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 Rutgers-led innovation could spur faster, cheaper, nano-based manufacturing
14.02.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stiffness matters

22.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Magnetic field traces gas and dust swirling around supermassive black hole

22.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

First evidence of surprising ocean warming around Galápagos corals

22.02.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>