‘Racist or not?’: Heart of Darkness a study of Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness
Heart of Darkness

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‘Racist or not?’: Heart of Darkness a study of Joseph Conrad.

Joseph Conrad occupies an important position in English literature. He is credited as being “one of the greatest novelists in the English language” which is no small feat for any writer but a particularly striking one for someone who learned English in his adult years. Conrad was born Jozef Teador Konrad Nalecz Korzeniowski in Russian-occupied Ukraine to Polish parents in the year 1857. He led an active life with roughly twenty years of naval adventures. In 1878, he arrived in England and began to learn the native language. He was twenty-one.

Conrad’s literary career was as adventurous as his life. He produced fourteen novels and eight volumes of stories. His impact on literature-in-English was nothing short of revolutionary and his influence is particularly apparent in American fiction. In the immediate post-World War I landscape, critical giants (including FR Leavis and Thomas C. Moore) took an active interest in analysing Conrad’s works. In the 1930s renewed American curiosity about the author led to many well-written biographical records being published.

Conrad’s fiction revolves around his own experiences. Fascinated by Africa as a young boy, he would grow up to work for an imperial company. This would take him on many journeys to “the dark continent” and leave him with a disillusionment of colonisation.

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After prompting celebratory reverence for more than half a century, Conrad’s fiction is now facing sharp criticism. A lot of this revolves around race. The world looks different in the twenty-first (and twentieth) century than it did in the nineteenth. Writers from once-colonised nations have integrated themselves into the academic and artistic world of English literature, and have found Conrad’s depictions of Africans (and others) to be intellectually lazy, filled with Orientalist stereotyping and employing a rhetoric that justifies colonisation.

Forefront amongst these are: African author and critic Chinua Achebe and Palestinian-born intellectual Edward Said. The former has famously called Joseph Conrad “a thoroughgoing racist”.

So, was Joseph Conrad – story-teller extraordinaire and firm part of the English canon – nothing more than a racist, included in the company of great English writers simply because he was lucky enough to be born a white man at an age where you could recycle stereotypical descriptions of Africans to no-end and still be given credit? Or is he simply a victim of literary-theory, that oppressive force that many celebrated critics feel has taken over English classrooms and turned them into battlegrounds of political correctness?

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To decide, many point – as this essay will – to Conrad’s famous novella Heart of Darkness.

Published in 1899, the premise of the short story is simple: On the deck of a ship docked on River Thames, a man named Marlow recounts his previous adventure as the captain of a river-boat that travelled up the River Congo. Marlow was the employee of an imperial company specialising in ivory trade in Africa. His mission was to rescue Kurtz, the evasive station captain stranded somewhere in the depths of Congo.

Conrad was different from his contemporaries in that he offers an apparently scathing critique of imperial domination right from the start of the novella. Unlike many, he does not posit colonial rule as of benefit to the natives and highlights white cruelty at (almost) every turn.

Marlow points out that his predecessor Fresleven once beat the chief of an African tribe with a stick over a dispute involving some hens. When a fire breaks out at the company’s central station a black man is punished; he is beaten bloody at the mere suspicion of playing a part in the destruction and afforded no trial.

A line of slaves joined with chains hanging from their necks is paraded around the station, and Marlow’s companion is eager to “kill somebody” as punishment for the black men (who are forced to carry him everywhere) deserting them. Even Kurtz – who is a part of the company’s newly recruited “gang of virtue” – scribbles “Exterminate all the brutes!” in a moment of carelessness as a jarring postscript on his (ironically titled) pamphlet for the ‘Suppression of Savage Customs’.

If the white people are cruel – the black people are oppressed, and Conrad makes sure to show this repeatedly. The hungry slaves deserted after they had fulfilled their usefulness are “black shadows of disease and starvation.” Black heads on stakes decorate Kurtz’s house, a reminder that even the best view natives as easily disposable.

On the river-boat, Marlow’s white crew members throw a slab of smelly hippo meat overboard, their olfactory sensibilities overriding a major concern: what will the black-crew eat? This is of little consequence to the Europeans and (strikingly) Marlow recounts this instance with a good deal of sarcasm, commenting that the useless brass wire paid in place of the meat “was paid with a regularity worth of a large and honourable trading company.”

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This is to Conrad’s credit. He does not seem to fully subscribe to the mission civilisatrice (‘civilising mission’) that maintained that the white man had a duty to go forth and westernise all non-Europeans for their own benefit. This was a powerful rhetorical position in the nineteenth century, and this novella offers contemptuous commentary in this regard: Marlow encounters a man paid by the company for the upkeep of roads and points out that neither roads nor upkeep was to be seen unless the body of a black man lying in the middle of the path with a bullet hole through his head “could be considered a permanent improvement.”

When he first arrives in Congo, Marlow encounters the senseless digging of a hole which seems to have no purpose other than a “philanthropic desire” to give the natives work. When Marlow’s aunt elaborates on the goodness of colonisers spreading culture and Christianity to savages, he replies: “The Company is run for profit.”

These – and other – instances show that Conrad was ahead of his time, at least to a certain extent.

Shouldn’t this be enough to exonerate him?

Achebe doesn’t think so.

In 1975, he delivered a lecture titled ‘An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad’s Heart of Darkness’. In it, he outlines why he indicts Joseph Conrad.

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For one thing, Conrad sees Africa as little more than a foil to Europe. If Europe is cultured, civilized and advanced, then Africa is (all words used to describe Congo in Heart of Darkness:)savage, barbaric and primitive. A place “where man’s vaunted intelligence and refinement are finally mocked by triumphant bestiality,” Achebe writes. This is problematic because it sees Africa only in terms of not-being-Europe, and not as a real place with its own spatiotemporal context.

This means that the author is so blinded by his prejudices that he deliberately misses out on achievements by Africans. As Achebe points out, the tribe of Fang people lived near were the novella is set. European travellers inspired by their bronze-art would introduce cubism to 20th century Britain around the time of Conrad’s writing. But you wouldn’t guess from that from reading this novella. Conrad spares no adjective in describing how hopelessly childlike, incapable of progress and primitive Africans are.

