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Relationship Between Workplace Spirituality and Organizational

Citizenship Behavior Among Nurses Through Mediation of
Affective Organizational Commitment
Farahnaz Kazemipour, BS1 , Salmiah Mohamad Amin, PhD2 , & Bahram Pourseidi, MD3
1 Doctoral Student in Management, Faculty of Management and Human Resource Development, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, JB, Malaysia
2 Associate Professor, Faculty of Management and Human Resource Development, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Skudai, JB, Malaysia
3 Associate Professor Department of surgery, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran

Key words Abstract

Workplace spirituality, hospital nurses,
organizational citizenship behavior, affective Purpose: This study aims to investigate the relationships between workplace
organizational commitment spirituality, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), and affective organiza-
tional commitment among nurses, and whether affective commitment medi-
Correspondence ates the relationship between workplace spirituality and OCB.
Mrs. Farahnaz Kazemipour, Faculty of
Methods: In the present correlational study, a cross-sectional design was em-
Management and Human Resource
ployed, and data were collected using a questionnaire-based survey. Based on
Development, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia,
UTM, 81310, Skudai, JB, Malaysia. E-mail: the random sampling, 305 nurses were chosen and questionnaires were dis- tributed among respondents in four public and general hospitals located in
Kerman, Iran. To analyze the data descriptive statistics, Pearson coefficient,
Accepted May 28, 2012 simple and multiple regression, and path analyses were also conducted.
Findings: Workplace spirituality has a positive influence on nurses OCB and
doi: 10.1111/j.1547-5069.2012.01456.x affective commitment. Workplace spirituality explained 16% of the variation
in OCB, while it explained 35% of the variation in affective commitment
among nurses. Moreover, affective organizational commitment mediated the
impact of workplace spirituality on OCB.
Conclusions: Workplace spirituality predicts nurses OCB and affective orga-
nizational commitment. It emphasizes benefits from the new perspective of
workplace spirituality, particularly among nurses who need to be motivated in
their work.
Clinical Relevance: This study illustrates that there are potential benefits
owing to the positive influence of workplace spirituality on OCB and affec-
tive commitment among nurses. Managers of nursing services should consider
workplace spirituality and its positive influence on nurses outcomes in order
to improve their performance and, subsequently, the healthcare system.

As the front line of healthcare providers, nurses have 2011). Most management systems encourage some ex-
the most frequent interactions with patients. The value tra behavior that is called organizational citizenship be-
of services that major healthcare organizations and hos- havior (OCB) to increase organizational effectiveness
pitals hope to deliver to patients is transmitted through (Organ, Podsakoff, & MacKenzie, 2006). Since nurses
their nurses attitudes and behaviors (Altuntas & Baykal, positive behaviors strongly influence respective patient
2010). In an ideal management system, it is nearly satisfaction, which significantly increases the quality of
impossible to attain the high level of organizational healthcare services (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006), it is
effectiveness needed for employees to effectively per- useful to investigate the concept of OCB in the hospi-
form more than just their assigned duties (Tsai & Wu, tals. Meanwhile, workplace spirituality values have been

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Kazemipour et al. Workplace Spirituality and OCB

