Original Research

Factors influencing motivation of nurse leaders in a private hospital group in Gauteng, South Africa: A quantitative study

Maria Breed, Charlene Downing, Hafisa Ally
Curationis | Vol 43, No 1 | a2011 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/curationis.v43i1.2011 | © 2020 Maria Breed, Charlene Downing, Hafisa Ally | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 September 2018 | Published: 27 February 2020

About the author(s)

Maria Breed, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Charlene Downing, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
Hafisa Ally, Department of Nursing, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Nurse leadership is about aligning employees to a vision. This happens with buy-in, motivation and communication. When conducive environments are created by organisations, the motivation of nurse leaders will be enhanced, which will have a positive outcome on the organisation. Highly motivated nurse leaders accomplish more and are more productive. Nurse leadership is an essential source of support, mentorship and role modelling. These attributes tend to be more evident when nurse leaders are motivated.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the factors that influence the motivation of nurse leaders.

Method: A quantitative, descriptive design and stratified sampling was used. Participants comprised unit managers (n = 49) from five hospitals in a private hospital group in South Africa. A self-administered questionnaire, namely, the Multidimensional Work Motivation Scale, was used to collect the data. Data were analysed using the IBM SPSS 22.0 program.

Results: The results indicated that the nurse leaders in this study were intrinsically motivated. Their motivation was influenced by support, relatedness, autonomy and competence. No relationships were found between motivation and age, years in a management position, gender, qualifications and staff-reporting structure.

Conclusion: By implication, to understand what motivates nurse leaders and to keep them motivated, recommendations were proposed to nursing and human resources management. It is expected that the implementation of the recommendations will have a positive influence on patient outcomes, organisational success and the motivation and satisfaction of nurse leaders.


motivation; leadership; unit managers; quantitative research, nurse leaders


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