Innovative behaviour: the effect of structural and psychological empowerment on nurses


J. Knol:


Title. Innovative behaviour: the effect of structural and psychological empowerment on nurses.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study to investigate the relationship between structural empowerment/psychological empowerment and innovative behaviour.

Background.  Innovative behaviour is essential for nurses in today’s dynamic healthcare systems. Empowerment has become an increasingly important factor in predicting innovative behaviour. Structural empowerment refers to power based on the employee’s position in the organization, while psychological empowerment consists of the fundamental personal convictions that employees have about their role in the organization.

Methods.  A cross-sectional correlational survey was conducted in the Netherlands in 2007 with 519 Registered Nurses. The instruments used were the Conditions of Work Effectiveness Questionnaire II, the Psychological Empowerment Instrument and the Questionnaire Innovative Behaviour. Four hypotheses were tested using descriptive statistics, bivariate and multiple regression and one-way analysis of variance.

Results.  Structural and psychological empowerment were statistically significant predictors of innovative behaviour. Informal power and impact were the most relevant determinants of innovative behaviour, the latter the strongest. Psychological empowerment functioned as a mediator between structural empowerment and innovative behaviour. The expected moderating effect of structural empowerment was not proven.

Conclusion.  Organizations need to create the right conditions to be able to strengthen nurses’ empowerment. Networking is an important skill which should be incorporated in the nursing education. Future research should take into consideration nursing culture and personality traits as determining factors. Replication of this study in another setting and a study examining causality are recommended so that additional empirical evidence may be obtained.