Using employee empowerment to encourage innovative behavior in the public sector

Sergio Fernandez, Tima Moldogaziev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Employee empowerment programs have been widely adopted in the public sector as a way to improve organizational performance. Empowered employees improve performance largely by finding innovative ways of correcting errors in service delivery and redesigning work processes. Failure to encourage innovation can seriously undermine the effectiveness of empowerment programs. Based on Bowen and Lawler's conceptualization of employee empowerment as a multifaceted management approach, this study explores how different empowerment practices can be used to encourage US federal government employees to seek out new and better ways of doing things. The empirical results show that while employee empowerment as an overall approach can increase encouragement to innovate, empowerment practices have divergent effects, and some may even discourage innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-187
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing


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