proposed as a new perspective to organizational success (Podsakoff, Whiting, & Podsakoff, 2009). Most research
and performance. This new perspective attracts employ- on OCB, however, has been focused on its potential
ees attempts to find ultimate meaning and purpose in predictors; innumerable quests have motivated many
their work and strengthen their interconnectedness. It researchers to look for new and relevant organiza-
also aims to align employees core beliefs and their orga- tional perspectives to improve employees performance
nizational values (Kinjerski & Skrypnek, 2004; Mitroff & (Podsakoff et al., 2009).
Denton, 1999). This perspective as a new concept pre- According to Milliman, Czaplewski, and Ferguson
dicts greater OCB, which has had a significant influence (2003), workplace spirituality involves the effort to find
on organizational performance and, subsequently, orga- ones ultimate purpose in life, to develop a strong con-
nizational effectiveness (Pawar, 2009b). nection to coworkers and other people associated with
Affective organizational commitment, which is defined work, and to have consistency (or alignment) between
as employees emotional attachment to their organiza- ones core beliefs and the values of their organization
tions, has been recognized as an effective antecedent of (p. 427). Nurses spend more time with patients, which
OCB in their organizations (Meyer, Stanley, Herscov- require them to be empathetic and compassionate and
itch, & Topolnytsky, 2002). Increased knowledge of the to have good emotional relationships with them (Carroll,
positive links of workplace spirituality to affective organi- 2001). Their involvement with patients leads nurses to
zational commitment leads organizations to be more suc- have more opportunities to provide spiritual care and
cessful and effective. In this study, workplace spirituality to cultivate emotional relationships during patients
has been considered as a new concept in organizational recovery (Komala & Ganesh, 2007). Indeed, there is a
behavior to increase nurses OCB and affective commit- close relationship between the nature of spirituality and
ment. Therefore, this studys first aim was to explore the healthcare professions, particularly among nurses.
relationships between workplace spirituality, OCB, and Researchers who studied the benefits of workplace
affective commitment among nurses. The other aim was spirituality on organizational outcome have indicated
to evaluate the association between workplace spiritual- that spirituality improves human wholeness, which
ity and OCB as a positive behavioral outcome, both di- leads to happiness and satisfaction among employees
rectly and indirectly, with affective commitment as one (Krishnakumar & Neck, 2002). Thus, workplace spiritu-
of the most important positive employee attitudes. ality is seen as an important factor that encourages em-
ployees happiness (Jurkiewicz & Giacalone, 2004). It has
been suggested that happy employees are more helpful
Relationships Among Workplace and respectful of others and tend to better exemplify OCB
Spirituality, Organizational Citizenship (Avey, Wernsing, & Luthans, 2008; Miles, Borman, Spec-
tor, & Fox, 2002). In addition, Teppers (2003) conceptual
Behavior, and Affective Organizational
framework suggests that spiritual employees, who derive
greater meaning and purpose from their experiences
Nurses are the largest group of professionals in hospi- at work, perform frequent acts of OCB. Connectedness
tals, and they are directly involved in patients care. Since to one other as one of the other aspects of spirituality
customer satisfaction hinges on the employees ability to increases workers sensitivity to focus on the needs of
extend the quality of services and performance (Heskett, others and ultimately intensifies helping behaviors. Em-
Jones, Loveman, Sasser, & Schlesinger, 1994), the quality ployees who bring their entire selves (physical, mental,
of hospital services is also strongly dependent on nurses emotional, and spiritual) to the workplace have a strong
performance, which significantly influences patient sat- interaction with co-workers. They experience a deep
isfaction. (Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006). Because nurses and strong alignment between their personal goals and
quality of service is dependent on their performance organizational values, which leads them to regard their
(Hassmiller & Cozine, 2006), it is useful for hospital work as more than just a job. In turn, this leads them
managers to attract and retain employees who are to perform extra role behaviors, including acts of OCB
competent in exhibiting these behaviors (Bolon, 1997). (Kolodinsky, Giacalone, & Jurkiewicz, 2008; Milliman
OCB is defined as individual behavior that is dis- et al., 2003; Pawar, 2009b; Rego & Cunha, 2008).
cretionary, not directly or explicitly recognized by the Organizational commitment is generally defined as
formal reward system and that in the aggregate promotes a psychological relationship between the organization
the effective functioning of the organization (Organ, and its employees that decreases turnover in the or-
1988, p. 4). The research shows that successful orga- ganization (Allen & Meyer, 1990; Meyer & Allen,
nizations benefit from employees who do more than 1991). According to Allen and Meyer (1991), affective
their daily dutiesthey perform beyond expedition commitment refers to identification with, involvement

