Supervisor leadership in relation to resident job satisfaction

M.A. van der Wal, Johanna Schonrock-Adema, Fedde Scheele, Nienke R. Schripsema, A. Debbie C. Jaarsma, Janke Cohen-Schotanus, Johanna Schönrock-Adema

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BACKGROUND: Research from outside the medical field shows that leadership behaviours influence job satisfaction. Whether the same is true for the medical training setting needs to be explored. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of residents' overall appreciation of their supervisor's leadership and observation of specific supervisor leadership behaviours on job satisfaction.

METHODS: We invited residents (N = 117) to rate how often they observed certain task and relation-oriented leadership behaviours in their supervisor and overall appreciation of their supervisor's leadership. Furthermore, they rated their satisfaction with 13 different aspects of their jobs on a 10-point scale. Using exploratory factor analysis we identified four factors covering different types of job satisfaction aspects: personal growth, autonomy, affective, and instrumental job satisfaction aspects. Influence of overall appreciation for supervisor leadership and observation of certain leadership behaviours on these job satisfaction factors were analysed using multiple regression analyses.

RESULTS: The affective aspects of job satisfaction were positively influenced by overall appreciation of leadership (B = 0.792, p = 0.017), observation of specific instructions (B = 0.972, p = 0.008) and two-way communication (B = 1.376, p = 0.008) and negatively by mutual decision-making (B = -1.285, p = 0.007). No effects were found for the other three factors of job satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: We recommend that supervisors become more aware of whether and how their behaviours influence residents' job satisfaction. Especially providing specific instructions and using two-way communication seem important to help residents deal with their insecurities and to offer them support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number194
Pages (from-to)194
JournalBMC Medical Education
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Journal Article
  • Leadership
  • Leadership development
  • Personal Satisfaction
  • Postgraduate medical education
  • Residency
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Review
  • Work-based learning

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