That they could create something worthwhile is unimaginable. Essentially what Achebe points out is that Conrad’s works are ‘Orientalist’ – a tricky word that basically means that European domination in Africa, Indochina and the Near East was accompanied by representations that insisted that black and brown people were incapable of progress and so justified colonial rule as being in their own best interests.

Secondly, African characters in the novel are rarely allowed to speak lucidly. Their language is brushed aside as “grunting phrase[s]”, a “clamour” and “an incomprehensible frenzy”. The narrator has a disturbing habit of comparing them to animals. There is a black river-boat boilerman who struggles to understand the work his white masters require of him, and Marlow comments that watching him was “as edifying as seeing a dog in a parody of breeches and a feather hat, walking on his hind legs” while a black helmsman is compared to a horse. These depictions further dehumanise Africans in the eyes of readers.

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Edward Said was a post-colonial literary critic who coined the term ‘Orientalism’. In his 1993 book Culture and Imperialism, he talks about Conrad. He is much more charitable than his African colleague and credits the author with the creation of a convincing narrative and a powerful voice that pays attention to the “waste and horror” of Europe’s mission in the dark world.

However, Said admits that Conrad recycles the narrative of European domination, and does not show Africans as real people. He writes: “…neither Conrad nor Marlow gives us a full view of what is outside the world-conquering attitudes embodied by Kurtz, Marlow, the circle of listeners of the deck of The Nellie and Conrad.” The full humanity of Africans is compromised in favour of stereotypes.

So, was Joseph Conrad racist? The jury is still out. But as academia expands to include perspectives from those living in the Global South it seems likely that Achebe will have the last work. In a 2003 article in The Guardian, Chinua Achebe is in conversation with a white author Caryl Philips who admires both him and Conrad. There, Achebe offers some insightful remarks with regards to Heart of Darkness:

“You see, those who say that Conrad is on my side because he is against colonial rule do not understand that I know who is on my side. And where is the proof that he is on my side? A few statements about it not being a very nice thing to exploit people who have flat noses? This is his defence against imperial control? If so it is not enough. It is simply not enough. If you are going to be on my side what is required is a better argument. Ultimately you have to admit that Africans are people. You cannot diminish a people’s humanity and defend them.”

This article ends with this insightful exchange, in which Philips examines his own skepticism with regards to Joseph Conrad’s racism (the dialogue in quotation marks is Achebe’s):

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“Yes, you will notice that the European traders have ‘tainted’ souls, Marlow has a ‘pure’ soul, but I am to accept that mine is ‘rudimentary’?” He shakes his head. “Towards the end of the 19th century, there was a very short-lived period of ambivalence about the certainty of this colonising mission, and Heart of Darkness falls into this period. But you cannot compromise my humanity in order that you explore your own ambiguity. I cannot accept that. My humanity is not to be debated, nor is it to be used simply to illustrate European problems.”

The realisation hits me with force. I am not an African. Were I an African I suspect I would feel the same way as my host. But I was raised in Europe, and although I have learned to reject the stereotypically reductive images of Africa and Africans, I am undeniably interested in the break-up of a European mind and the health of European civilisation. I feel momentarily ashamed that I might have become caught up with this theme and subsequently overlooked how offensive this novel might be to a man such as Chinua Achebe and to millions of other Africans.

Achebe is right; to the African reader the price of Conrad’s eloquent denunciation of colonisation is the recycling of racist notions of the “dark” continent and her people. Those of us who are not from Africa may be prepared to pay this price, but this price is far too high for Achebe. However lofty Conrad’s mission, he has, in keeping with times past and present, compromised African humanity in order to examine the European psyche. Achebe’s response is understandably personal.

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Transition Experience of New Graduate Nurses Literature Review

Transition Experience of New Graduate Nurses
Transition Experience of New Graduate Nurses

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Transition Experience of New Graduate Nurses

Transitioning from a student into a professional practitioner is a difficult experience for most people. However, the transition experience is especially difficult for graduate nurses who are ushered into a demanding work environment. Most new nurses are shocked at the sheer contrast between student life and work. Just a few weeks after employment, Graduate nurses are expected to take up serious responsibilities including patient care and supervisory duties.

This review explores literature on the New Graduate Nurse (NG) transition experience with the aim of discovering shortcomings in this knowledge area. This research hopes to bridge the gap in knowledge about self-care strategies that NGNs can use as the transition to Registered Nurses.


Waves of research have studied the experiences of nurses as they transit from student to practicing Registered nurses. The first research wave focused on the experiences of individual nurses during the transition phase. The second wave, investigated the effectiveness of interventions meant to support nurses during the transition. Most studies into the experience of New Graduate Nurses (NGNs) used survey and interviews to arrive at their conclusions. The studies reported that NGNs initially found the role of practicing nurse extremely stressing and they reported many challenges.

However, role stress decreased as NGNs gained confidence, obtained clinical support and developed competence (Casey, Fink, Krugman, &Propst 2004; Halfer& Graf, 2006). NGNs described the transition as a difficult time filled with feeling or incompetence, fear of physicians, an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and difficulties in prioritizing, organizing or delegating tasks. Bowles and Candela (2005) carried a study in Nevada that sought to find the attrition rates of new nurse.

It was reported that approximately 30% of NGNs quit their first nursing jobs within the first year of employment. In just two years, 57% had moved from their first jobs. According to Bowles and Candela (2005), the high nurse turnover hinders work productivity, quality patient outcomes and the morale of the staff. Moreover, high turnover means healthcare organization have to incur the cost of rehiring and retraining new nurses to take the roles of those who leave. 

While training more nurses may solve the nurse shortage problem, the problem of deficient patient care and supportive work environment needs to be handled to smooth the nurse transition. Casey et al (2004) found that NGNs are not satisfied with their working environment as they lamented the lack of a consistent preceptor, struggles with authority, a feeling of being undervalued, and workload issues. Chi, Laschinger and Wong (2006) carried out a study on transition among 226 nurses with less than 2 years practice experience.

