Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dirk D. Steiner


The present study examined the relationships between supervisor, subordinate, and contextual variables and corrective action severity. Hypotheses were tested using questionnaire data from 103 nursing supervisors in 15 hospitals. Supervisors were asked to describe an incident of subordinate poor performance, indicate the corrective action used, then complete questions measuring incident severity, attributions, initiating structure and consideration leader styles, intent of the supervisor, effectiveness ratings of the corrective action, influence of contextual variables, and subordinate likableness. Analyses confirmed that severity of the incident of poor performance, supervisor attributions, and supervisor intent were related to corrective action severity. Also, corrective actions rated as more effective were used more frequently. Additional results indicated that the contextual variables disciplinary policy and upper management influence were significantly related to corrective action severity. Exploratory analyses investigated that effects of the attributional measures of effort, ability, task difficulty, and luck. Results revealed that initiating structure scores moderated the relationships between both ability attributions and corrective action severity and luck attributions and corrective action severity, while disciplinary policy influence moderated the relationship between ability attributions and corrective action severity. Finally, implications of the study for organizations and suggestions for future research are discussed.