Health-promoting leadership: An integrative review and future research agenda



Publication Details

Akerjordet, K., Furunes, T. & Haver, A. (2018). Health-promoting leadership: An integrative review and future research agenda. Journal of Advanced Nursing,74 (7), 1505-1516.


2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Aim: To provide a synthesis of the evidence of health-promoting leadership related to nursing by exploring definitions, core attributes and critical conditions. Background: Increasing pressure in healthcare settings due to efficiency requirements, population ageing with complex illnesses and projected global shortage of nurses, is a potential threat to nurses' health and job satisfaction, and patient quality of care and safety. New ways of thinking about nursing leadership and evidence-based human resource management are required to improve nursing environments. Design: Integrative literature review. Data Sources: Eight databases were searched: Academic Search Premier, CINAHL, Emerald, ERIC, Web of Science, MEDLINE, Psychinfo and Science Direct. Included papers were published between 2000-2016. Review methods: Of 339 papers, 13 were eligible for inclusion: eight qualitative and five quantitative. Studies were assessed for quality using standardized checklists. Framework-based synthesis was used, allowing for themes identified a priori to be specified as coding categories. This method also allows new themes to emerge de novo. Results: Four themes were identified. There are multiple definitions of health-promoting leadership, along with description of the non-health-promoting leader. The health-promoting nurse leader engages in employees' health promotion, and takes responsibility for actions and maintains open communication, accommodating nurses' participation in change processes. Through competence development, the health-promoting organization builds capacity. Conclusion: Health-promoting leadership may be a promising path to optimizing nursing outcomes through holistic thinking, which emphasizes the importance of context. Accumulated research is required to build a stronger line of international research, with attention to underlying mechanisms, limiting conditions and behaviours known to health-promoting leadership.

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