Advertisement

Journal of International Business Studies

, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 46–60 | Cite as

Empowerment effects across cultures

  • Michael K Hui
  • Kevin AuEmail author
  • Henry Fock
Article

Abstract

Three studies examined cross-cultural variations in empowerment effects. Study 1 investigated whether Hofstede's power distance scores moderated the effect of job autonomy on job satisfaction using World Values Survey data on 33 nations. Study 2 surveyed frontline hotel employees from Canada and PRC to investigate the moderating role of power distance at the individual level. In Study 3, hotel management students from Canada and PRC were asked to play the role of a frontline employee, who had to handle a special customer request, in a scenario experiment. These studies show consistently that the cultural value of power distance moderates the effect of empowerment on job satisfaction. Moreover, willingness to accept and exercise the discretionary power allowed by management and desire to satisfy customer needs and wants are two employee conditions that are essential for the successful implementation of the empowerment approach.

Keywords

empowerment job satisfaction power distance services China 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (Ref. No. 4030/00 H) awarded to the first and second authors. We thank Ilan Vertinsky, Dora Lau, the departmental editor Kwok Leung, and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments on this paper.

References

  1. Abramson, P.R. and Inglehart, R. (1995) Value Change in Global Perspective, University of Michigan Press: Ann Arbor.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aiken, L.S. and West, S.G. (1991) Multiple Regression: Testing and Interpreting Interactions, age: Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  3. Argyris, C. (1998) ‘Empowerment: the emperor's new clothes’, Harvard Business Review 76(3): 98–105.Google Scholar
  4. Arnold, J.A., Arad, S., Rhoades, J.A. and Drasgow, F. (2000) ‘The empowering leadership questionnaire: the construction and validation of a new scale for measuring leader behaviors’, Journal of Organizational Behavior 21(3): 249–269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Aronson, E. and Carlsmith, J.M. (1968) ‘Experimentation in Social Psychology’, in: G. Lindzey and E. Aronson (eds.) The Handbook of Social Psychology, Vol. 2, Addison-Wesley: Reading, MA, pp. 1–79.Google Scholar
  6. Bitner, M.J., Booms, B.H. and Tetreault, M.S. (1990) ‘The service encounter: diagnosing favorable and unfavorable incidents’, Journal of Marketing 54(1): 71–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Blanchflower, D.G. and Freeman, R.B. (1997) ‘The attitudinal legacy of communist labor relations’, Industrial and Labor Relations Review 50: 438–459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bond, M.H. and Smith, P.B. (1996) ‘Cross-cultural social and organizational psychology’, Annual Review of Psychology 47: 205–235.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowen, D.E. (1995) ‘Empowering service employees’, Sloan Management Review 36: 73–84.Google Scholar
  10. Bowen, D.E. and Lawler, E.E. (1992) ‘The empowerment of service workers: what, why, how and when’, Sloan Management Review 33: 31–39.Google Scholar
  11. Brislin, R.W. (1980) ‘Translation and Content Analysis of Oral and Written Materials’, in: H.C. Triandis and J.W. Berry (eds.) Handbook of Cross-Cultural Psychology, Vol. 2, Allyn & Bacon: Boston, MA, pp. 389–444.Google Scholar
  12. Brockner, J., Ackerman, G., Greenberg, J., Gelfand, M.J., Francesco, A.M.F., Chen, Z.X., Leung, K., Bierbrauer, G., Gormez, C., Kirkman, B.L. and Shapiro, D. (2001) ‘Culture and procedural justice: the influence of power distance on reactions to voice’, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 37: 300–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bryk, A.S. and Raudenbush, S.W. (1992) Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods, Sage: Newbury Park.Google Scholar
  14. Carroll, G.R. and Teo, A.C. (1996) ‘On the social networks of managers’, Academy of Management Journal 39: 421–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Conger, J.A. and Kanungo, R.N. (1988) ‘The empowerment process: integrating theory and practice’, Academy of Management Review 13(3): 471–482.Google Scholar
  16. Eylon, D. and Au, K.Y. (1999) ‘Exploring empowerment cross-cultural differences along the power distance dimension’, International Journal of Intercultural Relations 23: 373–385.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Greenleaf, E.A. (1992) ‘Improving rating scale measures by detecting and correcting bias components in some response styles’, Journal of Marketing Research 29: 176–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Han, J.K., Kim, N. and Srivastava, R.K. (1998) ‘Market orientation and organizational performance: is innovation a missing link?’, Journal of Marketing 62: 30–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hartline, M.D. and Ferrell, O.C. (1996) ‘The management of customer-contact service employees: an empirical investigation’, Journal of Marketing 60: 52–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hartline, M.D., Maxham, J.G. and McKee, D.O. (2000) ‘Corridors of influence in the dissemination of customer-oriented strategy to customer contact service employees’, Journal of Marketing 64: 35–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hewett, K. and Bearden, W.O. (2001) ‘Dependence, trust, and relational behavior on the part of foreign subsidiary marketing operations: implications for managing global marketing operations’, Journal of Marketing 65: 51–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hofstede, G. (1980) Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work-Related Values, Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.Google Scholar
