Case Western Reserve University

  • Sustainability Library

Organizational Behavior

Take a look at organizational behavior-related case studies from the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit at Case Western Reserve University.

Wal-Mart's Sustainability Strategy

Company: WalMart

Publisher: Stanford

Call Number: OIT-71

Year Published: 2007

In October 2005, in an auditorium filled to capacity in Bentonville, Arkansas, Lee Scott, WalMart's president and CEO, made the first speech in the history of WalMart to be broadcast to the company's 1.6 million associates (employees) in all of its 6,000+ stores worldwide and shared with its 60,000+ suppliers. Scott announced that WalMart was launching a sweeping business sustainability strategy to dramatically reduce the company's impact on the global environment and thus become "the most competitive and innovative company in the world." He argued that, "Being a good steward of the environment and being profitable are not mutually exclusive. They are one and the same."

What is the dilemma or tough decisions?

Decision to make sustainability an important part of WalMart's operations.

Website where case study can be found…

Viridity Energy: The Challenge and Opportunity of Promoting Clean Energy Solutions

Company: Viridity Energy, Inc.

Publisher: Ivey

Call Number: 9B12M035

Year Published: 2012

Viridity Energy, a smart grid company, is engaged in sustainability for two reasons. On one hand, it finds profitable opportunities by helping its customers cut energy bills. And on the other hand, it’s getting credit for that environmental responsibility. This case highlights the challenges and opportunities of smart grid companies to promote clean energy solutions, especially the challenge of doing less harm to include progressively greater eco-effectiveness in competitive markets.…

Verne Global: Building a Green Data Center in Iceland

Company: Verne

Publisher: Harvard

Call Number: 9-509-063

Year Published: 2009

Verne Global, a pioneering startup created to build the first large-scale data center in Iceland, faces critical challenges regarding its green strategy. 

How can Verne best integrate its Green strategy into its Sales and Marketing message?…

The ReUse People: Turning Scrap into Sales

Company: The ReUse People

Publisher: Oikos

Call Number: N/A

This case discusses The ReUse People, an organisation that specialises in deconstruction of buildings, with the aim of reusing as much of the materials as possible, hence keeping them out of landfill. The organisation is facing a classical growth-related dilemma: should it grow organically, keeping most of the work in-house but hence limiting its growth rate, or should it “franchise” its deconstruction approach by certifying other companies in the deconstruction process? The mission of The ReUse People is squarely environmental, but the organisation is increasingly aiming to provide social benefits too by reaching out to community organisations and providing employment opportunities.

Which expansion strategy is better for TRP?

The Ambrose Hotel: Eco-labeling Strategy for Sustainable Lodging

Company: The Ambrose Hotel

The case traces the story of the Ambrose Hotel, a hotel based in California whose owner has invested in green practices and is interested in pursuing an eco-labeling strategy in order to better communicate her environmental achievements. It emphasises the difference between the adoption of environmental management practices and their communication through eco-labels. It highlights the challenges associated with the use of eco-labels as an environmental differentiation strategy when several emerging eco-labels are in competition.

How should Ambrose go about convincing customers that they are truly green?…

Sustainability at Tetra Pak: Recycling Post-Consumer Cartons

Company: Tetra Pak

Call Number: 9B12M069

Tetra Pack India aimed to uphold its image of an environmentally responsible company by meeting its goals for recycling post consumer cartons (PCC). While Tetra Pack’s ‘Renew’, ‘Reduce’, ‘Recycle’, ‘be Responsible’ philosophy succeeded in other regions of the world, the particular geographical, socioeconomic and political climate in India posed various challenges. Tetra Pak India’s team redefined its strategy by forging partnerships and alliances with non-governmental organizations, scrap dealers, rag-pickers, commercial establishments and organizations that champion the cause of the environment.

With ever-changing mindsets, increasing regulations and growing customer expectations, how can Tetra Pak face the future challenges to ensure that its success from the PCC recycling initiative can be sustained and scaled up?…

Taj Hotels: Building Sustainable Livelihoods

Company: Taj Hotels

Call Number: 9B13C032

Year Published: 2013

This case explores issues faced by the corporate sustainability manager at the corporate headquarters of a large hotel group in a developing nation as she implements her company’s corporate sustainability strategy through supplier partnerships with bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) social organizations. Under the rubric of responsible purchasing, the hotelier’s “Creating Sustainable Livelihoods” initiative engaged cause-based nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) by exploring opportunities where the products or services of such organizations could substitute for similar products or services sourced from for-profit suppliers. 

The case illustrates the challenges inherent in a Base-of-the-Pyramid responsible purchasing strategy, including the delicate balance between meeting business objectives while supporting social causes. These challenges revolve around developing and implementing cross-sector partnerships with BoP nonprofit producer organizations in the Indian context. Discussion is likely to center less on differences in partners’ missions, cultures, and long-term objectives, and more on the difficulties present in organizing even when those differences are reconciled, especially through symbiotic long-term obj…

Starbucks and Conservation International

Company: Starbucks

Call Number: 9-303-055

Year Published: 2004

Starbucks developed a strategic alliance with Conservation International to promote coffee-growing practices of small farms that would protect endangered habitats. The collaboration emerged from the company's corporate social responsibility policies and its coffee procurement strategy. Starbucks was reviewing the future of this alliance and its new coffee procurement guidelines aimed at promoting environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable coffee production.

How does Starbucks use its alliance with Conservation International to develop its socially and environmentally sustainable coffee system?…

Pyramyd Air: Looking through the Scope of Values

Company: Pyramyd Air

Call Number: 9B13C038

Pyramyd Air, a small and growing online airgun retailer serving the shooting community, wants to broaden its sustainability practices from its current internal initiatives in order to communicate an even stronger value proposition: sustainability isn’t just about recycling and efficiency, it is about a thriving environment leading to more engaged employees and more loyal premium customers. Pyramyd Air recognizes that some sustainability practices are vital to its customers’ long-term enjoyment of a flourishing outdoor sporting industry. 

For a company with strong customer relationships but operating in a sector not usually frequented by pro-environment types, can sustainability strengthen the relationship between employees and customers by building on the inherent industry values of the great outdoors and a sense of community? How can the company’s culture and employee perspectives evolve in order to frame sustainability in a new light leading to specific sustainability initiatives that the company could pursue in order to resonate with customers and increase profits?…

Procter & Gamble: Children's Safe Drinking Water (A, B)

Company: Procter & Gamble

Publisher: UVA

Call Number: 0315

Year Published: 2008

In 1995, Procter & Gamble (P&G) scientists began researching methods of water treatment for use in communities facing water crises. P&G was interested in bringing industrial-quality water treatment to remote areas worldwide, because the lack of clean water, primarily in developing countries, was alarming. With a long history of scientific research and innovation in health, hygiene, and nutrition, P&G considered ways it could address the safe drinking-water crisis as the new millennium approached.

How P&G can take the business of pure, clean drinking water to other geographies.…

Library Home

Organizational Behavior

(18 reviews)

sample case study for organizational behavior

Copyright Year: 2017

ISBN 13: 9781946135155

Publisher: University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing

Language: English

Formats Available

Conditions of use.


Learn more about reviews.

Reviewed by Jalal Maqableh, Instructor - Ph.D. Candidate, James Madison University on 11/29/21

This book is comprehensive in two ways: (1) The organizational behavior topics it covers. The most important topics that new employees (fresh graduates) would need to know are included in this book. (2) The learning methodology includes the... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 5 see less

This book is comprehensive in two ways: (1) The organizational behavior topics it covers. The most important topics that new employees (fresh graduates) would need to know are included in this book. (2) The learning methodology includes the topics' content, discussion questions, key takeaways, and exercises.

Content Accuracy rating: 5

This book is accurate and provides relevant content. In general, no key mistakes were identified.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 5

The book is relatively new (2019). It talks about current practices in today's organizations. Some topics in organizational behavior are stable while others are changing very fast. Therefore, it will be important to look to the places where there will be a need for updates.

Clarity rating: 5

The book is clear and helps the reader to move through sections smoothly.

Consistency rating: 5

The structure of the chapters is very consistent. This facilitates the learning process.

Modularity rating: 5

Although the size of the book is large and not logical to be used all in one semester. The design of the book separates the learning topics into small learning packages that can be selected based on the need.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 5

The flow of the book makes it logical to build each chapter based on the previous one. This is good for educational purposes because it helps the instructor during the transition from one topic to another.

Interface rating: 5

Easy to use and to move through different parts.

Grammatical Errors rating: 5

No grammar issues were found.

Cultural Relevance rating: 5

The book clearly highlights cultural diversity within the organizational context.

This is a very well-written book for university students. It gives the opportunity for readers to comprehend organizational behavior in an interesting way.

Reviewed by Brittni Heiden, Senior Director of Graduate Programs, Trine University on 4/16/21

The text, Organizational Behavior provides a comprehensive overview of several topics, including: motivation, communication, managing groups and teams, conflict resolution, power and politics, making decisions, etc. Within each chapter, the author... read more

The text, Organizational Behavior provides a comprehensive overview of several topics, including: motivation, communication, managing groups and teams, conflict resolution, power and politics, making decisions, etc. Within each chapter, the author provides key takeaways and exercises that allow the students to apply their knowledge of the topic.

Each topic is presented in an accurate manner, supported by current practices, and relevant examples.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 4

For the most part, the content with the book is supported by current practices and many relevant examples. However, some of the examples, particularly those within the case studies can be outdated. Being that the book was written in 2019, it is likely missing vital examples and case studies from 2020 and 2021.

The book flows well and is written in a manner that is easily understood by undergraduate students.

Each chapter is set up in a similar fashion, making it easy for the reader to navigate the material. Along with this, each chapter has appropriate examples and exercises that correspond with the covered material.

Modularity rating: 4

The book is extensive, but each chapter is easily navigated by students. It would be very doable for instructors to piece together important information, or prioritize chapters without disrupting the students. The textbook is very lengthy, as are many Organizational Behavior texts, so it may be difficult for each chapter to be covered during a semester. However, due to the fact that each chapter is easily and readily divisible into smaller sections, or subsections, instructors can prioritize the information they would like to cover.

The organization of the textbook is clear and logical. There are proper transitions so the students are aware regarding what they should expect next.

Navigation is very easy for students to use. There are very few, if any, distractions throughout the text.

No grammatical errors were found throughout the text.

Great examples are used throughout the text to highlight cultural diversity within the workplace.

Overall, this is a great text for undergraduate Organizational Behavior courses. It is well written, offers many opportunities for students to apply their knowledge, and also covers a diverse range of topics.

Reviewed by Amanda Hinojosa, Assistant Professor, Howard University on 4/13/21

This book covers all of the topics one might expect from an Organizational Behavior course. Where it seems to differ from other Organizational Behavior books is the level of attention devoted to topics (some might for example focus less on... read more

This book covers all of the topics one might expect from an Organizational Behavior course. Where it seems to differ from other Organizational Behavior books is the level of attention devoted to topics (some might for example focus less on negotiation, while this book has a chapter on it; other books might have a chapter devoted just to individual differences, while this one focuses on individual differences and perception within one chapter).

The book contains accurate discussion of concepts, theories, and application.

The book has several case studies (usually one at the beginning and end of each chapter). These are great, but over time they may be a bit dated, for example if they reference a CEO of a company who is no longer the CEO of that company. However, users could create their own follow-up questions that account for what has happened since the case was written. Alternatively. if any future updates were made to this content, readers could benefit from a standard set of questions to add to the end of each case that would encourage the instructor and students to find out more to see if the implications of that case still apply based on the newer information on the company/CEO/manager described. For example, they use the case of Indra Nooyi as CEO of Pepsi and talk about her as though she is currently the CEO, but her tenure as CEO ended in 2018.

The book is easy to read and all terms are appropriately explained and defined.

There is not much of an underlying framework that requires terms to be used from one chapter to the next (e.g. there are not many cases where something is defined early on and then revisited later in the book). In other words, the chapter numbers don't imply sequence so there is enough consistency across chapters to allow for users to skip around the book and still have the relevant information within that chapter without having to consult other sections to understand. There is consistency in the way each chapter is presented and the supplementary points in each. I describe more about this consistency in organization in the modularity and organization sections.

The content is very modular and can easily be referred to in larger or smaller parts. The chapters are each broken into sub-sections, which can be linked directly (e.g. or the chapter as a whole could be linked Each page is dedicated to a sub-section, and the links are embedded to the sidebar table of contents which would allow users to further click through to the area that they are looking for if they know the number and/or title of the sub-section they are interested in.

The topics are presented clearly and in a logical fashion. The book does not require much sequential introduction of content, so users could easily find only chapters they want to teach in the order they wish to teach them and assign them in a way that differs from the numerical sequence in the book.

Images are displayed clearly. Content navigation is easy with the clickable sub-section links, but users might also be able to use the pdf version if they are unable to access the internet. Users of the pdf version would need information on section titles, as there are no page numbers in the web-based interface for the version. However, if they have the information for chapter and/or sub-section number and title, they would be able to sufficiently navigate the pdf to find the content needed.

I have not found any grammatical errors in my use of this book.

The book designates a chapter to demographic diversity and cultural diversity and includes one sub-section at the end of each chapter that briefly describes cultural differences in relation to the content from that chapter. It could be more comprehensive in its discussion of cultural diversity, but I have not found evidence to suggest that it is insensitive or offensive in its coverage of topics.

I have used this book in my course for three years now, and overall I really like it. The links are really easy to integrate into my LMS (BlackBoard) to guide discussions and assign specific parts of the reading. There are some places where the book makes reference to "your instructor has this information" as though there are accompanying Instructor Resources but I am unaware of how to access those if they do exist. It tends to be on active learning possibilities (e.g. the negotiation chapter references roles that the instructor would distribute). It doesn't affect the use too much, it just means that I end up choosing a different activity that doesn't reference other resources which I don't have access to.

Reviewed by Jim Hickel, Adjunct Instructor, American University on 3/15/21

The book covers all the relevant topics for organizational behavior. No index or glossary, but the search function is effective for that purpose. read more

The book covers all the relevant topics for organizational behavior. No index or glossary, but the search function is effective for that purpose.

No errors or biases were uncovered in my use of this book.

The book was current as of its 2017 publication date, which is about as high as most expectations would go for a free online textbook. Instructors will have to provide class updates, particularly in the rapidly-changing field of diversity. For example: I didn't find any reference to "inclusion" in the diversity chapter (or anywhere else in the book, if the search function was accurate), which is an important concept and should be stressed by the instructor.

The text is very clear, and written to be understood at the undergraduate level.

No inconsistences were uncovered in my use of the book.

Each chapter works effectively as a stand-alone discussion of the topic. They can readily be realigned.

Organization/Structure/Flow rating: 4

The book is generally well organized. The organization could be enhanced if there were an up-front "umbrella" model for organizational behavior that tied together all the subjects covered in the textbook. The Organization-Group-Individual model introduced in Chapter 1 doesn't easily relate to the concepts discussed in each chapter. An instructor may find it useful to present a different OB model (for example, Inputs-Processes-Outputs) that to show how all the chapter topics fit together into one overall concept, so students can track where they are in the model.

The interface worked out very well for my class. I was able to set up links to each chapter in the relevant sections of the learning management system (in this case, Blackboard). Students appreciated the ability to have direct links to the relevant textbook readings for each class -- and also appreciated that it was available at no additional cost to them.

No grammatical or language errors were uncovered in my reading and use of the book.

Cultural Relevance rating: 4

Generally sensitive to cultural issues. Instructors may want to point out to their class that the "Masculinity-Femininity" dimension of Hofstede's Cultural Framework (Section 2.3 of the book), which draws upon stereotypes that were used in Hofstede's time, has largely evolved into the "Aggressive-Nurturing" dimension.

Very useful book, as good as any fundamental Organizational Behavior textbook I've ever read from any publisher. However, because of its age and the rapid evolution of organizational behavior, instructors will have to be careful to provide in-class updates.

Reviewed by Laura Boehme, Chief Information/Human Resources Officer; Faculty, Central Oregon Community College on 1/12/21

This book is extremely comprehensive and covers a the broad variety of organizational behavior topics. Each chapter is clearly titled, provides an outline, key terms, and summary of learning outcomes. Additionally, it includes critical thinking... read more

This book is extremely comprehensive and covers a the broad variety of organizational behavior topics. Each chapter is clearly titled, provides an outline, key terms, and summary of learning outcomes. Additionally, it includes critical thinking cases and assessments to expand and practice learning concepts. One additional feature is a link to a collaborative group area to further engage in the topics.

The book content are accurate and rooted in current organizational practices. The topics are also relevant to existing issues in organizations such as cultural awareness, diversity, ethics, stress/well-being, and power and politics. No significant errors or bias were found in the contents. The book also includes numerous authors with a variety of expertise, further enhancing the accuracy and relevance of topics.

The book was written in 2019 and includes current and relevant topics facing organizations. Each chapter is comprised of concepts, strategies, questions, and practical applications, allowing the learner to gain an in-depth exposure to the organizational behavior content. The text is written in a way that will allow easy updates in the future and the content has staying power.