The study reported similar results to Casey et al (2005); they indicated that there were high burnout rates among new nurses. The nurse complained about the lack of support, limitation of access to resources and opportunities as their main barrier to productivity at the transition phase. However, the job satisfaction outcomes of NGNs improved significantly after the first 18 months of practice. Halfer and Graf (2006) reported high job satisfaction rates among 84 subject of their research.

The two authors argued that nurse started to enjoy their work once they were able to organize their time, prioritize tasks, access resource, understand job expectation, and were made aware of the availability of professional development opportunities.  Studies of nursing thought processes also indicate support the conclusion that the transition is a stressing time for graduate nurses.

According to Pellico, Brewer and Kovner (2009), NGNs’ confidence was initially low as they were unsure about the experience and knowledge , they also feared the interaction with patients as they felt they would not be able to understand their issues. NGNs were also worried about acting autonomously and deciding when it was necessary to call physicians.  By the 9 month, NGNs had significantly boosted their confidence and were able to make competent patient care decisions.

The research wave on NGNs’ transition experience was followed by studies that investigated institutional initiatives to smooth the transition. The second wave was concerned with the preceptor and recognized him/her as a crucial component of the NGN transition process (Bowles and Candela, 2005). This phase of research proposed formal classes; evidence based practice, and guidance and mentoring as crucial precepts of nursing practice. 

The studies proposed that all medical care should be involved in precepting, the presence of a designated preceptor and rewards for those who successfully carry out the preceptor’s role (Bowles and Candela, 2005). Some studies indicated that extended residencies and structured orientation to support the NGN transition improved job satisfaction and reduced the high nurse turnover. NGNs have complained about limited orientation, disorientation, feelings of confusion and loss, overwhelming responsibility as the main barriers to successful transitions.

The difficulties of the NGNs transition to practice are further complicated by other changes in their life (Scott, Engelke and Swanson, 2008). NGNs may have moved to a new town, become married or changed schools. Obviously, the new nurse transition face is fraught with difficult and there is need for support and self-management strategies to handle the stresses of this phase of a nurse’s career.

Experiences of New Nurses

 NGNs transitioning issues can be classified into four broad themes; demands on nurses, support at the workplace, the control of their role as employees, and perceptions of self efficacy (Bowles and Candela, 2005). 

Workplace Demands

Demand in the workplace on new nurses is a theme that has been explored by many studies. NGNs identified workplace demands such as staff shortages, workload, decision making responsibilities and administrative duties as overwhelming issues (Casey et al, 2004). A survey of newly licensed nurses around the US found that demands relating to time were among the most stressing issues for NGNs. Nurses complained that they were often required to work hard or fast by their supervisors.

Casey et al (2004) also noted that nurses found it stressing to take responsibility for patient care provided by unregulated staff. Unfortunately, nursing has the dubious distinction of being the only profession which requires new practitioners to assume supervisory duties.  Studies exploring the expectations of the multidisciplinary team working with new nurses reveal too high expectations of the (NGNs Waite, 2004). At eight weeks, the multidisciplinary team studied in the research expected new nurses to be able to make specific clinical assessments, be able to use laboratory data, and be able to react to emergencies (Dyess and Sherman, 2009).

In addition, the team expected the NGNs to be knowledgeable about the whole health systems.  Many employers have complained about the deficit of key skills and the readiness of NGNs to deal with the demanding clinical environment.  NGNs critical thinking skills and approaches to medication administration have also been called into question by some scholars.  Romyn et al (2009) argued that NGNs are often responsible for near misses and medication errors as they are not proficient enough handle the medication demands of the job. 

According to Edwards et al (2015), the concerns about the competence of NGNs are not unwarranted as competent performance is not guaranteed while working with graduate nurses.  The lack of a consistent system to measure the performance of NGNs also further complicates the expectation of competence placed upon them. One of the common criteria for measuring competence in nursing is speed and ability to complete specific tasks (Romyn et al, 2009).

Unfortunately, the speed of New Graduate nurses may be quite low and they may not have the same capability to handle patient issues as experienced nurses (Delaney, 2003).  This method of evaluating the performance of NGNs sees their work condemned as unsatisfactory and is often associated with stress among the new graduates joining the workforce.

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Many NGNs report concerns about the control or autonomy of their new roles as practicing nurses. Many new nurses complained that being responsible and accountable to patients was stressing (Delaney, 2003). Duchscher and Cowin (2004) pointed out student nurse roles did little to equip NGNs for the responsibilities awaiting them in practice. Duchscher and Cowin (2004) support the view that patient care decision and outcome responsibilities often overwhelm new nurses. 

However, the reactions of the NGNs varied as some embraced the new responsibilities, but most reported a feeling of being overwhelmed (Delaney, 2003). Researchers have argued that control is a double edged sword in the transition period. For nurses who embrace responsibility and accountability easily, it is exhilarating and exciting. In contrast, control brings about a feeling of anxiety for nurses who are unprepared for the new responsibilities.

NGNs may also suffer disorientation and poor sense of control as a result of unfamiliarity with the practice environment.  NGNs are surprised when they realize that the practice environment is significantly different from the school context (Duchscher, 2001). Chang and Hancock (2003) argue that NGNs can experience as a result of uncertain expectation of the new role which gives rise to role ambiguity.


Support by supervisors or coworkers plays a significant role in easing the NGN transition process. Often NGNs expend much effort in trying to familiarize themselves with existing workers in their healthcare setting (Casey et al, 2004). Duchscher and Cowin (2004) note that NGNs are in need the support of other members of the multidisciplinary team. Majority of NGNs report that there are adequately supported by preceptors and colleagues (Delaney, 2003).

They also reported that they felt part of the team. However, new nurse could not challenge established ways of doing things as they lacked support in doing this. Nurses also need support from family and friends outside the workplace. In fact, nurse reported that they performed better when they received support from outside the workplace.


