Two faces of empowering leadership: Enabling and burdening

Minyoung Cheong, Seth M. Spain, Francis J. Yammarino, Seokhwa Yun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Despite prior work primarily focused on positive outcomes resulting from empowering leadership, scant research in this realm has questioned and examined whether, in all cases, more empowering leadership is actually associated with more desirable outcomes. Based on the cost of autonomy and role theory perspectives, the current study proposes that beyond an enabling process of empowering leadership enhancing followers' self-efficacy and performance, there is a burdening process in which specific empowering behaviors of the leader increase followers' job induced tension, which in turn diminishes the positive influence of empowering leadership on followers' work role performance. The results generally support these contrasting notions, suggesting that there are two faces, enabling and burdening, of empowering leadership. Implications for future research and professional practice on empowering leadership are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-616
Number of pages15
JournalLeadership Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Applied Psychology
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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