Too Much of a Good Thing? Contextual Effects of Empowerment on Performance

Atabaki, Armita ; Karcisky, Tessa

Document Type: Conference presentation
Year of publication: 2015
Conference title: Academy of Management, 75th Annual Meeting
Location of the conference venue: Vancouver, BC
Date of the conference: 07.-11.08.2015
Publication language: English
Institution: Business School > ABWL, Personalmanagement u. Führung (Biemann 2013-)
Subject: 330 Economics
Individual keywords (German): Human Resource Practices , Empowerment , Contextual Effects
Abstract: The present study aims to disentangle effects of empowerment climate at the organizational and individual level in the prediction of individual level performance by applying contextual effect models within multilevel analysis. We further examined whether empowerment climate at the organizational level mediates the relationship between empowering human resource practices at the organizational level and individual level performance. Using a sample of 430 employees nested in 31 companies, we found a positive empowerment-performance relationship at the individual level, but a negative context effect of empowerment on all three measures of individual level performance that we assessed. Our results contribute to the empowerment literature by highlighting the potential downside of empowerment in organizations. We further address the frequently mentioned black box problem in the strategic human resource management literature which refers to the lack of knowledge of how human resource practices relate to organizational outcomes by bridging the gap of organizational and individual level effects.

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