Casey et al (2004) reported that NGNs feel incompetent and inadequate as they begin practicing as nurses. Many new nurses report feeling as if they did not posses the necessary skills or knowledge to work as Registered Nurses (Delaney, 2003; Duchscher and Cowin, 2004). NGNs also greatly doubted their clinical competence as they lacked a frame of reference unlike experienced healthcare workers (Duchscher and Cowin, 2004). Duchscher and Cowin (2004) points out those NGNs felt their inadequate knowledge was a serious limitation.  However, NGNs reported higher self-efficacy and confidence scores as they continued to gain clinical experience. 

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Transition Impacts

Job stress

Job stress is one of the most widely reported results of the NGN transition (Delaney, 2003; Duchscher and Cowin, 2004; Twibell et al 2012; Pellico, Brewer and Kovner, 2009). Despite the emphasis on job stress in many studies, few have investigated the intensity of stress affecting NGNs. Chang and Hancock (2003) reported that the transition experience resulted in moderate amounts of stress among NGNs. According to Casey et al (2004), NGNs comfort and confidence is initially very high as the new graduates join the profession, however, it decreases with time in the job.

Fortunately, nurse comfort and confidence starts to increase as they gain experience and peaks one year after commencing practice. Chang and Hancock (2003) reported that nurses experience many stressors during the transition process.  According to the two, the initial stressors include role ambiguity and responsibilities.  After one year of employment, the main stressor is role overload.

Job Satisfaction

One of the most ignored outcomes of NGN transition is the job satisfaction impact. Common studies have emphasized on the challenges experienced during the transition phase but rarely have the satisfying job aspects being explored.  Delaney (2003) reported that some new nurses reported that they found their new roles as practicing nurses satisfying. Nurse’s satisfaction with their work increased when they started to recognize available opportunities for personal growth and development.

Some NGNs reported that it felt exciting to finally take up the role of a practicing nurse.  However, NGNs also reported many dissatisfying elements in their work, these included dizzying pace of work, inadequate staffing and too much autonomy and responsibility (Pellico, Brewer and Kovner, 2009; Casey et al, 2004; Chang and Hancock, 2003). Nurse who were satisfied with their work also were also more intent on staying with their employer.

Further research explored job satisfaction as an independent variable and presented interesting research findings.  Delaney (2003) reported that nurses who were satisfied with their jobs felt a strong sense of belonging to the organization. Satisfaction in jobs was also negatively associated with role stress, role ambiguity and conflict during the transition process (Chang & Hancock, 2003).

Research has also explored outcomes such as turnover intent and nurse turnover. Many of these outcomes increase when there is shortage of nursing manpower.  A high patient:nurse turnover is likely to precede and increase in patient mortality and has been indicated as an accelerator of nurse burnout (Bowles and Candela, 2005). Nurses report that the main causes of high turnover among NGNs are poor work design and emotional exhaustion.

These result support the need to research into self-management strategies that nurses can use to cope to the stressing experiences of the transition process. Twibell et al (2012) have hypothesized that self-care strategies may help nurse achieve higher levels of satisfaction with their jobs.

Interventions to support NGNs

Decades of research have popularized the notion that NGN transition is a process that needs to be addressed (Bowles and Candela, 2005).  Many interventions have been applied to assist is making the transitioning process easy. However, there are few reports of intervention that aim to teach nurses how to self-manage the transition by performing recommended self-care practices. 

Early studies recommended the use of internship programs and preceptor pairing to expose the nurse to the “real world” prior to commencing practice (Bowles and Candela, 2005).  However, the value of preceptor and internship programs have come into questions recently and new research is needed to clarify the value they add to the NGN transition process.

One of the gaps in NGN transition research is the lack of measurement of the effectiveness of interventions to support NGN transition (Bowles and Candela, 2005). Many of the early studies, presented subjective results of the effectiveness of the interventions they were studying.  Later studies in the late 1980s started to include quantitative measures of the effectiveness of the interventions (Casey et al 2004). However, most of the studies failed to measure the impact of the studies on patient outcome. Some of these studies are included in this review.


The NGN transition process is a well researched area within the nursing profession. Most stakeholders seem to be aware of the problems that face NGNs as they transition into their practice.  Decades of research present findings detailing mostly ineffective interventions to deal with the NGN transition process. One of the most common intervention experimented in research was the use of internship, residencies and preceptors. However, many researchers call into question the usefulness of these interventions in addressing the problems of new nurse’s commencing practice.

This research reveals two reasons why intervention to smooth the NGN transition failed to work despite decades of research.  First, the early interventions were never objectively evaluated and thus the opportunity to gauge their effectiveness and increase their impact was missed. Furthermore, most of the intervention were designed to address problems identified in specific health care settings and were not backed by an understanding of the issues facing NGNs. 

Few of the interventions sought to get to the bottom of the stress experienced by NGNs. Secondly, the interventions failed to take into consideration the many elements of the practice environment. This review presents some of the environmental factors that lead to a difficult experience for NGNs transitioning to practice. NGNs perception of their own abilities and knowledge is among the most stressing factors.

Many NGNs feel incompetent and inadequate when there are starting out. This attitude contrast sharply to the work demand, high expectation, and responsibility that characterize their work environment. Other healthcare workers expect nurses to exhibit the same level of competence and skills as experienced practitioners less than two months after being employed. 

Few nurses are prepared for the sudden responsibility and autonomy they have over patient care decision.  Many find the new responsibility overwhelming and are stressed. However, a substantial number of new nurses are excited and exhilarated to work autonomously. This review also indicates that support from colleagues, supervisors, family and friends are important for a successful transition. Nurses who receive support express confidence in their ability, Skills and knowledge. 

