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Shared governance, a participative model of governance, implemented by healthcare organizations for more than 30 years has been associated with empowerment, job satisfaction, and retention of registered nurses. Recent studies document a lack of participation in shared governance by registered nurses; the reason for the change is unknown. The nurse managers' role in this change is unknown. The purpose of this non-experimental, cross-sectional survey design study was to test Bass' theory of transformational leadership that examines the relationship between the leadership style of the manager and the enculturation of shared governance in acute care hospitals in the United States. A random sample of 111 nurse managers, who were members of the American Organization of Nurse Executives, were surveyed on leadership style using the Multi-factor Leadership Questionnaire and unit governance, using the Index of Professional Nursing Governance. Data was analyzed using Pearson's Product Moment Correlation and a statistically significant positive relationship was found between transformational leadership style and shared governance. No relationship was found between other leadership styles and shared governance. There was no relationship between the achievement of a shared governance score on the participation subscale of the Index of Professional Nursing Governance and transformational leadership style. The study contributes to social change through the identification of the manager's use of a transformational leadership style to foster the autonomy and empowerment of nurses to cultivate a positive the work environment using a shared governance model, which results in registered nurse retention and decreased organizational turnover costs.