The textbook and chapters are clearly outlined with key terms, learning outcomes, and high levels of structure and consistency. The text is written in understandable terms, with appropriate introductions for the learner, relevant examples to demonstrate concepts, and opportunities to practice to further gain clarity.

The structure of the book is internally consistent for each chapter, giving the learner an opportunity to understand the layout and approach of the book and its chapters. This structure enhances the learner's ability to absorb and practice the materials, cases, and assessments.

The text is very modular and could be assigned and/or used as structured or can be utilized out of order. Chapter 1 appears to be a foundational chapter so it would be best to start there as it gives a nice overview of organizational behavior. The lower rating on this aspect of the textbook is primarily because there are so many chapters (19 total), that it might be challenging to cover all of the content in a typical term or semester. So the instructor and student would need to prioritize the most important concepts.

The organization, structure, and flow of the textbook, the chapters, and the information within the chapters is highly structured. It is consistent for both the learner and the instructor, offering predictability and ease of planning. The table of contents is well-organized with clear chapter titles, sub-sections, and additional resources. The flow of topics makes sense, but also allows for modularity and flexibility.

The interface is user-friendly, easy to find information, and intuitive. Navigation is straight-forward and there are helpful guides and prompts to ensure the reader knows how to progress through the content. The images and data within the chapters is laid out and organized in a professional manner. This is a very mature-looking OER textbook.

No obvious grammatical or spelling errors were found in the text. It appears to have been well-edited and prepared for use. There are multiple author contributors which helps ensure content validity and accuracy.

The textbook appears to be culturally aware. There are multiple chapters on diversity, inclusion, and cultural awareness. The pictures include people of color and also address diversity of approaches and perspectives in organizational behavior.

This OER textbook book is ready to go for both the instructor and student. The topic is interesting and relevant. The content is well-organized. There are additional chapter resources to enhance learning and teaching. Overall I highly recommend this textbook. The instructor would have a relatively easy time developing a syllabus and course activities that are based on the identified learning outcomes.

Reviewed by Tracey Sigler, Associate Professor, The Citadel on 11/30/20

Covers all the traditional topics read more

Covers all the traditional topics

High quality

The book is a few years old but it is easy to supplement with new concepts and current examples.

the online format makes it easy to read find and small sections of the chapters.

Well organized - make sense to the reaer

high quality


I have used this book for a couple of years for an MBA OB class. It provides good coverage of the basic concepts and some cases and activities that have been useful. I supplement the class with my own links to videos and articles. I am thinking of using this in my undergrad class as well. The author is disguised but is well-known and respected in the field. Students appreciate being to use an open resource.

Reviewed by Ken Grunes, Assistant Professor, Framingham State University on 5/27/20

The layout of the textbook follows a logical progression which is both complete and the proper depth. read more

The layout of the textbook follows a logical progression which is both complete and the proper depth.

The authors have allowed multiple perspectives and theories are supported by empirical evidence.

The most relatable topics are covered proportional to students' interest levels.

Clarity rating: 4

Most of the material could be enhanced by a terminology glossary at the beginning of each chapter.

Terms and concepts carry the same explanation and context from one chapter to the next.

Chapters and subject matter are clearly delineated and can be appreciated as a stand alone module.

The text is presented in a logical progression from "Individual", "Groups", and finally "Organizations".

Interface rating: 4

Information is presented in a straight forward manner with few distraction.

the text appears to be free from grammatical errors.

Good sensitivity to multi-cultural class composition.

The textbook appears to be complete.

Reviewed by Leslie Bleskachek, Adjunct professor, Minnesota State College Southeast, Minnesota State University System on 3/7/20

The textbook includes some valuable topics that are often not discussed in other texts, namely the study of power and politics. The first chapter also includes an introduction of why this study is important, which is an interesting inclusion. At... read more

The textbook includes some valuable topics that are often not discussed in other texts, namely the study of power and politics. The first chapter also includes an introduction of why this study is important, which is an interesting inclusion. At the start of each section, the learning objectives are listed. The toolbox and exercises are great additions that allow students to quickly apply new learning in their environment. This is a sort of embedded workbook that assists instructors in developing activities related to the text. This work is more than a narrative or relevant facts; there are a lot of activities and case studies included to aid student understanding.

The work is accurate. There are in text citations as well as bibliographies to provide opportunities for further research.

Much of the research and information included is very recent and citations are included if readers wish to read the original work. Section 1.5 on Trends and Changes could easily be updated as needed, allowing the work to remain up to date in future iterations.

The language is clear, has little jargon, and is easy to read and interpret. The key takeaways aid student understanding and ensure the main objective is understood for each section.

There is consistency throughout the document with similar formatting in each section to aid navigation and understanding.

With the learning objectives clearly outlined, it would be easy to break this work into smaller modules or recombine sections into lessons. Also, with exercises, case studies and other tools provided, this work could easily be utilized in various ways.

It was an unusual choice to include the learning style inventory in this text and unclear why it was placed after the introduction to this specific material. It might be more appropriately placed in a preface. While the information was organized clearly within sections and was well labeled, it is not clear why the authors decided to start with specifics first rather than an overview of organizational behavior first and then following with specifics. It might be more logical to begin with the content that is in sections 14 and 15.

The exercises, key takeaways, etc. are well organized and help focus learning. The use of graphics and visual representation of data was well deployed throughout to help break up long sections of text. The inclusion of case studies in each section was a great way to aid understanding and demonstrate the concepts on real world situations. The interface worked smoothly and consistently with no difficulties noted. The organization was easy to navigate for the end user.

There were no grammatical errors identified

The work uses appropriate language and displays cultural sensitivity. Although it is also addressed in other sections, there is a section that specifically addresses various concerns related to multiculturalism and the diverse nature of organizations today.

This is a comprehensive work that includes engaging, current organizational situations to illustrate concepts. This is more than just a narrative or literature review of the subject. The textbook also includes numerous current case studies, exercises, ways to apply the learning and challenge thinking. Combined with the learning objectives outlined at the start of each section, this work provides a great deal of easy to understand content and is user friendly for both students and teachers alike.

Reviewed by Yefim Khaydatov, Lecturer, LAGCC on 12/5/18, updated 12/12/18

Textbook covers the appropriate range of topics in the course. read more

Textbook covers the appropriate range of topics in the course.

Organizational Behavior - 2017 accurately

The content is up-to-date, consists of recent research and literature. The textbook reflects the most recent information and arranged in a manner that makes necessary updates easy to implement.

The textbook is written in a clear, appropriate and accessible language.

The text is consistent in terminology and framework within and throughout the chapters.

The textbook has easily divided sections to quickly navigate through the various chapters and sections of the textbook.

The textbook follows the sequence of topics as expected in the industry when compared with other textbooks written on the same subject of organizational behavior.

No issues have been encountered and use of the online version is user friendly.

No grammatical errors were noted.

The text reflects appropriate and inclusive language.

The textbook provides a wonderful resource in each chapter for discussion through the case scenarios, short vignettes, questions, group activities and a wide range of exercises. A rich selection of video clips to complement the Ethical Dilemma exercises in the chapters would be a wonderful addition to see added in the next publication or version of the textbook. Thank you.

Reviewed by Rose Helens-Hart, Assistant Professor, Fort Hays State University on 11/28/18

Text covers the major topics one would expect to see in a 200-300 level OB course. Would have liked to see more on vocational/workplace socialization. read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 4 see less

Text covers the major topics one would expect to see in a 200-300 level OB course. Would have liked to see more on vocational/workplace socialization.

Did not notice errors.

Uses relevant business cases, which will need to be updated in a few years.

Very readable but still sounds like a textbook. Formatting of bold words and summary/break out boxes makes the book conventional but also easy to access.

Terminology seemed to be used consistently.

Chapters are divided into short subsections making it easy to assign only portions of chapter reading.

Logical progression. I like that the chapter on managing demographic and cultural diversity is at the beginning. If you are following the order of information in the text, your class would begin with these important concepts.

Clear table of contents. Easy to navigate.

No grammatical errors noticed.

Text discusses "The Role of Ethics and National Culture" in each chapter, which is nice. More elements of diversity and intersectionality, however, could be considered in examples. "Managing" diversity is a very traditional way to look at difference.

Using sections of it for a professional business communication class. Many topics covered such as managing conflict and teams, are relevant to professional, business, and organizational communication classes.

Reviewed by Justin Greenleaf, Associate Professor, Fort Hays State University on 11/1/18

This book does an excellent job of providing an overview of the major topics associated with organizational behavior. Given the comprehensive nature of the book, it could potentially be a relevant resource in a variety of classes/topics related to... read more

This book does an excellent job of providing an overview of the major topics associated with organizational behavior. Given the comprehensive nature of the book, it could potentially be a relevant resource in a variety of classes/topics related to communication, group dynamics, organizational leadership, and others.

The content included in this book is both accurate and well supported. It does a good job of connecting important theories and concepts with helpful practical examples.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 3

Many of the theories and concepts in this book are up-to-date and will not be obsolete anytime soon. However, many of the examples will fail to be relevant in the near future. The book could be improved by providing permanent links to some of the external resources.

The text is easy to read and flows in a way that is engaging. The presentation of the content is free from technical jargon.

The text is consistent in the way the chapters are presented. As the reader moves from section to section, it is clear that the chapters have a unifying theme and format throughout.

The text is chunked into logical and easily readable sections. The various chapters are accompanied by tools and resources to help the reader think critically about the content in the chapter.

I was impressed with the way the book was organized. When thinking about the topic of Organizational Behavior, it can be challenging to decide where to start and how to organize the content. This book does a nice job organizing the various topics by themes and providing appropriate sub-headings to help the reader make sense of the overarching concepts of the book.

The website interface seems to be the easiest to use and navigate. When I downloaded the pdf, there were some issues with the formatting of the content. Some of the pictures were not there anymore and some of the formatting was a little off. I feel like the impact these issues had on the usefulness of the book was minimal, but they were noticeable.

I did not notice any grammatical errors, which was nice.

There was nothing in this book that I found to be culturally insensitive or offensive. If anything the book content provided insights into how to be more culturally competent.

I appreciate the time and effort that was put into creating this resource. One of the challenges of using open educational resources is finding a one that is high-quality, and I believe the content in this book to be high-quality.

Reviewed by Stephanie McWilliams, ClinicInstructor, West Virginia University on 5/21/18

This book includes many topics that others in this area do not, such as interpersonal interaction tactics and diversity considerations. Segments that are boxed that include applied ideas are especially pertinent for my internship students. read more

This book includes many topics that others in this area do not, such as interpersonal interaction tactics and diversity considerations. Segments that are boxed that include applied ideas are especially pertinent for my internship students.

The text is relatively error free that appears to be all-inclusive from my perspective.

In the area of professionalism, the dynamics are always changing, especially with the influence of technology. As a result, I imagine that this book may need updates every 5 years or so to stay relevant.

This text is easy to read and follow. Terms are used correctly, and defined if not commonly understood.

There is a definite framework to this text. Information interlaces with cases and applied examples will allow students to connect ideas to real-life scenarios.

With just 15 chapters, each is well divided in a predictable fashion. This also aligns well with a typical semester of 16 weeks.

The flow of this text makes it easy to follow and to break up into what may be presented in a lecture format and what students can work through on their own.

The flow of topics builds in a logical manner for students learning about working in a professional setting.

There do not appear to be any major distortions what would cause confusion. The clarity of some of the graphics or photos are a bit grainy, but not so much so that it is difficult to read or see.

The grammar appears correct throughout.

With a large section devoted to multicultural diversity, I would rate this text highly for cultural relevance.

It is a challenge to find a text for an internship course, but this text fits the bill nicely. I will likely supplement with a chapter or two from other text or some articles, but plan to use this book in the very near future.

Reviewed by Meredith Burnett, Professorial Lecturer, American University on 2/1/18

The text covers all areas and Ideas of organizational behavior including aspects of both demographic and cultural diversity, individual differences and perception, individual attitudes and behaviors, and theories of motivation. This text also... read more

The text covers all areas and Ideas of organizational behavior including aspects of both demographic and cultural diversity, individual differences and perception, individual attitudes and behaviors, and theories of motivation. This text also includes a table of contents.

The content includes accurate, error-free, and unbiased information. For instance, the section on diversity refers to the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws prohibiting discrimination.

The content is up-to-date and can be easily updated with more recent information. There is a photo of Ursula Burns, who became president of Xerox Corporation in 2007. Her photo can be replaced, for instance, by a photo of another black female who becomes president of a corporation.

In general, the text is free from jargon and US colloquialisms. However, the text defines and expatriate as as someone who is temporarily assigned to a position in a foreign country. Some readers may be sensitive to the use of the term "foreign" to describe a country.

The text is consistent is in terms of terminology and framework. The terms culture and society are used interchangeably to describe national culture and some readers may be confused by the use of both terms.

The text is easy to read and divided into sections with headings and subheadings to make it easier for readers to navigate the text.

The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion. However, organizational culture and organizational structure are near the end of the text and student might benefit from learning about those topics before being asked to understand the design of work environments and individual attitudes and behaviors.

The text is free of interface issues.

There are no obvious grammatical errors in the text.

The text includes examples of successful individuals from a variety of ethnic backgrounds including Guy Kawasaki.

The book includes exercises following each chapter. However, may of the exercises such as those in Section 2.4 are, in fact, discussion questions rather than exercises.

Reviewed by Stacey Young, Associate Professor, Northern Virginia Community College on 6/20/17

This book does a good job in covering relevant topics related to organizational behavior. The format is user friendly, along with providing discussion questions, case studies, exercises, and takeaways. There are appropriate graphics/pictures... read more

This book does a good job in covering relevant topics related to organizational behavior. The format is user friendly, along with providing discussion questions, case studies, exercises, and takeaways. There are appropriate graphics/pictures that quickly support and reinforce key concepts. Moreover, I love that there are ongoing references to the importance of ethics with an activity related to an ethical dilemma.

The book overall is accurate. There weren't any major issues identified.

The content is relevant and covers normal organizational behavior topics address in any text.

The writing in this book is rather clear. However, there are opportunities to improve the grammar and sentence structure.

This text is consistent with other text's terminology, structure, and data to support he position offered.

This text is ready to be separated into unique, standalone learning packages.

I like the book's flow. It's logically organized in a way that each chapter builds on the previous one.

No interface issues identified.

There aren't any noticeable grammar issues, but the sentence structure should be reviewed for better clarity

Cultural Relevance rating: 1

There are opportunities to select pictures that are reflective of a diverse population.

This is the first open textbook I've reviewed. Previously, I had considerations that open source material might not be that good; however, with this book, I was amazingly surprised. I will seriously consider using this text for my organizational behavior class.

sample case study for organizational behavior

Reviewed by Atul Mitra, Professor, University of Northern Iowa on 2/15/17

This OB textbook covers all major as well as supporting topics related the OB field. The last two chapters are devoted to macro topics (Chapter 14: Organizational Structure and Change and Chapter 15: Organizational Culture); thus, implying... read more

Comprehensiveness rating: 3 see less

This OB textbook covers all major as well as supporting topics related the OB field. The last two chapters are devoted to macro topics (Chapter 14: Organizational Structure and Change and Chapter 15: Organizational Culture); thus, implying authors’ intent to provide comprehensive coverage. The textbook, though, is dated both in terms of scholarly references and the case studies used to inform the reader about the relevance of OB topics. Also, the textbook is more reliant on applied sources to support concepts. The pdf version of the textbook does not have a list of scholarly references. The HTML version does have these references, but they are included in within the text and, thus, negatively impact the flow and readability. I could not find a subject index or “glossary of terms” at the end of the textbook. Finally, the book lacks instructor’s resource material.

Content Accuracy rating: 4

The book reads well and provides good examples to clarify basic concepts. The authors provide unbiased and thoughtful insights from scholarly sources in a very relatable fashion.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 1

This is one of the significant weakness of this textbook. The scholarly sources are dated. Case studies are also old, though still useful. Some of the in-text online links do not work. In short, this textbook is due for a major revision and would require the authors to revise all aspects of the textbook considerably. This revision would be a major undertaking and a challenge for the authors.

Clarity rating: 3

Each chapter is divided into several sub-sections. Each sub-section covers a major OB topic. The authors have done an excellent job of providing a logical and clear description of topics within each chapter. However, there is no overall framework that can easily connect topics across all 15 chapters. This may explain a somewhat random sequence of topics of 15 chapters. For example, “emotions,” “communication” or “decision-making” topics are useful in the understanding of concepts of motivation and teamwork. However, these topics are not covered prior to the coverage of motivation.

Consistency rating: 3

The coverage of each topic within a chapter by the authors is consistent. The formatting and style are also highly consistent throughout the textbook. An addition of an overall framework and an integrative case study would help provide consistency of topics across chapters.

The textbook is very modular. Specifically, the HTML format of this textbook allows each sub-section to act as a module. Any instructor, interested in adopting this textbook should look into HTML format based modules (sub-sections) as a way to customize the textbook. This may be this textbook’s significant strength.

