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Nurses’ and nurse managers’ perceived transformational leadership behavioural practices: a survey

Roberta Sammut (Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta, Msida, Malta)
Amanda Scicluna (Mater Dei Hospital, Msida, Malta)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 11 August 2020

Issue publication date: 7 December 2020




The purpose of this paper is to compare the perceived transformational leadership practices of charge and staff nurses. Transformational leadership is effective in promoting change in organisations, with the leader guiding followers towards a common vision.


A quantitative, descriptive, comparative survey design was used. All charge nurses (N = 151) and staff nurses (N = 1,950) in six health entities in Malta were included. A mixed mode survey design was used. Data were collected using the Leadership Practices Inventory and analysed using ANOVA and the Kruskal–Wallis test.


An overall response rate of 15% (n = 315) was achieved. Both staff and charge nurses perceived transformational leadership to be practiced. Charge nurses scored consistently higher than staff nurses. In long-term care environments, charge nurses are more likely to “model the way”, while in acute settings, they were more likely to “enable others to act”.

Research limitations/implications

Transformational leadership appears to be applied by charge nurses in Malta. The response rate achieved was low and may limit the generalisability of the results of the study.

Practical implications

Nurse managers need to adapt their transformational leadership style based on the context in which they work.


Regular feedback from nursing staff should be sought for charge nurses to be aware of the extent to which they are implementing transformational leadership.



Conflict of Interest statement: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Funding or sources of support in the form of grants, equipment, drugs etc.: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

The present address of any author, if different from where the work was carried out, should be supplied in a footnote.


Sammut, R. and Scicluna, A. (2020), "Nurses’ and nurse managers’ perceived transformational leadership behavioural practices: a survey", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 385-396.



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