental importance of authentic leadership in creating supportive working environments. An authentic leadership style may reduce the probability of a unit culture of workplace bullying developing, contributing to a nursing workforce that is less burned out, more satisfied with their job, and ultimately, less likely to leave their position.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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