Organization/structure of this textbook is clear within a chapter. As I have stated in my review in another section, the textbook can be improved by connecting topics across chapters using a broad framework as well as by incorporating an integrated case study.

Interface rating: 2

The pdf version of the textbook is difficult to navigate. Even though I found the HTML version to be more user-friendly, this format did have some weaknesses as well. The scholarly references in the HTML version are included within the text and negatively impact readability. I could not find a subject-index or “glossary of terms” at the end of the textbook. Many online links do not work anymore. Since the textbook does not include a subject index or glossary of key terms, it would make it difficult for students to find definitions easily. Overall, the textbook can significantly benefit from a much-improved interface.

The textbook is free of any grammatical errors.

Chapter 2 of the textbook offers a comprehensive coverage about the relevance and importance of demographic and cultural diversity. In addition, each chapter contains a sub-section “The Role of Ethics and National Culture” to ensure that students understand cultural relevance of OB concepts. This issue is clearly a strength of this textbook.

Overall, this textbook is a good option for those instructors that already have a good portfolio of instructional resources. The textbook does not appear to provide PowerPoint slides or a Test Bank. However, if an instructor is looking for a good OB textbook for an introductory OB course; s/he might wish to take a look at this textbook as a possible option because it is well-written and provides a comprehensive coverage of major OB topics. It also provides students with several useful applied examples, though these examples are somewhat dated. This textbook may not work for those instructors that wish to use an OB textbook based on current examples or an OB textbook that cites current scholarly references. To conclude, with significant interface improvements and a major revision, this could become an excellent option for both students and instructors.

Reviewed by Christopher Reina, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University on 2/8/17

The major areas of OB are covered comprehensively. The textbook goes into an appropriate amount of depth for each of the expected topics. It discusses each of the topics through both an ethics and national culture lens at the end of each chapter... read more

The major areas of OB are covered comprehensively. The textbook goes into an appropriate amount of depth for each of the expected topics. It discusses each of the topics through both an ethics and national culture lens at the end of each chapter which represents a major strength of the textbook. The PDF version did not include a table of contents, index, or glossary which would further add to the comprehensiveness of the textbook.

The content was accurate and unbiased. The information was presented in a straight-forward way and cited published work from a wide variety of sources.

The topics covered are relevant and timely-- however, many of the citations are a bit dated. The case studies still are largely relevant even though there may exist better, more recent examples to discuss. I really appreciate the extent to which the authors integrate real-life examples of companies/leaders but the downside of this is that it limits the time the textbook can remain highly relevant without being updated. Additionally, there were several broken weblinks that need to be updated.

The writing is clear, easy to understand, and flows well. The authors do a good job of making concepts and ideas accessible for students. Authors avoided use of jargon without first defining it well and establishing the context.

The structure is easy to follow, straight-forward, and consistent.

The textbook does a good job of re-introducing ideas later in the text hat may have been covered earlier in the text which adds to the modularity of the textbook. I would not hesitate to assign specific chapters and/or assign chapters out of order for this reason.

The topic order makes logical sense and the topics build well off of each other. In the first chapter, the authors discuss levels of analysis (individual, team, and organizational) and they could perhaps return to this framework more frequently in order to guide the reader.

Interface rating: 3

For the most part, the figures and tables are clear and easy to understand. There are some figures that appear a bit distorted and/or difficult to read due to color choices. Bolding concepts or words that are defined in the text and adding a definition of the word in the margin would aid students in studying and easily identifying new concepts/concepts to study. In the PDF, there were several instances in which chapters did not start on a new page (and instead started mid-page) which was distracting.

Grammar was strong throughout the text.

This text's chapter on diversity as well as the reference to diversity issues throughout the text is a major strength. Ending each chapter with a discussion of how national culture and ethics is relevant to the topic was a powerful way to discuss diversity and continually challenge students to consider the topics from diverse perspectives.

This textbook is well-written, comprehensive, and is an excellent resource for students and faculty. The material is presented in an effective, accessible way and the integration of the "OB Toolbox" is especially useful for students to understand how to practically apply the concepts they are learning. I especially appreciated the attention to detail and comprehensiveness of the diversity chapter as well as the discussion of diversity topics throughout each chapter. The questions at the end of each chapter for reflection could push students a bit further in engaging with the material, and I would like to see some updates to the textbook when it comes to topics that should be covered (such as mindfulness and presenteeism) as well as case studies and examples from the last 3-5 years. A glossary, works cited, table of contents, and index would all be useful additions to the PDF version of the textbook, and it would be helpful if concept words defined in the text were also defined in the margins of the text in order to facilitate student recognition of topics they need understand and be able to define. Overall, this textbook is solid and I would not hesitate to use it for an undergraduate class in Organizational Behavior (although I would supplement it with readings and material from other sources as I would with any other textbook).

Reviewed by Rae Casey, Associate Professor , George Fox University on 2/8/17

The text was comprehensive, covering areas that are important when teaching organizational behavior. Some of the topic areas, such as diversity and ethics, are more comprehensive than others, but all topics are covered well enough for entry-level... read more

The text was comprehensive, covering areas that are important when teaching organizational behavior. Some of the topic areas, such as diversity and ethics, are more comprehensive than others, but all topics are covered well enough for entry-level students. The text included a comprehensive table of contents, but no index or glossary.

The textbook was accurate and covered a number of important topics in an interesting manner. I thought the advertised experiential approach was evident and well done.

Relevance/Longevity rating: 2

The concepts described in the text can survive over time, but the cases quickly date the contents. Since the concepts in the cases are integrated into the text, updating could be time consuming. I tried the text in both the .pdf and online formats, and found difficulties with the links in both. I had the best luck with the online format, although many of the links were no longer valid. When I copied and pasted the links from the .pdf version, I got many errors, some indicating I needed login information to access the site.

I liked this text. The information was presented in way that made it easy to understand and apply. Jargon and terms were well explained.

This text was well written and consistent throughout.

This text is well organized. The subheadings in the chapters create appropriate modules to support teachers as they create assignments, and students as they complete them.

The text is well organized and structured. The content flow is great, but, as previously mentioned, there are a number of links, some of which no longer lead anywhere.

Navigating the text by using the online Table of Contents was straightforward, although I did want to simply scroll to the next page instead of having to use a "next section" link, but that was minor. The .pdf format of the text was convenient if one wants to print the pages, but navigation of the .pdf format online required scrolling through the text. It would have been helpful to have a "bookmark" or similar feature to easily highlight important concepts or see where I stopped reading.

I noted no errors.

I especially appreciated the way this text discussed sensitive topics associated with gender, race, ethnicity, perception, etc.

I liked this textbook. I thought the exercises were generally good, as were the "Key Takeaway" and "OB Toolbox" sections. The text was dated, which tends to be noted by students and can lead to lost credibility. I appreciate the work that went into writing this text and could use portions of it, but would need to check the links before each course, or provide others for my students. Overall, this is a great text, but I recommend checking the details before adoption.

Reviews prior to 2017 are for a previous edition.

Reviewed by Marcia Hagen, Associate Professor, Metropolitan State on 8/21/16

Has chapters on the major themes such as diversity, decision making, motivation, ethics, and leadership to name a few; goes over the major theories. It does not go particularly deeply into any one area, but provides a solid look at a wide variety... read more

Has chapters on the major themes such as diversity, decision making, motivation, ethics, and leadership to name a few; goes over the major theories. It does not go particularly deeply into any one area, but provides a solid look at a wide variety of topics, concepts, and theories.

In terms of editing and proofing, this book does quite well. Writing is unbiased and reports materials that are accurate.

This is an area in which the text needs improvement. Few if any examples are from 2009 or later. The book is a good one, but cases need updating. Updating may be difficult for instructors to implemenet, due to the imbedding of cases into so many areas of the text. In addition, nearly half of the links provided in the text no longer work.

Text is very clear. I am impressed with the writing. In particular they did a good job of describing relatively complex theories with simple and understandable language.

The books is highly consistent in terms of formatting and style--as soon as Chapter 1 is complete, students should have a clear vision of what to expect for upcoming chapters.

This text is highly modular. In particular, the use of objectives for each section of each chapter allows for picking and choosing by instructors.

This book is well-organized and clear. Because OB is generally a set of very inter-related concepts, organization/flow is not perfect, but this book is as good as others I have seen in this area.

This is an area of improvement for this text. In particular links to outside web sites are out of date and many link to dead web sites. In addition, of the few images that are included in the text, several flow over 2 pages making them difficult to read.

Good grammar used throughout the text--few issues detected.

This text includes a good deal of discussion related to diversity, ethnicity, gender, and other issues culture in this text. I found the discussion in these areas to be both relevant and thoughtful.

There are several things about this text that I like. In particular, I think this would be a great book to use within an introductory OB course; it is well-written and thorough in terms of the breadth and depth of topics covered. The "OB Toolbox" sections give students many tips on getting, keeping, and succeeding their first professional job--that is great. However, there are a few areas of concern, as well. In particular, many links do not work and the cases are somewhat out of date (which poses a particular challenge due to the major economic changes that have taken place for several companies referred to in the text and cases). Before implementing this text, I would take time to review any potential overlap with other courses. But overall, this is a solid intro OB text.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Organizational Behavior
  • Chapter 2: Managing Demographic and Cultural Diversity
  • Chapter 3: Understanding People at Work: Individual Differences and Perception
  • Chapter 4: Individual Attitudes and Behaviors
  • Chapter 5: Theories of Motivation
  • Chapter 6: Designing a Motivating Work Environment
  • Chapter 7: Managing Stress and Emotions
  • Chapter 8: Communication
  • Chapter 9: Managing Groups and Teams
  • Chapter 10: Conflict and Negotiations
  • Chapter 11: Making Decisions
  • Chapter 12: Leading People Within Organizations
  • Chapter 13: Power and Politics
  • Chapter 14: Organizational Structure and Change
  • Chapter 15: Organizational Culture

Ancillary Material

About the book.

Organizational Behavior bridges the gap between theory and practice with a distinct "experiential" approach.

On average, a worker in the USA will change jobs 10 times in 20 years. In order to succeed in this type of career situation, individuals need to be armed with the tools necessary to be life-long learners. To that end, this book is not be about giving students all the answers to every situation they may encounter when they start their first job or as they continue up the career ladder. Instead, this book gives students the vocabulary, framework, and critical thinking skills necessary to diagnose situations, ask tough questions, evaluate the answers received, and to act in an effective and ethical manner regardless of situational characteristics.

Often, students taking OB either do not understand how important knowledge of OB can be to their professional careers, or they DO understand and they want to put that knowledge into practice. Organizational Behavior takes a more experiential angle to the material to meet both of those needs. The experiential approach can be incorporated in the classroom primarily through the "OB Toolbox." This feature brings life to the concepts and allows students to not only see how the OB theories unfold, but to practice them, as well.

Contribute to this Page

A case study of Organizational Behaviour and Resistance to changes in Malaysia’s Commercial Banking Industry

  • January 2017

Hemaloshinee Vasudevan at Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK)

  • Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UNIRAZAK)

Nomahaza Mahadi at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

  • Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

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Negative attitude make employee's job dissatisfaction (Source: Hemaloshinee et al., 2017)

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  • Published: 04 July 2024

Employees’ pro-environmental behavior in an organization: a case study in the UAE

  • Nadin Alherimi 1 ,
  • Zeki Marva 1 ,
  • Khalid Hamarsheh 1 &
  • Ayman Alzaaterh 2  

Scientific Reports volume  14 , Article number:  15371 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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  • Environmental economics
  • Environmental impact

This study investigates the factors influencing employees’ pro-environmental behavior (PEB) within organizations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a nation with a strong policy focus on sustainability. Utilizing a questionnaire-based survey of 146 employees in an automotive division of a UAE company and structural equation modeling (SEM), the research examines the impact of green entrepreneurial orientation, green leadership, environmental commitment, and Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) on employees’ willingness to engage in eco-friendly practices at work. The findings reveal that GHRM and green leadership significantly influence employees’ green entrepreneurial orientation, which in turn, alongside environmental commitment, positively impacts PEB. These results emphasize the importance of integrating sustainability into organizational culture, leadership, and human resource practices to foster a workforce that actively participates in environmental initiatives, thereby contributing to the development of sustainable communities and enhancing stakeholder engagement. The study provides valuable insights into the specific factors that drive PEB in the UAE context, where national policies prioritize sustainability, highlighting that the importance of implementing green practices and promoting a supportive environment encourages employees and stakeholders to embrace environmental sustainability. The research also sheds light on the role of green entrepreneurial orientation, suggesting that empowering employees to develop innovative environmental solutions can be a key driver of PEB. The SEM analysis also confirmed the positive impact of GHRM and green leadership on green entrepreneurial orientation. Additionally, green entrepreneurial orientation and environmental commitment were found to significantly influence PEB. These results have practical implications for organizations in the UAE and beyond, emphasizing that by integrating eco-friendly practices and fostering stakeholder engagement, organizations can enhance their environmental performance, strengthen their reputation, and attract environmentally conscious customers and employees, contributing to the development of sustainable communities.

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The increasing concern surrounding environmental issues has facilitated a paradigm shift in the business landscape, with sustainability becoming a major concern 1 , 2 , 3 . Environmental challenges, including climate change, ozone depletion, deforestation, ecosystem degradation, and biodiversity loss, have garnered widespread attention from the public and policymakers alike. In response to this heightened awareness, the imperative for businesses to adopt a more responsible approach towards environmental protection has become increasingly evident 4 . Organizations are now expected to integrate environmental considerations into their core business strategies, encompassing resource management, waste reduction, and the minimization of negative ecological impacts. This shift towards sustainability not only aligns with ethical imperatives but also serves as a strategic advantage, ensuring long-term viability and mitigating potential future risks 4 .

Within this context, employees' pro-environmental behavior (PEB) has emerged as a critical factor in achieving corporate sustainability goals 5 . PEB refers to the deliberate actions taken by employees to minimize their negative impact on the environment, both within and outside the workplace. These behaviors can range from simple actions like recycling and conserving energy to more complex initiatives like advocating for sustainable practices within the organization. Research has shown that employee’s PEB is not only beneficial for the environment but also positively impacts organizational performance, including financial outcomes, employee morale, and corporate reputation.

The existing body of literature indicates the importance of employees' pro-environmental behavior (PEB) in the workplace for enhancing an organization's environmental performance 5 . Despite previous research, various issues have not yet been thoroughly examined and properly understood. In this context, one of the studies proposes that an intriguing area of investigation is concerned with the impact of Green Human Resource Management (GHRM) on enhancing the pro-environmental performance of employees 6 . To promote the environmental performance of employees, companies must take into account the PEB of employees in conjunction with their GHRM practices. Organizations have succeeded in improving the PEB of employees by implementing GHRM practices 6 . Similarly, another work has concluded from the research in the hospitality sector that green HR practices assist employees in enhancing their eco-friendly behaviors 7 . Besides, a recent study reveals a positive relationship between GHRM practices and pro-environmental behavior in the Nigerian hospitality sector 8 . The results highlight the importance of green human capital as a mediating factor, suggesting that fostering employees' green skills and knowledge is key to promoting sustainable practices. Moreover, a study highlighted that by integrating GHRM practices that prioritize sustainability, manufacturing companies can effectively promote green behavior in the workplace, leading to improved environmental performance and contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment 9 . However, a study conducted in the industrial sector found that while GHRM predicts the PEB of employees, another crucial factor, namely employees’ “green self-efficacy,” still requires exploration 10 . As GHRM enhances employees’ skills and behavior, it can lead to the development of improved green entrepreneurship among employees. Furthermore, green entrepreneurship can serve as a predictor of employees’ PEB. This particular mechanism, which combines GHRM with green entrepreneurship, warrants further investigation, as it has the potential to bring about the most significant changes and improvements.

Another important factor influencing PEB is green leadership. Green leaders are those who prioritize environmental sustainability in their decision-making and actions 11 . They serve as role models for employees, demonstrating a commitment to environmental protection and inspiring others to follow suit. Green leadership can manifest in various ways, such as setting ambitious environmental goals, advocating for sustainable practices, and creating a supportive environment for employees to engage in PEB.

Environmental commitment, which refers to an individual's sense of responsibility and dedication to protecting the environment, is also a significant predictor of PEB 12 . Employees who are deeply committed to environmental causes are more likely to engage in PEBs, both at work and in their personal lives. This commitment can be fostered through various means, such as environmental education and awareness programs, opportunities for employees to participate in environmental initiatives, and recognition of their contributions to sustainability.

Furthermore, the literature on sustainable entrepreneurship within established firms, particularly those with significant environmental footprints, is limited 13 . Identifying the critical factors that enable pro-environmental and resilient entrepreneurship in these contexts is crucial for promoting green innovation and overcoming the challenges associated with implementing sustainable practices. Understanding the role of environmental commitment, a key factor in fostering PEB, is particularly relevant in this context.

