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Linking leadership empowerment behavior to employee attitudes and behavioral intentions: testing the mediating role of psychological empowerment

Listed author(s):
  • Dewettinck, K.


  • van Ameijde, M.


    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

To improve their overall flexibility and efficiency, many organisations have replaced traditional hierarchical management structures with empowered (semi-autonomous or self-managing) work teams. Managers, once charged with directing and controlling work, are now asked to take on a new set of roles and responsibilities in order to lead these teams (Lawler, 1992). Arnold and colleagues (2000) identified five categories of empowering leadership behavior and constructed and validated a scale for measuring those behaviors. We build on their work by investigating how these behaviors relate to employee attitudes and behavioral intentions. We do so by developing a model in which psychological empowerment (Spreitzer, 1995, 1996; Thomas & Velthouse, 1990) mediates the relationship between empowering leadership behavior and employee job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment. We also modeled the relationship between these employee attitudes and intention to stay as a final outcome variable. Based on a sample of 381 service employees from four companies, we empirically tested this model using structural equation modeling in AMOS. Our results show that psychological empowerment is partially mediating the relationship between perceived empowering leadership behavior and employee job satisfaction and affective commitment. This indicates that perceived leadership behavior does relate toe employee attitudes through its impact on employee motivation. However, leadership behavior also shows to be directly related to employee attitudes, which in turn are strongly related to an employee's intention to stay working for the organisation. Implications for theory and managerial practice are discussed.

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Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2007-21.

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Length: 26 pages
Date of creation: 10 Aug 2007
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2007-21
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