Normative power of Chief Executive nurses and other executives with similar titles in the hospital organization
Power in nursing has been studied for years but the most obvious aspect, equality of power, has been neglected. This was a descriptive comparative study to determine if there was a difference in the normative power of the chief executive nurse and other executives with similar titles in the hospital organization. The theoretical framework was based on compliance theory which defined normative power as the control and manipulation of symbolic rewards. Subconcepts of normative power which were also measured included symbols of power, prestige and esteem and legitimacy of position. Two hundred hospitals were randomly selected from twelve states and the District of Columbia. The chief executive nurse and the other executives from each hospital who had the same title were sent the Power assessment Inventory tool. Ninety-six chief executive nurses and 147 other executives returned the questionnaire from 96 hospitals. The other executive scores from each of the 96 sample hospitals were averaged so that each hospital had only one score for the other executives. Scores were obtained for normative power, symbols of power, prestige and esteem and legitimacy of position. The t test for dependent samples was used to test the four null hypotheses. The hypotheses regarding normative power, prestige and esteem and legitimacy of position were rejected. Due to the significant differences between the means the chief executive nurse was found to be more powerful than the other executives. The hypothesis regarding symbols of power was not found to be significant at the p < .05 level and was therefore accepted. The mean scores revealed that the chief executive nurse group was equal in symbols of power to the other executive group, but not more powerful. The findings from the demographic variables showed that vice president was the most frequent title used by both groups; there were more female chief executive nurses and more male other executives; the chief executive nurses were older than the other executives; both groups earned graduate level degrees; the chief executive nurses had more individuals in their departments; and chief executive nurses and other executives made comparable salaries.