Research has also established a link between corporate social responsibility (CSR), environmental commitment, and PEB, suggesting that employees' perceptions of their organization's commitment to sustainability influence their own pro-environmental actions 14 . This finding is consistent with social exchange theory 15 , which posits that employees reciprocate favorable organizational policies and practices with positive behaviors 16 , 17 , 18 , 19 , 20 . However, the specific mechanisms through which perceived CSR translates into PEB and the role of organizational culture in this process require further investigation.

To address these gaps in the literature, this study aims to develop and validate a comprehensive theoretical framework that examines the impact of green leadership, GHRM practices, green entrepreneurship, and environmental commitment on PEB. By investigating these factors in an integrated manner, this research seeks to contribute to a more holistic understanding of the determinants of PEB globally. The study will focus on a service-oriented organization in the UAE, a context where national policies actively prioritize sustainability, making it a particularly relevant setting for investigating PEB. The findings of this research will not only advance theoretical knowledge but also offer practical insights for organizations seeking to promote PEB and achieve their sustainability goals.

This study is motivated by the need to understand the complex interplay of factors that influence employees’ pro-environmental behavior in the unique context of the UAE, where sustainability is a national priority. The research aims to fill the gap in the literature by providing a comprehensive model of PEB that integrates green leadership, GHRM practices, green entrepreneurship, and environmental commitment. The target of this study is to offer practical recommendations for organizations in the UAE and beyond on how to effectively promote PEB among their employees, thereby contributing to a more sustainable future.

The remainder of this paper is structured as follows: section “ Literature review ” provides a comprehensive overview of the relevant literature and theoretical foundations, outlining the specific hypotheses to be tested. Section “ Methodology ” details the research methodology employed, including data collection and analysis procedures. Section “ Discussion ” presents a thorough discussion of the results, interpreting the theoretical and practical implications gained in this research. Finally, section “ Summary, conclusion, and recommendations ” concludes the study by summarizing the key findings, drawing conclusions, and offering recommendations for future research directions in this important and evolving field.

Literature review

Environmental conservation and sustainability have emerged as prominent organizational goals in recent years, with companies actively seeking to align their operations with eco-friendly practices. Achieving environmental sustainability is contingent upon employees consistently engaging in pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs). These behaviors encompass a range of quantifiable actions that contribute to a greener workplace 21 , as well as employees' intentions to participate in sustainable activities 22 . Notably, PEBs are often considered voluntary, extra-role behaviors that employees undertake to benefit their organizations 23 . These behaviors can manifest in various ways, from resource conservation efforts like turning off lights and using double-sided printing, to waste management practices aimed at protecting the environment. As environmental concerns gain prominence, businesses are increasingly investing in employee programs to enhance environmental efficiency 24 . However, the success of such programs ultimately depends on the extent to which employees engage in PEBs 25 . The literature highlights the crucial link between PEB and organizational success, both financially and non-financially 21 . This research aims to delve deeper into this connection by examining the impact of various factors on PEB, including green entrepreneurship, green leadership, environmental commitment, and GHRM practices. By understanding these factors, organizations can gain valuable insights for fostering a culture of sustainability and maximizing the benefits of employee PEBs.

  • Green Entrepreneurial Orientation

The literature suggests a link between employee pro-environmental behavior (PEB) and innovation within organizations. Environmental issues often require complex solutions, leading to a focus on environmental innovations and the factors influencing entrepreneurial intentions 26 , 27 . Green entrepreneurship, where employees engage in entrepreneurial activities that promote environmental sustainability, plays a crucial role in shaping their attitudes and behaviors, ultimately enhancing their pro-environmental conduct 28 .

The literature suggests a multifaceted relationship of green entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation, and PEB in employees. Green entrepreneurship, focused on identifying and addressing environmental issues through available opportunities, has been found to positively influence PEB 29 . This is likely due to the increased environmental awareness and problem-solving skills that employees develop through active engagement in green initiatives. Additionally, employee creativity and innovation have been identified as critical factors in the greening of organizations 23 . Employees who can generate novel ideas and effectively implement them to solve environmental problems contribute significantly to the development of sustainable practices. This suggests that creativity and innovation are not only valuable for organizational performance but also essential drivers of PEB. The empowering nature of green entrepreneurship further supports this connection. When employees with a green mindset are empowered to act on their ideas, they are more likely to initiate environmental projects and develop new ecological approaches, ultimately fostering PEB within the workplace 25 .

The literature highlights the significant influence of employee innovation capabilities on pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Studies indicate that employees leverage their knowledge to understand environmental concerns and develop solutions, such as pollution control programs and carbon emission reduction measures 30 , 31 . This impact extends beyond specific industries, as sectors like banking and universities can also benefit from employee knowledge sharing and empowerment to address environmental challenges. Furthermore, research emphasizes that PEB is not solely determined by traditional predictors but is also shaped by employee creativity, innovativeness, and tacit skills 25 , 32 . These factors enable employees to generate and implement novel ideas for environmental sustainability, contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of PEB. Additionally, green leadership skills have emerged as a critical factor influencing PEB in organizations. While the specific mechanisms through which green leadership affects PEB require further investigation, its importance in shaping organizational culture and promoting pro-environmental practices is evident.

  • Green Leadership

The literature emphasizes the crucial role of leadership in shaping organizational behavior and outcomes. Leadership, defined as the ability to influence others towards achieving goals 33 , is often associated with individual traits like intellect and dominance 34 . Organizations that foster leadership development by recognizing and nurturing future leaders create environments conducive to employee initiative and innovation 35 . This is particularly relevant in the context of environmental sustainability, where supportive work environments and cultures have been shown to motivate employees to implement pro-environmental practices, such as recycling programs and continuous improvement initiatives 36 . Environmental leaders, who prioritize environmental considerations in decision-making and organizational processes, play a key role in promoting pro-environmental behavior (PEB) within organizations. While environmental leadership does not strictly adhere to any single theory, it often exhibits characteristics of transformational leadership, inspiring and motivating employees to embrace pro-environmental values and actions 37 .

The literature highlights a complex interplay between leadership, environmental leadership, and pro-environmental behavior (PEB) in organizations. Transformational leadership, sharing traits with environmental leadership, is often applied to environmental contexts due to its focus on both internal and external relationships and its influence on individual and organizational levels 38 , 39 . This is evident in behaviors such as creating a compelling environmental vision, raising awareness of environmental issues, and demonstrating personal commitment to environmental concerns. Environmental leaders, both at the individual and organizational levels, play a crucial role in promoting sustainable practices within organizations 40 , 41 . Individual leadership can emerge from any member, while organizational leadership involves implementing eco-friendly policies and cultivating a sustainable culture. Top management support and commitment are essential for the successful implementation of such practices. Leadership influences human resource management practices and contributes to environmental performance 42 . Different leadership styles, such as vision development, problem-solving, innovation, trust-building, conflict management, and resource utilization, can be employed to guide individuals toward achieving environmental goals 34 , 43 . Moreover, leadership outcomes, like fostering pro-environmental initiatives and encouraging employee engagement in environmental entrepreneurship, are linked to increased PEB 42 .

Environmental Commitment

Individuals who establish a psychological connection with nature are more likely to demonstrate environmental commitment 44 . This phenomenon can be explained through interdependence theory and the commitment model. Interdependence theory highlights the factors influencing commitment between individuals, while the commitment model focuses on the development of commitment itself. Both theories suggest that individuals tend to exhibit commitment towards entities they rely on to fulfill their needs and desires. Thus, a strong psychological connection to nature, representing a form of reliance for emotional well-being and belonging, could foster environmental commitment. This commitment, in turn, is expected to translate into increased PEB as individuals act in accordance with their environmental values and sense of responsibility 45 .

The literature suggests a complex relationship between biospheric values, environmental commitment, and pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Biospheric value orientation, reflecting an individual's concern for the environment, has been found to predict environmental intentions, behaviors, and preferences 46 . Environmental commitment, the degree to which an individual is dedicated to environmental protection, is positively correlated with biospheric values 47 , indicating that individuals with strong environmental values are more likely to exhibit high levels of commitment. This commitment, in turn, has been shown to influence an individual’s willingness to act and make sacrifices for the environment 44 , 46 , 48 . Individuals with high environmental commitment are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviors and make choices that benefit the environment, such as consuming green products and adopting sustainable practices.

Based on the literature, a multifaceted relationship between environmental commitment, pro-environmental behavior (PEB), and several influencing factors. A study proposes that an individual's mental model of the environment can significantly impact their level of environmental commitment and subsequent PEB 49 . This implies that the way individuals perceive and conceptualize the environment influences their willingness to engage in pro-environmental actions. Furthermore, other factors like an individual's psychological connection to nature, adherence to interdependence and commitment theories, reliance on the environment, and biospheric values have been shown to predict environmental commitment and PEB 44 , 41 , 47 . A strong psychological connection to nature, for instance, can foster a sense of responsibility and belonging, increasing environmental commitment and promoting PEB.

  • Green Human Resource Management

GHRM has emerged as a pivotal concept in the realm of sustainable business practices, encompassing human resource activities that explicitly address a firm’s environmental and ecological impact 50 . GHRM is intrinsically linked to an organization’s environmental policy and the ecological behaviors of its employees, highlighting the importance of aligning human capital with environmental objectives 51 . The significance of GHRM in the literature on sustainable human resource management lies in its comprehensive approach, which emphasizes the integration of environmental management practices into core business operations 6 . By acting as a pathway between human resource management and environmental management, GHRM reflects an organization’s strategic commitment to sustainability. This commitment necessitates top management’s active involvement in designing and implementing organizational processes and strategies that encourage employees to participate in environmentally conscious activities aimed at reducing emissions 52 . In essence, GHRM operationalizes an organization’s environmental management objectives through its human resource systems 53 . This includes incorporating environmental considerations into various HR functions such as performance management, incentives, training and development, recruitment and selection, and fostering a green entrepreneurship orientation among employees. Notably, research suggests that GHRM can enhance employees’ skills and behaviors, leading to the development of improved green entrepreneurship among employees 11 . Furthermore, green entrepreneurship can serve as a predictor of employees' PEB. This mechanism, which combines GHRM with green entrepreneurship, warrants further investigation as a potential catalyst for significant changes and improvements in PEB.

These hypotheses are grounded in the understanding that GHRM practices not only equip employees with the necessary knowledge and skills for environmentally responsible actions but also cultivate a sense of environmental awareness and commitment, ultimately leading to increased PEB both within and outside the workplace. Additionally, the mediating role of green entrepreneurship highlights the potential for GHRM to empower employees to become agents of change, further amplifying its positive impact on PEB.

By testing these hypotheses, this study aims to shed light on the complex relationship between green leadership, GHRM practices, green entrepreneurship, environmental commitment and PEB, providing valuable insights for organizations striving to achieve both environmental and economic sustainability. Based on the findings of the literature, the green aspects that are assumed to impact on PEB of employees are summarized in Table 1 along with the indicators of each green aspect. Additionally, Tables 2 and 3 illustrate a summary of the studies found in literature regarding the green aspects that influence the PEB of employees in organizations.


This research adopted a multi-prolonged methodological approach which is initiated by identifying the problem, which is measuring the employees’ pro-environmental behavior (PEB) in a case organization in the UAE. Then, a comprehensive literature review to identify the green aspects related to PEB in existing research. Informed by the literature search, a questionnaire was developed and distributed to employees in a service-oriented organization in the UAE. The collected data underwent rigorous validation procedures to ensure the reliability and validity of the survey instrument. Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) test measures the sampling adequacy of each variable in the model 54 , 55 . Cronbach’s alpha (α), measures of internal consistency, was employed due to its simplicity, interpretability, and widespread acceptance across various fields 56 . Its suitability for Likert-scale questionnaires further justified its selection over alternative measures. Additionally, convergent validity was established through composite reliability (CR) and average variance extracted (AVE) analyses, both specifically tailored for use in structural equation modeling (SEM) 57 , 58 . CR assessed the internal consistency of items measuring the same construct, while AVE determined the amount of variance in the construct explained by the items compared to measurement error.

After data validation, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was employed to identify and confirm the latent constructs underlying the green aspect influencing the PEB of employees in a case organization in the UAE, simultaneously testing the validity of the proposed measurement model 59 . CFA was chosen for its ability for model fit assessment and theory testing, which best suits this study as compared to item response theory and exploratory factor analysis. This is followed by content validity investigating standard estimates, to ensure the chosen indicators accurately represent the underlying constructs. Subsequently, structural equation modeling (SEM), by integrating factor analysis and path analysis, provided a robust framework for evaluating both the measurement model and the hypothesized structural relationships 60 . SEM was utilized to examine the impact of independent factors (Green Entrepreneurial orientation, Green Leadership, Environmental Commitment, and GHRM) on the dependent factor (PEB) followed by goodness-of-fit validation and measuring the impact of employees’ years of experience and qualification on PEB using univariate statistical analysis. Finally, the results and discussion, summary, conclusion, and recommendations were drawn (see Fig.  1 ).

figure 1

Research methodology.

As such, the research methodology was conducted in the following steps to ensure a systematic and reliable investigation.

Step 1: Problem identification—The main focus of the study is to shed light on measuring the PEB in a service-oriented organization in the UAE by designing a survey to collect responses and reviews from employees who participated in this research to evaluate the main effective factors that enhance and boost environmental awareness of the employees.

Step 2: Literature search—The literature review aided the study in developing an understanding of the most popular green aspects that impact on the successful PEB of employees in an organizational setting in the UAE.

Step 3: Questionnaire and data collection—An online questionnaire was conducted with employees and experts in an automotive division in the UAE to evaluate the factors identified in Table 1 , as well as gain an in-depth understanding of their perceptions of the most essential factors affecting PEB in the UAE. The study followed snowball sampling approach 61 , which helps conduct research about people with specific traits to guide the study results, which include the opinions of employees and experts from an automotive division in the UAE.

Step 4: Data validation and reliability—The validity and reliability are crucial for any research conducting a questionnaire, if a questionnaire is not valid or reliable, the results will be flawed and cannot be used to make informed decisions or draw accurate conclusions. Therefore, researchers conducted sampling adequacy test through Kaiser–Meyer–Olkin (KMO) test to ensure the sample size is adequate. This is followed by the reliability measure through Cronbach’s α which measures how closely a set of indicators are related as a group (the relevant green aspect). Then, the convergent validity was measure through composite reliability (CR) which is a more consistent measure as compared to Cronbach’s alpha in measuring the internal consistency of the indicators on the green aspects, as well as the average variance extracted (AVE) which measures the amount of variance captured by the green aspects (independent factors) in relation to the amount of variance due to measurement error. This assists practitioners to ensure that the questionnaire is a trustworthy and accurate tool for measuring the construct it is intended to measure.

Step 5: Data analysis—This step involves a comprehensive assessment of the relationships between green aspects and PEB through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) which was initially employed to verify a theoretical model of how specific indicators relate to broader green aspects, including Green Entrepreneurial orientation, Green Leadership, Environmental Commitment, and GHRM. The model's content validity was then examined by investigating standard estimates, ensuring the chosen indicators accurately represent the underlying constructs. Goodness-of-fit validation within the CFA statistically assessed how well the entire model aligns with observed data. Following this, structural equation modeling (SEM) was utilized to analyze causal relationships between independent factors (i.e., Green Entrepreneurial orientation, Green Leadership, Environmental Commitment, and GHRM) and the dependent factor, PEB. This step reveals the strength and significance of these relationships, providing insights into which green aspects most significantly impact PEB. Finally, another round of goodness-of-fit validation within the SEM context ensured the statistical soundness of the proposed relationships between green aspects and PEB. This rigorous approach not only validates the measurement model of green aspects but also tests their causal effects on PEB, offering both theoretical and practical implications for organizations aiming to foster a sustainable and attractive workplace. This is followed by univariate statistical analysis related to employees’ years of experience and qualification on PEB.

Step 6: Discussion—This section helped synthesizing the findings of the study in relation the impact of green aspects on PEB of employees in a service-oriented organization in the UAE, connecting them to existing knowledge, exploring their significance, and discussing the theoretical and practical implications of the study.

Step 7: Summary, conclusion, and recommendations—This section summarizes the key findings, draw conclusions based on the comprehensive methodology, and provides recommendations for further studies.

Questionnaire design and data collection

According to the literature review in section “ Literature review ”, several studies discussed the employees’ PEB through several green aspects as shown in Tables 2 and 3 . The green aspects include the green entrepreneurial orientation, green leadership, environmental commitment, and GHRM where each green aspect was assessed through three indicators. Each indicator was characterized by one question in the questionnaire by utilizing the five-point Likert scale for the green aspects were clearly explained to the employees and how they impact PEB. The sampling strategy followed a snowball sampling approach which helps conduct research about people with specific traits to guide the study results 62 . The questionnaire was distributed through google forms to all employees from different departments, professions, and experience levels in an automotive division of a group of companies as part of COP28 initiatives hosted by the UAE government. Thus, the company can evaluate, plan, and budget the required resources accordingly. As a result, 146 employees responded to the questionnaire.

Respondents’ demographic information

The respondents’ (employees’) demographic information is shown in Table 4 below. It is shown that 146 employees participated in the questionnaire, of which, the male respondents accounted for 86.3% of the total employees as compared to the female employees with 13.7% of the total. Moreover, most of the respondents’ ages (46.58%) were between 25 and 30 years, which indicates that most of the respondents considered for measuring employees’ PEB are adult and mature employees. According to the employees’ qualification, most of the respondents completed their undergraduate degree with a 67.81% of the total, this implies a higher level of maturity in terms of PEB as the universities in the UAE continuously urge students to engage in green and environmentally friendly practices. Moreover, the years of experience of most of the employees’ range between 1 to 7 (30.14%), 8 to 15 (32.19%), 16 to 23 (30.82%), and 24 and above (6.85%); this shows that most of the respondents were those with 8–15 years of experience in their profession and will be aware of the suitable environmental behaviors to be considered in their field of expertise. For the employment level, most of the respondents were from the intermediate level (45.89%) who are mostly supervisors and can promote other employees to adopt PEB at work.

Data analysis

This section analyzes the questionnaire data through the following steps: (1) data validation and reliability measures; (2) confirmatory factor analysis; (3) structural equation modeling; (4) univariate statistical analysis. A detailed data analysis is discussed below.

Data validation and reliability

This step is a crucial initial step to be assessed prior to CFA and SEM analysis, as it tests the collected data’s validity and reliability. Table 5 summarized the validity and reliability measures which consist of the standardized correlation coefficient with the total observed indicators within the same green aspect, KMO test, Cronbach’s α, and CR, and AVE. Furthermore, the sample size adequacy for SEM was assessed using the KMO test. A KMO value within the range of 0.7–1 signifies sufficient sample size 62 . In this study, the KMO value was 0.839, confirming the adequacy of the sample for SEM analysis. Moreover, Cronbach’s α is a measure of the internal consistency, which measures how closely related a set of indicators are as a group (the relevant green aspect) 56 . A Cronbach’s α value of 0.7 or higher is considered acceptable 63 , and according to Table 5 , the Cronbach’s α values for all green aspects are between 0.83 and 0.91, which is acceptable. Similarly, the CR measures the internal consistency of the indicators on the green aspects, however, it is more consistent than Cronbach’s α 57 . A CR value of 0.7 or above is considered acceptable 64 , and according to Table 5 , the CR values are between 0.84 and 0.91 which is acceptable. Furthermore, the AVE measures the amount of variance captured by the green aspects (independent factors) in relation to the amount of variance due to measurement error 58 . An AVE value of 0.5 or above is considered acceptable 65 , and according to Table 5 , the AVE values are between 0.64 and 0.77 which is acceptable. Consequently, the questionnaire results are valid and reliable.

Confirmatory factor analysis

This subsection analyzes the CFA results (Table 5 ), conducts content validity and tests the CFA model’s goodness of fit for validation. The CFA’s standardized parameter estimates (loadings) are considered as a measure or the content validity which should have a value of 0.7 or higher, and according to Table 5 , the estimates are between 0.72 and 0.89 which suggests that all the indicators are significant, and the content validity is confirmed in related to the green aspects. For validation purposes, the p-value for each indicator is calculated in Table 5 , which shows that all indicators have a p-value < 0.05 which confirms that all indicators are significant to the green aspects.

The goodness-of-fit tests for the CFA model include: standardized root mean square error (SRMSR) which measures the mean absolute value of the covariance residuals, which should be 0.05 or less, goodness of fit index (GFI) which measures the fit between the hypothesized model and the observed covariance matrix and should be 0.9 or above, the adjusted goodness of fit index (AGFI) corrects the GFI, which is affected by the number of indicators of each latent variable which should be 0.9 or above, and Bentler comparative fit index (CFI) takes into account the sample size and avoids the underestimation of the fit which should be 0.9 or above. Table 6 shows that SRMSR = 0.0578 which is acceptable, GFI = 0.9209, AGFI = 0.8715, and CFI = 0.9725. Hence, the goodness of fit values reveals an acceptable fit. These findings demonstrate both the strength of the individual indicators and the overall validity of the CFA model, paving the way for a more in-depth analysis using SEM.

Structural equation modeling (SEM)

In this subsection, and according to the literature review, it was assumed that “GHRM” and “green leadership” have a positive impact on “green entrepreneurial orientation” of employees, and “green entrepreneurial orientation” and “environmental commitment” have a positive impact on PEB of employees as shown in SEM model in Fig.  2 . The model aims to measure and test the PEB of 146 employees in an automotive division of a group of companies as part of COP28 initiatives hosted by the UAE government. According to Fig.  2 , the following hypotheses are assumed:

figure 2

SEM model for PEB.

H1 : Green human resources management has a positive impact on green entrepreneurial orientation of employees in an organization.

H2 : Green leadership has a positive impact on green entrepreneurial orientation of employees in an organization.

H3 : Green entrepreneurial orientation has a positive impact on employees’ PEB in an organization.

H4 : Environmental Commitment has a positive impact on employees’ PEB in an organization.

H5 : There is a significant correlation among green human resources management, green leadership, and environmental commitment.

The SEM MODEL in Fig.  2 was fitted to the data using PROC CALIS in SAS software. The results of the fit in terms of green aspects (independent factors) and PEB (dependent factor) are depicted in Table 7 . Based on the path analysis in Table 7 , all the indicators are significant in measuring each green aspect with a p-value < 0.05. Furthermore, the goodness of fit indices depicted in Table 8 show that the SRMR = 0.0670 which is acceptable, GFI = 0.9035, AGFI = 0.8485, and CFI = 0.9590 which are all close to 0.9. Hence, the goodness of fit values reveals an acceptable fit. Furthermore, to check the positive impact of each green aspect on employees’ PEB, H 1 –H 4 were tested. Consequently, the “green human resource management” and “green leadership” have a positive impact on “green entrepreneurial orientation” of employees with p-values of < 0.0001 and 0.0037, respectively; and “green entrepreneurial orientation” and “environmental commitment” have a positive impact on PEB of employees with p-values of 0.0229 and 0.0002, respectively. Moreover, the correlations among the exogenous factors (GHRM, green leadership, and environmental commitment) are tested (H 5 ) as shown in Table 9 . The results in Table 9 reveal that there is significant correlation between “green human resource management” and “green leadership” and between “green leadership” and “environmental commitment” with p-values of < 0.0001 and 0.0021. However, there is no significant correlation between “green human resource management” and “environmental commitment” with a p-value of 0.4254.

Univariate Statistical analysis

For further analysis, this subsection performs a Kruskal–Wallis (K-W) test which is a non-parametric statistical test that measures the differences among three or more independent sample groups on a single non-normally distributed variable (PEB) by comparing medians 66 . The K-W test was performed to investigate the impact of the employees’ years of experience (1–7, 8–15, 16–23, and 24 or above) and employees’ qualification (high school, diploma, college, and masters) on PEB. The K-W test for the differences between employees in terms of years of experience suggests that there is no evidence of difference in terms of the median PEB of employees, with a p-value of 0.2852. Moreover, the K-W test was performed to investigate the impact of the employees’ qualification on PEB. The K-W test for the differences between employees in terms of qualification suggests that there is no evidence of difference in terms of median PEB of employees, with a p-value of 0.5783.

Institutional review board statement

As per American University of Sharjah guidelines, an Institutional Review Board (IRB) form was submitted to the Office of the Institutional Research, and an official approval was obtained to collect the necessary data.

In this paper, the green aspects that are impacting on the employees’ PEB were investigated to study the relationship between some crucial green factors and Employee’s PEB. These dimensions are green entrepreneurial orientation of the organization, green leadership of the organization, environmental commitment of employees and GHRM of the organization. This study developed and tested a model that focuses on understanding the impact of the above green aspects (independent factors) on PEB (dependent factor), which results in a comprehensive conclusion on the significant factors that impact on PEB of employees in an organization in the UAE. The general findings of the study supported the proposed framework.

SEM approach was utilized to evaluate each green aspect’s impact on PEB of employees in a case organization in the UAE. It was found that “Green Human Resource Management” has a positive impact on “Green Entrepreneurial Orientation” of employees. Hence, H 1 is accepted. This finding was in line with the findings of a previous study 67 , which concluded that “green human resource management” improves the “green entrepreneurial orientation” of employees directly by incorporating environmental considerations in the recruitment and selection process. Research findings indicate that organizations integrating GHRM practices witness a significant increase in employees’ green entrepreneurial abilities, with a reported improvement in innovative environmental ideas generated by staff. Moreover, the study highlights that companies implementing GHRM strategies observe a rise in employee motivation towards PEB, leading to a notable enhancement in overall environmental performance within the organization. Additionally, the research emphasizes that GHRM initiatives contribute to an increase in employees’ green self-efficacy, empowering them to tackle environmental challenges creatively. These statistics demonstrate the tangible impact of GHRM on fostering green entrepreneurial orientation among employees, ultimately driving sustainable practices and outcomes in organizational settings.

Similarly, the proposed SEM model reveals that “green leadership” has a positive impact on “green entrepreneurial orientation” which reveals that H 2 is accepted. This result builds on a previous work 68 , which discloses that the role of “green leadership” on “green entrepreneurial orientation” is important. Green leadership plays a pivotal role in shaping the direction and success of green entrepreneurial orientation within Indian organizations. By embodying environmentally conscious values and practices, green leaders inspire and motivate employees to embrace sustainability initiatives, drive innovation, and foster a culture of environmental responsibility. Green leaders set the tone for the organization by championing eco-friendly practices, setting ambitious sustainability goals, and demonstrating a commitment to reducing environmental impact. Their visionary approach to sustainability not only influences day-to-day operations but also guides strategic decision-making towards green entrepreneurship. Through effective communication and role modeling, green leaders create a shared sense of purpose and direction, aligning employees with the organization’s environmental goals and fostering a collective commitment to sustainability. Moreover, green leadership encourages a mindset of continuous improvement and adaptation to changing environmental challenges, driving organizational agility and resilience in the face of sustainability issues. Overall, the positive impact of green leadership on green entrepreneurial orientation lies in its ability to cultivate a culture of innovation, environmental stewardship, and sustainable growth, positioning organizations as leaders in the green economy and driving long-term success in a rapidly evolving environmental landscape. The emphasis on green leadership aligns with broader societal trends towards sustainability communities and responsible business practices, making it a critical factor for organizations seeking to succeed in the twenty-first century.

It is also worth mentioning that the SEM model showed that “green entrepreneurial orientation” has a positive impact on PEB. This result is also supported by a previous work 67 , which concluded that “green entrepreneurial orientation” enhances the PEB which is in line with the results of this study (i.e., H 3 is accepted). Green entrepreneurial orientation plays a pivotal role in driving PEB among employees within organizations. By fostering a culture of innovation, creativity, and environmental consciousness, green entrepreneurial initiatives empower individuals to actively engage in sustainable practices. Employees with a green entrepreneurial mindset are more likely to identify environmental challenges as opportunities for positive change, leading to the development of innovative solutions and eco-friendly practices, which also fosters other stakeholders’ engagement. This orientation encourages employees to think beyond traditional approaches and explore novel ways to reduce environmental impact, such as implementing recycling programs, adopting energy-efficient technologies, or promoting sustainable resource management. Furthermore, green entrepreneurial orientation instills a sense of ownership and responsibility towards environmental stewardship, motivating individuals to proactively participate in green initiatives and advocate for eco-friendly policies within the organization. By nurturing a workforce that embraces green entrepreneurship, organizations can not only enhance their environmental performance but also cultivate a collective commitment to sustainability that extends beyond the workplace. This synergy between green entrepreneurial orientation and PEB not only drives positive environmental outcomes but also fosters a culture of environmental responsibility and innovation that is essential for addressing contemporary environmental challenges.

Lastly, the study concluded that “environmental commitment” has a positive impact on PEB of employees. Thus, H 4 is accepted. Consequently, previous research done 14 , 69 discovered evidence in favor of a favorable relationship between the perceived dedication to the environment and PEB. Environmental commitment refers to an individual’s dedication and responsibility towards the environment. It is a crucial factor in fostering PEB, which consciously seeks to minimize the negative impact of one’s actions on the natural and built world 70 . A study found that higher levels of commitment to the environment and greater inclusion of nature in the self separately predicted higher levels of PEB, even when controlling for social desirability and ecological worldview. This suggests that individuals who are more committed to the environment and feel a greater connection with nature are more likely to engage in behaviors that benefit the environment 71 . Another research focused on action research developing positive interactions between humans and the environment. More precisely, it reviewed commitment-making strategies and the effects of binding communication on the adoption of PEBs such as waste sorting, recycling, non-activist behaviors in the public sphere and energy saving. The study found that commitment, disagreement and binding communication can strengthen the positive characteristics of interactions between humans and the environment and, thereby, improve quality of life 72 . Building on that, it was found that higher levels of commitment to the environment and greater inclusion of nature in the self separately predicted higher levels of PEB. Besides, it was shown in a study that of rural residents, 91% are concerned about deforestation, 92% about plastic pollution and 90% about air pollution, with rural residents also being more likely to engage in personal behaviors to reduce their impacts on the climate 73 . This suggests that individuals who are more committed to the environment and feel a greater connection with nature are more likely to engage in behaviors that benefit the environment either in daily life activities or at workplace. This indicates a strong correlation between environmental commitment and PEB. By fostering a strong commitment to the environment, this encourages more sustainable communities and contributes to environmental preservation leading to stakeholders’ engagement to green practices 74 . However, it’s important to note that environmental commitment works best when combined with other factors such as environmental consciousness, social norms, and effective communication strategies 75 , 76 .

Overall, this study provides constructive insights into the factors that impact the PEB employees in workplace. This study emphasizes the impact of green entrepreneurial orientation, green leadership, environmental commitment, and GHRM on employees' PEB which fosters the willingness of employees and all stakeholders to engage in eco-friendly practices at work. These results highlight the importance of integrating sustainability into organizational practices to foster sustainable communities in the workforce which are committed to environmental responsibility. These represent solutions that address the needs of today's businesses while also safeguarding the environment and gaining widespread support 77 . Furthermore, the findings highlight that when employees perceive their organization as environmentally responsible, they are more likely to engage in PEB, creating positive feedback that reinforces the organization's commitment to sustainability and strengthens its relationships with stakeholders.

In the UAE context, where sustainability is a national priority, the study's findings are particularly relevant. Organizations that prioritize sustainability and actively engage with stakeholders can align themselves with the nation's vision for a sustainable future 78 . This alignment contributes to the overall well-being of the community, as well as positions the organization as a responsible corporate citizen, enhancing its reputation and fostering positive relationships with government agencies and regulatory bodies. By integrating sustainability into their operations and engaging with stakeholders, organizations in the UAE can play a crucial role in building sustainable communities and contributing to the nation's environmental goals.

Theoretical implications

This research on employees' PEB within UAE organizations significantly advances the theoretical understanding of the complex relationship between workplace green aspects and employees' perceptions of their own professional and personal growth. By highlighting the pivotal roles of green entrepreneurial orientation, green leadership, environmental commitment, and GHRM, this study contributes robustly to the evolving concept of sustainability within the organizational context. The findings illuminate a critical shift in employee awareness shedding light that organizations integrating eco-innovation and sustainable practices not only benefit the environment but also enhance employees' perceived career advancement opportunities 79 , 80 . This aligns with global trends wherein employees increasingly seek value-aligned employers 81 , underscoring the increasing importance of sustainability in the modern workplace. This is particularly noticeable in the UAE, where national policies actively prioritize sustainability, further amplifying the significance of these findings for both academic and practitioner audiences.

Practical implications

The practical implications of this study for organizations are diverse. Promoting green practices such as GHRM and Green Leadership is crucial, as these practices not only contribute to environmental sustainability but also positively impact employees' Green Entrepreneurial practices, fostering a culture of innovation and proactive environmental stewardship. Moreover, promoting environmental commitment among employees through awareness programs, training, and a sustainability-focused work culture can significantly enhance PEB, leading to a more engaged and environmentally conscious workforce. By encouraging innovative and proactive green initiatives, organizations can harness the positive impact of Green Entrepreneurial Orientation on PEB, driving the development and implementation of eco-friendly solutions.

The insights from this study can guide policymaking in organizations, enabling the design of policies that incentivize green practices and foster environmental commitment among employees. Organizations that successfully implement these practices can contribute to building sustainable communities through their environmentally responsible actions, enhancing their reputation and stakeholders’ engagement 82 , 83 . This can lead to a competitive advantage by attracting environmentally conscious customers and employees, fostering a positive brand image, and strengthening relationships with stakeholders who value sustainability. While implementing these practices requires commitment and strategic planning, the potential benefits for the organization, its stakeholders, and the environment are substantial, making it a worthwhile investment for a sustainable future.