This review has revealed that the NGN transition process can be an extremely stressing period. Many studies point to the stress and emotional distraught that is experienced by NGNs during the transition. Most studies report that new nurse feel overwhelmed by the demands of the new environment, feelings of inadequacy and fear of failure. Very few studies have investigated the possible positive impact of self-care mechanism that may assist nurse’s cope with the difficult transition period. This research will seek to address this gap in research and provide valuable evidence that may be used to improve the NGN transition experience significantly.


Bowles, C., & Candela, L. (2005). The first job experiences of recent RN graduates. Journal of Nursing Administration, 32(3), 130Y136.

Casey, K., Fink, R. R., Krugman, A. M., & Propst, F. J. (2004). The graduate nurse experience. Journal of Nursing Administration34(6), 303-311.

Chang, E., & Hancock, K. (2003). Role stress and role ambiguity in new nursing graduates in Australia. Nursing & health sciences5(2), 155-163.

Cho, J., Laschinger, H., & Wong, C. (2006). Workplace empowerment, work engagement and organizational commitment of the new graduate nurses. Nursing Leadership, 19(3), 43Y60.

Delaney, C. (2003). Walking a fine line: Graduate nurses’ transition experiences during orientationJournal of Nursing Education42(10), 437-443.

Duchscher, J. E. B., & Cowin, L. S. (2004). The experience of marginalization in new nursing graduates. Nursing Outlook52(6), 289-296.

Dyess, S. M., & Sherman, R. O. (2009). The first year of practice: New graduate nurses’ transition and learning needs. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing40(9), 403-410.

Edwards, D., Hawker, C., Carrier, J., & Rees, C. (2015). A systematic review of the effectiveness of strategies and interventions to improve the transition from student to newly qualified nurse.International journal of nursing studies52(7), 1254-1268.

Halfer, D., & Graf, E. (2006). Graduate nurse perceptions of the work experience. Nursing Economics24(3), 150.

Pellico, L. H., Brewer, C. S., & Kovner, C. T. (2009). What newly licensed registered nurses have to say about their first experiences.Nursing outlook57(4), 194-203.

Romyn, D. M., Linton, N., Giblin, C., Hendrickson, B., Houger Limacher, L., Murray, C., … & Weidner, A. (2009). Successful transition of the new graduate nurse. International Journal of Nursing Education Scholarship6(1).

Scott, E. S., Engelke, M. K., & Swanson, M. (2008). New graduate nurse transitioning: necessary or nice?. Applied Nursing Research,21(2), 75-83.

Twibell, R., St Pierre, J., Johnson, D., Barton, D., Davis, C., Kidd, M., & Rook, G. (2012). Tripping over the welcome mat: Why new nurses don’t stay and what the evidence says we can do about it. American Nurse Today7(6), 357-365.

Waite, R. (2004). Psychiatric nurses: Transitioning from student to advance beginner RN. Journal of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association10(4), 173-180.

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Theories of Motivation: Literature review

Theories of Motivation: Literature review
Theories of Motivation: Literature review

Theories of Motivation: Literature review

Literature Review


            This chapter shall present a review of the literature on the problems presented in this research. The theory builds a platform of understanding the implication of non-financial rewards within the framework of the total rewards structure. Specifically, the areas that shall be covered in this chapter are theories of motivation, financial rewards, non-financial rewards, and the work environment. This chapter shall begin with theoretical review followed by a conceptual framework, empirical review and research gap.

Theoretical Review

            Following Anfara & Mertz (2006), a theoretical framework determines the problem that should be investigated, what specific question should be asking, and data that should be collected to address all questions. Therefore, in this study, it is empirical to include theories Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory, Maslow’s theory of needs, social exchange and expectancy theory.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

            Dr. Fredrick Herzberg, a psychologist, determined to understand the effects of attitude towards motivation, he had set a research by asking questions to selected people about their behavior towards their jobs. On the basis of research’s result, he had developed Herzberg’s Motivation-Hygiene Theory, also known as Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory. This theory suggests that motivation is two-dimensional and each dimension has unique factors. Herzberg revealed that each factor is associated with job satisfaction and job dissatisfaction.

He suggested that when an intrinsic factor or motivator is present, it promotes motivation. In contrast, the latter, if none of the factors are present, hence, employees become frustrated, unsatisfied and reduces motivation, which he referred the act as hygiene. In the simpler note, motivators are identified as achievement, recognition, advancement, personal and professional growth.

Hygiene on the other hand, Herzberg classified the factors salary, benefits, interpersonal relationship with supervisors and colleagues, administrative policies and attitude, working conditions and environment, and security (IFPO, 2007; Stello, 2011; Thompson, 2013). In this research, it is conventional to use the theory as a basis for understanding the factors that considerably affects the employee’s behavior towards their tasks.

Incorporating Herzberg’s theory into this research, it suggests that intrinsic and extrinsic motivators can crucially influence the workforce. Moreover, Herzberg had pointed that the ability of the workforce to achieve the goals are mainly related to job satisfaction (Stello, 2011).

However, in the expansion of the theory, the initial hypothesis concludes that job satisfaction and dissatisfaction cannot be dependably measured in the same range. It profoundly explains in Herzberg’s main hypothesis, that factors that lead to positive attitude will differ to those factors that lead to negative attitudes. In the second hypothesis, it is mentioned that factors and effects will differ from long-range sequences of events to a short-range sequence (Stello, 2011; Thompson, 2013).

In this case, Herzberg found that a relatively high sequence from a small number of factors can promote positive behavior towards the job. Predominantly, most of the factors where intrinsic motivators and that it steamed longer than extrinsic. Extrinsic motivators showed low sequence events; it is rare when these factors are found in high-frequency events (Bassett‐Jones & Lloyd, 2005; Stello, 2011).

Satisfaction (positive)

            Consequently, the given figure shows that salary as a part of the extrinsic factor may show similar frequency in both low and high sequence events. However, salary may be viewed as satisfier if related to a job appreciation and not a factor itself. Therefore, when salary is addressed individually, the context can lead to dissatisfier factor (Bassett‐Jones & Lloyd, 2005; Stello, 2011).

