Employee empowerment and organizational commitment among employees of star-rated hotels in Ghana: Does perceived supervisor support matter?

Michael Kyei-Frimpong (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Emmanuel Kodwo Amoako (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Bridget Akwetey-Siaw (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Kwame Owusu Boakye (Department of Management Sciences, University of Education Winneba, Winneba, Ghana)
Isaac Nyarko Adu (Department of Management Sciences, University of Education Winneba, Winneba, Ghana)
Abdul-Razak Suleman (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)
Amin Abdul Bawa (Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management, University of Ghana, Accra, Ghana)

Journal of Work-Applied Management

ISSN: 2205-2062

Article publication date: 18 July 2023

Issue publication date: 16 April 2024

5137

Abstract

Purpose

The current study aimed to examine the moderating role of perceived supervisor support in the nexus between employee empowerment and organizational commitment in the Ghanaian hospitality industry.

Design/methodology/approach

A quantitative research design was adopted, and data were collected from 274 frontline workers from 4-star and 5-star hotels at two different waves within a 7-month interval. The data received were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics with the aid of Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS V. 23.0) and SmartPLS (V.4.0), respectively.

Findings

As hypothesized in the study, employee empowerment was significantly related to organizational commitment. Furthermore, the results revealed that perceived supervisor support moderated the nexus between employee empowerment and affective and continuance commitment but did not moderate the nexus between employee empowerment and normative commitment.

Originality/value

Arguably, support from supervisors has been theoretically identified as a key construct in enhancing subordinates' commitment to an organization. However, less is known in the literature about the moderating role of perceived supervisory support in the nexus between employee empowerment and organizational commitment, especially in the Ghanaian hospitality industry.

Keywords

Citation

Kyei-Frimpong, M., Kodwo Amoako, E., Akwetey-Siaw, B., Owusu Boakye, K., Nyarko Adu, I., Suleman, A.-R. and Abdul Bawa, A. (2024), "Employee empowerment and organizational commitment among employees of star-rated hotels in Ghana: Does perceived supervisor support matter?", Journal of Work-Applied Management, Vol. 16 No. 1, pp. 65-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/JWAM-05-2023-0038

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Michael Kyei-Frimpong, Emmanuel Kodwo Amoako, Bridget Akwetey-Siaw, Kwame Owusu Boakye, Isaac Nyarko Adu, Abdul-Razak Suleman and Amin Abdul Bawa

License

Published in Journal of Work-Applied Management. Published by Emerald Publishing Limited. This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial and non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors. The full terms of this licence may be seen at http://creativecommons.org/licences/by/4.0/legalcode


1. Introduction

The economic contributions of the hospitality industry in Ghana's economy are very significant, ranging from employment opportunities (Ampofo, 2020), generation of foreign exchange (Mintah Prempeh et al., 2015) to revenue generation for the government (Geoffrey-Deladem et al., 2021). Available statistics indicate that the hospitality sector contributed about 3.9 billion Ghana cedis to Ghana's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019, accounting for about 7% of GDP (Ampofo, 2020). Interestingly, the sector however continues to face some challenges – a high employee attrition rate (Asimah, 2018) and a high tax rate (Mintah Prempeh et al., 2015). The hospitality industry has a persistent interest in conducting research on organizational commitment. This is because companies in this industry tend to prioritize the recruitment of staff who exhibit loyalty and commitment. Such employees are highly valued as they are likely to exert their full potential towards achieving organizational goals (Deepa et al., 2014). In addition, organizational commitment serves to reinforce the allegiance of employees in both their attitudes and behaviours (Yao et al., 2019). Recent research has indicated that the industry is associated with several unfavourable employment conditions, such as inadequate remuneration, limited job stability, extended work schedules, insufficient prospects for individual growth and dependence on seasonal demand (Myhill et al., 2021). Furthermore, the hotel industry is distinguished from other industries based on several factors, including, but not limited to, designated periods of rest, consistent shift schedules and sporadic working hours (Chan and Ao, 2019). As a result, it is imperative for hotels to cultivate a greater level of dedication among their staff across all departments in order to mitigate turnover intention (Marco-Lajara and Úbeda-García, 2013).

Organizational commitment is positively related to training and development, leadership, mentoring, job autonomy and organizational support and negatively related to work–family conflict, burnout and turnover intention (Asimah, 2018; Kim and Beehr, 2018; Kyei-Frimpong et al., 2022).

Presbitero et al. (2019) in their literature review empirically and conceptually explored the antecedents of organizational commitment and subdivided them into organizational, group and individual levels. However, an extant review of the available literature reveals a relative dearth of research investigating the psychological factors or antecedents of organizational commitment in the Ghanaian hospitality industry, and thus, this motivates the researchers to broaden the scope of research on organizational commitment in the Ghanaian context.

This current study focuses on employee empowerment as an antecedent of organizational commitment. Employee empowerment has evolved as an important construct necessary for enhancing the commitment of employees in an organization (Kim et al., 2012). Employee empowerment has been found to positively influence performance, employee engagement and employee retention (Prathiba, 2016). Employee empowerment is critical in the hospitality industry, which is known for its labour-intensive nature and high level of customer interaction. The hospitality industry relies heavily on its employees to deliver high-quality services and create a positive experience for customers. Even though it is postulated that employee empowerment is a driver of organizational commitment, a dearth of consideration has been given to it in the non-Western context, from which Ghana is not exempted (Bose and Emirates, 2018). Additionally, there are inconsistencies in the existing literature on the direct tie between employee empowerment and organizational commitment (Kim et al., 2012). For instance, Kim et al. (2012) observed that empowerment can lead to low organizational commitment. Thus, the results from the Pakistani banking sector revealed that over-empowered employees tend to have lower levels of commitment as they may feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the increased responsibility. However, results by Albasal et al. (2022) found that employee empowerment has a significant positive effect on organizational commitment. Therefore, it is imperative that whilst efforts are made to reduce the attrition rate of employees in the hospitality industry of Ghana, employee empowerment should not be overlooked as it plays a critical role in improving the commitment levels of hospitality employees (Rawat, 2011). As such, this study seeks to address this long-lasting gap in the Ghanaian hospitality literature.

One important construct that enhances employees' commitment is the perceived support they receive from supervisors or people of higher authority (Huyghebaert et al., 2019). Eisenberger and Stinglhamber (2002) assert that perceived supervisor support denotes the perception that employees have towards their supervisors as being caring, valuing their contributions and supporting them in times of challenges. Given the possible positive relationships between employee empowerment, organizational commitment and perceived supervisor support, it is plausible that perceived supervisor support may play a moderating role in the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational commitment. Specifically, employees who feel empowered are more likely to feel committed to their organization because they have greater control over their work and are more likely to feel that their work is meaningful and impactful (Kim et al., 2012). However, this relationship may be even stronger if employees also perceive that their supervisors are supportive and care about their well-being. Arguing from the social exchange theory (SET) perspective, when employees feel empowered by their organization and receive the necessary support to undertake their work, they shall reciprocate these kind gestures by remaining committed and loyal to their organization. However, if such support is not forthcoming and employees feel less empowered by their organization, then their commitment levels will be greatly and negatively affected. Also, perceived supervisor support could be considered as a resource because of its susceptibility to change as a result of exposure to a variety of interventions. Hence, the aim of this study is to propose perceived supervisor support as a possible moderator in the nexus between employee empowerment and organizational commitment in the Ghanaian hospitality industry.

Overall, the uniqueness of this study rests within its context of exploring the Ghanaian workforce and culture through the lenses of employee empowerment, perceived supervisor support and organizational commitment. Hence, researchers and organizations can gain original insights and recommendations that are tailored towards the Ghanaian context and have implications for applied management. For instance, the Ghanaian culture emphasizes the value of self-reliance and individual initiatives. This cultural mindset creates an environment conducive to employee empowerment. Ghanaians tend to appreciate opportunities to take ownership of their work, make decisions and contribute meaningfully to their organizations. The findings contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms through which employee empowerment influences organizational commitment. Specifically, by showing that perceived supervisor support moderates the nexus between employee empowerment and organizational commitment, the study highlights the significance of a supportive supervisory climate in fostering organizational commitment. The outcomes of this investigation will also offer substantial contributions to organizations aiming to enhance employee commitment and well-being, as well as its applicability to the sphere of applied management.

2. Literature review and hypotheses development

2.1 Theoretical review

This current study draws on the SET (Blau, 1964) to espouse the relationship that exists between employee empowerment and the dimensions of organizational commitment while assessing the moderating role of perceived supervisor support. The theory is perceived by Blau (1964, p. 91) as “voluntary actions undertaken by individuals are driven by their anticipation and realization of the benefits that accrue from others”. The underlying communal relationship begins with the conferment of a benefit on one party/individual/group, which if reciprocated by the recipient to the benefit of the other thus beginning a series of such exchanges, resulting in a feeling of mutual obligation towards each other (Ohemeng et al., 2020). According to Cropanzano and Mitchell (2005), a social exchange relationship in the organizational context develops if employers address the needs of employees, which is then reciprocated by positive and effective work behaviours. SET is underlined by several guiding principles such as the relational nature of people, a defined expectation, and individuals' assessment of a given social exchange (Imam et al., 2022). Although SET is premised on the concept of reciprocity, the subject of the exchange is neither defined nor obligatory; however, failure to experience reciprocity by one party could reduce input (effort) by employees and output (benefit) by employers (Birtch et al., 2016).

