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Trends of publications on transformational leadership in nursing: a bibliometric analysis

Ana Luiza Ferreira Aydogdu (Department of Nursing, Istanbul Health and Technology University, Istanbul, Turkey)

Leadership in Health Services

ISSN: 1751-1879

Article publication date: 2 June 2023

Issue publication date: 16 January 2024




This study aims to analyze the structure of publications on transformational leadership in nursing and determine its evolution process through a bibliometric analysis.


It is a descriptive bibliometric study. Data were collected on October 24, 2022, from the Web of Science and analyzed using Excel, VOSviewer, HistCite and Bibliometrix R programs.


A total of 348 studies conducted by 962 authors and published between 1990 and 2021 were included. It was found that 84.5% of these publications were original articles and 97.7% were published in English. The studies are from 82 different journals and were carried out by researchers from 43 countries. The most productive country was the USA (n = 151).

Research limitations/implications

Only one database was used to search for studies. The searches were limited to the nursing category, and only studies published up to 2021 were included. Another important point is that, although there were no language limitations for the field literature search, English keywords were used; thus, the search can be considered semi-limited. It is believed that more comprehensive search strategies may generate different findings.


Two main themes were identified as the studies carried out in the field of transformational leadership in nursing, generally, directly or indirectly addressed the effects of this style of leadership either on nurses’ performance/job satisfaction or on quality care/patient safety; however, a gap was observed in the literature in the area of nursing education. Researchers can be inspired by the results of the present study, by learning about the focus of published research on transformational leadership, which will encourage them to plan new studies to improve nursing education, nursing care, nursing management and working conditions of nurses. Through the results of this study, it is also possible to learn about countries and researchers for possible collaborations in future studies.



Ethics statement: The ethical aspects of the study were guaranteed through the legitimacy of information and authorship of the researched articles, which were cited and referenced properly according to the referencing system rules. As it is a bibliometric study there was no need to acquire ethical permissions.

Funding statement: The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Conflict of interest statement: The author declares none.


Aydogdu, A.L.F. (2024), "Trends of publications on transformational leadership in nursing: a bibliometric analysis", Leadership in Health Services, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 34-52.



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