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Nursing Management

October 2012, Volume 43 Number 10 , p 12 - 17


  • Kathleen Johnson MSN, RN, CRN
  • Charles Johnson MD
  • Donna Nicholson MSN, RN, CPN
  • Connie S. Potts MSN, RN, C-EFM
  • Heather Raiford MSN, RN
  • Amy Shelton MSN, RN


Transformational leadership is an action-based leadership style that recognizes the need for change, which is guided by admirable influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized attention.1 Shared governance is an empowering process designed to achieve organizational goals by promoting shared decision making and accountability.2 Both transformational leadership and shared governance work harmoniously to advance the nursing profession and have been recognized as key elements in the development of successful, healthy work environments.3Transformational leadership theory was developed in 1978 by historian and political scientist James MacGregor Burns.1 Burns was influenced by Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, basing his theory on the premise that individuals require a certain set of "needs" to be met in order to be productive. Burns theorized that transformational leadership theory encompasses Maslow's higher levels of needs, which elevate self-esteem and promote self-actualization: (a) achievement, (b) confidence, (c) respect, (d) problem solving, (e) creativity, and (f) acceptance.Shared governance was initially introduced into nursing as a means of recruitment and retention during the nursing shortage of 1970. Nursing advocate Luther Christman first introduced the concept of shared governance in 1976; however, the term shared governance wasn't utilized until 1978 by Virginia Cleland. Shared governance evolved over the next 20 years, becoming one of the top leadership phenomena of the 20th century.4 The concept of utilizing shared governance to achieve excellence was heightened when the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) announced the Magnet Recognition Program(R); shared governance and transformational leadership were listed in the core criteria.5 Because healthcare is ever-changing, successful transformational leaders must continue to utilize shared governance to achieve organizational goals.With the number of hospitals

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