Empower me or not? Influence of societal culture
Purpose: To empirically investigate the relationships between societal culture value dimensions and employee preferences for empowerment behaviors by managerial leaders across societal cultures. To do this, we synthesize the extant literature to underpin our study and to set the research agenda for future empirical work.
Design/methodology/approach: Using field survey research method, we obtain and analyze data from ten samples in eight geographically and culturally diverse societies from a global longitudinal study of preferred managerial leader behavior.
Findings: Cultural value dimension predictor variables affect employee preferences for leader empowerment behaviors in the societies studied. Some significant effects of gender and organizational factors on these relationships were found.
Research implications: Future investigations of the dynamics among cultural, organizational, and personal values, and contingency factors, are needed to advance the understanding of employee attitudes towards, and effectiveness of, empowerment styles across cultures.
Practical implications: Employee preferences for leader empowerment behaviors are more likely the result of the interplay, exchange, and trade-offs between cultural, personal, and organizational values. The effectiveness of employee empowerment is contingent upon well-designed training programs aligning management and worker values, goals, and tasks.
Research limitations: Future research should expand upon variations in the meaning of employee empowerment across cultures, consider other cultural models and theories, and a more extensive set of personal, organizational, and relational factors.
Originality: We offer more realistic, objective, and evidence-based insights into the cultural influences on the effectiveness of empowerment and employee cognitions towards it than the extant, conceptually and methodologically compromised, strategic cross-cultural studies.