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‘Empowered’ Employees More Productive, Happier

Workers who feel empowered have higher morale, lower turnover rates and reduced levels of stress and are more productive—regardless of their industry, job or even culture—a review of research shows. University of Iowa researchers examined more than 140 previous studies of various aspects of workplace psychology and attitudes involving thousands of workers. They found that successful empowerment initiatives have certain things in common, including:

High performance practices
Decentralized authority, including managers who share information, involve workers in decision-making, provide training opportunities and pay well

Socio-political support

Managers who make their employees feel like a valued part of the organization and encourage employees to recognize each other’s contributions

Managers who inspire, provide feedback and are role models; this enhances workers’ feelings of competence and helps employees find meaning in their work

Work design characteristics
Managers who encourage training and provide individual workers with 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,” said lead researcher Scott Seibert, a professor of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business, in a news release.

The study is in the March 28 issue of the Journal of Applied Psychology.

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