Nurses' participation in personal knowledge transfer: the role of leader-member exchange (LMX) and structural empowerment.

Research paper by Alicia A Davies, Carol A CA Wong, Heather H Laschinger

Indexed on: 14 Jul '11Published on: 14 Jul '11Published in: Journal of Nursing Management


The purpose of this study was to test Kanter's theory by examining relationships among structural empowerment, leader-member exchange (LMX) quality and nurses' participation in personal knowledge transfer activities.Despite the current emphasis on evidence-based practice in health care, research suggests that implementation of research findings in everyday clinical practice is unsystematic at best with mixed outcomes.This study was a secondary analysis of data collected using a non-experimental, predictive mailed survey design. A random sample of 400 registered nurses who worked in urban tertiary care hospitals in Ontario yielded a final sample of 234 for a 58.5% response rate.Hierarchical multiple linear regression analysis revealed that the combination of LMX and structural empowerment accounted for 9.1% of the variance in personal knowledge transfer but only total empowerment was a significant independent predictor of knowledge transfer (β=0.291, t=4.012, P<0.001).Consistent with Kanter's Theory, higher levels of empowerment and leader-member exchange quality resulted in increased participation in personal knowledge transfer in practice.The results reinforce the pivotal role of nurse managers in supporting empowering work environments that are conducive to transfer of knowledge in practice to provide evidence-based care.