Role conflict, role ambiguity, and job satisfaction in nurse executives

Nurs Adm Q. Jan-Mar 2010;34(1):72-82. doi: 10.1097/NAQ.0b013e3181c95eb5.


This article reports the results of a cross-sectional correlational survey design of nurse executives' (NEs') views on role conflict, role ambiguity, job satisfaction, and depression. A total of 380 surveys were returned from 1000 randomly selected participants. Four instruments were utilized, 1 for demographic data and 3 established instruments. Results indicated that the respondents had low to moderate amounts of role ambiguity, high levels of job satisfaction, low levels of depression, a negative relationship between role conflict and role ambiguity and job satisfaction, and a positive relationship between role conflict and depression. Furthermore, although levels of role conflict are decreasing, levels of role ambiguity are increasing. Neither educational level nor age was related to the dependent variables. Role conflict and role ambiguity are both forms of role stress. This study indicates that stress levels are not overwhelming to the NE and may be encouraging development of required skills. Healthcare organizations will continue to evolve and increase in complexity putting pressure on NEs in their many roles. Although this study did not consider strategies for coping with stress, this important avenue needs to be considered as NEs move forward with more extensive roles in the leadership of our healthcare system.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Organizational
  • Nevada / epidemiology
  • Nurse Administrators
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing, Supervisory*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Prejudice*
  • Psychometrics
  • Risk Factors
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Surveys and Questionnaires