The relationship between servant leadership and nurses' in-role performance: The sequential mediating effects of job autonomy and emotional exhaustion

Qijie Xiao, Qudsia Iftikhar, Katharina Spaeth, Chunyu Zhang, Xiaoyan Liang, Anton Klarin, Liping Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Drawing on the conservation of resources theory, this study examines the underlying process through which servant leadership is associated with nurses' in-role performance. Specifically, we test the indirect effect of servant leadership on in-role performance via a sequential mediating mechanism of job autonomy and emotional exhaustion. Design: A time-lagged design was implemented using data gathered from two-wave online surveys (1 week apart) of registered nurses from Jiangsu Province, China. Methods: Between September 2022 and February 2023, we used Wenjuanxing and Credma, which are two powerful and user-friendly data collection platforms, to distribute online surveys to potential participants. We received a total of 220 usable responses and employed the PROCESS Model 4 and Model 6 to assess our proposed hypotheses. Results: Our proposed model was supported. Servant leadership has a positive indirect effect on nurses' in-role performance through job autonomy and emotional exhaustion. Job autonomy has a negative effect on emotional exhaustion. Additionally, job autonomy mediates the negative relationship between servant leadership and emotional exhaustion. Conclusion: The present research extends existing nursing studies by unravelling the complex mechanisms underlying the relationship between servant leadership and nurses' in-role performance. Our study also identifies the underlying mechanism of how servant leadership mitigates emotional exhaustion by supporting nurses' job autonomy. Impact: The sequential mediation results provide us with a more fine-grained understanding of the relationship between servant leadership and nurses' in-role performance. It further promotes job autonomy and decreases emotional exhaustion, which supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal #3 (Good Health and Well-being). Patient or Public Contribution: This study addresses the UN Sustainable Development Goal #3: ‘To ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’ and the healthcare providers will benefit from our study. Therefore, the study contributes to a more sustainable organization and society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1440-1451
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2024

Keywords

  • China
  • emotional exhaustion
  • in-role performance
  • job autonomy
  • servant leadership

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