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

            In-depth understanding what motivates people, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs will support the efficacy of human needs. In this theory, Maslow stated that to achieve certain needs; people are motivated. Thus, when a need is fulfilled, the person’s next step is to achieve another need and so on. It is why, self-actualization priced on the top of his theory (McLeod, 2007; Montana & Charnov, 2008).

The pyramid illustrates how Maslow ranked human needs. This suggests that Self-actualization is believed to impose the higher level of human need. Although Maslow does not intend to imply that human receives complete satisfaction, he believed that when an experiencing human achievement and personal growth, a new set of attitude will be designed to placate its new needs (Montana & Charnov, 2008).

If taking Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Motivation into consideration, the theory somehow parallels to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Understanding the higher level of Maslow’s theory, Herzberg refers them as motivators. Maslow’s esteem and self-actualization needs also correspond to Herzberg’s motivators idea. Therefore, to meet a specific set of needs, both theories has a profound goal to propitiate human behavior and maintain it.          

Social Exchange Theory

            Social exchange theory explains a social change and a process of negotiation exchange between parties. George Simmel, a German sociologist, pointed that the significance of “reciprocity” in human being’s everyday life and how human interacts involving forms of exchange (Baker, 2001). In Cropanzano & Mitchell (2005) research, both mentioned that Social Exchange is considered as one of the most influential conceptual patterns in understanding the behavior of a specific workplace.

Thus, an exchange rule must be followed to build a constant relationship and exchanges. In a simpler thought, the assumption of the theory implies that when parties enter and maintain their relationship, a trace of tangible and intangible rewards can be expected (Chew & Gottschalk, 2009).

            If highlighted in a workplace environment, a recognition of employee from a positive contributing work attitude simplifies Simmel’s theory. It may include economic exchange relationship (Aryee, Budhwar, & Chen, 2002), wherein, an economic benefit shall be provided to the employee in exchange for his or her efforts towards achieving work-related goals. In response to the theory, research had been formed to validate its efficiency towards understanding human motivation towards work.

With the available literature resources, results show that a continuity of social exchange theory as a part of the work-based evidence, employ a positive employee commitment and involvement, empowerment and motivation (Aryee, Budhwar, & Chen, 2002; Gould-Williams & Davies, 2005).

            As highlighted in Haar’s (2006) research, the perception of advantageous rewards or exchange from the workforce results to an increased engagement towards its organization. On the other hand, if the organization failed to provide rewards to the employees, would likely result in a reduction of organizational engagement. In this case, when there are favorable stances within working environment both employees and organization will equally benefit.

However, keeping in mind that employees tend to react in a dissatisfying working condition by negating rightful working attitude such as, being late, absenteeism and planning to quit organization; an antecedent-consequence relationship as mentioned by Crede et al. (2007).

Expectancy Theory

            This theory recommends that every individual’s expectations be dependent on its motivation and the ability to perform the given task and receive the desired rewards (Daft, 2005). In simpler form, if a person understood the worth of a certain task, he or she will be motivated to reach the goal, given with skills and knowledge to achieve it (Koontz, O’Donnell, & Weihrich, 2008).

Victor H. Vroom, a psychologist, suggests that motivation is highly predisposed by a continuous interrelated sequence of people’s effort will lead to performance, performance to specific outcomes and these outcomes are to be valued by the individual (Wlodarczyk, 2011). Moreover, in Vroom’s definition of the theory (Mancheno-Smoak, 2008), he mentioned that motivation depends on three system; expectancy, instrumentality, and valence.

            E -P expectancy this explains when putting effort into a job may result in a high performance or may lead to the desired outcome (Daft, 2005). In this case, when a person works hard, a better result can be expected, and when a person is unresponsive to a particular job or task will lead to a valence of zero (Koontz, O’Donnell, & Weihrich, 2008). P -O expectancy explains if a successful performance can lead to the desired outcome. As an example, when a person is motivated to achieve a job-related award it is believed that the room of expectancy towards high performance can lead to award (Daft, 2005).

            On another context, when an individual places importance upon an expected outcome, based on needs, values and goals Vroom identified the strength as valence (Daft, 2005). In this case, if the availability of an outcome extracted from high efforts and good performance; however, are not valued by the employees, the result motivation will end up low. On the other hand, if employees will highly value the outcome, motivation will be higher.

            The implications are crucial when influencing employee’s motivation. According to Sims (2002), managers should understand the importance of the theory. It is recognized that expectancy theory, provides powerful explanation towards employee’s motivation. Another example as cited by Koontz, O’Donnell, & Weihrich (2008), when a person is motivated to accomplish some tasks, can be determined by person’s wish to accomplish the task.

Conceptual Framework

            This section attempts to determine the implication of non-financial rewards on driving organizational strategy at Communications Authority of Kenya. The non-financial rewards include motivation, financial rewards, non-financial rewards, and the work environment. This study shall determine the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variables.


Anfara, V. & Mertz, N. (2006). Theoretical frameworks in qualitative research (1st ed., pp. 23- 24).

Aryee, S., Budhwar, P., & Chen, Z. (2002). Trust as a mediator of the relationship between

organizational justice and work outcomes: test of a social exchange model. Journal Of Organizational Behavior, 23(3), 267-285. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/job.138

Baker, M. (2001). Families, labour and love (1st ed., p. 78). Crows Nest, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin.

Bassett‐Jones, N. & Lloyd, G. (2005). Does Herzberg’s motivation theory have staying power? Journal Of Management Development, 24(10), 929-943. http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/02621710510627064

Chew, E. & Gottschalk, P. (2009). Information technology strategy and management (1st ed.).

Hershey: Information Science Reference.

Crede, M., Chernyshenko, O., Stark, S., Dalal, R., & Bashshur, M. (2007). Job satisfaction as mediator: An assessment of job satisfaction’s position within the nomological network. Journal Of Occupational And Organizational Psychology, 80(3), 515-538. http://dx.doi.org/10.1348/096317906×136180

Cropanzano, R. & Mitchell, M. (2005). Social Exchange Theory: An Interdisciplinary Review. Journal Of Management, 31(6), 874-900. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0149206305279602

Daft, R. (2005). Management (8th ed., p. 532). Fort Worth: Dryden Press.

