The role of structure and motivation for workplace empowerment: The case of Korean employees

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Built on the empowerment literature, this study develops and tests two hypotheses: the structural-approach and the motivation-approach hypothesis. The structural-approach hypothesis predicts that the structural opportunities and constraints embedded in jobs and organizations are the main factors explaining empowerment outcomes (e.g., proactivity and fatigue). In contrast, the motivational-approach hypothesis predicts that one of the key motivational constructs in the psychological literature, self-efficacy, mediates the structural effects of organizations and jobs to empowerment outcomes. The two hypotheses in this study were tested with a sample drawn from two large organizations in Korea. Overall the motivational hypothesis received more support in explaining proactive behavior. With few exceptions, most direct effects of the structural conditions on proactive behavior are mediated by the employees' self-efficacy. In support of the structural approach, however, some direct effects of structural conditions decreased the level of fatigue more than the indirect effects through self-efficacy. Implications of these findings are discussed in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-206
Number of pages12
JournalSocial Psychology Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001


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