Linking transformational leadership to nurses' extra-role performance: the mediating role of self-efficacy and work engagement

J Adv Nurs. 2011 Oct;67(10):2256-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05652.x. Epub 2011 Apr 28.


Aims: This paper is a report of a social cognitive theory-guided study about the link between supervisors' transformational leadership and staff nurses' extra-role performance as mediated by nurse self-efficacy and work engagement.

Background: Past research has acknowledged the positive influence that transformational leaders have on employee (extra-role) performance. However, less is known about the psychological mechanisms that may explain the links between transformational leaders and extra-role performance, which encompasses behaviours that are not considered formal job requirements, but which facilitate the smooth functioning of the organization as a social system.

Methods: Seventeen supervisors evaluated nurses' extra-role performance, the data generating a sample consisting of 280 dyads. The nurses worked in different health services in a large Portuguese hospital and the participation rate was 76·9% for nurses and 100% for supervisors. Data were collected during 2009. A theory-driven model of the relationships between transformation leadership, self-efficacy, work engagement and nurses' extra-role performance was tested using Structural Equation Modelling.

Results: Data analysis revealed a full mediation model in which transformational leadership explained extra-role performance through self-efficacy and work engagement. A direct relationship between transformational leadership and work engagement was also found.

Conclusion: Nurses' supervisors with a transformational leadership style enhance different 'extra-role' performance in nurses and this increases hospital efficacy. They do so by establishing a sense of self-efficacy but also by amplifying their levels of engagement in the workplace.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction*
  • Leadership*
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical*
  • Motivation
  • Nurse's Role / psychology*
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology
  • Psychological Theory
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Workplace