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Managing complex workplace stress in health care organizations: leaders' perceived legitimacy conflicts

Managing complex workplace stress in health care organizations: leaders' perceived legitimacy... Aim To conceptualize how health care leaders’ strategies to increase their influence in their psychosocial work environment are experienced and handled, and may be supported. Background The complex nature of the psychosocial work environment with increased stress creates significant challenges for leaders in today’s health care organizations. Method Interviews with health care leaders (n = 39) were analysed in accordance with constructivist grounded theory. Results Compound identities, loyalty commitments and professional interests shape conditions for leaders’ influence. Strategies to achieve legitimacy were either to retain clinical skills and a strong occupational identity or to take a full leadership role. Ethical stress was experienced when organizational procedural or consequential legitimacy norms were in conflict with the leaders’ own values. Leadership support through socializing processes and strategic support structures may be complementary or counteractive. Conclusions Support programmes need to have a clear message related to decision‐making processes and should facilitate communication between top management, human resource departments and subordinate leaders. Ethical stress from conflicting legitimacy principles may be moderated by clear policies for decision‐making processes, strengthened sound networks and improved communication. Implications for nursing management Supportive programmes should include: (1) sequential and strategic systems for introducing new leaders and mentoring; (2) reflective dialogue and feedback; (3) team development; and (4) decision‐making policies and processes. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Nursing Management Wiley

Managing complex workplace stress in health care organizations: leaders' perceived legitimacy conflicts

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References (37)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
© 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
ISSN
0966-0429
eISSN
1365-2834
DOI
10.1111/j.1365-2834.2009.00996.x
pmid
19941566
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Aim To conceptualize how health care leaders’ strategies to increase their influence in their psychosocial work environment are experienced and handled, and may be supported. Background The complex nature of the psychosocial work environment with increased stress creates significant challenges for leaders in today’s health care organizations. Method Interviews with health care leaders (n = 39) were analysed in accordance with constructivist grounded theory. Results Compound identities, loyalty commitments and professional interests shape conditions for leaders’ influence. Strategies to achieve legitimacy were either to retain clinical skills and a strong occupational identity or to take a full leadership role. Ethical stress was experienced when organizational procedural or consequential legitimacy norms were in conflict with the leaders’ own values. Leadership support through socializing processes and strategic support structures may be complementary or counteractive. Conclusions Support programmes need to have a clear message related to decision‐making processes and should facilitate communication between top management, human resource departments and subordinate leaders. Ethical stress from conflicting legitimacy principles may be moderated by clear policies for decision‐making processes, strengthened sound networks and improved communication. Implications for nursing management Supportive programmes should include: (1) sequential and strategic systems for introducing new leaders and mentoring; (2) reflective dialogue and feedback; (3) team development; and (4) decision‐making policies and processes.

Journal

Journal of Nursing ManagementWiley

Published: Dec 1, 2009

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