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Employee empowerment: From managerial practices to employees' behavioral empowerment

Jean‐Sébastien Boudrias (Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Patrick Gaudreau (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada)
André Savoie (University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Alexandre J.S. Morin (University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Canada)

Leadership & Organization Development Journal

ISSN: 0143-7739

Article publication date: 18 September 2009




The purpose of this paper is to extend past research by investigating the relationships between supervisors' empowering management practices (SEMP), employees' psychological empowerment (PE), and a new measure of employees' behavioral empowerment (BE). A mediation model is hypothesized.


A questionnaire study is conducted among 359 non‐managerial employees. Because BE is both self‐reported and externally assessed, relationships are verified with single‐source and multi‐source data.


SEMP are quite strongly related to PE, but more weakly related to BE. Structural equation analyses tend to support a model where PE completely mediates the relationship between supervisors' managerial practices and employees' BE.

Research limitations/implications

This cross‐sectional study does not provide indication of causality among the variables.

Practical implications

First, this paper suggests that feeling empowered is a pivotal mindset that needs to be created by supervisors to generate proactive behaviors. Second, the moderate correlation found between PE and BE measures suggests that they capture different facets of empowerment. Given management concern for bottom line results, behavioral measures should not be ignored in assessing employee empowerment.


This paper used a behavioral criterion to assess employee empowerment rather than relying solely on a psychological measure.



Boudrias, J., Gaudreau, P., Savoie, A. and Morin, A.J.S. (2009), "Employee empowerment: From managerial practices to employees' behavioral empowerment", Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 30 No. 7, pp. 625-638.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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