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in, and emotional attachment to the organization located in Kerman, the center of the widest province in
(p. 67). Affective commitment, among all forms of southeastern Iran, numbering around 1,000 nurses. From
commitments, has been recognized to have a strong this total population, random sampling was employed.
correlation with organization-relevant outcomes (e.g., According to the sampling table provided by Krejcie &
performance and OCB) and employee-relevant outcomes Morgan (1970), with a confidence level of 95% and mar-
(e.g., stress and work-family conflict; Meyer et al., 2002). gin of error of 5%, the sample size of nurses was 280.
It has also been one of the attitudinal outcome factors Considering the possibility of losing participants, 10% of
in most empirical studies of workplace spirituality (e.g., the sample size was added. The number of nurses for each
Kinjerski & Skrypnek, 2008; Marschke, 2008; Milliman hospital was determined based on stratified sampling.
et al., 2003; Nur & Organ, 2006; Rego & Cunha, 2008;
Stevison, 2008). Affective commitment is a strong mo-
Data Collection
tivation for explaining the behavior of voluntarily help-
ing co-workers or performing other acts of OCB (Meyer To administer the questionnaires to the targeted re-
et al., 2002). Moreover, workplace spirituality leads em- spondents, the researcher distributed the research pack-
ployees to have a higher affective commitment and to age, which included the questionnaires and information
exhibit more positive behaviors of OCB (Rego & Cunha, letter. The informational letter described the purpose of
2008). Employees who find their work more interesting the study, the voluntary nature of respondents, and the
and show greater integrity, cooperation, and flexibility assurance of confidentiality and anonymity of the data. In
toward organizational change demonstrate more affec- May 2011, a total of 310 questionnaires were distributed
tive commitment to their organizations (Milliman et al., among nurses, out of which 305 were returned. All of
2003). them were completed and evaluated statistically. Thus,
Based on the literature cited in the preceding para- the response rate was very high (98.3%).
graphs, it is concluded that workplace spirituality can
be applied to increase affective commitment and OCB
among nurses. Based on this evidence, which suggests
that workplace spirituality is positively related to nurses Workplace spirituality was measured using adapted
OCB (Hypothesis 1), we further posit that workplace spir- three-dimensional scales with 21 items developed by
ituality is positively related to nurses affective commit- Milliman et al. (2003). This scale was based on the work
ment (Hypothesis 2), affective commitment is positively of Ashmos and Duchon (2000), which was initially drawn
related to nurses OCB (Hypothesis 3), and affective com- from the healthcare sector. Millimans workplace spiri-
mitment mediates the relationship between workplace tuality scale, the first and an important operationaliza-
spirituality and OCB among nurses (Hypothesis 4). Inde- tion of workplace spirituality concept, has been utilized
pendent, dependent, and mediating variables of the study in other organizational outcome studies (Pawar, 2009a;
are shown in the Figure. Rego & Cunha, 2008). The three dimensions of work-
place spirituality include (a) meaningful work, with 6
items (e.g., enjoy work and work gives personal meaning
Methods and purpose); (b) sense of community, with seven items
Design (e.g., sense of connection with co-workers and employees
support each other; and (c) alignment with organization
This study was a descriptive correlational survey that values, with eight items (e.g., feel connected to organi-
utilized quantitative methodology to investigate the as- zations goals and identify with organizations mission).
sociations between workplace spirituality, OCB, and af- Milliman et al. (2003) reported that the reliability of the
fective organizational commitment. In addition to these workplace spirituality instrument for these three dimen-
direct associations, the indirect (mediating) effect of af- sions has a Cronbachs value ranging from 0.88 to 0.94.
fective commitment between workplace spirituality and OCB was measured using adapted five-dimensional
OCB was also tested. In this present cross-sectional study, scales (altruism, conscientiousness, courtesy, sportsman-
the questionnaire-based survey method was used for data ship, and civic virtue), with 22 items proposed by
collection. Podsakoff, MacKenzie, Moorman, and Fetter (1990), who
extended the work of Organ (1988) by developing a mea-
sure of OCB that consisted of subscales for each of these
Population and Sampling
five dimensions. Hoffman, Blair, Meriac, and Woehr
The targeted population was composed of all registered (2007) claimed, These OCB scales are among the most
nurses who worked at four public and general hospitals widely used in the OCB literature (p. 562). These scales

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Figure 1. The research theoretical framework.

included altruism and conscientiousness, each with five Kennys (1986) approaches were also used. In the first
items, while courtesy, sportsmanship, and civic virtue and second steps, the independent variable (workplace
each had four items. According to the meta-analysis find- spirituality) should be significantly correlated with the
ings of Hoffman et al. (2007), current operationaliza- dependent (OCB) and mediator (affective commitment)
tions of OCB are best viewed as indicators of a general variables. In the third step, the mediator (affective com-
OCB factor . . ., there is likely little to be gained through mitment) has to be correlated with the dependent vari-
the use of separate dimensional measures as opposed to able (OCB). In the fourth step, workplace spirituality as
an overall composite measure (p. 562). Therefore, this the independent variable must be correlated with OCB
study utilized the overall composite measures of OCB as the dependent variable when the affective commit-
in relation to the respected predictors. Podsakoff et al. ment (mediator variable) is also included in the regres-
(1990) reported that the reliability of the OCB instru- sion equation.
ment for these five scales has a Cronbachs value rang-
ing from 0.70 to 0.85.
Validity and Reliability
Affective organizational commitment was measured
using nine measurement items adopted from subdimen- In this study, the confirmatory factor analysis for as-
sions of the organizational commitment scale developed sessing the validity of the items workplace spirituality,
by Meyer and Allen (1997). They reported that the relia- OCB, and affective commitment indicated a good fit for
bility of affective commitment had a Cronbachs value all the scales. The Cronbachs coefficient was used for
of 0.85. testing reliability. The Cronbachs value for the work-
This study used a 5-point Likert-type scale, with the place spirituality scale ranged from 0.81 to 0.93, with the
response options ranging from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 overall value 0.95 (21 items); the Cronbachs value for
(strongly agree). the OCB scale ranged from 0.56 to 0.80, with the over-
all value 0.79 (22 items); and the Cronbachs value for
affective commitment was 0.72 (9 items). With the ex-
Data Analysis ception of awareness below 0.5, which is considered un-
acceptable (George & Mallery, 2003), all the reliabilities
All data were analyzed using the Statistical Package of
were well within the acceptance level.
Social Sciences software, version 16 (SPSS, Inc., Chicago,
IL, USA). Descriptive statistics were used to analyze de-
mographic variables as well as other variables. Pearsons Results
correlation analysis was run to test the correlations be-
Demographic Characteristics
tween all independent, dependent, and mediator vari-
ables. Three regression models were estimated in order to The majority of respondents were female (88.9%),
test the mediation variable (n = 305). Baron and Kennys and 67.9% of respondents ranged in age from 31
(1986) well-known path analysis procedure was used for to 50 years. Most of the participants (81.6%) were
testing mediating variables. The four steps of Baron and married. The greatest proportion of respondents had a

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Table 1. Respondent Demographics (N = 305) Table 2. Pearson Correlations for All the Variables

Characteristics of nurses n (%) OCB AOC WPS

Gender OCB 1
Female 271(88.9) AOC .363 1
Male 34(11.1) WPS .401 .593 1
Note. WPS = workplace spirituality; AOC = affective organizational com-
1924 27(8.9)
mitment; OCB = organizational citizenship behavior
2530 65(21.3)

Correlation is significant at the .01 level (two-tailed).
3140 140(45.9)
4150 67(22.0)
>50 6(2.0)
the positive effect of workplace spirituality on nurses af-
Marital status
fective commitment (r = .593, p < .001). This means that
Married 249(81.6)
Single 53(17.4) nurses who had spirituality in their workplace felt greater
Divorced 3(1.0) emotional attachment to their organization (Table 2).
Educational level To examine how much variation of nurses OCB and
Diploma 54(17.7) their affective organizational commitment may be ex-
Associate degree 16(5.2) plained by workplace spirituality, regression analyses
Bachelors 227(74.4)
were used. Findings indicated that workplace spiritu-
Masters 8(2.6)
ality explained 16% of the variation in OCB. In ad-
Job status
Full-time 198(64.9) dition, 35% of the variation in affective commitment
Part-time 62(20.3) could be explained by workplace spirituality (Tables 3
Temporary 45(14.8) and 4). This means that the influence of workplace
Years of experience spirituality on the variation of affective commitment is
15 59(19.3) more than twofold greater than the respective influence
610 50(16.4)
on OCB.
1115 69(22.6)
1620 74(24.3)
>20 53(17.4) Relationship Between Affective Organizational
Years of previous experience Commitment and Organizational Citizenship
0 118(38.7)
13 121(39.7)
46 32(10.5) Pearsons correlation analysis as shown in Table 2 in-
710 16(5.2) dicated that there is significant correlation in the positive
>10 18(5.9)
influence of affective commitment on nurses OCB (r =
.363, p < .001) (Hypothesis 3). It explains why nurses
who felt emotionally attached to their organization per-
bachelors degree (74.4%), and most were employed full- formed more acts of OCB. Regression analysis also re-
time (64.9%). Almost half (47%) of the respondents vealed that affective commitment could explain 13% of
nursing experience ranged from 11 to 30 years, and about the variation in OCB (Table 5).
40% of nurses had one to three previous nursing posi-
tions before working in these hospitals. The demograph-
Mediation Effect of Affective Organizational
ics are presented in Table 1.
Commitment on the Relationship Between
Workplace Spirituality and Organizational
Relationships Among Workplace Spirituality, Citizenship Behavior
Organizational Citizenship Behavior, and
To test the mediation effect, three regression equations
Affective Commitment
were performed. In the first equation, OCB was regressed
Results of Pearsons correlation analysis showed the on workplace spirituality (Table 6). Workplace spiritual-
following: Hypothesis 1: There is significant correlation in ity was significantly related to OCB (r = .401, p < .05).
the positive influence of workplace spirituality on nurses In the second equation, affective organizational
OCB (r = .401, p < .001). This means that nurses who commitment was regressed on workplace spirituality
had spirituality in their workplace performed more acts (Table 6). In this equation, workplace spirituality was
of OCB. Hypothesis 2: There is significant correlation in significantly affected (r = .593, p < .05) on affective