Resources in the social exchange include possessions, skills and behavioural capabilities valued by the other party (Ohemeng et al., 2020). Subsequently, when employees recognize provisions made by the entity to empower them, a sense of responsibility lies with them to return the favour with attitudinal outcomes that merit the organization, such as an increased level of attachment and commitment to the organization. Accordingly, Ampofo (2020) indicates that when employees receive significant support from colleagues and supervisors, they are not likely to reciprocate such with undesirable behaviours; rather they feel obliged to equally offer them social support. Fan et al. (2019) assert that supervisor support can be likened to a psychological mechanism such that an employee perceives his/her supervisor can relate to the demands of the job and consequently offers assistance and reciprocity, which is the core principle of SET, making the employee feel morally obliged to the leader and ultimately to the organization.

Further, SET suggests that empowering employees can lead to increased commitment, as a result of high levels of perceived supervisor support. This cycle of exchange can create a positive work environment where employees feel valued and supported, leading to an enhanced commitment of employees and productive work environment, which benefits both the employee and the organization at large.

2.2 Employee empowerment and organizational commitment

The origin of the concept of empowerment in organizational behaviour has been traced to the “Theory Y” developed by Douglas McGregor, which is based on the notion that achieving and improving employee behaviour such as productivity, motivation, participation and productivity can be done by designing occupations that are more flexible and autonomous (Zaraket et al., 2018). It begins with ensuring strategic fit and alignment between the existing human resource, tasks, technology, information processes, rewards and the organizational structure. According to Hsieh and Chao (2004), employee empowerment is best described as an involvement initiative that encourages decision-making at the bottom by enabling employees to have a level of freedom in decision-making and autonomy with respect to their responsibilities. Thus, it means empowering the state of mind of employees to be in control of the task to be accomplished, aware of the circumstances within which the work is to be done, and have a sense of accountability for their performance and equity with regards to collective or individual performance and rewards. Humborstad and Perry (2011) assert that empowerment is a social construct that is relatively nested in how individuals integrate their perception of personal control. According to Sahoo and Das (2011), employee empowerment is a form of motivation, which is intrinsically generated and involves positive valued experiences which an employee derives directly from a job.

Commitment to an organization is an issue of great importance as it is considered to have direct implications on employee performance, an organization's profitability and its competitive position (Abdullah and Ramay, 2012). The degree to which an employee is considered to be committed is crucial because according to Irefin and Mechanic (2014), employees with low-level commitment only do enough to work; they view themselves as outsiders and not as members who are in for the long while, and consequently, their primary concern hinges on their personal success. This is in contrast to highly committed individuals who see themselves as an integral part of an organization and are creatively involved in executing the mission and values of the said organization. Whatever potentially threatens the firm inevitably can threaten them and their work for the organization. Extant literature reveals three dimensions of organizational commitment: affective, continuance and normative commitment (Kim et al., 2012; Zaraket et al., 2018). Affective commitment reflects the emotional attachment to an organization when employees identify themselves with it, enjoy its membership and have a strong desire for the well-being of the same. Continuance commitment is defined based on the perceived cost–benefit evaluation of continuing to be a member of an organization, whereas normative commitment is based on a feeling of obligation to the firm (Shafiq et al., 2013).