Gould-Williams, J. & Davies, F. (2005). Using social exchange theory to predict the effects of hrm practice on employee outcomes. Public Management Review, 7(1), 1-24. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1471903042000339392

Haar, J. (2006). Challenge and hindrance stressors in New Zealand: exploring social exchange theory outcomes. The International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 17(11), 1942-1950. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09585190601000147

IFPO.,. (2007). Security Supervision and Management (1st ed.). Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Koontz, H., O’Donnell, C., & Weihrich, H. (2008). Essentials of management (7th ed., p. 293). New York: McGraw-Hill.

McLeod, S. (2007). Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. academia.edu. Retrieved 7 December 2016, from http://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.Html

Stello, C. (2011). Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory of Job Satisfaction: An Integrative Literature Review. Retrieved from http://www.cehd.umn.edu/olpd/research/studentconf/2011/stelloherzberg.pdf

Thompson, D. (2013). Motivating others (1st ed.). Princeton, NJ: Eye On Education.

Wlodarczyk, A. (2011). Work Motivation (1st ed., p. 124). Authorhouse.

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Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”: Rhetorical Analysis

the ugly canadian
Rhetorical Analysis of Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”

A Rhetorical Analysis of Amir Attaran’s “The Ugly Canadian”


The article, “The Ugly Canadian” aims at convincing Canadians that the government is the tainting the image of the state and correspondingly that there is a gross violation of elementary standards and values both at the national and international level. Likewise, Attaran asserts that Canada is liquidating its internationalism based on the national laws that are showing a dark side of the state. Attaran presents a resounding argument that the government has embraced the concept of “exceptionalism” which has discolored Canada’s progression towards achieving the international honor.

Throughout the article, he dispatches this argument by asserting that the government has taken pride in working in different directions contrary to what the norms profess. For instance, he notes that the abduction of Robert Fowler and Louis Guay; who were Canadian diplomats raised a few eyebrows in spite of them being government envoys. He questions such silence in a distressing manner. He goes further to drive his argument by denoting that the former Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, would never approve the direction the government had taken about its international and national conduct.

Attaran tells of a vast growing evidence of exceptionalism especially within the national context by looking at the legislations and codes of conduct that exist. He gives an indication of foreign trade laws, for instance, the Governor-in-Council gets to decide on which developing countries gets the preference of exporting to Canada at a discounted tariff. Why Attaran asks, does Hong Kong, Israel, South Korea and Singapore get the preference when certainly none of them is poor? (Attaran, 2009).

In further discussion, Attaran points out other wanting areas of concern; public health, corruption and human rights domains. The evidence he gives paints an image of a government that embraces rather than critiquing the loopholes that exist within various systems. Take, for instance, “the state-orchestrated secret kidnapping” which is against the doctrine of enforced disappearance of persons.

Despite Canada having nurtured a global reputation for being a fierce human rights defender, the country is yet to sign UN’s International Convention for the Protection of all persons from enforced disappearance. Attaran pegs this refusal to the fact that Canada is in the actual sense committing the same crimes it should be preventing. 

Significantly, by basing his excavation on various domains where the Canadian government has exercised exceptionalism in an arbitrary and unjustifiable way, Attaran delivers substantial evidence as such successfully achieving the intended goal of critiquing the government’ conduct both at the national and international level which has led to tainting the overall image of the country.

By the same token, Attaran further faults the civil society, mainly his fellow academics and NGOs for taking a back seat and failing to question the defects of the government which has led to drift from internationalism. In this respect, Attaran not only attributes the failure to uphold Canada as a respectable nation to the government officials but the society in large. In this way, Attaran successfully conveys his message that the rot affecting the country is deep rooted in the society and if a change is to occur, it should start from the top level going deep down.


Arguably, the purpose of the article is not to taint the image of the government but rather to act as a critique towards its international and national conduct which has circumvented the standard codes of practice for a sovereign state. By providing a significant amount of information on various areas where the government has failed, the article provides a weighing scale on which the country can assess itself.

Accordingly, the article also puts the government in the limelight for its various activities. This is an important aspect as it empowers the people to understand various violations conducted by the government.  Such an understanding could evoke public disapproval of the activities of the government as such promoting proper change or initiating platforms for facilitating discussions so as to find better ways forward.

Target audience

Notably, Attaran targets the political class at large. These are the people that not only represent the country at the international level, but they also formulate local laws which control the interactions between the citizens themselves, their interactions with various governmental agencies and the state. Arguably, the demeanor of these officials of embracing exceptionalism, which is contrary to conventional norms, trickles down to the society hence causing further adverse effects. 

By targeting the political elite, Attaran delivers on his argument that reforms must commence from top most individuals down to the societal members.

Writing strategies


Notably, Attaran structures the paper in such a way that it allures the reader into developing an interest in the intended goal. He starts off by giving an insight of how two Canadian diplomats were abducted by a shadowy group (Al Qaeda). He further asserts that even though their story has a happy ending, it leaves many questions to be answered.

From this short introductory piece, Attaran can develop his idea of exceptionalism that had been embraced by the government, which had allowed it to deviate from acceptable codes of conduct. He further moves from the international level and gives wide examples of the same concept being applied within the national context. Notably, this structure enables Attaran to develop his story in a smooth manner as he can move swiftly from one issue to another. 


Substantially, Attaran sticks to using a formal language throughout the article so as to enable him to deliver his message better. Considering his target audiences are the political elite, it is important that he addresses the issues at hand in a clear manner. Also, by using direct quotations from past scenarios, Attaran can allow the readers to have a flash back to things that they can relate to. This is an upshot to his intended goal as it keeps the reader involved and gives a feel of realness. Also, Attaran uses ridicule and comparison so as to express how Canada has fallen below the expected standards.

