Date of Award

Spring 1985

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




There has been considerable concern voiced by nursing leaders concerning the potentially debilitating effects of role conflict upon Clinical Nurse Specialists performance. However, few researchers have actually attempted to examine nursing performance in terms of the interaction between both personal and organizational factors. This study was an attempt to examine such relationships in an explanatory model of CNS professional performance. Specifically, a block of achievement-related factors was examined in relationship to organizational role conflict and professional performance. Organizational role conflict was treated as both a predictor of performance and an outcome of the achievement factors. Data were analyzed using multiple correlation analysis, with causal modeling and path analysis. Also, factor analysis of the new Fear of Success in Nursing Scale was performed. The subjects were a national sample of 404 Clinical Nurse Specialists. Subjects were mailed a survey questionnaire containing a demographic section, two open-ended questions for post hoc analysis purposes, and five previously tested instruments addressing the study variables. Path analysis of the causal model tested the relationships among need for achievement, need for affiliation, fear of success in nursing, organizational role conflict, and professional performance. Results revealed that organizational role conflict was not significantly related to CNS professional performance. Data did suggest that role overload may be salient in this occupational group. Multiple regression, in combination with path analysis, revealed (a) no indirect effects were attributable to achievement factors, through organizational role conflict, (b) need for affiliation and organizational role conflict contributed little to the fully specified equation, and (c) high need for achievement, along with low fear of success in nursing, "explained" 25.7% of the variance in professional performance. Factor analysis confirmed two of the four original Fear of Success in Nursing factors. Finally, the revised professional performance scale was found to have promise in future study of CNS performance. Results were interpreted in the context of the "ability/adaptability'' phenomenon (Schuler, 1975), expectancy-value theory (Atkinson, 1978), and fear of success as an underlying personality construct (Canavan-Gumpert et al., 1978).



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