Background  Research in the west has shown that job satisfaction, productivity and organizational commitment are affected by leadership behaviours. The purpose of this study is to determine the effect of leadership behaviours on employee outcomes in Singapore. Very little research related to this subject has been done in health care settings in this country. The comparison of the results of the different types of settings and samples will allow a better understanding of the relationshiop between leadership behaviours and employee outcomes and thus help to determine if leadership is worth the extra effort.

Method  The study explored the relationships between five leadership behaviours identified by Kouzes and Posner and the employee outcomes of registered nurses practising in the general wards, intensive care units and the coronary care unit in an acute hospital. Survey questionnaires were used to elicit responses from 100 registered nurses and 20 managers belonging to the organization. Data collected included demographic characteristics and the degree to which the five types of leadership behaviours were used as perceived by the nurse managers and the registered nurses. In addition, the level of nurse job satisfaction, the degree of productivity and the extent of organizational commitment are described.

Findings  The findings show a similar trend to the original studies in the United States of America. Use of leadership behaviours and employee outcomes were significantly correlated. The regression results indicate that 29% of job satisfaction, 22% of organizational commitment and 9% of productivity were explained by the use of leadership behaviours. Recommendations are made in the light of these findings.