Empowering public sector employees to improve performance: Does it work?

Sergio Fernandez, Tima Moldogaziev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


For more than a decade, public organizations have been adopting employee empowerment with the aim of improving performance and job satisfaction and promoting innovativeness. Our understanding of employee empowerment has been hindered by a dearth of empirical research on its uses and consequences in the public sector. Based on Bowen and Lawler's conceptualization of employee empowerment, this study explores the link between various empowerment practices and perceived performance in federal agencies. It is found that empowerment practices aimed at providing employees with access to job-related knowledge and skills and at granting them discretion to change work processes have a positive and substantively significant influence on perceived performance. Other empowerment practices geared toward providing employees with information about goals and performance and offering them rewards based on performance are found, however, to have little bearing on perceptions of performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-47
Number of pages25
JournalAmerican Review of Public Administration
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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