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Workplace Well-being: How to Build Psychologically Healthy Workplaces by Arla Brown, E. Kelloway, Joseph Hurrell

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6 Employee Empowerment and Engagement

Marisa Salanova and Susana Llorens

WONT (Work & Organization NeTwork) Research Team, Department of Social Psychology, Universitat Jaume I, Castellón, Spain

Introduction

The concept of empowerment in organizational settings is receiving an increasing amount of research attention, especially during these times of change, innovation, and economic and financial crisis. The competitive global environment requires employees to utilize their capabilities and their full potential. In fact, more than 70% of organizations adopt some kind of initiative to empower employees in order to maintain their effectiveness and competitiveness (e.g., Schein, 1980; Spreitzer & Doneson, 2005).

In difficult times, many organizations require their employees to be highly motivated, proactive, responsible, and involved. Instead of just “doing one’s job,” employees are expected “to go the extra mile.” That is, organizations need engaged employees. Relatively little research has been conducted on the relationships between empowerment and engagement (E&E) at work. However, this research shows that empowerment is a kind of “driver” of work engagement.

In this chapter, we discuss how empowerment can be considered an important driver of work engagement, with emphasis on the role that work engagement plays in motivating employees. We describe the empowerment process, giving special attention to the psychological mechanisms by which empowerment enhances engagement at ...

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