Staff Nurse Work Empowerment and Perceived Autonomy: Testing Ranter's Theory of Structural Power in Organizations

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Nurse executives have been striving for the means to equalize the power base in healthcare settings. They also have been seeking ways to overcome the perceived powerlessness of their staffs. Empowerment and increased autonomy in the work setting often are described as mechanisms to achieve these goals. This study, based on Ranter's theory of the structural determinants of behavior in organizations, examined formal and informal power as predictors of job-related empowerment and autonomy. Results of the study lend support to the use of the theory in healthcare settings as a way for nurse executives to develop increased access to the sources of job-related empowerment for their staffs.

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