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Empowerment effects across cultures


  • Michael K Hui

    (Department of Marketing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

  • Kevin Au

    (Department of Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)

  • Henry Fock

    (Department of Marketing, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong)


Three studies examined cross-cultural variations in empowerment effects. Study 1 investigated whether Hofstede's power distance scores moderated the effect of job autonomy on job satisfaction using World Values Survey data on 33 nations. Study 2 surveyed frontline hotel employees from Canada and PRC to investigate the moderating role of power distance at the individual level. In Study 3, hotel management students from Canada and PRC were asked to play the role of a frontline employee, who had to handle a special customer request, in a scenario experiment. These studies show consistently that the cultural value of power distance moderates the effect of empowerment on job satisfaction. Moreover, willingness to accept and exercise the discretionary power allowed by management and desire to satisfy customer needs and wants are two employee conditions that are essential for the successful implementation of the empowerment approach. Journal of International Business Studies (2004) 35, 46–60. doi:10.1057/palgrave.jibs.8400067

Suggested Citation

  • Michael K Hui & Kevin Au & Henry Fock, 2004. "Empowerment effects across cultures," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 35(1), pages 46-60, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:jintbs:v:35:y:2004:i:1:p:46-60

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    Cited by:

    1. Weidenstedt, Linda, 2017. "Does One Size Fit All? Investigating Different Empowerment Orientations in the Heterogeneous Workforce of the Swedish Retail Sector," Ratio Working Papers 296, The Ratio Institute.
    2. De Clercq, Dirk & Danis, Wade M. & Dakhli, Mourad, 2010. "The moderating effect of institutional context on the relationship between associational activity and new business activity in emerging economies," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 85-101, February.
    3. repec:bla:stratm:v:38:y:2017:i:4:p:972-991 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Hauff, Sven & Richter, Nicole Franziska & Tressin, Tabea, 2015. "Situational job characteristics and job satisfaction: The moderating role of national culture," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 710-723.
    5. Ana-Maria Godeanu, 2012. "The antecedents of satisfaction with pay in teams: do performance-based compensation and autonomy keep team-members satisfied?," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 3, pages 145-168, June.
    6. Brock, David M., 2005. "Multinational acquisition integration: the role of national culture in creating synergies," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 269-288, June.
    7. Ghulam Mustafa & Rune Lines, 2012. "Paternalism as A Predictor of Leadership Behaviors: A Bi-Level Analysis," Eurasian Business Review, Springer;Eurasia Business and Economics Society, vol. 2(1), pages 63-92, June.
    8. Robert Liden, 2012. "Leadership research in Asia: A brief assessment and suggestions for the future," Asia Pacific Journal of Management, Springer, vol. 29(2), pages 205-212, June.
    9. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00317280 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Calantone, Roger J. & Kim, Daekwan & Schmidt, Jeffrey B. & Cavusgil, S. Tamer, 2006. "The influence of internal and external firm factors on international product adaptation strategy and export performance: A three-country comparison," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 176-185, February.
    11. Skalli, Ali & Theodossiou, Ioannis & Vasileiou, Efi, 2008. "Jobs as Lancaster goods: Facets of job satisfaction and overall job satisfaction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 37(5), pages 1906-1920, October.
    12. repec:spr:manint:v:53:y:2013:i:1:d:10.1007_s11575-012-0163-y is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Sylvie Chevrier & Michaël Viegas-Pires, 2013. "Delegating effectively across cultures," Post-Print hal-00724034, HAL.
    14. Ouakouak, Mohamed Laid & Ouedraogo, Noufou & Mbengue, Ababacar, 2014. "The mediating role of organizational capabilities in the relationship between middle managers’ involvement and firm performance: A European study," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 305-318.
    15. Danis, Wade M. & De Clercq, Dirk & Petricevic, Olga, 2011. "Are social networks more important for new business activity in emerging than developed economies? An empirical extension," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 394-408, August.
    16. Chevrier, Sylvie & Viegas-Pires, Michaël, 2013. "Delegating effectively across cultures," Journal of World Business, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 431-439.
    17. Saeed, Abubakr & Belghitar, Yacine & Yousaf, Amna, 2016. "Firm-level determinants of gender diversity in the boardrooms: Evidence from some emerging markets," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 1076-1088.
    18. Powpaka, Samart, 2006. "How market orientation affects female service employees in Thailand," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 54-61, January.
    19. repec:spr:manint:v:52:y:2012:i:3:d:10.1007_s11575-011-0099-7 is not listed on IDEAS

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