The language that Attaran adopts strengthens his argument as he can reach out to his target audience and at the same time connects with the readers

Rhetoric appeals

Expressively, the lack of solid sources to back up Attaran’s claims towards the government’s failures may impact negatively on the intended goal of the article. His focus on technical areas such as security or trade laws without concrete proof on the reasons for the measures taken by the government may not persuade a reader into following his line of thought. Arguably, this forms a weakness for the article; his logos may be questioned especially based on the accuracy of data provided. Also, the historical analogies given may have happened under different circumstances as such making it unfair to put Canada under the same scenario.


Amir Attaran’, (2009). “The Ugly Canadian” in the Literary Review of Canada.


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Yeh-Shen and Sootface: Cinderella Stories Comparison

Yeh-Shen and Sootface
Yeh-Shen and Sootface

Yeh-Shen and Sootface

Yeh-Shen and Sootface are two Cinderella stories of different versions with themes that can be applied in any culture and at any moment of history. The two stories share similarities but also have some differences regarding characters, lesson learned and the location (Smith & Kimberly, 2012).

Yeh-Shen and Sootface Comparison

The similarities depicted between the two stories are that the biological mothers of both Yeh-Shen and Sootface died and left them as orphans. Consequently, both of them were tortured in the company of the family members with whom they were left with, though Yeh-Shen was left under the care of her stepmother whereas Sootface was left in the company of her two elder sisters who were cruel to her.

In both stories, the main characters rivaled with their opponents on getting husbands and both opponents were female. Both of them ended up marrying royal men whereby Yeh-Shen married a king and Sootface married an invisible warrior (Smith & Kimberly, 2012).

Yeh-Shen and Sootface Contrast

However, the two Cinderella stories had several differences that are as follows. Yeh-Shen’s father came from China whereas Sootface’s father came from Ojibwa. Sootface’s father was a hunter whereby Yeh-she’s father was a cave chief. Yeh-Shen’s family lived in the cave, but Sootface’s family lived in a forest. Sootface’s father was alive whereby Yeh-shen’s father died shortly after her mother had died (Smith & Kimberly, 2012).

Yeh-Shen had no sister apart from her stepsister whereas Sootface had two biological sisters. Furthermore, Yeh-Shen owned a fish from which she used to get magical powers to help her while her stepmother was mistreating her but Sootface did not have any source of magical powers. Yeh-Shen is said to be beautiful than her stepsister whereas Sootface is supposed to be ugly according to the song she was singing to herself (Smith & Kimberly, 2012).

Yeh-Shen and Sootface Conclusion

The two stories just like all other versions of Cinderella stories have a lesson that it is always prudent to be kind even while living in this cruel world. This kindness somehow pays with good results.


Smith, Kimberly (2012) “A Content Analysis of Cinderella Illustrated Storybooks Housed in the de Grummond Collection,” SLIS Connecting: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 8.

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Family conflict: Story Reference

Family conflict
Family conflict

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Family conflict 

According to thesaurus dictionary, family conflict can be defined as any struggles or disagreements occurring between members of a family. It entails conflicts between parents and their children or even conflicts between siblings as well as those between spouses. Since works of art emanate from burning issues in the society many plays have been written focusing on this theme. This paper examines family conflict in Shakespeare’s Othello, Sophocles’ King Oedipus and Fences by August Wilson

In Fences family conflict seems to be the main theme in the play. It is first displayed by Maxson Troy’s conflict with his son Cory. The fight for power and might with troy trying to control his son. When Cory gets a college scholarship to play football his father refuses to sign the permission papers arguing that he prefers his son to work and make money rather than play football.

This clearly strains the father son relationship. The conflict further grows when he fights his father with a baseball bat and later disowns his father after the fight. Another conflict is between Troy and his wife Rose when she discovers that Troy has had a child with another woman, Alberta. She agrees to raise young Raynell but does no longer identify herself as Troy’s wife.

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In Sophocles book King Oedipus, family conflict is seen at the introduction where King Oedipus two sons kill each other in a battle over the rule of Thebes. The young son Eteocles is in disagreement with the elder one Polynices as they both want to succeed their father as king. This opens us to the events that transpired historically before revealing the sad fate of King Oedipus who unknowingly kills his biological father King Laius and marries his mother Jocasta with whom he has had two sons and two daughters.

Another conflict is between King Oedipus and his brother in law Creon who he accuses of conspiring with the blind prophet Terasius when he sends them to consult the oracle. King Oedipus even threatens Creon with death and exile. According to Barrons (1984) Oedipus also got into conflict with his wife Jocasta because he did not follow her advice against searching for the true killer of Laius and the prophecy of the oracle about him.

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In Othello, the main type of family conflict is that between Brabantio and his daughter Desdemona who he feels has let him down by marrying the ‘wrong’ man. Brabantio high profiled man as a senator wants to select a husband for his daughter who will be of her class; she on the other hand believes that marriage should be build on the grounds of true love thus wants to marry the only man she truly loves.

This makes her to run off and marry Othello a moor without her fathers consent. Another conflict is that between Brabantio and Othello his son in law whom he accuses of tricking his daughter to marry him. The case he presents before the duke is dismissed on the grounds that the daughter agrees to having gotten married out of free will. At the end of the play Othello has a conflict with his wife who he suspects has been having an extra marital affair.

In an argument where Othello his asking his wife Desdemona where her handkerchief is, Desdemona denies having any affair with Cassio who has the handkerchief with him. Eventually Othello stabs his wife to death out of anger.

As seen in the three plays’ family conflict is evident in many families. Some lead to family break up since they are beyond reconciliation, others especially those emanating from jealousy can lead to suicide as well as killings while the many simple ones can be solved through forgiveness and reconciliation.


Barrons (1984) Book Notes, Sophocle’s Oedipus Tripology, Barrons Education Institute

Thesaurus Dictionary

Fence by August Wilsons

King Oedipus by Sophocles

Othello by Shakespeare

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