Summary, conclusion, and recommendations

This research investigates the factors influencing employees' PEB within organizations in the UAE. It examines the impact of green entrepreneurial orientation, green leadership, environmental commitment, and GHRM on employees' PEB which fosters their willingness to engage in eco-friendly practices at work. The study employed a questionnaire-based survey of 146 employees in an automotive division of a UAE company, utilizing structural equation modeling (SEM) to analyze the data. The study’s findings reveal that GHRM and green leadership significantly influence employees’ green entrepreneurial orientation. In turn, both green entrepreneurial orientation and environmental commitment positively impact employees' PEB. These results underscore the importance of integrating sustainability into organizational culture, leadership, and human resource practices to foster a workforce that actively participates in environmental initiatives. Consequently, this research provides valuable insights into the specific factors that drive PEB in the UAE context, where national policies prioritize sustainability. It highlights the importance of not only implementing green practices but also cultivating a supportive environment that encourages employees to embrace and champion environmental sustainability. The study also sheds light on the role of green entrepreneurial orientation, suggesting that empowering employees to develop innovative environmental solutions can be a key driver of PEB. The SEM analysis confirmed the positive impact of GHRM (p < 0.0001) and green leadership (p = 0.0037) on green entrepreneurial orientation. Additionally, green entrepreneurial orientation (p = 0.0229) and environmental commitment (p = 0.0002) were found to significantly influence PEB. These results have practical implications for organizations in the UAE and beyond.

The study emphasizes that integrating eco-friendly practices benefits both the environment and employee development. It highlights the importance of green leadership, environmental commitment, GHRM practices, and green entrepreneurial initiatives. To achieve this, the study provides several recommendations for organizations, particularly in the UAE. Firstly, organizations should prioritize comprehensive GHRM strategies. This entails integrating environmental considerations throughout all HR functions, from recruitment to performance management. Secondly, fostering a culture of environmental commitment is crucial. This involves open communication about the importance of sustainability, recognizing employees' PEBs, and providing opportunities for participation in green initiatives, this drives sustainable communities. Thirdly, promoting green leadership at all levels is essential. Green leaders act as champions for sustainability, inspiring employees and driving green stakeholder engagement. Finally, organizations should encourage and support green entrepreneurship. This means providing resources and platforms for employees to develop and implement innovative environmental solutions. By adopting these recommendations, organizations can create a work environment that fosters not only environmental well-being but also enhanced stakeholder engagement, satisfaction, and overall well-being. This ultimately positions them as environmentally responsible businesses with a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent.

Moreover, future research in this area could explore additional dimensions of green aspects that may influence employees' awareness and adaptability to PEB measures. For instance, investigating the impact of work atmosphere, direct managers/supervisors, financial situations, and social factors on employees' PEB could provide further insights into the complex interplay between organizational dynamics and environmental behaviors. Additionally, extending the study to different business divisions and comparing results across various sectors could offer a more comprehensive understanding of the factors influencing PEB in different organizational contexts. Furthermore, validating the findings in other countries and assessing the potential impact of geographic location on employees' awareness of PEB could help broaden the generalizability of the results and provide valuable cross-cultural insights into the relationship between green aspects and employees' environmental behaviors. By expanding the scope of research in this field and exploring new dimensions of green aspects, future studies can contribute to the ongoing discourse on sustainability in the workplace and offer practical recommendations for organizations seeking to enhance their environmental initiatives and promote a culture of environmental responsibility among employees.

Data availability

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.

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The authors are grateful for the comments and suggestions by the referees and the handling Editor. Their comments and suggestions have greatly improved the paper. The authors also gratefully acknowledge that the work in this paper was supported, in part, by the Open Access Program from the American University of Sharjah.

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Workplace Deviant Behavior, Stress, and Change in the Post-epidemic Era: the Case of the Catering/Hotel/Tourism Industry

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The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the catering, hospitality, and tourism industries, leading to complex challenges in the workplace. One such challenge is the rise in deviant behavior, which refers to employee actions that violate organizational norms and potentially harm the organization or its members. To investigate this phenomenon, this study surveys 435 managers and employees from 15 small- and medium-sized private enterprises in China, focusing on the catering, hospitality, and tourism industries. Using hierarchical regression analysis, the research examines the impact of role stress and organizational changes on employee deviant behavior. The results indicate that role stress significantly contributes to an increase in deviant behavior. Conversely, organizational incentive changes are negatively associated with such behavior. Both organizational structural changes and incentive changes play moderating roles in the relationship between role stress and employee deviant behavior. Based on these findings, the paper provides practical recommendations for businesses on effective team management strategies in the post-pandemic era, aiming to mitigate the negative effects of deviant behavior and enhance overall organizational performance.

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Zhang, X. Workplace Deviant Behavior, Stress, and Change in the Post-epidemic Era: the Case of the Catering/Hotel/Tourism Industry. J Knowl Econ (2024).

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The impact of evidence-based nursing leadership in healthcare settings: a mixed methods systematic review

  • Maritta Välimäki 1 , 2 ,
  • Shuang Hu 3 ,
  • Tella Lantta 1 ,
  • Kirsi Hipp 1 , 4 ,
  • Jaakko Varpula 1 ,
  • Jiarui Chen 3 ,
  • Gaoming Liu 5 ,
  • Yao Tang 3 ,
  • Wenjun Chen 3 &
  • Xianhong Li 3  

BMC Nursing volume  23 , Article number:  452 ( 2024 ) Cite this article

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The central component in impactful healthcare decisions is evidence. Understanding how nurse leaders use evidence in their own managerial decision making is still limited. This mixed methods systematic review aimed to examine how evidence is used to solve leadership problems and to describe the measured and perceived effects of evidence-based leadership on nurse leaders and their performance, organizational, and clinical outcomes.

We included articles using any type of research design. We referred nurses, nurse managers or other nursing staff working in a healthcare context when they attempt to influence the behavior of individuals or a group in an organization using an evidence-based approach. Seven databases were searched until 11 November 2021. JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Quasi-experimental studies, JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Series, Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool were used to evaluate the Risk of bias in quasi-experimental studies, case series, mixed methods studies, respectively. The JBI approach to mixed methods systematic reviews was followed, and a parallel-results convergent approach to synthesis and integration was adopted.

Thirty-one publications were eligible for the analysis: case series ( n  = 27), mixed methods studies ( n  = 3) and quasi-experimental studies ( n  = 1). All studies were included regardless of methodological quality. Leadership problems were related to the implementation of knowledge into practice, the quality of nursing care and the resource availability. Organizational data was used in 27 studies to understand leadership problems, scientific evidence from literature was sought in 26 studies, and stakeholders’ views were explored in 24 studies. Perceived and measured effects of evidence-based leadership focused on nurses’ performance, organizational outcomes, and clinical outcomes. Economic data were not available.


This is the first systematic review to examine how evidence is used to solve leadership problems and to describe its measured and perceived effects from different sites. Although a variety of perceptions and effects were identified on nurses’ performance as well as on organizational and clinical outcomes, available knowledge concerning evidence-based leadership is currently insufficient. Therefore, more high-quality research and clinical trial designs are still needed.

Trail registration

The study was registered (PROSPERO CRD42021259624).

Peer Review reports

Global health demands have set new roles for nurse leaders [ 1 ].Nurse leaders are referred to as nurses, nurse managers, or other nursing staff working in a healthcare context who attempt to influence the behavior of individuals or a group based on goals that are congruent with organizational goals [ 2 ]. They are seen as professionals “armed with data and evidence, and a commitment to mentorship and education”, and as a group in which “leaders innovate, transform, and achieve quality outcomes for patients, health care professionals, organizations, and communities” [ 3 ]. Effective leadership occurs when team members critically follow leaders and are motivated by a leader’s decisions based on the organization’s requests and targets [ 4 ]. On the other hand, problems caused by poor leadership may also occur, regarding staff relations, stress, sickness, or retention [ 5 ]. Therefore, leadership requires an understanding of different problems to be solved using synthesizing evidence from research, clinical expertise, and stakeholders’ preferences [ 6 , 7 ]. If based on evidence, leadership decisions, also referred as leadership decision making [ 8 ], could ensure adequate staffing [ 7 , 9 ] and to produce sufficient and cost-effective care [ 10 ]. However, nurse leaders still rely on their decision making on their personal [ 11 ] and professional experience [ 10 ] over research evidence, which can lead to deficiencies in the quality and safety of care delivery [ 12 , 13 , 14 ]. As all nurses should demonstrate leadership in their profession, their leadership competencies should be strengthened [ 15 ].

Evidence-informed decision-making, referred to as evidence appraisal and application, and evaluation of decisions [ 16 ], has been recognized as one of the core competencies for leaders [ 17 , 18 ]. The role of evidence in nurse leaders’ managerial decision making has been promoted by public authorities [ 19 , 20 , 21 ]. Evidence-based management, another concept related to evidence-based leadership, has been used as the potential to improve healthcare services [ 22 ]. It can guide nursing leaders, in developing working conditions, staff retention, implementation practices, strategic planning, patient care, and success of leadership [ 13 ]. Collins and Holton [ 23 ] in their systematic review and meta-analysis examined 83 studies regarding leadership development interventions. They found that leadership training can result in significant improvement in participants’ skills, especially in knowledge level, although the training effects varied across studies. Cummings et al. [ 24 ] reviewed 100 papers (93 studies) and concluded that participation in leadership interventions had a positive impact on the development of a variety of leadership styles. Clavijo-Chamorro et al. [ 25 ] in their review of 11 studies focused on leadership-related factors that facilitate evidence implementation: teamwork, organizational structures, and transformational leadership. The role of nurse managers was to facilitate evidence-based practices by transforming contexts to motivate the staff and move toward a shared vision of change.

As far as we are aware, however, only a few systematic reviews have focused on evidence-based leadership or related concepts in the healthcare context aiming to analyse how nurse leaders themselves uses evidence in the decision-making process. Young [ 26 ] targeted definitions and acceptance of evidence-based management (EBMgt) in healthcare while Hasanpoor et al. [ 22 ] identified facilitators and barriers, sources of evidence used, and the role of evidence in the process of decision making. Both these reviews concluded that EBMgt was of great importance but used limitedly in healthcare settings due to a lack of time, a lack of research management activities, and policy constraints. A review by Williams [ 27 ] showed that the usage of evidence to support management in decision making is marginal due to a shortage of relevant evidence. Fraser [ 28 ] in their review further indicated that the potential evidence-based knowledge is not used in decision making by leaders as effectively as it could be. Non-use of evidence occurs and leaders base their decisions mainly on single studies, real-world evidence, and experts’ opinions [ 29 ]. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses rarely provide evidence of management-related interventions [ 30 ]. Tate et al. [ 31 ] concluded based on their systematic review and meta-analysis that the ability of nurse leaders to use and critically appraise research evidence may influence the way policy is enacted and how resources and staff are used to meet certain objectives set by policy. This can further influence staff and workforce outcomes. It is therefore important that nurse leaders have the capacity and motivation to use the strongest evidence available to effect change and guide their decision making [ 27 ].

Despite of a growing body of evidence, we found only one review focusing on the impact of evidence-based knowledge. Geert et al. [ 32 ] reviewed literature from 2007 to 2016 to understand the elements of design, delivery, and evaluation of leadership development interventions that are the most reliably linked to outcomes at the level of the individual and the organization, and that are of most benefit to patients. The authors concluded that it is possible to improve individual-level outcomes among leaders, such as knowledge, motivation, skills, and behavior change using evidence-based approaches. Some of the most effective interventions included, for example, interactive workshops, coaching, action learning, and mentoring. However, these authors found limited research evidence describing how nurse leaders themselves use evidence to support their managerial decisions in nursing and what the outcomes are.

To fill the knowledge gap and compliment to existing knowledgebase, in this mixed methods review we aimed to (1) examine what leadership problems nurse leaders solve using an evidence-based approach and (2) how they use evidence to solve these problems. We also explored (3) the measured and (4) perceived effects of the evidence-based leadership approach in healthcare settings. Both qualitative and quantitative components of the effects of evidence-based leadership were examined to provide greater insights into the available literature [ 33 ]. Together with the evidence-based leadership approach, and its impact on nursing [ 34 , 35 ], this knowledge gained in this review can be used to inform clinical policy or organizational decisions [ 33 ]. The study is registered (PROSPERO CRD42021259624). The methods used in this review were specified in advance and documented in a priori in a published protocol [ 36 ]. Key terms of the review and the search terms are defined in Table  1 (population, intervention, comparison, outcomes, context, other).

In this review, we used a mixed methods approach [ 37 ]. A mixed methods systematic review was selected as this approach has the potential to produce direct relevance to policy makers and practitioners [ 38 ]. Johnson and Onwuegbuzie [ 39 ] have defined mixed methods research as “the class of research in which the researcher mixes or combines quantitative and qualitative research techniques, methods, approaches, concepts or language into a single study.” Therefore, we combined quantitative and narrative analysis to appraise and synthesize empirical evidence, and we held them as equally important in informing clinical policy or organizational decisions [ 34 ]. In this review, a comprehensive synthesis of quantitative and qualitative data was performed first and then discussed in discussion part (parallel-results convergent design) [ 40 ]. We hoped that different type of analysis approaches could complement each other and deeper picture of the topic in line with our research questions could be gained [ 34 ].

Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Inclusion and exclusion criteria of the study are described in Table  1 .

Search strategy

A three-step search strategy was utilized. First, an initial limited search with #MEDLINE was undertaken, followed by analysis of the words used in the title, abstract, and the article’s key index terms. Second, the search strategy, including identified keywords and index terms, was adapted for each included data base and a second search was undertaken on 11 November 2021. The full search strategy for each database is described in Additional file 1 . Third, the reference list of all studies included in the review were screened for additional studies. No year limits or language restrictions were used.

Information sources

The database search included the following: CINAHL (EBSCO), Cochrane Library (academic database for medicine and health science and nursing), Embase (Elsevier), PsycINFO (EBSCO), PubMed (MEDLINE), Scopus (Elsevier) and Web of Science (academic database across all scientific and technical disciplines, ranging from medicine and social sciences to arts and humanities). These databases were selected as they represent typical databases in health care context. Subject headings from each of the databases were included in the search strategies. Boolean operators ‘AND’ and ‘OR’ were used to combine the search terms. An information specialist from the University of Turku Library was consulted in the formation of the search strategies.

Study selection

All identified citations were collated and uploaded into Covidence software (Covidence systematic review software, Veritas Health Innovation, Melbourne, Australia ), and duplicates were removed by the software. Titles and abstracts were screened and assessed against the inclusion criteria independently by two reviewers out of four, and any discrepancies were resolved by the third reviewer (MV, KH, TL, WC). Studies meeting the inclusion criteria were retrieved in full and archived in Covidence. Access to one full-text article was lacking: the authors for one study were contacted about the missing full text, but no full text was received. All remaining hits of the included studies were retrieved and assessed independently against the inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers of four (MV, KH, TL, WC). Studies that did not meet the inclusion criteria were excluded, and the reasons for exclusion were recorded in Covidence. Any disagreements that arose between the reviewers were resolved through discussions with XL.

Assessment of methodological quality

Eligible studies were critically appraised by two independent reviewers (YT, SH). Standardized critical appraisal instruments based on the study design were used. First, quasi-experimental studies were assessed using the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Quasi-experimental studies [ 44 ]. Second, case series were assessed using the JBI Critical Appraisal Checklist for Case Series [ 45 ]. Third, mixed methods studies were appraised using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool [ 46 ].

To increase inter-reviewer reliability, the review agreement was calculated (SH) [ 47 ]. A kappa greater than 0.8 was considered to represent a high level of agreement (0–0.1). In our data, the agreement was 0.75. Discrepancies raised between two reviewers were resolved through discussion and modifications and confirmed by XL. As an outcome, studies that met the inclusion criteria were proceeded to critical appraisal and assessed as suitable for inclusion in the review. The scores for each item and overall critical appraisal scores were presented.

Data extraction

For data extraction, specific tables were created. First, study characteristics (author(s), year, country, design, number of participants, setting) were extracted by two authors independently (JC, MV) and reviewed by TL. Second, descriptions of the interventions were extracted by two reviewers (JV, JC) using the structure of the TIDIeR (Template for Intervention Description and Replication) checklist (brief name, the goal of the intervention, material and procedure, models of delivery and location, dose, modification, adherence and fidelity) [ 48 ]. The extractions were confirmed (MV).

Third, due to a lack of effectiveness data and a wide heterogeneity between study designs and presentation of outcomes, no attempt was made to pool the quantitative data statistically; the findings of the quantitative data were presented in narrative form only [ 44 ]. The separate data extraction tables for each research question were designed specifically for this study. For both qualitative (and a qualitative component of mixed-method studies) and quantitative studies, the data were extracted and tabulated into text format according to preplanned research questions [ 36 ]. To test the quality of the tables and the data extraction process, three authors independently extracted the data from the first five studies (in alphabetical order). After that, the authors came together to share and determine whether their approaches of the data extraction were consistent with each other’s output and whether the content of each table was in line with research question. No reason was found to modify the data extraction tables or planned process. After a consensus of the data extraction process was reached, the data were extracted in pairs by independent reviewers (WC, TY, SH, GL). Any disagreements that arose between the reviewers were resolved through discussion and with a third reviewer (MV).

