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How do empowering conditions lead to empowered behaviours? Test of a mediation model

Marilyne Pigeon (Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)
Francesco Montani (Montpellier Business School, Montpellier, France)
Jean-Sebastien Boudrias (Department of Psychology, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada)

Journal of Managerial Psychology

ISSN: 0268-3946

Article publication date: 6 September 2017

Issue publication date: 18 September 2017




Behavioural outcomes of empowerment are not often studied comprehensively and in a specific manner in the literature. The purpose of this paper is to test a research model that specifies how two empowering conditions (empowering leadership and job autonomy) influence specific behavioural outcomes expected from empowered subordinates (discretionary-empowered behaviours and participation in decision making). A mediated model through psychological empowerment is hypothesised.


A cross-sectional questionnaire study relying on 141 dyads of subordinates-supervisors was conducted. Subordinates provided information on psychological empowerment and empowering leadership, while supervisors assessed job autonomy and behavioural outcomes.


Structural equation modelling analyses lent partial support to the hypothesised model. Psychological empowerment completely mediated the relationships between empowering leadership and behavioural outcomes. However, psychological empowerment was a partial mediator of the relationships between job autonomy and behavioural outcomes. A strong direct link was found between job autonomy and participation in decision making.


This study enables to extend the empowerment literature by showing how job design and leadership factors contribute to boost two types of specific empowered behaviours. The contribution is particularly original in the case of subordinates’ participation in decision making that is not often considered as a subordinate’s empowered behaviour.



Because all the authors contributed equally to the preparation of this paper, the order of appearance of the authors was determined at random. All should be considered first authors. This study was made possible by a grant from the Fonds Québécois de la Recherche sur la Société et la Culture (FQRSC 2007-NP-112588).


Pigeon, M., Montani, F. and Boudrias, J.-S. (2017), "How do empowering conditions lead to empowered behaviours? Test of a mediation model", Journal of Managerial Psychology, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 357-372.



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