Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Empowered Workers Are Better, More Productive Workers

20.04.2011
A new study from the University of Iowa confirms that workers who feel empowered by their employers have higher morale and are more productive, regardless of their industry, job or even culture.

"Empowerment is an effective approach for improving employee attitudes and work behaviors in a broad range of industries, occupations and geographic regions," said lead researcher Scott Seibert, professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business.

Seibert said the study shows that when done properly, empowerment initiatives can lead to higher job satisfaction, lower turnover and reduced stress among employees. Empowered workers also are more innovative and perform better at their jobs.

Seibert and his co-authors examined more than 140 previous studies of various aspects of psychological empowerment in the workplace published since 1995 that involved thousands of workers. They then looked for similarities in those studies' outcomes and conclusions. Although the studies don't support the often extravagant claims made by media, they do tend to exaggerate the value -— or lack thereof -— of empowerment. Some claim it will revitalize an organization with "lightning-like" speed, while others dismissing it as a "chimera" and point to high failure rates at organizations that try it.

But he said the previous studies identify certain organizational characteristics and leader behaviors, as well as employee traits, that tend to lead to successful empowerment initiatives. Among the factors that an effective empowerment initiative should have include:

--High performance practices: Managers share information, decentralize authority, involve workers in decision-making, provide training opportunities and pay well. Seibert said high performance management makes workers feel a strong part of their organization and that they matter to the firm's success.

--Socio-political support: Managers make their employees feel like a valued part of the organization, and encourage employees to recognize each other's importance.

--Leadership: A manager who inspires, provides strong feedback and is a good role model enhances workers' feelings of competence and helps employees find meaning in their work.

--Work design characteristics: managers encourage training and provide individual workers with challenging work assignments.

"Managers in these studies reported that empowered workers were more innovative and more willing to take the initiative to solve problems on their own," Seibert said. "Employees said they were more engaged in their work when empowered, that they felt like they had an influence and an impact on the business around them."

He said these work improvements apply to improved team performance as well as individual performance, and that they tended to be strongest in the service sector.

It also found that men and women generally have similar reactions to empowerment.

The study also showed empowerment had an impact across national borders and different cultures, though its impact seems to be greater in Asia than in North America. Seibert said that could be because empowerment is more effective in collectivist cultures where individuals react more strongly to cues promoting identification and inclusiveness, or that work arrangements in Asian businesses are more conducive to empowerment initiatives.

The study also found that employees who have positive self-evaluation characteristics are more likely to feel empowered, and people who feel more empowered to begin with will react more strongly to empowerment initiatives.

Seibert's study, "Antecedents and Consequences of Psychological and Team Empowerment in Organizations: A Meta-analtyic Review," was co-authored by UI doctoral students Gang Wang and Stephen H. Courtright and will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Scott Seibert, professor of management and organizations, 319-335-0844, scott-seibert@uiowa.edu; Tom Snee, University News Service, 319-384-0010 (office), 319-541-8434 (cell), tom-snee@uiowa.edu

Tom Snee | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uiowa.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

nachricht Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>