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Exploring the relationships among spirit at work, structural and psychological empowerment, resonant leadership, job satisfaction and organizational commitment in the health care workplace Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wagner, Joan
Supervisor and department
Sharon Warren, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine
Examining committee member and department
Donna Lynn Smith, Faculty of Nursing
Greta Cummings, Faculty of Nursing
Ann Solari Twadell, Loyola University, Chicago
Joanne Olson, Faculty of Nursing
Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Health care workers are experiencing increasingly stressful work environments related to attempts to control escalating health care costs. Researchers (Kinjerski & Skrypnek, 2004) have developed a tool to identify the unique experience of individuals who are passionate about and energized by their work, also described as spirit at work (SAW). Identification and acknowledgement of these unique experiences by health care professionals and leaders will lead to collaboration in the development and maintenance of healthy workplaces. The objectives in this study were to (a) identify the relationship between the structural empowerment and psychological empowerment of practicing health professionals in both staff and management positions; (b) develop and test a theoretical model of the relationships among resonant leadership, the components of structural empowerment, psychological empowerment, and SAW, and the demographic variables of experience, education, rank, job satisfaction and organizational commitment for nurses (RNs), occupational therapists (OTs) and physical therapists (PTs); (c) identify what the practitioners in each health profession perceived as contributing to their personal SAW in the workplace; and (d) contribute to greater clarity in current and future discussions of SAW. A systematic review of the literature validated the relationship between structural empowerment and psychological empowerment. SAW and specified workplace concepts were identified and further elucidated through a province-wide survey followed by focus group discussions. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis of the survey data demonstrated that the model originally postulated and tested fit the proposed theoretical relationships, after addition of modifications specific to each professional group. This research study makes significant contributions to existing health care workplace research that promises to create a healthier environment for staff and patients alike. Contributions include (a) the introduction of the construct of SAW and an indication of its role in the workplace, (b) an indication of the important role resonant leadership plays within the health care workplace and its multiple effects on other constructs within workplace theory, (c) further development of workplace theory through the use of real measures of concepts to support and strengthen previous research.
License granted by Joan Wagner ( on 2010-08-09T18:20:50Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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