Who is empowered? Relative importance of dispositional and situational sources to psychological empowerment

Daniel V. Simonet, Katherine E. Miller, Sylvia Luu, Kevin L. Askew, Anupama Narayan, Sydnie Cunningham, Camila Pena, Amen Attar, Rose Fonseca, Holly M. Kobezak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Major reviews of psychological empowerment (PE) suggest four broad sources to becoming empowered: organizational, leadership, job, and dispositional. This study examines the redundancy, uniqueness, and relative importance within and across these situational and dispositional domains using commonality and dominance analyses. Across multiple samples, we find (a) within socio-structural domains, empowering leadership, knowledge sharing, and task significance are the most unique organizational sources of PE, (b) dispositional predictors augment situational features in explaining PE, and, perhaps most importantly, (c) job characteristics (JC) along with core self-evaluation (CSE) occupy the most dominant role on PE. In study 1 (N = 229), rank and CSE accounted for 64% of the variance in PE after accounting for information distribution, leadership, and the Big Five. Controlling for expanded Big Five inventory, leadership constructs, and socio-structurally features, study 2 (N = 171) finds general dominance of task significance (14%), empowering leadership (19%), and reduced, albeit incremental, effect of CSE (10%). Finally, study 3 (N = 386) replicates the large (30%) and moderately (10%) dominant effects of multiple JC dimensions and CSE. Implications call for a micro-level approach to PE emphasizing expanded roles, broadened self-concept, and personal impact on society rather than inspiring managers or organizational practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)536-554
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 4 Jul 2019


  • Psychological empowerment
  • core self-evaluation
  • dominance analyses
  • job characteristics
  • mastery


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