Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Helms, Lelia B

Second Advisor

Henkin, Alan B

First Committee Member

Anderson, Mary A

Second Committee Member

Hamot, Greg

Third Committee Member

Hollingworth, Liz


Healthcare organizational stability rests on organizational commitment. This study adds to the literature that demonstrates the mediating effects of empowerment on organizational commitment in a long understudied population of Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) employed full time. Organizational commitment encourages extra role behaviors, paramount in times of decreasing resources such as that facing all sectors of national health care. A 45-item work environment survey was distributed to all registered LPNs employed full time in one state (N = 5486) and 1164 (21%) responded. Data revealed that empowerment is associated with LPN organizational commitment and mediates effects of organizational conflict and trust on commitment to the organization. Further empowerment and organizational climate, especially organizational conflict and trust, matter to full-time LPNs. Results contribute to initial knowledge about linkages to organizational commitment among lower educated and less skilled nurses and have implications for managers in healthcare settings who employ full-time LPNs. LPNs may be more highly valued by scholars in nursing if LPN-sensitive research shows their continued value and cost effectiveness for specific and important organizational outcomes, especially in light of the growing geriatric population that will require increasingly chronic and routine care. As bedside RNs become more highly educated, they may increasingly disdain employment that involves the repetitive, low-risk patient care that LPNs currently provide. There is a real need to better understand the current work environment of those employees responsible for delivering low-risk repetitive healthcare to chronically ill and elderly patients. LPNs are key among those.


conflict, empowerment, licensed practical nurses, organizational commitment, trust


viii, 177 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 158-177).


Copyright 2011 Mary B Carman - Tobin