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Table 3. Results of Regressions of Workplace Spirituality on Organizational Citizenship Behavior

R R2 Adjusted R SE of the estimate F Significance

.401 .161 .158 7.166 58.121 .000

Model Unstandardized coefficients Standardized coefficients t Significance
B SE Beta (constant)
Workplace spirituality .241 .032 .401 7.624 .000

Note. Predictors: workplace spirituality; dependent variable: organizational citizenship behavior

Table 4. Results of Regressions of Workplace Spirituality on Affective Commitment

R R2 Adjusted R SE of the estimate F Significance

.593 .352 .350 4.258 164.65 .000

Model Unstandardized coefficients Standardized coefficients t Significance
B SE Beta (constant)
Workplace spirituality .241 .019 .593 12.832 .000

Note. Predictors: workplace spirituality; dependent variable: affective commitment

Table 5. Results of Regressions of Affective Commitment on Organizational Citizenship Behavior

R R2 Adjusted R SE of the estimate F Significance

.363 .132 .129 7.288 46.109 .000

Model Unstandardized coefficients Standardized coefficients t Significance
B SE Beta (constant)
Affective commitment .573 .079 .363 6.790 .000

Note. Predictors: affective commitment; dependent variable: organizational citizenship behavior

Table 6. Results of Multiple Regressions of Workplace Spirituality on Organizational Citizenship Behavior With Mediation Effect of Affective Commitment

1 2 3
OCB Affective commitment OCB
Dependent variable Beta t Sig Beta t Sig Beta t Sig

Independent: Workplace spirituality .401 7.624 .000 .593 12.832 .000 .286 4.438 .000
Mediator: Affective commitment .194 2.999 .003

Note. OCB = organizational citizenship behavior; Sig = significance

commitment. In the third equation, the mediator (affec- tween workplace spirituality and OCB (Hypothesis 4; see
tive commitment) was found to significantly influence Table 6).
OCB (r = .194, p < .05). It also indicated that the relation-
ship between workplace spirituality and OCB remained
significant by the inclusion of the affective commitment
in the third equation, and it was reduced (r = .401
to .286, p < .05). In addition, the beta value of workplace Based on the study literature, we supposed that work-
spirituality in the third equation diminished by 0.115 place spirituality is connected to OCB (Milliman et al.,
(.401.286), which revealed that the inclusion of affective 2003; Pawar, 2009b; Tepper, 2003), and the research
commitment in this equation reduced the effect of work- findings support this hypothesis and provides empirical
place spirituality to OCB. About one third (28.7%) of the evidence to the concept that workplace spirituality
effect of workplace spirituality on OCB (.115/.401) goes enhances performance of OCB among nurses. This result
through the mediating variable of affective commitment, shows that those nurses who derive greater meaning
and about two thirds of the effect is direct. Thus, affec- and purpose from their experiences at work perform
tive commitment partially mediated the relationship be- frequent acts of OCB, such as behaviors that benefit their

