Academic journal article Academy of Banking Studies Journal

Workplace Empowerment and Organizational Effectiveness: An Empirical Investigation of Indian Banking Sector

Academic journal article Academy of Banking Studies Journal

Workplace Empowerment and Organizational Effectiveness: An Empirical Investigation of Indian Banking Sector

Article excerpt


The tenacity of the Human Relations movement led the zealous practitioners to incorporate all strategies that would 'bring out the best in their human resources'. The strategies were given diverse names and forms; industrial democracy, workers' participation in management etc. The anticipated results, of course, were more productive and efficient workforce that was capable of taking decisions and hence reduce or even eliminate completely the need for supervision making the prospect of 'flat, lean, mean' organizations seem real and approachable. While the efficacy of such strategies has been and still remains a matter of hectic discussion, the concept of Employee Empowerment has recently aroused the interest of many. Since the concept is relatively new, a universal definition has yet to emerge, yet its implementers have reported a sense of satisfaction on the gains accrued at individual as well as organizational fronts. The paper has examined the impact of empowerment antecedents on the perceived levels of psychological empowerment and the resultant effects on organizational effectiveness that has been assessed using the competing values framework. We would first discuss briefly the two concepts building their theoretical framework. A brief look at some studies on empowerment and organizational effectiveness would follow. The rest of the sections would deal with the methodology, results, analysis and discussions and lastly conclusion with the research implications.


The present literature on empowerment shows two clear perspectives. One, introduced first by Conger and Kanungo (1988), carried further by Thomas and Velthouse (1990), concretized by Spreitzer (1995) has come to be known as the psychological perspective. As the term signifies, the concept of empowerment has been discussed as a motivational and a relational construct that had its roots in Bandura's 'self-efficacy' as proposed by Conger and Kanungo. The 'intrinsic task motivation' as termed by Thomas and Velthouse was investigated and researched further by Spreitzer in the Empowerment cognitions, viz. Meaning, Competence, Self-determination and Impact. The Meaning dimension reflects the degree of fit between an employees values and beliefs and job requirements. Competence reflects confidence in one's ability to perform a job well. Self-determination reflects feelings of personal control over the job. Impact describes feelings of being able to influence major decisions in an organization.

Menon (1996) introduced the psychological construct of empowerment in terms of perceived control, perceived competence and goal internalization. Perceived control includes beliefs about authority, decision-making, latitude and availability of resources, autonomy in scheduling, etc. The second dimension of perceived competence reflects role mastery that in addition to successful completion of assigned tasks also requires coping up with the non-routine tasks. The goal internalization dimension captures the energizing property of a worthy cause or exciting vision provided by the organization leadership.

This perspective has been the basis of many studies that sought to determine the empowerment levels in the employees in diverse organizations. A few measures were also developed to measure the levels of empowerment as perceived by the employees themselves; Worker Empowerment Scale (WES) by Leslie, 1998; leader Empowering Behaviour Questionnaire (LEBQ) by Konczack, 2000; Employee Empowerment Questionnaire (EEQ) by Cloete, et al (2002). The Spreitzer measures have been found to be adequate for studying a sense of empowerment as these have been tested by many and in different samples. These have also been tested on the reliability, convergent and discriminant validity and content validity.

Though the psychological perspective provides a very useful insight into the cognitive nature of empowerment yet it is very individual centric. …

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