Relationship between Supportive Supervision and Empathic Behavior among Public Healthcare Professionals The Mediating Role of Occupational Self-Efficacy

Main Article Content

Henry Samuel Edosomwan
Tochukwu Matthew Oguegbe
Chiyem Lucky Nwanzu
Chiamaka O. Joe-Akunne


Purpose: The study explored the relationship between supportive supervision and empathic behavior and the indirect effect of occupational self-efficacy (OSE) among healthcare professionals in public hospitals in Delta State, Nigeria.

Design/Methodology: The study is a quantitative cross-sectional survey, and the correlational design was adopted. Through convenience and systematic sampling, data were obtained from 127 healthcare professionals (doctors and nurses) from public hospitals. The sample consisted of 127 healthcare professionals with a mean age of 33.91 (SD, 5.64). Regression analysis via Model 4 of Hayes' PROCESS Macro was used to analyze the direct and indirect effect model with the help of the IBM-SPSS version 23.

Findings: The study's findings indicated that supportive supervision and OSE positively and significantly predicted empathic behavior among healthcare professionals. The results further indicated that OSE mediated the relationship between supportive supervision and empathic behavior.

Practical Implications: Based on the research findings, it is recommended that public healthcare administrators and managers should ensure that employees who handle direct patient care in public hospitals receive enough training in enhancing their skills, professional development and provided with enough supportive supervision in the workplace to foster empathic concern for their patients.

Originality/Value: The research findings enhance and add new knowledge to the empathic behavior literature by investigating supportive supervision and OSE as predictors and checking for the mediating role of OSE.


Metrics Loading ...

Article Details

Edosomwan, H. S., Oguegbe, T. M., Nwanzu, C. L., & Joe-Akunne, C. O. (2021). Relationship between Supportive Supervision and Empathic Behavior among Public Healthcare Professionals: The Mediating Role of Occupational Self-Efficacy. SEISENSE Business Review, 1(3), 26–40.

Copyright (c) 2021 Henry Samuel Edosomwan, Tochukwu Matthew Oguegbe, Chiyem Lucky Nwanzu, Chiamaka O. Joe-Akunne

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Abiddin, N. Z. (2008). Exploring clinical supervision to facilitate the creative process of supervision. Journal of International Social Research, 1, 14-33.

Adebayo, C. T. (2020). Physician-patient interactions in Nigeria: A critical-cultural Perspective on the role of power. Journal of Intercultural Communication Research, 50(1), 21–40. DOI:

Adepoju, O. O., Opafunso, Z., & Ajayi, M. (2018). Primary health care in south west Nigeria: Evaluating service quality and patients’ satisfaction. African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development, 10(1), 13-19. DOI:

Avortri, G. S., Nabukalu, J. B., & Nabyonga-Orem, J. (2019). Supportive supervision to improve service delivery in low-income countries: Is there a conceptual problem or a service problem? BMJ Global Health, 4, Article e001151. DOI:

Bagozzi, R. P., Yi, Y., & Phillips, L. W. (1991). Assessing construct validity in organizational research. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36(3), 421-458. DOI:

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioural change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191-215. DOI:

Banerjee, R. (2016). Occupational self-efficacy and job satisfaction: Study of academicians. International Journal of Engineering and Management Research, 6(5), 1-10.

Blau, P. (1964). Exchange and power in social life. John Wiley & Sons.

Bogiatzaki, V., Frengidou, E., Savakis, E., Trigoni, M., Galanis, M., & Anahnostopoulos, F. (2019). Empathy and burnout in healthcare professionals in public hospitals in Greece. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 12(2), 611-626.

Cetin, F., & Askun, D. (2018). Effect of occupational self-efficacy and work performance through intrinsic work motivation. Management Research Review, 41(2), 186-201. DOI:

Davies, M (2014). Empathetic nursing: Going the extra mile. Practical Nursing, 1425(9), 198-202. DOI:

Davis, M. (1983). Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence of a multidimensional approach. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 44, 113‐126. DOI:

Dean, S. (2017, January 13). Are our busy doctors and nurses losing empathy for patients?

