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Assessing the effectiveness of empowerment on service quality: A multi-level study of Chinese tourism firms


  • Lin, Meizhen
  • Wu, Xiaoyi
  • Ling, Qian


This study tests relationships among three levels of empowerment—organizational, departmental, and individual—and simultaneously their cascading effects on frontline employees' service quality. Drawing on data from 1566 employee-supervisor pairs from 123 departments in 53 Chinese hospitality and tourism enterprises, results reveal a cascading mechanism across three levels of empowerment. Organizational empowerment climate influences employees' psychological empowerment through department psychological empowerment, and department psychological empowerment influences employees' service quality through individual psychological empowerment. Cross-level moderation analysis suggests that only within a high degree of organizational empowerment climate and service behavior-based evaluation does employees' psychological empowerment have positive effects on service quality. In response to the debate on the merits of empowerment programs in organizations, this study supports the usefulness of a cascading, contingency model of empowerment, and demonstrates full delineation of how and when empowerment across three levels influence frontline employees’ service quality.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, Meizhen & Wu, Xiaoyi & Ling, Qian, 2017. "Assessing the effectiveness of empowerment on service quality: A multi-level study of Chinese tourism firms," Tourism Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 411-425.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:touman:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:411-425
    DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2017.03.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Carmen Castro-Casal & Guadalupe Vila-Vázquez & Álvaro Pardo-Gayoso, 2019. "Sustaining Affective Commitment and Extra-Role Service among Hospitality Employees: Interactive Effect of Empowerment and Service Training," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(15), pages 1-16, July.
    3. Shaikh, Aijaz A. & Glavee-Geo, Richard & Karjaluoto, Heikki & Hinson, Robert Ebo, 2023. "Mobile money as a driver of digital financial inclusion," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 186(PB).
    4. Marfuatun Marfuatun & Muafi Muafi, 2021. "Perceived organizational support and psychological empowerment on service performance mediated by organizational citizenship behavior Islamic perspective (OCBIP)," International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147-4478), Center for the Strategic Studies in Business and Finance, vol. 10(1), pages 15-27, January.
    5. van Esch, Patrick & Arli, Denni & Gheshlaghi, Mahnaz Haji, 2020. "Creating an effective self-managed service climate for frontline service employees," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 57(C).
    6. Ganna Bedradina & Sergii Nezdoyminov, 2019. "Measuring the Quality of the Tourism Product in the Tour Operator Business," Montenegrin Journal of Economics, Economic Laboratory for Transition Research (ELIT), vol. 15(2), pages 81-93.

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