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How can a social capital framework guide managers to develop positive nurse relationships and patient outcomes?


  • Anne T. Hofmeyer RN, PhD MACN

    Senior Lecturer, Corresponding author
    • Senior Lecturer School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
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Anne T. Hofmeyer

School of Nursing and Midwifery

University of South Australia

GPO Box 2471


South Australia 5001





To examine how social capital could be a mediating factor through which managers' leadership positively influences relationships with nurses and quality patient outcomes.


The relationship between leadership, what managers do and optimal outcomes for patients are well established. What is not yet clear is an understanding about specific mechanisms by which managers' leadership builds social capital to foster cohesive team relationships and quality patient outcomes.

Key issues

Conceptual links are drawn between human capital and leadership styles of managers. Social capital is introduced and contextualized through exemplars from a Canadian study. Exemplars illustrate how the presence or absence of social capital influenced nurses' productivity to deliver quality patient care.


Nurse researchers could use the Social Capital Framework (SCF) to examine the mediating role of social capital in relationships between managers and nurses. These findings could inform managers' strategies to foster positive networks and norms between nurses to deliver quality patient care.

Implications for nursing management

Leadership that uses a framework of social capital will enhance team relationships between nurses. Enhanced cohesion will have a positive impact on patient outcomes.