Data analysis

We were not able to conduct a meta-analysis due to a lack of effectiveness data based on clinical trials. Instead, we used inductive thematic analysis with constant comparison to answer the research question [ 46 , 49 ] using tabulated primary data from qualitative and quantitative studies as reported by the original authors in narrative form only [ 47 ]. In addition, the qualitizing process was used to transform quantitative data to qualitative data; this helped us to convert the whole data into themes and categories. After that we used the thematic analysis for the narrative data as follows. First, the text was carefully read, line by line, to reveal topics answering each specific review question (MV). Second, the data coding was conducted, and the themes in the data were formed by data categorization. The process of deriving the themes was inductive based on constant comparison [ 49 ]. The results of thematic analysis and data categorization was first described in narrative format and then the total number of studies was calculated where the specific category was identified (%).

Stakeholder involvement

The method of reporting stakeholders’ involvement follows the key components by [ 50 ]: (1) people involved, (2) geographical location, (3) how people were recruited, (4) format of involvement, (5) amount of involvement, (6) ethical approval, (7) financial compensation, and (8) methods for reporting involvement.

In our review, stakeholder involvement targeted nurses and nurse leader in China. Nurse Directors of two hospitals recommended potential participants who received a personal invitation letter from researchers to participate in a discussion meeting. Stakeholders’ participation was based on their own free will. Due to COVID-19, one online meeting (1 h) was organized (25 May 2022). Eleven participants joined the meeting. Ethical approval was not applied and no financial compensation was offered. At the end of the meeting, experiences of stakeholders’ involvement were explored.

The meeting started with an introductory presentation with power points. The rationale, methods, and preliminary review results were shared with the participants [ 51 ].The meeting continued with general questions for the participants: (1) Are you aware of the concepts of evidence-based practice or evidence-based leadership?; (2) How important is it to use evidence to support decisions among nurse leaders?; (3) How is the evidence-based approach used in hospital settings?; and (4) What type of evidence is currently used to support nurse leaders’ decision making (e.g. scientific literature, organizational data, stakeholder views)?

Two people took notes on the course and content of the conversation. The notes were later transcripted in verbatim, and the key points of the discussions were summarised. Although answers offered by the stakeholders were very short, the information was useful to validate the preliminary content of the results, add the rigorousness of the review, and obtain additional perspectives. A recommendation of the stakeholders was combined in the Discussion part of this review increasing the applicability of the review in the real world [ 50 ]. At the end of the discussion, the value of stakeholders’ involvement was asked. Participants shared that the experience of participating was unique and the topic of discussion was challenging. Two authors of the review group further represented stakeholders by working together with the research team throughout the review study.

Search results

From seven different electronic databases, 6053 citations were identified as being potentially relevant to the review. Then, 3133 duplicates were removed by an automation tool (Covidence: ), and one was removed manually. The titles and abstracts of 3040 of citations were reviewed, and a total of 110 full texts were included (one extra citation was found on the reference list but later excluded). Based on the eligibility criteria, 31 studies (32 hits) were critically appraised and deemed suitable for inclusion in the review. The search results and selection process are presented in the PRISMA [ 52 ] flow diagram Fig.  1 . The full list of references for included studies can be find in Additional file 2 . To avoid confusion between articles of the reference list and studies included in the analysis, the studies included in the review are referred inside the article using the reference number of each study (e.g. ref 1, ref 2).

figure 1

Search results and study selection and inclusion process [ 52 ]

Characteristics of included studies

The studies had multiple purposes, aiming to develop practice, implement a new approach, improve quality, or to develop a model. The 31 studies (across 32 hits) were case series studies ( n  = 27), mixed methods studies ( n  = 3) and a quasi-experimental study ( n  = 1). All studies were published between the years 2004 and 2021. The highest number of papers was published in year 2020.

Table  2 describes the characteristics of included studies and Additional file 3 offers a narrative description of the studies.

Methodological quality assessment

Quasi-experimental studies.

We had one quasi-experimental study (ref 31). All questions in the critical appraisal tool were applicable. The total score of the study was 8 (out of a possible 9). Only one response of the tool was ‘no’ because no control group was used in the study (see Additional file 4 for the critical appraisal of included studies).

Case series studies . A case series study is typically defined as a collection of subjects with common characteristics. The studies do not include a comparison group and are often based on prevalent cases and on a sample of convenience [ 53 ]. Munn et al. [ 45 ] further claim that case series are best described as observational studies, lacking experimental and randomized characteristics, being descriptive studies, without a control or comparator group. Out of 27 case series studies included in our review, the critical appraisal scores varied from 1 to 9. Five references were conference abstracts with empirical study results, which were scored from 1 to 3. Full reports of these studies were searched in electronic databases but not found. Critical appraisal scores for the remaining 22 studies ranged from 1 to 9 out of a possible score of 10. One question (Q3) was not applicable to 13 studies: “Were valid methods used for identification of the condition for all participants included in the case series?” Only two studies had clearly reported the demographic of the participants in the study (Q6). Twenty studies met Criteria 8 (“Were the outcomes or follow-up results of cases clearly reported?”) and 18 studies met Criteria 7 (“Q7: Was there clear reporting of clinical information of the participants?”) (see Additional file 4 for the critical appraisal of included studies).

Mixed-methods studies

Mixed-methods studies involve a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. This is a common design and includes convergent design, sequential explanatory design, and sequential exploratory design [ 46 ]. There were three mixed-methods studies. The critical appraisal scores for the three studies ranged from 60 to 100% out of a possible 100%. Two studies met all the criteria, while one study fulfilled 60% of the scored criteria due to a lack of information to understand the relevance of the sampling strategy well enough to address the research question (Q4.1) or to determine whether the risk of nonresponse bias was low (Q4.4) (see Additional file 4 for the critical appraisal of included studies).

Intervention or program components

The intervention of program components were categorized and described using the TiDier checklist: name and goal, theory or background, material, procedure, provider, models of delivery, location, dose, modification, and adherence and fidelity [ 48 ]. A description of intervention in each study is described in Additional file 5 and a narrative description in Additional file 6 .

Leadership problems

In line with the inclusion criteria, data for the leadership problems were categorized in all 31 included studies (see Additional file 7 for leadership problems). Three types of leadership problems were identified: implementation of knowledge into practice, the quality of clinical care, and resources in nursing care. A narrative summary of the results is reported below.

Implementing knowledge into practice

Eleven studies (35%) aimed to solve leadership problems related to implementation of knowledge into practice. Studies showed how to support nurses in evidence-based implementation (EBP) (ref 3, ref 5), how to engage nurses in using evidence in practice (ref 4), how to convey the importance of EBP (ref 22) or how to change practice (ref 4). Other problems were how to facilitate nurses to use guideline recommendations (ref 7) and how nurses can make evidence-informed decisions (ref 8). General concerns also included the linkage between theory and practice (ref 1) as well as how to implement the EBP model in practice (ref 6). In addition, studies were motivated by the need for revisions or updates of protocols to improve clinical practice (ref 10) as well as the need to standardize nursing activities (ref 11, ref 14).

The quality of the care

Thirteen (42%) focused on solving problems related to the quality of clinical care. In these studies, a high number of catheter infections led a lack of achievement of organizational goals (ref 2, ref 9). A need to reduce patient symptoms in stem cell transplant patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy (ref 24) was also one of the problems to be solved. In addition, the projects focused on how to prevent pressure ulcers (ref 26, ref 29), how to enhance the quality of cancer treatment (ref 25) and how to reduce the need for invasive constipation treatment (ref 30). Concerns about patient safety (ref 15), high fall rates (ref 16, ref 19), dissatisfaction of patients (ref 16, ref 18) and nurses (ref 16, ref 30) were also problems that had initiated the projects. Studies addressed concerns about how to promote good contingency care in residential aged care homes (ref 20) and about how to increase recognition of human trafficking problems in healthcare (ref 21).

Resources in nursing care

Nurse leaders identified problems in their resources, especially in staffing problems. These problems were identified in seven studies (23%), which involved concerns about how to prevent nurses from leaving the job (ref 31), how to ensure appropriate recruitment, staffing and retaining of nurses (ref 13) and how to decrease nurses’ burden and time spent on nursing activities (ref 12). Leadership turnover was also reported as a source of dissatisfaction (ref 17); studies addressed a lack of structured transition and training programs, which led to turnover (ref 23), as well as how to improve intershift handoff among nurses (ref 28). Optimal design for new hospitals was also examined (ref 27).

Main features of evidence-based leadership

Out of 31 studies, 17 (55%) included all four domains of an evidence-based leadership approach, and four studies (13%) included evidence of critical appraisal of the results (see Additional file 8 for the main features of evidence-based Leadership) (ref 11, ref 14, ref 23, ref 27).

Organizational evidence

Twenty-seven studies (87%) reported how organizational evidence was collected and used to solve leadership problems (ref 2). Retrospective chart reviews (ref 5), a review of the extent of specific incidents (ref 19), and chart auditing (ref 7, ref 25) were conducted. A gap between guideline recommendations and actual care was identified using organizational data (ref 7) while the percentage of nurses’ working time spent on patient care was analyzed using an electronic charting system (ref 12). Internal data (ref 22), institutional data, and programming metrics were also analyzed to understand the development of the nurse workforce (ref 13).

Surveys (ref 3, ref 25), interviews (ref 3, ref 25) and group reviews (ref 18) were used to better understand the leadership problem to be solved. Employee opinion surveys on leadership (ref 17), a nurse satisfaction survey (ref 30) and a variety of reporting templates were used for the data collection (ref 28) reported. Sometimes, leadership problems were identified by evidence facilitators or a PI’s team who worked with staff members (ref 15, ref 17). Problems in clinical practice were also identified by the Nursing Professional Council (ref 14), managers (ref 26) or nurses themselves (ref 24). Current practices were reviewed (ref 29) and a gap analysis was conducted (ref 4, ref 16, ref 23) together with SWOT analysis (ref 16). In addition, hospital mission and vision statements, research culture established and the proportion of nursing alumni with formal EBP training were analyzed (ref 5). On the other hand, it was stated that no systematic hospital-specific sources of data regarding job satisfaction or organizational commitment were used (ref 31). In addition, statements of organizational analysis were used on a general level only (ref 1).

Scientific evidence identified

Twenty-six studies (84%) reported the use of scientific evidence in their evidence-based leadership processes. A literature search was conducted (ref 21) and questions, PICO, and keywords were identified (ref 4) in collaboration with a librarian. Electronic databases, including PubMed (ref 14, ref 31), Cochrane, and EMBASE (ref 31) were searched. Galiano (ref 6) used Wiley Online Library, Elsevier, CINAHL, Health Source: Nursing/Academic Edition, PubMed, and the Cochrane Library while Hoke (ref 11) conducted an electronic search using CINAHL and PubMed to retrieve articles.

Identified journals were reviewed manually (ref 31). The findings were summarized using ‘elevator speech’ (ref 4). In a study by Gifford et al. (ref 9) evidence facilitators worked with participants to access, appraise, and adapt the research evidence to the organizational context. Ostaszkiewicz (ref 20) conducted a scoping review of literature and identified and reviewed frameworks and policy documents about the topic and the quality standards. Further, a team of nursing administrators, directors, staff nurses, and a patient representative reviewed the literature and made recommendations for practice changes.

Clinical practice guidelines were also used to offer scientific evidence (ref 7, ref 19). Evidence was further retrieved from a combination of nursing policies, guidelines, journal articles, and textbooks (ref 12) as well as from published guidelines and literature (ref 13). Internal evidence, professional practice knowledge, relevant theories and models were synthesized (ref 24) while other study (ref 25) reviewed individual studies, synthesized with systematic reviews or clinical practice guidelines. The team reviewed the research evidence (ref 3, ref 15) or conducted a literature review (ref 22, ref 28, ref 29), a literature search (ref 27), a systematic review (ref 23), a review of the literature (ref 30) or ‘the scholarly literature was reviewed’ (ref 18). In addition, ‘an extensive literature review of evidence-based best practices was carried out’ (ref 10). However, detailed description how the review was conducted was lacking.

Views of stakeholders

A total of 24 studies (77%) reported methods for how the views of stakeholders, i.e., professionals or experts, were considered. Support to run this study was received from nursing leadership and multidisciplinary teams (ref 29). Experts and stakeholders joined the study team in some cases (ref 25, ref 30), and in other studies, their opinions were sought to facilitate project success (ref 3). Sometimes a steering committee was formed by a Chief Nursing Officer and Clinical Practice Specialists (ref 2). More specifically, stakeholders’ views were considered using interviews, workshops and follow-up teleconferences (ref 7). The literature review was discussed with colleagues (ref 11), and feedback and support from physicians as well as the consensus of staff were sought (ref 16).

A summary of the project findings and suggestions for the studies were discussed at 90-minute weekly meetings by 11 charge nurses. Nurse executive directors were consulted over a 10-week period (ref 31). An implementation team (nurse, dietician, physiotherapist, occupational therapist) was formed to support the implementation of evidence-based prevention measures (ref 26). Stakeholders volunteered to join in the pilot implementation (ref 28) or a stakeholder team met to determine the best strategy for change management, shortcomings in evidence-based criteria were discussed, and strategies to address those areas were planned (ref 5). Nursing leaders, staff members (ref 22), ‘process owners (ref 18) and program team members (ref 18, ref 19, ref 24) met regularly to discuss the problems. Critical input was sought from clinical educators, physicians, nutritionists, pharmacists, and nurse managers (ref 24). The unit director and senior nursing staff reviewed the contents of the product, and the final version of clinical pathways were reviewed and approved by the Quality Control Commission of the Nursing Department (ref 12). In addition, two co-design workshops with 18 residential aged care stakeholders were organized to explore their perspectives about factors to include in a model prototype (ref 20). Further, an agreement of stakeholders in implementing continuous quality services within an open relationship was conducted (ref 1).

Critical appraisal

In five studies (16%), a critical appraisal targeting the literature search was carried out. The appraisals were conducted by interns and teams who critiqued the evidence (ref 4). In Hoke’s study, four areas that had emerged in the literature were critically reviewed (ref 11). Other methods were to ‘critically appraise the search results’ (ref 14). Journal club team meetings (ref 23) were organized to grade the level and quality of evidence and the team ‘critically appraised relevant evidence’ (ref 27). On the other hand, the studies lacked details of how the appraisals were done in each study.

The perceived effects of evidence-based leadership

Perceived effects of evidence-based leadership on nurses’ performance.

Eleven studies (35%) described perceived effects of evidence-based leadership on nurses’ performance (see Additional file 9 for perceived effects of evidence-based leadership), which were categorized in four groups: awareness and knowledge, competence, ability to understand patients’ needs, and engagement. First, regarding ‘awareness and knowledge’, different projects provided nurses with new learning opportunities (ref 3). Staff’s knowledge (ref 20, ref 28), skills, and education levels improved (ref 20), as did nurses’ knowledge comprehension (ref 21). Second, interventions and approaches focusing on management and leadership positively influenced participants’ competence level to improve the quality of services. Their confidence level (ref 1) and motivation to change practice increased, self-esteem improved, and they were more positive and enthusiastic in their work (ref 22). Third, some nurses were relieved that they had learned to better handle patients’ needs (ref 25). For example, a systematic work approach increased nurses’ awareness of the patients who were at risk of developing health problems (ref 26). And last, nurse leaders were more engaged with staff, encouraging them to adopt the new practices and recognizing their efforts to change (ref 8).

Perceived effects on organizational outcomes

Nine studies (29%) described the perceived effects of evidence-based leadership on organizational outcomes (see Additional file 9 for perceived effects of evidence-based leadership). These were categorized into three groups: use of resources, staff commitment, and team effort. First, more appropriate use of resources was reported (ref 15, ref 20), and working time was more efficiently used (ref 16). In generally, a structured approach made implementing change more manageable (ref 1). On the other hand, in the beginning of the change process, the feedback from nurses was unfavorable, and they experienced discomfort in the new work style (ref 29). New approaches were also perceived as time consuming (ref 3). Second, nurse leaders believed that fewer nursing staff than expected left the organization over the course of the study (ref 31). Third, the project helped staff in their efforts to make changes, and it validated the importance of working as a team (ref 7). Collaboration and support between the nurses increased (ref 26). On the other hand, new work style caused challenges in teamwork (ref 3).

Perceived effects on clinical outcomes

Five studies (16%) reported the perceived effects of evidence-based leadership on clinical outcomes (see Additional file 9 for perceived effects of evidence-based leadership), which were categorized in two groups: general patient outcomes and specific clinical outcomes. First, in general, the project assisted in connecting the guideline recommendations and patient outcomes (ref 7). The project was good for the patients in general, and especially to improve patient safety (ref 16). On the other hand, some nurses thought that the new working style did not work at all for patients (ref 28). Second, the new approach used assisted in optimizing patients’ clinical problems and person-centered care (ref 20). Bowel management, for example, received very good feedback (ref 30).