As powerful as the concept of employee empowerment is, it has been misconstrued by managers in the workplace as empowerment to reduce their authority; however, it is noted as a human resource management practice that improves the commitment of employees (Zaraket et al., 2018). Cho et al. (2006) found that workplace empowerment strongly affects affective commitment among new graduate nurses in Canada. Likewise, Kim et al. (2012) identified that among 330 employees of 29 hotels and restaurants in South Korea, those who feel empowered are committed to the firm and view their management as being trustworthy. Similarly, Humborstad and Perry (2011) studied employee empowerment, job satisfaction and organizational commitment and found that cultural differences affect how people accept empowerment, especially in a high-power country like China. However, the study concluded that Chinese employees accept empowering management practices for the purpose of demonstrating their commitment to the organization. Moreover, Chen and Chen (2008) identified that in Taiwan state-owned businesses, some sub-dimensions of empowerment positively correlated with the employees' commitment to the enterprise. Furthermore, Rawat (2011) studied the effect of the psychological empowerment of employees on commitment from three selected service industries in Singapore, and the result confirmed that empowering employees significantly influences all three levels of organizational commitment. However, scholars have observed that there is a dearth of empirical evidence to lend support to the nexus between employee empowerment and the dimensions of organizational commitment in the hospitality industry (AlKahtani et al., 2021) from which Ghana is not exempted. Based on the literature, empirical results and support from SET as discussed above, it can be held that employee empowerment and the three dimensions of organizational commitment are related; hence, the researchers hypothesized that

H1a.

Employee empowerment is positively related to the affective commitment of employees in the Ghanaian hospitality industry

H1b.

Employee empowerment is positively related to the continuance commitment of employees in the Ghanaian hospitality industry

H1c.

Employee empowerment is positively related to the normative commitment of employees in the Ghanaian hospitality industry

2.3 Moderating role of perceived supervisor support

Supervisor support refers to the extent to which employees within an organization perceive that their supervisors value their contributions and prioritize their well-being (Eisenberger and Stinglhamber, 2002). As a social exchange construct, the underlying assumption is employees who perceive support and care from their supervisors will have a sense of attachment to the organization and feel obliged to “return the favour” by continuing in the organization (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005). Direct supervisors are seen to be the closest link of an organization to its employees; as such, employees tend to interpret their supervisor's orientation towards them as the expression of perceived organizational support, which helps build a positive attitude towards the organization (Rhoades and Eisenberger, 2002).

Executives of an organization have a significant role to play in providing guidance on how empowerment and motivation strategies can be applied for organizational commitment and loyalty to accomplish organizational outcomes. One of the contextual factors in support of employee empowerment is supervisor support. Kyei-Frimpong et al. (2022) asserts that leadership behaviour reflected in supervisor support enables employees to work without fear of negative consequences that may arise with respect to their career, status or self-image, thus enhancing employees' self-efficacy. Subsequently, employees who feel they are treated appropriately well are most likely to give back to the organization in the form of commitment. Mihardjo et al. (2020) in studying the impact of management support on employees' commitment in Malaysian hotels found that when staff members receive the necessary support from their supervisors, there is a show of positivity towards the organization culminating in a higher degree of commitment. Also, Kim et al. (2012) identified that in the South Korean hospitality industry, the trustworthiness of supervisors moderated the relationship between employee empowerment and commitment. Jose and Mampilly (2014) posit that supervisor support is observed to have moderating effects in the research literature. Kenny et al. (1998) indicate two conditions are necessary for moderation effect: the relationship between the independent variables and the moderator and the relationship between the moderator and dependent need not to be significant for moderation to take place. Previously cited studies have established that supervisor support can directly alter the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational commitment (e.g. Abdullah and Ramay, 2012). It is therefore hypothesized that

H2a.

Perceived supervisor support moderates the relationship between employee empowerment and affective commitment

H2b.

Perceived supervisor support moderates the relationship between employee empowerment and continuance commitment

H2c.

Perceived supervisor support moderates the relationship between employee empowerment and normative commitment

2.4 Conceptual framework

See Figure 1 for the conceptual framework based on the hypothesized relationship.

3. Methodology

3.1 Design, participant and procedure

The present study adopted a quantitative research design. Frontline employees who are full-time workers in highly rated hotels in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana were the target population. They include bell attendants, front-desk agents, waiters and housekeepers. Out of the 10 high-rated selected hotels, the researchers were able to obtain permission from three 4-star and two 5-star hotels for data collection. These hotels were classified in the first quarter of 2022 as the top 10 deluxe and famous hotels in the Greater Accra region. As of the time the permission was obtained, the hotels had 472 frontline workers who are full-timers and thus were adopted as the population of the study. Questionnaires were the main instruments used for the data collection. Respondents were given a period of two weeks to return their completed questionnaires in a sealed envelope given to them. A convenience sampling technique, where participants are selected for a study based on their availability (Saunders, 2012), was adopted. The technique was adopted as a result of the irregular shift and working hours of the employees. A final sample of 274 frontline workers was chosen for this study based on the sampling approach prescribed by Krejcie and Morgan (1970) for selecting a sample size. The sample size comprised 193 employees from the 4-star hotels and 81 employees from the 5-star hotels. All issues relating to ethical consideration; anonymity, confidentiality and voluntary participation were addressed by the researchers. Ethical approval was granted to this study by the University of Education, Winneba Ethics Committee, giving it some institutional backing.

