Do leadership styles influence productivity?

Publication Type:
Journal Article
British Journal of Health Care Management, 2016, 22 (2), pp. 83 - 91
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Background: Leadership and productivity in nursing and midwifery have become topical issues for discussion. This is possibly due to nurses constituting the largest group of the healthcare workforce. Nurses and midwives have been held accountable for low productivity and inappropriate leadership in the past. However, there has been limited consensus in the nursing literature about the impact of nurse managers' leadership styles on nurses' and midwives' productivity levels. Method: Two hundred and seventy five nurses and midwives (response rate of 99.2%) were asked to take part in a cross-sectional survey from five hospitals in the eastern region of Ghana, to examine the impact of nurse managers' leadership styles on self-reported productivity levels. Descriptive summaries, Pearson's correlations and linear regressions are presented. Results: Findings show for every hour of lost productive time, four hours of unpaid overtime in the course of the month was accrued due to staff shortages. Nurse managers' most frequently exercised a supportive leadership style, and a directive leadership style the least. Within the last one month of work experience prior to the study, nurses' self-perception of productivity levels were high (8.39 on a 10-point scale), 10% more productive than their peers in the same unit. Nurses believed their own productivity improved by about 1.8% over the preceding six months. Leadership styles explained only 6.9% (95% CI: 4.6-9.3%) of the variance in nurses' perceived level of productivity. Achievement-oriented leadership style most significantly improved productivity by 18.4% (95% CI: 13.0-24.0%). Implications for management and policy: There is a need to strengthen supervision and establish performance benchmarks within nursing and midwifery to measure staff performance, addressing health worker productivity more seriously through research and policy. Health institutions should invest in leadership development programmes for nurses and midwives to maximise productivity.
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