Predictors of nursing leadership in Uganda: A cross-sectional study

Rose Clarke Nanyonga, Edna N. Bosire, David J. Heller, Elizabeth Bradley, Nancy R. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Evidence regarding the role of nurses-in-leadership and how to engage nurses in policy decisions is minimal in sub-Saharan Africa. The purpose of this study was: (1) to assess the leadership practices of nurses-in-leadership in Uganda (by self-report) and from the perspective of 'followers' (direct-report, peers, co-workers, other); and (2) to determine factors (positively) associated with leadership practices. We surveyed 480 nurses, 120 in leadership roles (Response Rate 57%) and 360 'followers' (Response Rate 60%), who were recruited from five hospitals in Kampala, Uganda. We used the Leadership Practice Inventory (Self and Observer), a project-specific demographic questionnaire and Denison's Organizational Culture Survey (DOCS). Sixty-three per cent of the respondents held a registered nursing certificate; 79% had received formal leadership training; 47% were based in private for-profit (PFP) hospitals, 28% in private not-for-profit (PNFP) and 25% in public hospitals. Among the five leadership practices, nurses-in-leadership used the practice of Model the Way (M = 8.27, SD = 1.30), Challenge the Process (M = 8.12, SD = 1.30) and Encourage the Heart (M = 8.04, SD = 1.51) more frequently (on a 10-point Likert Scale). Inspire a Shared Vision (M = 7.82, SD = 1.57) and Enable Others to Act (M = 7.62, SD = 1.66) practices were used less frequently. The same rank order was true for leadership scores from the perception of followers. However, leadership scores by followers were significantly lower (P < 0.01) than the nurse leader self-reported scores across all sub-scales. Leadership practice scores were higher in public than private hospitals (P < 0.0001). Organizational culture (OC) was associated (P < 0.001) with leadership practices. Although overall leadership practice scores were generally high, the less frequent use of Inspire and Enable practices suggests opportunities for targeted improvement. Moreover, differences between self-reported and leadership scores by followers suggest perception gaps between leaders and their followers. The positive relationship between public hospital settings and self-reported leadership practices among nurses-in-leadership suggests that important nursing leadership practices are possible even in a low-resource clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)I51-I64
JournalHealth Policy and Planning
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Followers
  • Leadership practices inventory
  • Nurses-in-leadership
  • Organizational culture
  • Uganda


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