Employee Empowerment and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Federal Bureaucracy: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Sergio Fernandez, Tima Moldogaziev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Employee empowerment practices have been widely adopted in public organizations in Europe, the Pacific Rim, and North America. In this study, employee empowerment is conceptualized as a multifaceted approach composed of various practices aimed at sharing information, resources, rewards, and authority with lower level employees. Self-Determination Theory is used to theorize about the effects of these different empowerment practices on job satisfaction. The results of the empirical analysis, based on 2010 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) data, indicate that empowerment practices aimed at promoting self-determination (i.e., sharing information about goals and performance, providing access to job-related knowledge and skills, and granting discretion to change work processes) have positive and sizable effects on job satisfaction. Conversely, empowerment practices that undermine autonomy (i.e., offering contingent-based rewards) have no meaningful effect on job satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-401
Number of pages27
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Volume45
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 19 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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