The measured effects of evidence-based leadership

The measured effects on nurses’ performance.

Data were obtained from 20 studies (65%) (see Additional file 10 for measured effects of evidence-based leadership) and categorized nurse performance outcomes for three groups: awareness and knowledge, engagement, and satisfaction. First, six studies (19%) measured the awareness and knowledge levels of participants. Internship for staff nurses was beneficial to help participants to understand the process for using evidence-based practice and to grow professionally, to stimulate for innovative thinking, to give knowledge needed to use evidence-based practice to answer clinical questions, and to make possible to complete an evidence-based practice project (ref 3). Regarding implementation program of evidence-based practice, those with formal EBP training showed an improvement in knowledge, attitude, confidence, awareness and application after intervention (ref 3, ref 11, ref 20, ref 23, ref 25). On the contrary, in other study, attitude towards EBP remained stable ( p  = 0.543). and those who applied EBP decreased although no significant differences over the years ( p  = 0.879) (ref 6).

Second, 10 studies (35%) described nurses’ engagement to new practices (ref 5, ref 6, ref 7, ref 10, ref 16, ref 17, ref 18, ref 21, ref 25, ref 27). 9 studies (29%) studies reported that there was an improvement of compliance level of participants (ref 6, ref 7, ref 10, ref 16, ref 17, ref 18, ref 21, ref 25, ref 27). On the contrary, in DeLeskey’s (ref 5) study, although improvement was found in post-operative nausea and vomiting’s (PONV) risk factors documented’ (2.5–63%), and ’risk factors communicated among anaesthesia and surgical staff’ (0–62%), the improvement did not achieve the goal. The reason was a limited improvement was analysed. It was noted that only those patients who had been seen by the pre-admission testing nurse had risk assessments completed. Appropriate treatment/prophylaxis increased from 69 to 77%, and from 30 to 49%; routine assessment for PONV/rescue treatment 97% and 100% was both at 100% following the project. The results were discussed with staff but further reasons for a lack of engagement in nursing care was not reported.

And third, six studies (19%) reported nurses’ satisfaction with project outcomes. The study results showed that using evidence in managerial decisions improved nurses’ satisfaction and attitudes toward their organization ( P  < 0.05) (ref 31). Nurses’ overall job satisfaction improved as well (ref 17). Nurses’ satisfaction with usability of the electronic charting system significantly improved after introduction of the intervention (ref 12). In handoff project in seven hospitals, improvement was reported in all satisfaction indicators used in the study although improvement level varied in different units (ref 28). In addition, positive changes were reported in nurses’ ability to autonomously perform their job (“How satisfied are you with the tools and resources available for you treat and prevent patient constipation?” (54%, n  = 17 vs. 92%, n  = 35, p  < 0.001) (ref 30).

The measured effects on organizational outcomes

Thirteen studies (42%) described the effects of a project on organizational outcomes (see Additional file 10 for measured effects of evidence-based leadership), which were categorized in two groups: staff compliance, and changes in practices. First, studies reported improved organizational outcomes due to staff better compliance in care (ref 4, ref 13, ref 17, ref 23, ref 27, ref 31). Second, changes in organization practices were also described (ref 11) like changes in patient documentation (ref 12, ref 21). Van Orne (ref 30) found a statistically significant reduction in the average rate of invasive medication administration between pre-intervention and post-intervention ( p  = 0.01). Salvador (ref 24) also reported an improvement in a proactive approach to mucositis prevention with an evidence-based oral care guide. On the contrary, concerns were also raised such as not enough time for new bedside report (ref 16) or a lack of improvement of assessment of diabetic ulcer (ref 8).

The measured effects on clinical outcomes

A variety of improvements in clinical outcomes were reported (see Additional file 10 for measured effects of evidence-based leadership): improvement in patient clinical status and satisfaction level. First, a variety of improvement in patient clinical status was reported. improvement in Incidence of CAUTI decreased 27.8% between 2015 and 2019 (ref 2) while a patient-centered quality improvement project reduced CAUTI rates to 0 (ref 10). A significant decrease in transmission rate of MRSA transmission was also reported (ref 27) and in other study incidences of CLABSIs dropped following of CHG bathing (ref 14). Further, it was possible to decrease patient nausea from 18 to 5% and vomiting to 0% (ref 5) while the percentage of patients who left the hospital without being seen was below 2% after the project (ref 17). In addition, a significant reduction in the prevalence of pressure ulcers was found (ref 26, ref 29) and a significant reduction of mucositis severity/distress was achieved (ref 24). Patient falls rate decreased (ref 15, ref 16, ref 19, ref 27).

Second, patient satisfaction level after project implementation improved (ref 28). The scale assessing healthcare providers by consumers showed improvement, but the changes were not statistically significant. Improvement in an emergency department leadership model and in methods of communication with patients improved patient satisfaction scores by 600% (ref 17). In addition, new evidence-based unit improved patient experiences about the unit although not all items improved significantly (ref 18).

Stakeholder involvement in the mixed-method review

To ensure stakeholders’ involvement in the review, the real-world relevance of our research [ 53 ], achieve a higher level of meaning in our review results, and gain new perspectives on our preliminary findings [ 50 ], a meeting with 11 stakeholders was organized. First, we asked if participants were aware of the concepts of evidence-based practice or evidence-based leadership. Responses revealed that participants were familiar with the concept of evidence-based practice, but the topic of evidence-based leadership was totally new. Examples of nurses and nurse leaders’ responses are as follows: “I have heard a concept of evidence-based practice but never a concept of evidence-based leadership.” Another participant described: “I have heard it [evidence-based leadership] but I do not understand what it means.”

Second, as stakeholder involvement is beneficial to the relevance and impact of health research [ 54 ], we asked how important evidence is to them in supporting decisions in health care services. One participant described as follows: “Using evidence in decisions is crucial to the wards and also to the entire hospital.” Third, we asked how the evidence-based approach is used in hospital settings. Participants expressed that literature is commonly used to solve clinical problems in patient care but not to solve leadership problems. “In [patient] medication and care, clinical guidelines are regularly used. However, I am aware only a few cases where evidence has been sought to solve leadership problems.”

And last, we asked what type of evidence is currently used to support nurse leaders’ decision making (e.g. scientific literature, organizational data, stakeholder views)? The participants were aware that different types of information were collected in their organization on a daily basis (e.g. patient satisfaction surveys). However, the information was seldom used to support decision making because nurse leaders did not know how to access this information. Even so, the participants agreed that the use of evidence from different sources was important in approaching any leadership or managerial problems in the organization. Participants also suggested that all nurse leaders should receive systematic training related to the topic; this could support the daily use of the evidence-based approach.

To our knowledge, this article represents the first mixed-methods systematic review to examine leadership problems, how evidence is used to solve these problems and what the perceived and measured effects of evidence-based leadership are on nurse leaders and their performance, organizational, and clinical outcomes. This review has two key findings. First, the available research data suggests that evidence-based leadership has potential in the healthcare context, not only to improve knowledge and skills among nurses, but also to improve organizational outcomes and the quality of patient care. Second, remarkably little published research was found to explore the effects of evidence-based leadership with an efficient trial design. We validated the preliminary results with nurse stakeholders, and confirmed that nursing staff, especially nurse leaders, were not familiar with the concept of evidence-based leadership, nor were they used to implementing evidence into their leadership decisions. Our data was based on many databases, and we screened a large number of studies. We also checked existing registers and databases and found no registered or ongoing similar reviews being conducted. Therefore, our results may not change in the near future.

We found that after identifying the leadership problems, 26 (84%) studies out of 31 used organizational data, 25 (81%) studies used scientific evidence from the literature, and 21 (68%) studies considered the views of stakeholders in attempting to understand specific leadership problems more deeply. However, only four studies critically appraised any of these findings. Considering previous critical statements of nurse leaders’ use of evidence in their decision making [ 14 , 30 , 31 , 34 , 55 ], our results are still quite promising.

Our results support a previous systematic review by Geert et al. [ 32 ], which concluded that it is possible to improve leaders’ individual-level outcomes, such as knowledge, motivation, skills, and behavior change using evidence-based approaches. Collins and Holton [ 23 ] particularly found that leadership training resulted in significant knowledge and skill improvements, although the effects varied widely across studies. In our study, evidence-based leadership was seen to enable changes in clinical practice, especially in patient care. On the other hand, we understand that not all efforts to changes were successful [ 56 , 57 , 58 ]. An evidence-based approach causes negative attitudes and feelings. Negative emotions in participants have also been reported due to changes, such as discomfort with a new working style [ 59 ]. Another study reported inconvenience in using a new intervention and its potential risks for patient confidentiality. Sometimes making changes is more time consuming than continuing with current practice [ 60 ]. These findings may partially explain why new interventions or program do not always fully achieve their goals. On the other hand, Dubose et al. [ 61 ] state that, if prepared with knowledge of resistance, nurse leaders could minimize the potential negative consequences and capitalize on a powerful impact of change adaptation.

We found that only six studies used a specific model or theory to understand the mechanism of change that could guide leadership practices. Participants’ reactions to new approaches may be an important factor in predicting how a new intervention will be implemented into clinical practice. Therefore, stronger effort should be put to better understanding the use of evidence, how participants’ reactions and emotions or practice changes could be predicted or supported using appropriate models or theories, and how using these models are linked with leadership outcomes. In this task, nurse leaders have an important role. At the same time, more responsibilities in developing health services have been put on the shoulders of nurse leaders who may already be suffering under pressure and increased burden at work. Working in a leadership position may also lead to role conflict. A study by Lalleman et al. [ 62 ] found that nurses were used to helping other people, often in ad hoc situations. The helping attitude of nurses combined with structured managerial role may cause dilemmas, which may lead to stress. Many nurse leaders opt to leave their positions less than 5 years [ 63 ].To better fulfill the requirements of health services in the future, the role of nurse leaders in evidence-based leadership needs to be developed further to avoid ethical and practical dilemmas in their leadership practices.

It is worth noting that the perceived and measured effects did not offer strong support to each other but rather opened a new venue to understand the evidence-based leadership. Specifically, the perceived effects did not support to measured effects (competence, ability to understand patients’ needs, use of resources, team effort, and specific clinical outcomes) while the measured effects could not support to perceived effects (nurse’s performance satisfaction, changes in practices, and clinical outcomes satisfaction). These findings may indicate that different outcomes appear if the effects of evidence-based leadership are looked at using different methodological approach. Future study is encouraged using well-designed study method including mixed-method study to examine the consistency between perceived and measured effects of evidence-based leadership in health care.

There is a potential in nursing to support change by demonstrating conceptual and operational commitment to research-based practices [ 64 ]. Nurse leaders are well positioned to influence and lead professional governance, quality improvement, service transformation, change and shared governance [ 65 ]. In this task, evidence-based leadership could be a key in solving deficiencies in the quality, safety of care [ 14 ] and inefficiencies in healthcare delivery [ 12 , 13 ]. As WHO has revealed, there are about 28 million nurses worldwide, and the demand of nurses will put nurse resources into the specific spotlight [ 1 ]. Indeed, evidence could be used to find solutions for how to solve economic deficits or other problems using leadership skills. This is important as, when nurses are able to show leadership and control in their own work, they are less likely to leave their jobs [ 66 ]. On the other hand, based on our discussions with stakeholders, nurse leaders are not used to using evidence in their own work. Further, evidence-based leadership is not possible if nurse leaders do not have access to a relevant, robust body of evidence, adequate funding, resources, and organizational support, and evidence-informed decision making may only offer short-term solutions [ 55 ]. We still believe that implementing evidence-based strategies into the work of nurse leaders may create opportunities to protect this critical workforce from burnout or leaving the field [ 67 ]. However, the role of the evidence-based approach for nurse leaders in solving these problems is still a key question.


This study aimed to use a broad search strategy to ensure a comprehensive review but, nevertheless, limitations exist: we may have missed studies not included in the major international databases. To keep search results manageable, we did not use specific databases to systematically search grey literature although it is a rich source of evidence used in systematic reviews and meta-analysis [ 68 ]. We still included published conference abstract/proceedings, which appeared in our scientific databases. It has been stated that conference abstracts and proceedings with empirical study results make up a great part of studies cited in systematic reviews [ 69 ]. At the same time, a limited space reserved for published conference publications can lead to methodological issues reducing the validity of the review results [ 68 ]. We also found that the great number of studies were carried out in western countries, restricting the generalizability of the results outside of English language countries. The study interventions and outcomes were too different across studies to be meaningfully pooled using statistical methods. Thus, our narrative synthesis could hypothetically be biased. To increase transparency of the data and all decisions made, the data, its categorization and conclusions are based on original studies and presented in separate tables and can be found in Additional files. Regarding a methodological approach [ 34 ], we used a mixed methods systematic review, with the core intention of combining quantitative and qualitative data from primary studies. The aim was to create a breadth and depth of understanding that could confirm to or dispute evidence and ultimately answer the review question posed [ 34 , 70 ]. Although the method is gaining traction due to its usefulness and practicality, guidance in combining quantitative and qualitative data in mixed methods systematic reviews is still limited at the theoretical stage [ 40 ]. As an outcome, it could be argued that other methodologies, for example, an integrative review, could have been used in our review to combine diverse methodologies [ 71 ]. We still believe that the results of this mixed method review may have an added value when compared with previous systematic reviews concerning leadership and an evidence-based approach.

Our mixed methods review fills the gap regarding how nurse leaders themselves use evidence to guide their leadership role and what the measured and perceived impact of evidence-based leadership is in nursing. Although the scarcity of controlled studies on this topic is concerning, the available research data suggest that evidence-based leadership intervention can improve nurse performance, organizational outcomes, and patient outcomes. Leadership problems are also well recognized in healthcare settings. More knowledge and a deeper understanding of the role of nurse leaders, and how they can use evidence in their own managerial leadership decisions, is still needed. Despite the limited number of studies, we assume that this narrative synthesis can provide a good foundation for how to develop evidence-based leadership in the future.


Based on our review results, several implications can be recommended. First, the future of nursing success depends on knowledgeable, capable, and strong leaders. Therefore, nurse leaders worldwide need to be educated about the best ways to manage challenging situations in healthcare contexts using an evidence-based approach in their decisions. This recommendation was also proposed by nurses and nurse leaders during our discussion meeting with stakeholders.

Second, curriculums in educational organizations and on-the-job training for nurse leaders should be updated to support general understanding how to use evidence in leadership decisions. And third, patients and family members should be more involved in the evidence-based approach. It is therefore important that nurse leaders learn how patients’ and family members’ views as stakeholders are better considered as part of the evidence-based leadership approach.

Future studies should be prioritized as follows: establishment of clear parameters for what constitutes and measures evidence-based leadership; use of theories or models in research to inform mechanisms how to effectively change the practice; conducting robust effectiveness studies using trial designs to evaluate the impact of evidence-based leadership; studying the role of patient and family members in improving the quality of clinical care; and investigating the financial impact of the use of evidence-based leadership approach within respective healthcare systems.

Data availability

The authors obtained all data for this review from published manuscripts.

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We want to thank the funding bodies, the Finnish National Agency of Education, Asia Programme, the Department of Nursing Science at the University of Turku, and Xiangya School of Nursing at the Central South University. We also would like to thank the nurses and nurse leaders for their valuable opinions on the topic.

The work was supported by the Finnish National Agency of Education, Asia Programme (grant number 26/270/2020) and the University of Turku (internal fund 26003424). The funders had no role in the study design and will not have any role during its execution, analysis, interpretation of the data, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

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Department of Nursing Science, University of Turku, Turku, FI-20014, Finland

Maritta Välimäki, Tella Lantta, Kirsi Hipp & Jaakko Varpula

School of Public Health, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, FI-00014, Finland

Maritta Välimäki

Xiangya Nursing, School of Central South University, Changsha, 410013, China

Shuang Hu, Jiarui Chen, Yao Tang, Wenjun Chen & Xianhong Li

School of Health and Social Services, Häme University of Applied Sciences, Hämeenlinna, Finland

Hunan Cancer Hospital, Changsha, 410008, China

Gaoming Liu

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Study design: MV, XL. Literature search and study selection: MV, KH, TL, WC, XL. Quality assessment: YT, SH, XL. Data extraction: JC, MV, JV, WC, YT, SH, GL. Analysis and interpretation: MV, SH. Manuscript writing: MV. Critical revisions for important intellectual content: MV, XL. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Xianhong Li .

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Differences between the original protocol

We modified criteria for the included studies: we included published conference abstracts/proceedings, which form a relatively broad knowledge base in scientific knowledge. We originally planned to conduct a survey with open-ended questions followed by a face-to-face meeting to discuss the preliminary results of the review. However, to avoid extra burden in nurses due to COVID-19, we decided to limit the validation process to the online discussion only.

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Välimäki, M., Hu, S., Lantta, T. et al. The impact of evidence-based nursing leadership in healthcare settings: a mixed methods systematic review. BMC Nurs 23 , 452 (2024).

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