The impact of supervisor-subordinate relationships on nurses' ability to solve workplace problems: implications for their commitment to the organization
Contribution to Book
Brunetto, Y, Farr-Wharton, R & Shacklock, K 2011, 'The impact of supervisor-subordinate relationships on nurses' ability to solve workplace problems: implications for their commitment to the organization', in J Wolf, H Hanson, M Moir, L Friedman & G Savage (eds), Advances in Health Care Management, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 10, pp. 215-37. ISBN: 9780857247094
The publisher's version of this article is available at
This chapter uses the structural and relational dimension of social capital theory (SCT) as a lens for examining the impact of the supervisor–subordinate relationship on nurses' perceptions of the usefulness of their workplace networks, sociability, and affective commitment. A survey was used to collect data from 1,064 Australian nurses. The findings suggest that nurses rely on very small workplace networks (typically only one other person) with which they have strong ties. Further, in over half of the cases, the supervisor (the Nurse Unit Manager (NUM)) holds the centric position. Moreover, for those nurses who did not include the NUM in their workplace network, their position appears even worse. For example, the usual reason given by nurses for not including the NUM was that the NUM was unavailable. This is a concern for health care management because the past two decades have delivered many changes to the nursing profession, including a reduction in the number of nursing positions and subsequent higher workloads. The consequences suggest that without effective workplace networks, nurses are working under conditions where solving problems is more difficult.