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Genuine empowerment is not something that managers or organizations do to employees. Empowerment reflects is a proactive self-orientation individuals have regarding their work.

Research has identified four key dimensions of empowerment:

  • a sense of meaning or purpose about work
  • feelings of competence or confidence that one has the appropriate skills and abilities for their work
  • a sense of self-determination that one has freedom or autonomy about how to do their work
  • a sense of impact that one is making a difference over their larger work environment — be it their team, work unit, or even their organization.

Empowered individuals have been found to be higher performers, more satisfied, more innovative, and stronger leaders.

Click here to download and complete the Empowerment Assessment.

Learn More

To learn more about empowerment, consult works by Michigan Ross professors Gretchen Spreitzer and Robert Quinn:

Spreitzer, G., & Quinn, R. (2001). A company of leaders: Five disciplines for unleashing the power in your workforce. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Spreitzer, G. M., De Janesz, S., and Quinn, Robert E. (1999). Empowered to lead: The role of psychological empowerment in leadership. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 20: 511-526.

Spreitzer, G. M., and Mishra, A. K. (1999). Giving up control without losing control: Trust and its substitutes’ effects on managers’ involving employees in decision making. Group and Organization Management, 24(2): 155-187.

Quinn, R. E., and Spreitzer, G. M. (1997). The road to empowerment: Seven questions every leader should consider. Organizational Dynamics, Autumn, 26(2): 37-51.