Empowering Leadership and Employee Proactivity (Proactive Behavior)









Empowering Leadership and Employee Proactivity (Proactive Behavior)

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Leaders have a significant impact in the manner which employees conduct their work as well as their happiness at the workplace (Tuckey, Dollard, & Bakker, 2012). In case of challenges in an organization, it has been indicated that it is of paramount importance for the firm leaders to promote collaboration among their employees that will result to high performance levels (Hill & Bartol, 2015). Leadership empowerment at personal levels has a significant positive impact on career self-efficiency (Biemanna, Kearney, & Marggraf, 2015). However, ways through which leaders can influence their employees to cultivate a proactive behavior is an area that has not been explored with depth.

The relationship between leadership empowerment and employee proactivity manifests in two perspectives. The first perspective is one that concentrates on the actions of the leader particularly those that are aimed at boosting employees’ autonomy as well as increased responsibilities (Huq & Hill, 2004). The second perspective is that which focuses on the response of employees to their empowerment and in particular, their motivation (Srivastava, Bartol, & Locke, 2006). Once leaders are empowered to engage in actions that have positive influence on the employees, the latter then engage in self-initiated as well as future-oriented actions whose aim is to create change either for self or for the organization (Strauss & Parker, 2014).

There has been large number of research studies that have been conducted mainly on leadership empowerment as well as employee proactivity particularly those of individual task, team members, and organizational members. For leadership empowerment to succeed in proactivity, it is important to understand what factors lead to the success of proactive behaviors among employees. An example of aid tool that could help with this is the model that was invented by Parker et al. (2010). The model is aimed at establishing the manner in which proactivity among employees is shaped by leadership empowerment (Wang & Parker, 2015). Another example of a research study that has focused on leadership empowerment and enhancement of proactivity among employees is that by Spreitzer, Janasz, and Quinn (1999) who have focused on psychological empowerment of leaders as a source of intrinsic motivation for the employees (Spreitzer, DeJanasz, & Quinn, 1999).

Also, other research include that of the models developed for relationships between leadership and empowerment in relation to employee creativity and creative process involvement of employees (Zhang, 2007). In proactivity among employees whether individual, team, or organizational, it has been identified to be a goal-oriented process (Parker, Bindl, & Strauss, 2010). Therefore, empowerment leadership actions should be motivated and conscious of the end goal that is aimed at. However, although these proactive behaviors in organizations may be perceived as beneficial they may also face challenges within organizations (Parker & Wu, Leading for proactivity: How leaders cultivate staff who make things happen , 2014).

It is important to understand the relationship between leadership empowerment and employee creativity to help in comprehending how the process can transform organizations (Strauss, Griffin, & Rafferty, 2009). Another is reason is to identify that there are various forms of proactivity among employees which are organizational and pro-social as well as those that are self-focused to improve individual goals (Belschak & Hartog, 2010). Also, understanding the relationship between the two enhances an in depth comprehension of the role of both autonomous and intrinsic motivations by leaders towards their employees (Graves & Luciano, 2013). Additionally, through analyzing the relationship, one is able to understand the innate state of motivation which concerns factors such as energy, persistence, and direction (Ryan & Deci, 2000).

The relationship between leadership empowerment and employee proactivity is an area that still requires in depth research to explicitly have an understanding of how to motivate employees in an organization. There has been a large number of studies that have been conducted revolving the topic but no clear concept has been developed on how leaders can be empowered to enhance proactivity in their employees. As a result, this research will delve deeper to bring out a more detailed explanation about leadership empowerment and employee proactivity with well-developed models to help with the process.





Belschak, F. D., & Hartog, D. N. (2010). Pro-self, prosocial, and pro-organizational foci of proactive behaviour: Differential antecedents and consequences. of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 83(2), 475-498.

Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1348/096317909X439208/abstract

Biemanna, T., Kearney, E., & Marggraf, K. (2015). Empowering leadership and managers’ career perceptions: Examining effects at both the individual and the team level. The Leadership Quarterly 26(5) 775-789.

Available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1048984315000338

Graves, L. M., & Luciano, M. M. (2013). Self-determination at work: Understanding the role of leader-member exchange. Motivation and Emotion, 37(3) 518–536. DOI 10.1007/s11031-012-9336-z

Available at: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11031-012-9336-z#page-2

Hill, N. S., & Bartol, K. M. (2015). Wmpowering leadership and effective collaboration in geographically dispersed teams. Personnel Psychology 69(1), 1-40.


Huq, R., & Hill, F. (2004). Employee Empowerment: Conceptualizations, aims and outcomes. Total Quality Management, 15(8), 1025-1041.

Available at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1478336042000255505


Parker, S. K., & Wu, C.-h. (2014). Leading for proactivity: How leaders cultivate staff who make things happen. Oxford University Press.


Parker, S. K., Bindl, U. K., & Strauss, K. (2010). Making things happen: a model of proactive motivation . Journal of Management, 36(4), 827-856.

Available at: http://jom.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/05/13/0149206310363732.abstract

Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being. American Psychological Association, 55(1), 68-78.


Spreitzer, G. M., DeJanasz, S. C., & Quinn, R. E. (1999). Empowered to lead: the role of psychological empowerment in leadership. Organizational Behavior, 20, 511-526.

Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3100387

Srivastava, A., Bartol, K. M., & Locke, E. A. (2006). Empowering leadership in management teams: effects of knowledge sharing, efficacy, and performance. Academy of Management Journal, 49(6), 1239-1251.

Available at: http://amj.aom.org/content/49/6/1239.short

Strauss, K., & Parker, S. K. (2014). Effective and sustained proactivity in the workplace: a self-determination theory perspective. The Oxford handbook of work engagement, motivation, and self-determination theory, 50-71.


Strauss, K., Griffin, M. A., & Rafferty, A. E. (2009). Proactivity directed toward the team and organization : the role of leadership, commitment and role-breadth self-efficacy. British Journal of Management, 20(3), 279-291.

Available at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8551.2008.00590.x/full

Tuckey, M. R., Dollard, M. F., & Bakker, A. B. (2012). Empowering Leaders Optimize Working Conditions for Engagement: A Multilevel Study. Occupational Health Psychology 17(1), 15-27.

HYPERLINK “http://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/a0025942” \t “_blank”  http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0025942

Wang, Y., & Parker, S. K. (2015). Helping people to ‘make things happen’: a vframework for proactivity at work. International Coaching Psychology Review, 10(1), 62-77.

Available at: http://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/38714736/Parker_and_Wang_coaching_2015.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAJ56TQJRTWSMTNPEA&Expires=1466630864&Signature=IkgydjnoCnHr2NPQSSl03WpWtcI%3D&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DHelping_people_to_make_things_happen_A_f.pdf

Zhang, X. (2007). Linking empowerment and employee creativity: the mediation roles of creative process engagement and intrinsic motivation.

Available at: http://drum.lib.umd.edu/handle/1903/6777




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