The relationship between multidimensional leadership and burnout among nursing staff


Outi Kanste
Department of Nursing Science and Health Administration
University of Oulu
PO Box 5000 90014 Oulu


Aim and background  The purpose was to explore the relationship between multidimensional leadership and burnout among nursing staff. There exists little research evidence of the relation between these phenomena.

Method  The study used a non-experimental survey design. The sample consisted of 601 nurses and nurse managers working in different health care organizations.

Results  Rewarding transformational leadership seems to protect particularly from depersonalization. Active management-by-exception protected from depersonalization and increased personal accomplishment. Passive laissez-faire leadership functioned as an exposing factor for emotional exhaustion as well as a decreasing factor for personal accomplishment. However, the employment status and the character of work tasks affected the connection between leadership and burnout.

Conclusions  The relation between leadership and burnout is complex, affected by situational factors of leadership and the ambiguous nature of burnout. Nurses of various ages, at different stages of career development and participating in different work tasks require different kinds of leadership.