Deshpande, A., Levy, J., & Hastings, M.B. (2015). Gender transformative supportive supervision: A theoretical framework. In: Management Science for Health Leadership, Management and Government Project. Washington DC

Dewberry, C. (2004). Statistical methods for organizational research: theory and practice. Routledge. DOI:

Di Lillo, M., Cicchetti, A., Lo Scalzo, A., Taroni, F., & Hojat, M. (2009). The Jefferson scale of physician empathy: preliminary psychometric and group comparisons in Italian physician. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 89(4), 1198-1202. DOI:

Dor, A., Eizenberg, M. M., & Halperin, Ofra (2019). Hospital nurses in comparison to community nurses: Motivation, empathy, and the mediating role of burnout. Canadian Journal of Nursing Research, 51(2), 72-83. DOI:

Duarte, J., Pinto-Gouveia, J., & Cruz, B. (2016). Relationship between nurses’ empathy, self-compassion and dimensions of professional quality of life: A cross-sectional study. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 60, 1-11. DOI:

Eisenberger, R., Huntington, R., Hutchison, S., & Sowa, D. (1986). Perceived organizational support. Journal of Applied Psychology, 71(3), 500–507. DOI:

Elayyan, M.,Rankin, J., & Chaarani, M. W. (2018). Factors affecting empathetic patient care behaviour among medical doctors and nurses: An integrative literature review. East Mediterranean Health Journal, 24(3), 311-318. DOI:

Ferri, P., Guerra, E., Marcheselli, L., Cunico, L., & Di Lorenzo, R. (2015). Empathy and burnout: An analytic cross-sectional study among nurses and nursing students. Acta Biomedica for Health Professional, 86(2), 104-115.

Field, A. (2018). Discovering statistics using IBM SPSS (5th ed.). SAGE Publications.

Frimpong, J. A, Helleringer, S., Awoonor-Williams, J. K., Yeji, F., & Phillips, J. F. (2011). Does supervision improve health workers productivity? Evidence from the upper east region of Ghana. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 16(10), 1225-1233. DOI:

Garrison, k., Caiola, N., & Sullivan R. (2004). Supervising health care services: Improving the performance of people. Washington DC, JHPIEGO.

Halpern, J. (2003). What is clinical empathy? Journal of General internal medicine, 18, 670-674. DOI:

Hancock, G.R., & Mueller, R.O. (2010). The reviewer’s guide to quantitative methods in the social sciences; Routledge. DOI:

Hayes, A. (2013). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis. New York: Guilford Press.

Hill, Z., Dumbaugh, M., Benton, L., Kallander, K., Strachan, D., ten Asbroek, A., Tibenderna, J., Kirkwood, B., & Meek, S. (2014). Supervising community health workers in low-income countries-a review of impact and implementation issues. Global Health Action, 8(7), Article 24085. DOI:

Hojat, M. (2016). Empathy in health profession education and patient care. Springer. DOI:

Hojat, M., Gonnella, J. S., Magione, S., Nasca, T. J., & Magee, M. (2003). Physician empathy in medical education and practice: Experience with the Jefferson scale of physician empathy. Seminars in Integrative Medicine, 1(1), 25-41. DOI:

Hojat, M., Gonnella, J. S., Nasca, T. J., Magione, S., Veloksi, J. J., & Magee, M. (2002). The Jefferson scale of physician empathy: further psychometric data and differences by gender and specialty at item level. Academic Medicine: Journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges, 77(10), 58-60. DOI:

Howitt, D., & Cramer, D. (2017). Understanding statistics in psychology with SPSS. Pearson Education.

Iro-Idoro, B. C., & Ajibare, Z. O. (2017). Emotional intelligence as a strategy for enhancing nurse’s work attitude in Ogun State, Nigeria. Journal of Economics, Business and Management, 5(1), 50-53. DOI:

Iyeke, P. (2020). Job satisfaction as correlates of empathic behaviour among health care providers towards their patients. International Journal of Healthcare, 7(1), 29-36. DOI:

Kappagoda, S. (2018). Self-efficacy, task performance and contextual performance: A Sri Lankan experience. Journal of Human and Sustainability Studies, 6, 161-170. DOI:

Kerasidou, A., & Horn, R. (2016). Making space for empathy: Supporting doctors in the emotional labour of clinical care. BMC Medical Ethics, 17(1), 1-5. DOI:

Kerasidou, A., & Horn, R. (2018). Empathy in healthcare: The limit and scope of empathy in public and private systems. In T, Feiler, J. Hordern & A, Papanikitas (Eds.), Marketization, ethics and healthcare: Policy, practice and moral formation. Key themes in health and society (pp. 163-173). Routledge. DOI:

Kilminster, S., Cottrell, D., Grant, J., & Jolly, B. (2007). AMEE guide No. 27: Effective educational and clinical supervision. Medical Teacher, 29, 2-19. DOI:

Kok, M. C., Vallieres, F., Tulloch, O., Kumar, M. B., Kea, A. Z., Karuga, R., Ndima, S. D., Chikaphupha, K., Theobald, S., & Taegtmeyer, M. (2018). Does supportive supervision enhance community health worker motivation? A mixed method study in four African countries. Health Policy and Planning, 33(9), 988-998. DOI:

Kong, L., Li, W., Wang, H., Xu, N., Xu, Q., Sun, L., Chen, H., Liu, J., Bi, Y., & Szto, P. (2020). The relationship between effort–reward imbalance and empathy among clinical nurses: A cross-sectional online survey. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29(17–18), 3363–3372. DOI:

Leana, C., Meuris, J., & Lambertson, C. (2017). More than a feeling: The role of empathic care in promoting patient safety and worker attachment in healthcare. ILR Review, 1-32. DOI:

Madede, T., Sidat, M., McAuliffe, E., Patricio, R., Uduma, O., Galligan, M., Bradley, S., & Cambe, I. (2017). The impact of supportive supervision intervention on health workers in Niassa, Mozambique: a cluster-controlled trial. Human Resources for Health, 15(1), Article 058. DOI:

Marquerz, L., & Kean, L. (2002, July 16). Making supervision supportive and sustainable: New approach to old problems.

McGilton, K. S. (2010). Development and psychometric testing of the supportive supervision scale. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 42(2), 223-232. DOI:

Mensah, A. O., & Lebbaeus, A. (2013). The influence of employees’ self-efficacy on their quality of life: The case of cape coast Ghana. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 4(2), 195-205.

Mirjana, P. B., Ana, A., & Marjana, M.-S. (2018). Examining determinants of entrepreneurial intentions in Slovenia: Applying the theory of planned behavior and an innovative cognitive style. Economic research-Ekonomska istraživanja, 31(1), 1453-1471. DOI:

Mohammadzadeh, M. S., Alishani, A. G., Beytali, M. K. (2018). The mediating role of occupational self-efficacy in the relationship between professional development and job commitment and satisfaction among sport and the youth department’s staff. Journal of Ergonomics, 6(1), 30-39. DOI:

Mousavi, S. H, Yarmohammadi, S., Nosrat, A. B., & Tarasi, Z. (2012). The relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction of physical education teachers. Annals of Biological Research, 3(2), 780-788.

Nunes, P., William, S., Sa, B., & Stevenson, K. (2010). A study of empathy decline in students from five health disciplines during their first year of training. International Journal of Medical Education, 2, 12-17. DOI:

Nwanzu, C. L., & Babalola, S. S. (2021). Effect of workplace spirituality on perceived organizational support and job performance among university administrative employees. Contemporary Management Research, 17(2), 127-155. DOI:

Odusanya, O. O., Akinyinka, R. M., Oluwole, O. E., Odugbemi, A. B., Bakare, Q. O., & Adeniran, A. (2018). How does the public perceive health workers in Lagos? A comparison of health workers in public and private health facilities. Nigerian Postgraduate Medical Journal, 25, 177-185. DOI:

Onuoha, U. C., & Idemudia, S. E. (2019). Do gender, job status and education influence empathy? A quantitative study of professional nurses in the Nigerian public hospitals. Gender and Behaviour, 17(2), 13227-13236.

Osim, H. J., Essien, A. E., Okegbe, J., & Udofia, O. (2019). The Jefferson scale of physician empathy: A preliminary study of validity and reliability among physicians in Nigeria tertiary hospital. Acta Medica International, 6, 22-7. DOI:

Perez-fuentes, M., Molero, M., Del_pino, R., & Gazquez, J. J. (2019). Emotional intelligence, self-efficacy and empathy as predictors as overall self-esteem in nursing by years of experience. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 2035. DOI:

Prahara, S. A., & Idriani, N. (2019). Employees: Occupational self-efficacy and work stress. Journal of Psychology and Instruction, 3(3), 91-96.

