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Staff Nurse Commitment, Work Relationships, and Turnover Intentions: A Latent Profile Analysis

Gellatly, Ian R.; Cowden, Tracy L.; Cummings, Greta G.

doi: 10.1097/NNR.0000000000000035
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Background The three-component model of organization commitment has typically been studied using a variable-centered rather than a person-centered approach, preventing a more complete understanding of how these forms of commitment are felt and expressed as a whole.

Objectives Latent profile analysis was used to identify qualitatively distinct categories or profiles of staff nurses’ commitment. Then, associations of the profiles with perceived work unit relations and turnover intentions were examined.

Methods Three hundred thirty-six registered nurses provided data on affective, normative, and continuance commitment, perceived work unit relations, and turnover intentions. Latent profile analysis of the nurses’ commitment scores revealed six distinct profile groups. Work unit relations and turnover intentions were compared in the six profile-defined groups.

Results Staff nurses with profiles characterized by high affective commitment and/or high normative commitment in relation to other components experienced stronger work unit relations and reported lower turnover intentions. Profiles characterized by high continuance commitment relative to other components or by low overall commitment experienced poorer work unit relations, and the turnover risk was higher. High continuance commitment in combination with high affective and normative commitment was experienced differently than high continuance commitment in combination with low affective and normative commitment.

Discussion Healthcare organizations often foster commitment by using continuance commitment-enhancing strategies (e.g., offer high salaries and attractive benefits) that may inadvertently introduce behavioral risk. This work suggests the importance of changing the context in which continuance commitment occurs by strengthening the other two components.

Ian R. Gellatly, PhD, CHRP, is Professor, Department of Strategic Management and Organization, Alberta School of Business, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

Tracy L. Cowden, PhD, RN, is Senior Practice Consultant, Health Professions Strategy & Practice, Alberta Health Services, Cold Lake, Canada.

Greta G. Cummings, PhD, RN, FCAHS, is Professor, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

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Accepted for publication February 28, 2014.

The authors acknowledge this research was supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

The authors have no conflicts of interest to report.

Corresponding author: Greta G. Cummings, PhD, RN, FCAHS, Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, T6G 2G3 (e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.