Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Attitudinal and Behavioral Outcomes of Employees' Psychological Empowerment: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Academic journal article Journal of Organizational Culture, Communications and Conflict

Attitudinal and Behavioral Outcomes of Employees' Psychological Empowerment: A Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

Traditionally, management practitioners and researchers have perceived empowerment as the driving force in the organizational social structural interventions which are necessary to transfer power from supervisors to subordinates (Kmieciak et al., 2012; Randolph and Kemery, 2011; Jha, 2010;). Such interventions are believed to enable employees to gain better control over resources and to optimize their capabilities in the work-environment (Huang, 2012; Zhang and Bartol, 2010; Thomas and Velthouse, 1990).

These studies, among others, sought to identify management practices that could provide employees with more control over decisions regarding how to accomplish assigned duties and responsibilities (Dewettinck and van Ameijde, 2011; Meyerson and Kline, 2008; Bartunek and Spreitzer, 2006; Mathieu et al., 2006). A further review of the extant literature indicates that management's concern about the loss of control and power due to empowering subordinates who may engage in opportunism and other self-serving behaviors has not yet been addressed. Additionally, there is a dearth of literature presenting more holistic approaches towards the examination of the direct and indirect relationships of psychological empowerment with attitudinal and behavioral outcomes (Christens, 2012; Jiang et al., 2011) to more psychological aspects of empowerment (Ertuk, 2012; Kim and Kim, 2013; Thomas and Velthouse, 1990; Spreitzer, 1995).

This study utilized a nomological network approach to validate the psychological empowerment construct and to help managers develop a better understanding of its consequences (Cronbach and Meehl, 1955). The theoretical model maps the direct and mediating indirect relationships of psychological empowerment with three types of organization commitment, job satisfaction and Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCB). To accomplish the stated objectives of this study, the authors will begin by providing readers with an overview of social exchange theory which provides the theoretical foundation for this study. This overview will be followed by hypothesis development, methodology, study results and managerial implications and conclusions. This study contributes to the literature in that it demonstrates the positive impact of psychological empowerment on employees' attitudes and behaviors. This study also contributes to the literature because it demonstrates the positive impact of psychological empowerment on employees' attitudes and behaviors in applied settings.

2. LITERATURE REVIEW AND HYPOTHESES

2.1 Social Exchange Theory

Social exchange theory has been applied to social settings ranging from intimate relationships to work settings and focuses on the behavior of individuals when interacting with one another (Homans, 1958). This theory essentially posits that all human relationships are formed through subjective cost-benefit analyses with their corresponding outcomes (Lawler et al., 2008; Lawler, 2001) and has been used as the theoretical basis in various studies in the business literature (Biron and Boon, 2013; Wadja and Hall, 2012; Byrne et al., 2011; Chen, et al., 2010). Social exchange theory is further based upon three propositions; success, stimulus and diminishing returns which are easily tied to empowerment thereby supporting its use in this study (Kim and Kim, 2013; Jiang et al., 2011; Dewettinck and Van Ameijde, 2011; Gregory et al., 2010).

* Success proposition: rewarded actions tend to be repeated.

* Stimulus proposition: the more often a particular action is rewarded the more likely it is that someone will respond to it in the future.

* Diminishing return proposition: the more recent the reward has been received the less valuable that particular reward due to demand saturation.

This review of social exchange theory thus provides the theoretical basis for the study hypotheses which are presented in the following section. …

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