Qureshi, M. A., Bin Ab Hamid, K., Jeihoony, P., Ali, R., Brohi, N. A., Magsi, R., & Shah, S. M. M. (2018). Is supervisor support matter in job satisfaction? A moderating role of fairness perception among nurses in Pakistan. Academy of Strategic Management Journal, 17(6), 1-10.

Rashid, A., Zeb, M. A., Rashid, A., Anwar, S., Joaquim, F., & Halim, Z. (2020). Conceptualization of smartphone usage and feature preferences among various demographics. Cluster Computing, 23(3), 1855–1873. DOI:

Rathi, N., & Rastogi, R. (2009). Assessing the relationship between emotional intelligence, occupational self-efficacy and organizational commitment. Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology, 35, 93-102.

Rigotti, T., Schyns, B., & Mohr, G. (2008). A short version of the occupational self-efficacy scale: Structural and construct validity across five countries. Journal of Career Assessment, 16(2), 238-255. DOI:

Rodríguez-Ardura, I., & Meseguer-Artola, A. (2020). How to prevent, detect and control common method variance in electronic commerce research. Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research, 15(2), 1-5. DOI:

Scott, H. (2011). Empathy in the healthcare setting. [Doctoral dissertation, University of London]. Goldsmiths Research.

Snowdon, D. A., Leggat, S. G., & Taylor, N. F. (2017). Does clinical supervision of healthcare professionals improve effectiveness of care and patients experience? A systematic review. BMC Health Services Research, 17, Article 786. DOI:

Stratta, E. C., Riding, D. M., & Baker, P. (2016). Ethical erosion in newly qualified doctors: perception of empathy decline. International Journal of Medical Education, 7, 286-292. DOI:

Talebian, F., Yaghoubi, T., & Marzband, R. (2021). Factors associated with moral distress and caring behavior of nurses working in emergency departments of Mazandaran University of medical sciences during COVID-19 pandemic. Pakistan Journal of Medical and Health Sciences, 15(5), 1545–1550. DOI:

Tehseen, S., Ramayah, T., & Sajilan, S. (2017). Testing and controlling for common method variance: A review of available methods. Journal of Management Sciences, 4(2), 142-168. DOI:

Utami, H. N., & Sandra, S. H. (2020). The effect of self-efficacy and hope on occupational health behaviour in east java of Indonesia. International Journal of Scientific and Technology Research, 9(2), 3571-3575.

Van Hootegem, A., Sverke, M., & De Witte, H. (2021). Does occupational self-efficacy mediate the relationship between job insecurity and work-related learning? A latent growth modelling approach. Work and Stress. DOI:

Ward, J., Schaal, M., Sullivan, J., Bowen, M., Erdmann, J. & Hojat, M. (2009). Reliability and validity of the Jefferson Scale of Empathy in undergraduate nursing students. Journal of Nursing Measurement, 17(1), 73-88. DOI:

Wilkinson, H., Whittington, R., Perry, L., & Eames, C. (2017). Examining the relationship between burnout and empathy in healthcare professionals: A systematic review. Burnout Research, 6, 18-29. DOI:

Williams, B., Lau, R., Thornton, E., & Olney, L. S. (2017). The relationship between empathy and burnout-lesson for paramedics: A scoping review. Psychology Research and Behaviour Management, 10, 329-337. DOI:

Wilson, S. E., Prescott, J., & Becket, G. (2012). Empathy levels in first- and third-year students in health and non-health disciplines. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 76(2), 1 -4. DOI:

World Health Organization (2018, August, 6). WHO guidelines on health policy and system support to optimize community health care worker programmes. DOI:

Yu, J., & Kurk, M. (2009). Evaluation of empathy measurement tools in nursing: Systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 65(9), 1790-1806. DOI:

Zhu, B., Chen, C.-R., Shi, Z. –Y., Liang, H. –X., & Liu, B. (2016). Mediating effect of self-efficacy in relationship between emotional intelligence and clinical communication competency of nurses. International Journal of Nursing Sciences, 3, 162-168. DOI: