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Psychological and environmental empowerment: antecedents and consequences

Shauna L. Meyerson (Organizational Effectiveness, Calgary Health Region, Calgary, Canada)
Theresa J.B. Kline (Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 11 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The aims of this paper are to clarify empowerment as a construct, assess whether environmental and psychological empowerment differentially predicts job outcomes, and investigate the effects of transformation and transactional leadership on empowerment.

Design/methodology/approach

University students (n=197) rated leadership and empowerment in their workplaces and a number of job outcomes using an on‐line questionnaire.

Findings

Results supported the proposition that empowerment should be separated into its behavioral and psychological components. The dimensions of empowerment also differentially predicted job outcomes. In particular, environmental empowerment was better at predicting outcomes than was psychological empowerment. It was also found that transformational and transactional leadership predicted environmental empowerment more strongly than psychological empowerment.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations include that the study was cross‐sectional, used a student sample, and a single common method for collecting the data. The primary implication for research is that empowerment should be separated into two constructs, environmental and psychological.

Practical implications

Practical implications include that environmental empowerment has more predictive power than does psychological empowerment on workplace outcomes and that leadership has a stronger impact on environmental than psychological empowerment.

Originality/value

This study is the first to call into question the way empowerment has been measured in prior studies and provides useful directions with which to pursue future research in this area.

Keywords

Citation

Meyerson, S.L. and Kline, T.J.B. (2008), "Psychological and environmental empowerment: antecedents and consequences", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 444-460. https://doi.org/10.1108/01437730810887049

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited