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Dissertation Abstract

Exploratory Study of Leadership: Assessment of Perceived Listening Skill and Leadership Style of Nurse Leaders/Managers

Debbie T. Fitzgerald
April 2009

The purpose of this study was to assess the listening skills and leadership style of nurse leaders/managers. The HURIER Listening Questionnaire developed by Brownell (1990) and the Leadership Style Questionnaire (Northouse, 2001) were employed to assess perceived listening skill and leadership style. Participants consisted of 20 nurse leaders/managers working in a 475-bed, nonprofit, mid-Western medical center and 5 of their direct reports. The total sample, including leaders/managers and direct reports was 90 registered nurses. Sequential sampling was used to obtain direct report participants. Using the paired samples t test, comparisons of self-reported perceptions from nurse leaders/managers related to their listening skills and leadership style and perceptions of their direct reports yielded significant statistical differences. This research study also assessed possible relationships between age, education, presence of formal listening training, and length of years as a leader/manager and both listening skill and leadership style. Pearson r correlation and linear regression were employed for analysis. Number of years as a leader was negatively correlated with listening training. No significant findings emerged related to listening skill and the demographics. This study also assessed the percentage of registered nurses who had a formal course in listening during their initial nursing training programs. Findings revealed a disparity of listening training during initial nursing programs which was consistent with findings in the literature related to other disciplines. Listening training was more common in the workplace than during formal educational programs. This was the first study to assess listening skills of registered nurses and leadership style. The limitations of this study and recommendations for future research are presented.