The study employed two surveys at different time periods with a 7-month time lag to mitigate the effects of common method bias. Both questionnaires were assigned codes to facilitate the tracking of their return and the responses provided by the participants. During the month of August in the year 2022, an assessment was conducted to gather data on the demographic attributes of the participants and their level of commitment. During the month of April in the year 2023, an evaluation was conducted to gather the perspectives of the individuals involved regarding their perception of perceived support and empowerment. The potential risks associated with the collection of confidential and sensitive information through the completion of the questionnaire were mitigated by instructing the participants to refrain from disclosing any personal information that could potentially disclose their identity. The study's participants were provided with additional reassurance that the research was carried out for academic purposes.

3.2 Measurement instrument

The response options for all the constructs were anchored on a range from 1 “strongly disagree” to 5 “strongly agree”.

Employee empowerment

Sprietzer's (1995) 10-item scale for measuring employee psychological empowerment was adapted to measure employee empowerment. Sample items include “My work I do is very important to me”.

Perceived supervisor support

Greenhaus et al.'s (1990) scale for measuring supervisor support was used to measure perceived supervisor support. Sample items include “My supervisor cares about whether or not I achieve my goals”.

Organizational commitment

Mowday et al.’s (1979) 12-item scale for organizational commitment was adapted for this study. The scale was measured on three dimensions: affective commitment (4 items), continuance commitment (5 items) and normative commitment (3 items). Sample items include “I enjoy discussing my employer with people outside of it” (affective commitment), “Right now staying with my employer is a matter of necessity as much as desire (RS)” (continuance commitment) and “I owe a great deal to my employer” (normative commitment).

3.3 Data analysis

The data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics such as Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) (Version 23.0) and SmartPLS (Version 4.0), respectively. The demographic characteristics of the respondents were analyzed descriptively, using frequencies and percentages. Also, the mean, standard deviation and the correlation matrix among the study's construct were done using the SPSS. In order to test the hypothesis of the study, structural equation modelling analysis was used with the aid of SmartPLS (Version 4.0).

4. Results

Table 1 presents a summary of the respondents' demographic characteristics.

4.1 Reliability and validity of construct

The outcomes of the confirmatory factor analysis of the study's constructs are shown in Table 2. The findings show factor loadings for each item being more than the minimum threshold of 0.4 as recommended by Nunnally (1978). The construct's dependability was also evaluated using the Cronbach's alpha test, which measures the construct's internal consistency. The results show that the values exceeded the minimum criteria of 0.5 as advised by Hair et al. (2011). In an exploratory study, composite reliability (CR) values between 0.60 and 0.70 are acceptable, whereas values between 0.70 and 0.95 are regarded as desirable, as suggested by earlier studies (Adu et al., 2020; Hair et al., 2011; Henseler et al., 2015). As a result, the findings indicate that the CR values are satisfied because they lie between 0.70 and 0.95. To check for convergent validity, the average variance extract (AVE) of each latent variable was assessed. According to Table 2's findings, the AVE values were higher than the 0.50 threshold suggested by Henseler et al. (2015).

4.2 Correlation among study constructs

From Table 3, it can be seen that employee empowerment has a significant positive relationship with affective commitment (r = 0.412, p < 0.01), continuance commitment (r = 0.573, p < 0.01) and normative commitment (r = 0.599, p < 0.01). In other words, employee empowerment affects affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment positively. Similarly, the results of the study reveal that perceived supervisory support has a significant positive relationship with affective commitment (r = 0.491, p < 0.01), continuance commitment (r = 0.509, p < 0.01) and normative commitment (r = 0.675, p < 0.01).

4.3 Discriminant validity among study constructs

The level of distinctiveness of a given item in comparison to all other constructs in a structural model is described by discriminant validity. The heterotrait–monotrait ratio (HTMT) and the Fornell–Larcker criterion for discriminant validity were assessed in this study. According to Henseler et al. (2015), the HTMT ratio should be lower than 1 or less than 0.85 (generally seen as a tougher criterion) or 0.90 (somewhat more tolerant level). According to Table 4's findings, the HTMT ratio values were below the indicated level. As a result, it may be claimed that the findings support the model construct's discriminant validity. In respect of the Fornell–Larcker criterion, the square root of the AVE for each construct was greater than the intercorrelation of the study's constructs as presented in Table 4. Thus, the results displayed in Tables 4 and 5 show the constructs in the current study are independent of each other.

