Empowered Managers and Empowered Workers

The Effects of Managerial Support and Managerial Perceived Control on Workers' Sense of Control Over Decision Making

Published in: Human Relations, v. 47, 1994, p. 911-928

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 1994

by Louise Parker, Richard H. Price

The authors of this study identified conditions under which empowered managers could empower their workers. The sample for this study came from a survey of workers and managers in group homes in 11 Michigan counties. Eligible group homes included all those that provided special care to adult severely developmentally disabled and mentally ill clients. Almost 700 workers and 141 managers from 118 group homes completed the survey. Empowerment was defined as the belief that one has control over decisionmaking. The authors assert that when workers perceive their managers to have a high level of control over decisionmaking and to be supportive, the workers will report that they themselves are empowered. In support of this hypothesis, the authors found that it is possible for both workers and supportive managers to enjoy relatively high levels of perceived control over organizational decisions. Studies to determine what effect this has on efficiency and/or outcome need to be undertaken, especially as health care organizations begin to adopt the models of total quality improvement used in industries other than health.

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