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Keywords:

  • comparative research;
  • empowerment;
  • leader–member exchange;
  • nurses;
  • organisational commitment

Aim

To examine the relationships between leader–member exchange (LMX), workplace learning options (teamwork, training and development), empowerment and organisational commitment, for nurses in Australia, England and Brazil.

Background

The supervisor–employee relationship is fundamental to management theory and practice within the work context of Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Methods

Survey-based, self-report data were collected from 1350 nurses in 23 acute-care hospitals during 2011.

Results

Significant relationships were found between key Social Exchange Theory antecedents (LMX and teamwork) and outcomes (organisational commitment) for nurses in Australia and England, but not in Brazil. As expected, the path between teamwork and organisational commitment was significant in the three countries.

Conclusions

The findings affirm the importance of LMX as a management tool affecting employee outcomes in OECD countries. In contrast, LMX cannot be assumed to play an important role within a context that operates a dual employment structure coupled with a culture accepting of ‘Jeitinho’ workplace relationships.

Implications for nursing management

Informal workplace relationships – ‘Jeitinho’ (similar to the Chinese ‘guanxi’) may be worthy of examination within BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) countries such as Brazil.