4.4 Structural model results

In assessing the fitness of our research model, the normed fit index and standardized root mean square residual were estimated. The values as shown in Table 6 indicate that the research model has an acceptable good fit since the values of the fit index are within the acceptable threshold as suggested by Hair et al. (2011). Using Stone-Q Geisser's square (Q2) values, our research model's predictive usefulness was also evaluated. Values below 0 suggest a lack of predictive relevance in the study model. Q2 scores over 0 nonetheless show the predictive usefulness of the study model. Since all of the Q2 values are greater than 0, the data in Table 6 demonstrate that the study model has predictive relevance.

The R-square (R2), as shown in Figure 2, was used to assess the structural model's predictive power. The R2 shows how much of the variance in each endogenous latent variable can be accounted for by the exogenous latent variables taken together. The results indicate that the variance in affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment is explained by a combination of perceived supervisor support and employee empowerment in the amounts of 58.6%, 47.1% and 55.3%, respectively.

4.5 Test for hypotheses

As shown in Table 6, the path relationship's estimated values were assessed. The prediction that employee empowerment will significantly predict affective commitment was met (EE → AC: β = 0.519, t-statistic = 7.362, p < 0.001), indicating support for H1a. Also, the path from employee empowerment was found to significantly predict continuance commitment (EE → CC: β = 0.357, t-statistic = 4.725, p < 0.001), indicating support for H1b. Furthermore, employee empowerment significantly predicted normative commitment (EE → NC: β = 0.561, t-statistic = 5.194, p < 0.001), indicating support for H1c). However, the primary aim of this study was to examine the possible moderating effects of perceived supervisory support on the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational commitment (thus affective commitment, continuance commitment and normative commitment).

The results from Table 6 indicate that perceived supervisor support had an interactional effect on the relationship between employee empowerment and continuance commitment (PSS x EE → CC: β = −0.139, t-statistic = 2.633, p < 0.01), Hence H2b was supported (see Figure 3). Also, perceived supervisor support moderated the relationship between employee empowerment and affective commitment (PSS × EE → AC: β = −0.126, t-statistic = 2.570, p < 0.01). Hence, H2a was supported (see Figure 4). Finally, perceived supervisor support did not moderate the relationship between employee empowerment and normative commitment (PSS × EE → NC: β = −0.001, t-statistic = 0.011, p > 0.05). Hence H2c was not supported.

5. Discussions and conclusion

5.1 Discussions

Managers and supervisors within the workplace perceive that employee empowerment is viewed unfavorably. This is because many employers are of the view that empowering their employees might relinquish their opportunity to control and lead their organization (Zhou and Chen, 2021). As a result, this present study was in response to the ever-increasing interests in the role of employee empowerment in developing employees who are highly committed and the extent at which perceived supervisory support can alter such development. This is extensively claimed to be significant in enhancing the overall performance of organizations. The distinctiveness of this research lies in its examination of the Ghanaian workforce and culture from the perspectives of employee empowerment, supervisory support and organizational commitment. This study offers novel insights and recommendations that are customized to the unique Ghanaian context and have practical implications for organizations and researchers.

Firstly, this study provides empirical support for the idea that organizations in Ghana's hospitality sector can increase employee loyalty by giving them more responsibility. The results thus support hypotheses H1a, H1b and H1c by showing that employee empowerment strongly predicts organizational commitment (affective, continuation and normative commitment). Employees in the Ghanaian hospitality industry that are more committed may have a more positive opinion of the level of empowerment. These findings are consistent with the findings of Humborstad and Perry (2011), Kim et al. (2012), Rawat (2011) and Zaraket et al. (2018). This fills the gap between an employee's job roles and personal values and provides them with confidence that they can carry out tasks using their knowledge and skills since employee empowerment inspires dedication. Additionally, it motivates people to exert significant effort on behalf of the organization by managing their tasks, taking part in decision-making and helping to shape the organizational structure in which they are ingrained. The norm of reciprocity propounded by the social exchange theorists (Blau, 1964; Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005) argue that social exchange in the organization should involve the reciprocity of good gestures for good gesture, and when one party receives bad treatment, the party is expected to reciprocate in the like manner. In line with this assertion, when hospitality firms make use of their organizational processes, systems and procedure to empower their employees, the employees will reciprocate this gesture by remaining committed to the organization affectively, continually and normatively. Similarly, when hospitality firms' organizational processes, systems and procedure fail to empower their employees, the employees will reciprocate this treatment by withdrawing their commitment to their organizations. Deducing from the findings that employee empowerment had a positive impact on the dimensions of commitment, it is argued that the systems, processes and procedures in the participating firms in the Ghanaian hospitality industry empowered their employees. These findings are relevant in the context of the work-applied management as they highlight the importance of employee empowerment as a means to enhance organizational commitment.

