The Effects of Job Satisfaction and Work Experience on Employee-Desire for Empowerment: A Comparative Study in Canada and India

Article excerpt

The paper examines the effects of job satisfaction and work experience on employee-desire for empowerment. Restaurant industry employees from the Lower mainland area of British Columbia, Canada and the Punjab area of India were surveyed to assess their perceptions of job satisfaction, work experience, and desire to be empowered at their places of work. Results suggest that job satisfaction and work experience enhance the employee-desire for empowerment in both countries - Canada and India. The practical implication of this study is that employees who exhibit job satisfaction and work experience behaviors are more likely to heighten their desires to be empowered, regardless of cultural context. The findings help to explain failures in organizational efforts to empower workers by demonstrating the critical role of job satisfaction and work experience behaviors in heightening employee-desire for empowerment.

Introduction

The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between job satisfaction, work experience, and employee-desire for empowerment. Issues of employee empowerment are germane to service organizations (Chebat and Kollias, 2000; Honegger and Appelbaum, 1998). The term "empowerment" in management literature appears to have come into general usage in the early 1980s (Collins, 1999). Individuals have been found to have an inherent need for empowerment, i.e., the capacity to influence and control their environment and strive for greater self-determination (Von-Dran, 1996; Gill et al, 2010, p. 264).

Empowerment is viewed as an important feature of successful management, as well as a way to gain competitive advantage (Al-Mbaidin and Yousef, 2010, p. 37). It has been found that the empowerment provides organizational benefits such as increment in employee contribution to the organization by providing a quality customer service, reduction in employee job stress (Gill, Biger, and Bhutani, 2010), etc. Unfortunately, efforts to empower employees have failed in a large number of organizations due to a variety of factors such as employee reluctance to be empowered and management reluctance to empower employees (Darling, 1996; Honegger and Appelbaum, 1998; Messmer, 1990). This failure in efforts to empower employees led to the concept of "employee desire for empowerment" (Honegger and Appelbaum, 1 998) as a key success factor to be considered both practically and empirically (Gill et al, 2010, p. 264).

Customer-contact service employees (CCSEs) play a boundary-spanning role in the hospitality industry where they interact with many individuals from inside (fellow employees and managers) and outside (guests) of their organizations (Gill et al, 2010, p. 264). This large role set requires CCSEs to satisfy the frequently distinct needs and expectations of multiple parties (Gill et al, 2006). In addition, the distinct features of services (e.g., perishability) create challenges for CCSEs (Sommers et al, 1992).

The challenges that CCSEs face due to (a) the distinct features of services, and (b) pressure to meet the distinct needs and expectations of customers and management to improve service quality may reduce CCSEs' desire for empowerment. Since excellent customer service requires employees to be empowered to make many service decisions independently and on the spot, reduced employee desire for empowerment does not favor the interests of hospitality organizations (Gill et al, 2010, p. 264). Therefore, it is important to find strategies that can help enhance employees' desire for empowerment (EDFE). Employee job satisfaction and work experience hold a great promise for advancing EDFE in the hospitality industry.

Although, research on Job Satisfaction started in the last century when Herzberg et al. (1959) formulated an influential Dual-Factor, or "Hygiene-Motivator" theory, there has been no research conducted to test the relationships between job satisfaction and employee-desire for empowerment. …