Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Science


empowerment, Explanatory model, nursing, organizational culture, Registered Nurses


Recent innovations in patient care delivery and nursing governance require an empowered workforce. However, little is known about what combination of organizational, leadership, and personal characteristics maximize the prediction of registered nurse empowerment. The purpose of this study was to develop and test an explanatory model of registered nurse empowerment. The predictor variables included personal characteristics of registered nurses (age, experience, organizational tenure, education, and position level of clinical and/or management responsibility), perceptions of organizational culture, and connective leadership. The study was conducted in a tertiary-care hospital in Southern California. A total of 113 registered nurses completed the Organizational Culture Inventory (Cooke & Lafferty, 1989), the connective leadership measure (Achieving Styles Inventory (Lipman-Blumen, 1991)), the Klakovich Reciprocal Empowerment Instrument (Klakovich, 1994b), and a demographic questionnaire designed to elicit personal characteristics. Regression analysis was performed to identify the variables which significantly predicted registered nurse empowerment. Constructive organizational culture (Beta =.47), connective leadership (Beta =.29), and defensive organizational culture (Beta = -.30) combined to explain 45% of the variance in empowerment, with each of the variables making a statistically significant (p <.001) contribution to the regression equation. Although there were no significant relationships between the personal characteristics and organizational culture or empowerment, there was a relationship between position and connective leadership (r =.27, p =.002) and between highest educational level and connective leadership (r =.27, p =.002). The results support previous studies which have emphasized the important relationships of organizational culture and leadership to empowerment. Implications for professional practice and education are addressed. Further theoretical development, empirical testing, and refinement of the Registered Nurse Empowerment Model is recommended. It is proposed that, with further refinement, this model can assist nurses to deal effectively with the major changes challenging them in the rapidly transforming health care delivery system.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access



Included in

Nursing Commons