The prediction that perceived supervisor support will moderate the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational commitment (thus affective commitment, and continuance commitment) was met, except for normative commitment. This indicates support for H2a, H2b and non-support for H2c. These findings are consistent with the findings of Abdullah and Ramay (2012) as well as that of Rhoades and Eisenberger (2002), indicating that supervisor support directly affects employees' commitment when the employees are empowered. Supervisors are frequently seen as encapsulating all that is good or bad about an organization's commitment to its workforce. Given the frequent encounters between employees and supervisors, it becomes evident that supervisors would become the main subject of attention and the most likely source of employees' behaviour and decisions. This is because meaningful relationships with supervisors provide an enabling environment for employees to willingly take personal responsibility, engage in citizenship behaviour and improve employee ingenuity to commitment. Perceived supervisor support is considered as a social exchange construct (Cropanzano and Mitchell, 2005). Consequently, we argue from the reciprocity tenant of SET that when organizations in the Ghanaian hospitality industry empower their employees through their organizational processes, systems and procedures as well as providing support to employees through their supervisors, employees will in response remain committed to the organization. This suggest that when employees recognize provisions made by the entity to empower them, a sense of responsibility lies with them to return the favour with attitudinal outcomes that merit the organization, such as an increased level of attachment and commitment to the organization. In the context of the work-applied management, these findings emphasize the role of supervisors in creating a positive work environment that enhances commitment. Organizations can leverage this insight by developing strategies to train and support supervisors in their role as mentors and supporters of employees.

Overall, the findings of this study provide valuable insights for applied management, shedding light on the relationship between employee empowerment, supervisor support and organizational commitment. By understanding the importance of these variables, organizations can design effective management strategies to enhance commitment levels among employees in the hospitality sector and potentially in other industries as well.

5.1.1 Implication for practice

Managers in organizations must recognize that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to address managerial issues related to promoting employee commitment. However, insights from work-applied management can help practitioners understand the significance of employee empowerment as a means to foster commitment. While empowerment has been proven to yield positive employee outcomes, it is essential for the management to be aware of the criticisms and concerns it has faced in the past, particularly regarding its compatibility with strong leadership (Koch and Godden, 1997 as cited in Commey et al., 2016). However, this assumption can be challenged and mitigated through the implementation of in-service training programs. In the context of work-applied management, in-service training serves as an insurance policy, ensuring that the power and autonomy granted to frontline employees align with management's interests. By providing managers with training opportunities, organizations equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively administer empowerment and provide support to employees as issues arise. This training helps strike a balance between empowering employees and exercising strong leadership, allowing managers to navigate these dynamics successfully.

Supervisors also play a crucial role in work-applied management across private and public organizations. As such, they need to understand their role in fostering a strong level of commitment from employees towards the organization. This includes being easily accessible to employees, offering assistance when needed and encouraging innovation before resorting to criticism. By demonstrating support and creating a conducive work environment, supervisors contribute to employee empowerment and, in turn, bolster commitment levels. Moreover, organizations can tailor their policies and programs to generate the necessary supervisor support for employees, thereby fostering a sense of empowerment. By developing initiatives that provide supervisors with the tools, resources and guidelines to effectively support and empower their teams, organizations create an environment that promotes commitment and productivity.

5.1.2 Recommendations for future studies

The current study just like any other study has some limitations. First, the current study collected and analyzed empirical evidence from the hospitality industry, and as such, employee empowerment cannot be generalized to be a predictor of organizational commitment in other contexts. As such, future studies can assess the employee empowerment and commitment nexus in other sectors. Finally, this study examined the moderating role of supervisor support in the employee empowerment and commitment nexus. However, perceived supervisor support may not be the only construct which can alter the relationship between employee empowerment and employee commitment, and hence, future studies can explore other moderators such as entrepreneurial leadership.

