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The impact of organizational support and leader–member exchange on the work-related behaviour of nursing professionals: the moderating effect of professional and organizational identification

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Abstract

Aim

The aim of this study was to examine the relations between perceived organizational support, the quality of leader–member exchange, in-role and extra-role behaviour, professional identification and organizational identification among registered nurses and nurse assistants.

Background

Theoretically, employees will reciprocate received beneficial treatment with positive attitudes and behaviour. Recently, it has been shown that this principle may be more complex than originally anticipated.

Design

A quantitative, cross-sectional survey design was used. The quality of social exchange and identification was scored by the involved registered nurses and nurse assistants; in-role and extra-role behaviour was rated by the head nurse.

Methods

The survey was administered to nurses and nurse assistants (n = 196) working in five Belgian nursing homes. Data were collected from February–March 2012. Pearson correlation analyses, t-test analyses and hierarchical regression were used to analyse the data.

Results

Our results showed no relationship between perceived organizational support and leader–member exchange and in-role behaviour. A positive relationship was found between perceived organizational support and extra-role behaviour and a trend towards significance between leader–member exchange and extra-role behaviour. Organizational and professional identification moderated the relationship between perceived organizational support and extra-role behaviour.

Conclusions

Our study demonstrates the importance of social exchange to nurses and nurse assistants and therefore nursing administrators and leaders. When registered nurses and nurse assistants perceive high-quality social exchange, they are more likely to go the extra mile on behalf of the organization. Fostering social identification could enhance this.

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