DOI: 10.1111/inr.12958 ISSN: 0020-8132

Individual‐level positive psychological capital that enhances managers' transformational leadership effectiveness on nurse career success

Sujin Jung, Kihye Han, Kyeongsug Kim
  • General Nursing



This study investigated the impact of nurse managers' transformational leadership on the subjective career success of staff nurses, particularly through exploring potential variations in this relationship based on nurses' positive psychological capital.


Amid a challenging nursing environment, nurses' perceptions of career success affect their individual psychological satisfaction and improve work performance. Human resource strategies often include factors for workers’ subjective career success, e.g., managers’ transformational leadership and individual‐level positive psychological capital.


This cross‐sectional study collected survey data in 2021 from 348 staff nurses in 40 wards of a Korean tertiary hospital. The survey instruments included the Transformational Leadership tool, the Subjective Career Success Inventory, and the Psychological Capital Questionnaire. Multilevel hierarchical regression analysis and a simple slope test were used to examine moderating effects. The STROBE checklist was used for reporting.


Nurses reported significantly higher subjective career success when they worked in units where unit managers’ transformational leadership was greater. This relationship strengthened when nurses had high positive psychological capital.


To enhance staff nurses’ perceptions of career success, both managers' transformational leadership and individual nurses' positivity should be emphasized in nursing practice and education.

Implications for nursing and nursing policy

Comprehensive efforts to highlight managers’ transformational leadership and staff nurses’ positive psychological capital can enhance subjective career success, which in turn improve nurses' job performance and intention to stay. Nursing policymakers should value transformational leadership among managers so nurses can achieve their subjective goals. An organization‐wide institutional system should be developed so nurses can receive support to strengthen their positivity. Future research should include interventions to foster managers' leadership and nurses' positive capital.

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