Empowering leadership and outcomes : The mediating role of psychological empowerment

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Psychological empowerment (PE) at workplace is a form of intrinsic motivation manifested in four cognitions: meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact (Spreitzer, 1995). The present PhD research explored the effect of empowering leadership (EL) on four employee well-being outcomes (perceived stress, mental health, psychological well-being, job satisfaction) and organizational commitment (OC). PE was conceptualized as a mediator through which EL will ultimately influence the employee outcomes. In analyzing PE as a mediator, the effect of EL on PE and impact of PE on the employee outcomes, both have been taken into consideration. Furthermore, the differences in public and private sector organizations in terms of employees’ perceptions of PE were also examined.Three studies were carried out to test the relationships among these variables. Study 1 (N=120) was an experimental study conducted to explore the relationship between PE and perceived stress. In addition, it also explored the potential moderating role of personality variables and power distance in the PE -perceived stress relationship. Study 2A (N=431) was a survey based study carried out to explore the rest of the relationships among variables. To augment the results of study 2A, a qualitative study (Study 2B) (N=30) was carried out simultaneously using the interview method.Across all three studies it was evident that PE had a negative effect on perceived stress and was positively related to job satisfaction, mental health, psychological well-being and OC. Additionally, the findings of Study 1 revealed that emotional stability and agreeableness operated as boundary conditions which moderate the negative relationship between PE and stress. The results of Study 2A and Study 2B indicated that EL was positively related to PE at workplace. The findings also revealed that EL mitigated the levels of perceived stress and positively impacted the mental health, psychological well-being, job satisfaction and OC of employees. Moreover, EL also had significant indirect effect on these outcomes through PE. These findings suggest that PE mediated the relationship between EL and employee outcomes. Finally, it was established that private sector employees were more psychologically empowered than public sector employees.The present research has uniquely contributed to the limited literature regarding empowerment, its mechanisms and outcomes in the context of Indian work settings.
Supervisor: Nachiketa Tripathi