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co-workers. The findings also provide clear empirical Limitations of the Study
evidence on Pawars (2009b) conceptual study, which
showed that when nurses derive greater meaning and First, this study used a stratified random sampling from
purpose from their work in hospitals, they feel more only four public and general hospitals in a single coun-
connected with their co-workers. In fact, they engage in try. Similar studies may differ in other countries. Sec-
an important context that is larger than economic issues, ond, a single self-report survey instrument was utilized
called nurses transcendence. This transcendence of to assess OCB. However, some studies have pointed out
self-interest leads them to perform frequent acts of OCB that OCB could be better assessed on a survey instrument
beyond formal behaviors and duties. The results further by the employees supervisor. Because a large number of
indicate that greater integrity between nurses and nurses were managed by one supervisor, such supervi-
hospitals goals increases nurses alignment with their sors did not have enough time to answer all questions
hospitals goals. It leads them to be a part of their hospital for each nurse. Thus, the researchers had to use a self-
and to try to show a good side of their organization. report survey. Finally, the knowledge that individuals
This alignment leads nurses to perform extra acts of role attitudes and positive behaviors might change over time
behavior such as non-reward-seeking behaviors or other should be considered in the interpretation of the results.
benefits. Although the data collected in this study were based on
The research findings additionally show that work- cross-sectional data, the results cannot conclusively prove
place spirituality increases employees affective organiza- causality.
tional commitment (Milliman et al., 2003; Pawar, 2009a;
Rego & Cunha, 2008), which supports the new construct
in the model of workplace spirituality influencing affec-
Conclusions and Application to Clinical
tive commitment, particularly among nurses. Nurses feel
more emotionally attached to their organization when
they find their work to be more purposeful and when This study illustrates the fact that there are potential
they have greater connectedness with their co-workers, benefits to the positive influence of workplace spiritu-
as well as when their personal goals are in compliance ality on OCB and affective commitment among nurses.
with their hospitals values. The present results also show Hospital managers should consider workplace spiritual-
that workplace spirituality increases nurses commitment ity and its positive influence on nurses outcomes in or-
to patient care and to their hospital, which subsequently der to improve their performance and, subsequently, the
improves their satisfaction and the quality of services pro- healthcare system. In practice, we suggest the evalua-
vided to patients. Moreover, findings indicate that the tion of the current situation in hospitals. By implement-
influence of workplace spirituality on nurses affective ing such studies, managers may identify the levels of
commitment was twofold greater than the respective in- workplace spirituality, affective commitment, and OCB
fluence on OCB. Nurses affective commitment can be of nurses. This would help nurse managers to assess the
improved through more attention to workplace spiritu- levels of meaningfulness in nurses work, as well as their
ality in hospitals. sense of community and alignment with organizational
Interestingly, the results show that workplace spiritu- values. Such evaluations would also help nurse man-
ality increases nurses OCB either directly or indirectly agers assess the levels of nurses affective commitment
through the mediating effect of affective organizational and OCB. To enhance the levels of affective commitment
commitment (as one of the most important positive and OCB among nurses, hospital managers could con-
employee attitudes). According to the literature, these duct interventions, including nurses meetings and work-
results provided clear evidence to confirm the con- shops. Workshops and meetings between managers and
ceptional indication of Giacalone, Jurkiewicz, and Fry nurses could provide effective and friendly situations to
(2005) that had not been found in previous studies. discuss how nurses could find more meaning in their jobs,
Based on the mediating effect of affective commitment how they could more effectively connect with their co-
in the relationship between workplace spirituality and workers, and how they could align their personal goals
OCB, nurses who want to remain at and are emotionally with those of the hospital.
attached to their hospitals perform more positive and Because increasing OCB and the affective commitment
extra role behaviors. This finding contributes to the rating among nurses is one of the improvement pres-
extent of workplace spirituality literature influencing sures of healthcare quality, workplace spirituality can be
the positive organizational outcomes of OCB and af- a key factor to enhance the quality of services to patients
fective organizational commitment, particularly among in hospital work. Hospital administrators could provide
nurses. a working environment favorable to the experience of

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