Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 296: Does One Size Fit All? Investigating Different Empowerment Orientations in the Heterogeneous Workforce of the Swedish Retail Sector

Linda Weidenstedt ()
Additional contact information
Linda Weidenstedt: The Ratio Institute and Stockholm University, Postal: The Ratio InstituteP.O. Box 5095SE-102 42 StockholmSwedenDepartment of SociologyStockholm UniversitySE-106 91 StockholmSweden

Abstract: Empowerment research and practice is guided by the idea that empowered employees perform better due to a greater sense of self-efficacy and capability. Underlying this idea, there often seem to be two tacit, unexamined assumptions: first, that employees generally would prefer an empowered workplace to a less empowered one; and second, that all employees can be empowered by means of the same measures and changes as defined by empowerment research. The main research question asked in this study is whether those aspects typically associated with structural and psychological empowerment efforts at the workplace are indeed perceived as desirable and positive by all types of employees. Employees’ attitudes toward the success of empowerment efforts, and the relevance of such attitudes, are investigated by analyzing survey data from 268 employees in the Swedish retail sector. Results indicate that age and work intensity (part-time vs. full-time) as well as cohabitation have significant impacts on how empowerment efforts are viewed by employees in the sample.

Keywords: empowerment; orientation to work; preferences; attitudes; retail; survey data

JEL-codes: J40; J50; L00; L20; M10; Y40

27 pages, December 15, 2017

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