In the research article “Using positivity, transformational leadership and empowerment to combat employee negativity” (see full reference at the end of this article), the authors explore the interplay between positive organisational behaviour and transformational leadership and the impact on employee performance. The authors are particularly interested in how empowerment might play a meditating role.
The helpful descriptions of empowerment, transformational leadership and positive organisational behaviour provide timely reminders for leaders, managers and employees. Summarised below are some key points from the article.
The authors refer to the work of Gretchen Spreitzer and describe empowerment as a multidimensional construct which comprises:
Few of you would be surprised about the benefits of being empowerment. The research supports what we have all experienced: “empowerment has been found to be related to effectiveness, less job strain and more job satisfaction, less anger and frustration on the job and greater organisational attachment.” For those of you familiar with the Deci and Ryan’s Self Determination Theory and their concept of intrinsic motivation, you will see close similarities with Spreitzer’s work.
Psycap: Positive Organisational Behaviour
Positive Organisational Behaviour (POB) and Psychological Capital (Psycap) come from the work of Luthans, Youssef and colleagues. They describe one’s positive psychological state in terms of four components:
Psycap is described as a ‘common root resource’ and is similar to the work of other researchers who reinforce the importance of self esteem, self efficacy, locus of control and emotional stability as essential personal psychological resources.
Confidence, hope and optimism are described as proactive resources; resilience is a reactive resource. People with high Psycap put more effort into a task, are tenacious, have a realistic expectation of future success, are motivated, adapt well to change, and perform better at work. They experience lower levels cynicism at work in the face of change and are more likely to positively embrace the challenge of change. They are less likely to quit. Not only is this personally beneficial to the employee, it has a positive impact on organisational performance.
Psycap and empowerment
Personal power and autonomy are more possible if employees have high levels of Psycap. “Psycap seems directly related to Spreitzer’s impact component of empowerment….they perceive themselves to have a greater impact on their organisation.”. They can solve problems without waiting for direction, they have a sense of control and autonomy, they have confidence in their abilities. People who feel empowered have lower levels of cynicism and less intention to quit.
Transformational leaders have qualities which include:
People who have a transformational leader have a greater sense of empowerment, improved performance and job satisfaction, lower levels of cynicism at work and are less likely to quit. This results in higher levels of organisational attachment. A win-win for everyone.
Suggestions which can be drawn from the research include:
Questions to ponder, as you settle into the start of a new working year: