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Clarifying the interface between respectful leadership and intention to stay

Ibeawuchi K. Enwereuzor (Department of Psychology, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
Lawrence E. Ugwu (Department of Psychology, Renaissance University, Enugu, Nigeria)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Article publication date: 4 January 2021

Issue publication date: 8 June 2021




Considering that leaders play an important role in influencing the work environment and experiences of subordinates as well as the fact that employees like to be respected, the purpose of the current study was to explore supportive supervisor relations as a mediator of the relationship between respectful leadership and intention to stay.


Data were collected from 389 hospital nurses based on authors' personal networks at three measurement points. This was done to avoid problems associated with collecting data for predictor and criterion variables from the same source at the same time. The direct and indirect effects were tested with ordinary least squares regression-based path analysis.


Respectful leadership was found to be positively related to both supportive supervisor relations and intention to stay. In addition, supportive supervisor relations had a positive relationship with intention to stay. Finally, the relationship between respectful leadership and intention to stay was mediated by supportive supervisor relations.

Research limitations/implications

The sample were drawn from nurses only in a particularly region of a country and differences may exist among other occupational groups and geographical areas of the country in the way they perceive their leaders' behavior.

Practical implications

Management of health facilities can utilize information from annual reviews and feedback from subordinates as performance evaluation criteria for rewarding leaders who treat their subordinates respectfully. However, leaders who are disrespectful toward their subordinates could be identified and subjected to mandatory training on respectful leadership.


The current study extends the present state of research on the impact exerted by respectful leadership in an organizational context never examined heretofore; that is, health care context. This is also the first study linking respectful leadership, supportive supervisor relations and intention to stay in unison in a single study.



Conflicts of interest/Competing interests: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.


Enwereuzor, I.K. and Ugwu, L.E. (2021), "Clarifying the interface between respectful leadership and intention to stay", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 35 No. 4, pp. 443-457.



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