5.2 Conclusion

Since hotels commonly express their desire to hire devoted employees, organizational commitment is a crucial problem in the industry. This study set out to investigate and answer a relevant question on the importance of perceived supervisor support in the empowerment and commitment relationship of employees in the hospitality industry of Ghana. The nature of the hospitality industry, specifically, hotels, makes it possible for businesses in this setting to experience a high rate of attrition, given that it is a service-providing business, which is highly competitive, and there is an ease of skill transfer, especially for those in the frontline. As part of efforts to improve the bottom line, it is imperative for organizations operating in this space to cement the commitment of employees to reduce or avoid costs (i.e. both material and human resources). The study found that empowering employees can significantly secure all levels of organizational commitment (affective, continuance and normative) for an organization. Empowered employees arguably believe they have interesting work to attend to, feel involved, have enough information to work with and have a degree of independence and increased visibility at the workplace which is critical in gaining organizational commitment. Thus, the commitment levels of hospitality employees are largely influenced by the levels of empowerment they receive. A more reflective outcome of the study is that perceived supervisor support serves as an important construct which alters the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational commitment. Conclusively, perceived supervisor support was found to be a moderator between the employee empowerment and commitment nexus. This provides support for the assertion that the commitment levels of employees could be enhanced through empowerment as well as providing constant supervisory support.

Figures

Proposed model based on the study's hypotheses

Figure 1

Proposed model based on the study's hypotheses

Results of the structural model assessment

Figure 2

Results of the structural model assessment

Slopes of the interactional effect on the relationship between employee empowerment and continuance commitment

Figure 3

Slopes of the interactional effect on the relationship between employee empowerment and continuance commitment

Slopes of the interaction effect on the relationship between employee empowerment and affective commitment

Figure 4

Slopes of the interaction effect on the relationship between employee empowerment and affective commitment

Demographic characteristics of respondents

Sub-categoryFrequencyPercent (%)
Gender
Male12445
Female15055
Age
Below 30 years7929
31–40 years11442
41–50 years5319
50 years and above2810
Academic qualification
Higher National Diploma (HND)8230
Bachelor's Degree13951
Masters5319
Working experience
0–3 years5721
4–6 years7226
7–10 years4215
11 years and above10338

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

Construct reliability, indicator reliability and convergent validity

ConstructItem codeFactor loadingAverage variance extractedCronbach alphaComposite reliability
Employee empowermentEMP10.747 0.7300.8150.890
EMP20.856
EMP30.802
EMP40.721
EMP50.809
Perceived supervisor supportPSS10.9000.7890.7330.882
PSS20.876
Affective commitmentAC10.7710.5990.7780.856
AC20.746
AC30.853
AC40.720
Continuance commitmentCC10.7510.667 0.7510.857
CC20.856
CC30.839
Normative commitmentNC10.8770.7300.8150.890
NC20.800
NC30.885

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

Descriptive statistics and Pearson product–moment correlation matrix among study constructs

MeanSD12345
1Employee empowerment3.051.248
2Perceived supervisory support3.821.7630.381**
3Affective commitment4.340.8200.412**0.491**
4Continuance commitment3.990.4700.573**0.509**0.055
5Normative commitment4.060.5180.599**0.675**0.634**0.038

Note(s): **Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed)

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

The heterotrait–monotrait ratio (HTMT)

12345
1Affective commitment
2Continuance commitment0.662
3Employee empowerment0.5720.676
4Normative commitment0.5160.4350.576
5Perceived supervisor support0.5870.5650.4580.573

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

The Fornell–Larcker criterion

12345
1Affective commitment0.774
2Continuance commitment0.7440.817
3Empowerment0.7220.6320.788
4Normative commitment0.664 0.655 0.649 0.854
5Supervisor support0.4600.5650.365 0.4450.888

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

Results of the partial least square

PathOriginal sample (O)Sample mean (M)Standard deviation (STDEV)t-statistics (|O/STDEV|)p-valuesResults
EE → AC0.5190.5340.0707.3620.000Supported
EE → CC0.3570.3670.0764.7250.000Supported
EE → NC0.5610.5520.1085.1940.000Supported
PSS x EE → CC−0.139−0.1340.0532.6330.008Supported
PSS x EE → NC−0.0010.0140.0950.0110.992Not Supported
PSS x EE → AC−0.126−0.1160.0492.5700.010Supported
Model fit indexAccepted valueResearch model
Normed fit index (NFI)≥ 0.900.99
Standardized root mean square residual (SRMR)≤0.050.048
Predictive relevance (Q2)
Perceived supervisor support0.132
Affective commitment0.075
Continuance commitment0.039
Normative commitment0.012

Source(s): Field survey (2023)

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Corresponding author

Michael Kyei-Frimpong can be contacted at: k.michael90@yahoo.com

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