Satisfaction and Service: A Study of Servant
Leadership, Role Inversion, and Employee Job March 2009
Marjorie Jenkins, PhD, RN, FACHE, NEA-BC
If leadership matters, then its characteristics and
behaviors should be definable and observable. For Results:
organizations to be successful however, leadership has
to be impactful. A Nurse Director’s Servant Leader Orientation (SLO) does
indeed make a difference in employee satisfaction.
Research Questions A Commitment to Serve is an important
characteristic of Servant Leader Orientation and
Does a leader’s servant orientation have a measurable significantly influences employee job satisfaction.
impact on employee job satisfaction? The practice of Role Inversion Behaviors
significantly adds to employee job satisfaction.
Hypothesis The interaction of Commitment to Serve and Role
Inversion Behaviors is statistically significant in
When the individual qualities of the manager and impacting employee job satisfaction.
behaviors demonstrated by the manager are blended, Exploratory research into organizational performance
this combination will indicate the extent to which the indicators provides additional support for the creation of a
manager adopts a Servant Leader Orientation (SLO). more emotionally supportive managerial function as a
It is expected that SLO will be the strongest means of enhancing organizational performance.
when CTS is high and the use of role inversion Hospital-acquired pressure ulcers and falls – there
behaviors is also high. was a trend in decreasing numbers of ulcers and
A positive relationship is expected between SLO falls in departments where manager Servant
and job satisfaction. Leader Orientation (SLO) was high compared to
unsustainable improvements in departments
Definition of Terms where SLO was low.
Commitment to Serve – servant leader qualities Managers with low SLO had substantially higher
Role Inversion – utilizing employees’ skill sets in employee turnover than high SLO.
leadership roles Cost per patient day was also lower in departments whose
managers had high SLO compared to low SLO.
Included Nurses (RN II/III/IV, Progression, and Assistant
Director), Nurse Secretaries, and Nurse Technicians A Servant Leader orientation goes beyond the traditional
working within inpatient nursing departments. 398 job satisfaction studies and identifies the importance of
employees in 16 departments voluntarily chose to relational aspects of the work experience.
complete a questionnaire (response rate of 68% for The care component must extend beyond the
depts. involved) caregiver and be embraced as a managerial
Measures: A manager’s caring interactions with staff directly
Job satisfaction – employee satisfaction influence the caring interactions provided by staff
to patients and families.
Commitment to Serve – 23 item questionnaire
measuring servant leadership Role Implementing a model of practice, like Relationship-Based
Care, must include the relational aspects of employee
Inversion Behaviors – 4 item questionnaire work satisfaction.
measuring role inversion
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