A multilevel investigation on nursing turnover intention: the cross-level role of leader–member exchange

Authors

  • Igor Portoghese PhD,

    Adjunct Professor
    1. Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Monserrato (Ca), Italy
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  • Maura Galletta PhD,

    Adjunct Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Department of Public Health, Clinical and Molecular Medicine, University of Cagliari, Monserrato (Ca), Italy
    • Correspondence

      Maura Galletta

      Department of Psychology

      University of Cagliari

      Faculty of Medicine

      SS 554 bivio Sestu

      09042 Monserrato (Ca)

      Italy

      E-mail: maura.galletta@gmail.com

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  • Adalgisa Battistelli PhD,

    Professor
    1. Laboratoire EA 4139 Psychologie, Santé et Qualité de Vie, Université Bordeaux Segalen, Bordeaux Cedex, France
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  • Michael P. Leiter PhD

    Professor
    1. Department of Psychology, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Canada
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Abstract

Aim

To analyse nursing turnover intention from the unit by using multilevel approach, examining at the individual level, the relationships between job characteristics, job satisfaction and turnover intention, and at the group level the role of leader–member exchange.

Background

Research on nursing turnover has given little attention to the effects of multilevel factors.

Method

Aggregated data of 935 nurses nested within 74 teams of four Italian hospitals were collected in 2009 via a self-administered questionnaire.

Results

Hierarchical linear modelling showed that job satisfaction mediated the relationship between job characteristics and intention to leave at the individual level. At the unit level, leader–member exchange was directly linked to intention to leave. Furthermore, cross-level interaction revealed that leader–member exchange moderated the relationship between job characteristics and job satisfaction.

Conclusion

This study supported previous research in single-level turnover studies concerning the key role of job satisfaction, providing evidence that job characteristics are important in creating motivating and satisfying jobs. At the unit-level, leader–member exchange offers an approach to understand the role of unit-specific conditions created by leaders on nurses' workplace wellbeing.

Implications for nursing management

This study showed that it is important for nursing managers to recognise the relevance of implementing management practices that foster healthy workplaces centred on high-quality nurse–supervisor relationships.

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