  23. Hofstede, G. (1991) Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, McGraw-Hill: London.Google Scholar
  24. Huang, X. and van de Vliert, E. (2002) ‘Intrinsic job rewards at country-level and individual-level codetermine job satisfaction’, Journal of International Business Studies 33(2): 385–394.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jaworski, B. and Kohli, A.K. (1993) ‘Market orientation: antecedents and consequences’, Journal of Marketing 57(3): 53–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jun, S., Gentry, J.W. and Hyun, Y.J. (2001) ‘Cultural adaptation of business expatriates in the host marketplace’, Journal of International Business Studies 32: 369–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Karasek, R. (1979) ‘Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: implications for job redesign’, Administrative Science Quarterly 24: 285–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Karasek, R. and Theorell, T. (1990) Healthy Work: Stress, Productivity, and the Reconstruction of Working Life, Basic Books: New York.Google Scholar
  29. Keppel, G. and Zedeck, S. (1989) Data Analysis for Research Designs: Analysis of Variance and Multiple Regression/Correlation Approaches, WH Freeman: New York.Google Scholar
  30. Kohn, M.L. (1977) Class and Conformity: A Study in Values, University of Chicago Press: Chicago.Google Scholar
  31. Kotabe, M. (2002) ‘Using Euromonitor database in international marketing research’, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science 30: 172–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leung, K. (1989) ‘Cross-cultural differences: individual-level versus culture-level analysis’, International Journal of Psychology 24: 703–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Malpass, R.S. and Poortinga, Y.H. (1986) ‘Strategies for Design and Analysis’, in: W.J. Lonner and J.W. Berry (eds.) Field Methods in Cross-Cultural Research, Sage: Beverly Hills, CA.Google Scholar
  34. Morris, T. and Pavett, C.M. (1992) ‘Management style and productivity in two cultures’, Journal of International Business Studies 23: 169–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Oishi, S., Diener, E.F., Lucas, R.E. and Suh, E.M. (1999) ‘Cross-cultural variations in predictors of life satisfaction: perspectives from needs and values’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25: 980–990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Podsakoff, P.M. and Organ, D.W. (1986) ‘Self-reports in organizational research: problems and prospects’, Journal of Management 12(4): 531–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ralston, D.A., Gustafson, D.J., Cheung, F.M. and Terpstra, R.H. (1993) ‘Differences in managerial values: a study of US, Hong Kong, and PRC managers’, Journal of International Business Studies 24: 249–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robert, C., Probst, T.M., Martocchio, J.J., Drasgow, F. and Lawler, J.J. (2000) ‘Empowerment and continuous improvement in the United States, Mexico, Poland and India: predicting fit on the basis of the dimensions of power distance and individualism’, Journal of Applied Psychology 85: 643–658.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J.R. and Snyder, S.S. (1982) ‘Changing the world and changing the self: a two-process model of perceived control’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 42: 5–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Schneider, B. (1980) ‘The service organization: climate is crucial’, Organizational Dynamics 9: 52–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Schwartz, S. (1994) ‘Beyond Individualism/Collectivism: New Cultural Dimensions of Values’, in: U. Kim, H.C. Triandis, G. Kagitcibasi, S. Choi and G. Yoon (eds.) Individualism and Collectivism: Theory, Method, and Applications, Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA, pp. 85–119.Google Scholar
  42. Schweder, R.A. (1973) ‘The between and within of cross-cultural research’, Ethos 1: 531–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Singh, J.,, Goolsby, J.R. and Rhoads, G.K. (1994) ‘Behavioral and psychological consequences of boundary spanning burnout for customer service representatives’, Journal of Market Research 31: 558–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith-Bell, M. and Winslade, W.J. (1994) ‘Privacy, confidentiality, and privilege in psychotherapeutic relationships’, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 64: 180–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Spreitzer, G.M. (1995) ‘Psychological empowerment in the workplace: dimensions, measurement, and validation’, Academy of Management Journal 38(5): 1442–1465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Spreitzer, G.M. (1996) ‘Social structural characteristics of psychological empowerment’, Academy of Management Journal 39: 483–504.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Thomas, D.C. and Au, K.Y. (2002) ‘The effect of cultural differences on behavioral responses to low job satisfaction’, Journal of International Business Studies 33(2): 309–326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Trompenaars, F. (1997) Riding the Waves of Culture: Understanding Culture Diversity in Business, Nicholas Brealey Publishing: London.Google Scholar
  49. Wanous, J.P., Reichers, A.E. and Hudy, M.J. (1997) ‘Overall job satisfaction: how good are single-item measures?’, Journal of Applied Psychology 82: 247–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Academy of International Business 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MarketingThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of ManagementThe Chinese University of Hong KongHong Kong

Personalised recommendations