'Empowered' Workers More Productive, Research Shows

Employees with decision-making ability, training, management support seem to have higher morale

FRIDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Workers who feel empowered by their employers are more productive and have higher morale, a review of existing research finds.

The findings cut across industries, jobs, gender and cultures, according to the study, which was released online in advance of publication in an upcoming print issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

"Empowerment is an effective approach for improving employee attitudes and work behaviors in a broad range of industries, occupations and geographic regions," lead researcher Scott Seibert, professor of management and organizations at University of Iowa's Tippie College of Business, said in a university news release.

Workplaces that properly promote empowerment can boost job satisfaction while reducing turnover and stress among workers, Seibert noted.

The researchers came to their conclusions after reviewing more than 140 studies of "psychological empowerment" at the workplace.

According to the findings, factors that play a role in effective empowerment initiatives include: giving employees decision-making ability and having decentralized authority; good pay; valuing and recognizing the contributions of employees; support from managers; training opportunities; inspirational managers; and challenging work assignments.

"Managers in these studies reported that empowered workers were more innovative and more willing to take the initiative to solve problems on their own," Seibert said. "Employees said they were more engaged in their work when empowered, that they felt like they had an influence and an impact on the business around them."

More information

USA.gov has more on workplace issues.

Randy Dotinga SOURCE: University of Iowa, news release, April 18, 2011

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