Title: The influence of empowering leadership on subordinates’ autonomous work motivation and their proactivity within a self-determination theory perspective
The chapter is a review of Literature regarding the impact of leadership empowerment and the results experienced by an organization when it employs leadership empowerment. In the chapter leadership empowerment is discussed in the context of the self-determination theory.
Every organization that hopes to be successful needs to embrace teams and teams can only be successful under the patronage of good leadership. Leadership is defined as the guidance afforded to followers for achieving the team’s goals. Leadership empowers teams by helping individuals work in unison towards the achievement of common goals (Menon, 2001; Boudrias et al., 2009). It allows for the integration of various skills and knowledge within the team for the achievement of the goals of the organization. The conduct and behavior of the leader are important in fostering empowering leadership which in turn enables individuals to develop qualities such as self-control, self-management, and self-leadership (Tung & Chang, 2015). Empowering leadership makes it possible to delegate duties to subordinates in the organization which in turns offers the subordinate the opportunity to enjoy autonomy in the execution of these duties by exercising self-management and self-direction in the achievement of the objectives of the organization (Hill & Huq, 2004; Spreitzer, De Janasz & Quinn, 1999). Contemporary organizations have embraced empowering leadership as an integral tool in achieving organizational success.
Employees are not cogs in the system that allow things to play out in which ever ways that they will but rather they are actively involved in the attempts to shape what happens in their lives and the outcomes of the organization. Employees can shape the outcomes of the organization through proactive behavior (Grant & Ashford, 2008). Proactive behavior refers to employees’ anticipatory acts which involve employees taking personal initiative to influence achievement of the organization’s goals (Dickinson, 1995). Empowering leadership has a role to play in motivating proactive behavior (Müller, 2006). Literature available on empowering leadership suggests that supportive leadership creates a high sense of self-determination in employees be it among teams or individual employees (Thomas, Whitman & Viswesvaran, 2010). This role of empowering leadership is explained by the self-determination theory.
Proponents of this theory propose that individuals are endowed with the power to grow. Individuals’ inclination towards growth and development is made manifest in the regulation of individual behaviors and goals that individuals pursue (Van den Broeck, Vansteenkiste & De Witte, 2008; Chirkov, 2003; Gagné & Deci, 2005). The theory suggests that behavior among employees that is initially extrinsically motivated needs to be intrinsically motivated so that individuals can gain internalized control of their behaviors (Gagné, 2009).
Importance of Studying Empowering Leadership and Self-determination Theory
The study of empowering leadership is important because it is central to determining employee behavior in fostering the achievement of organizational goals. By understanding empowering leadership, organizations can take the relevant steps in offering employees the support that they require to aid in the achievement of organizational goals. In line with this goal, the self-determination theory offers insight on how leaders can help employees move from being extrinsically motivated towards proactive behavior to channeling such behavior form within, that is, intrinsic motivation (Deci, Koestner & Ryan, 1999). The theory reveals how employees can be more active in aiding the achievement of organizational goals which lead to the achievement of organizational success.
This study is relevant because previous research has neglected to focus on how empowering leadership helps subordinates in the work environment gain autonomy in their motivation to working towards achievement of organizational goals. The study cements previous finding regarding the relationship between empowering leadership and its role in inciting autonomous behavior in subordinate employees in an organization.
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