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Empowering leadership in hospitality and tourism management: a systematic literature review

Giang Hoang (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Elisabeth Wilson-Evered (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Leonie Lockstone-Binney (Department of Tourism, Sport and Hotel Management, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia)
Tuan Trong Luu (Swinburne Business School, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 13 September 2021

Issue publication date: 16 November 2021




This study aims to review the empirical studies on empowering leadership in hospitality and tourism and proposes an associated research agenda.


A disciplined selection process using transparent inclusion and exclusion criteria resulted in a final sample of 25 empirical studies. The research results from these studies were systematically analyzed using content analysis.


The synthesis of these articles highlights that: studies on empowering leadership in hospitality and tourism are mainly based on motivational theories and theories with a social orientation; empowering leadership has been examined within various cultures mostly using quantitative methods; multiple instruments are used to measure empowering leadership; and empowering leadership is a variously defined construct that has been found to promote creativity and innovation, service performance and various employee attitudes and behaviors.

Research limitations/implications

The authors provide an integrated framework for empowering leadership in hospitality and tourism contexts, proposing theoretical implications and directions for further research.

Practical implications

This review identified growing research interest in empowering leadership in diverse hospitality and tourism contexts, as well as an increasing impetus to understand how leaders can effectively empower their subordinates.


The study provides a systematic understanding of empirical research examining the theoretical frameworks, antecedents, mediators, moderators and consequences of empowering leadership in various hospitality and tourism contexts. Significant opportunities remain for further research to address the gaps and limitations discovered.



The authors confirm that this article is partly derived from the first author’s doctoral thesis submitted to Victoria University, Australia. An earlier version of the article was presented at The British Academy of Management Conference and was awarded Best Paper Award in the leadership track. Only an abstract of the paper was published in the conference proceedings.


Hoang, G., Wilson-Evered, E., Lockstone-Binney, L. and Luu, T.T. (2021), "Empowering leadership in hospitality and tourism management: a systematic literature review", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 33 No. 12, pp. 4182-4214.



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