Empowerment, organisational commitment and job satisfaction within a chemical organisation
Buckle, Cecelia Hestel
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Work is considered to be a necessary and unavoidable part of human existence. As South Africa continues to be exposed to global economics, social and political changes, the international arena demands increased speed, efficiency and customer focus at reduced costs. In order to achieve these demands, organisations are demanding more from their employees than ever before. Employees must learn to take initiative, be creative and accept responsibility. Each employee's full potential is needed on every level in an organisation. Employee empowerment is a concept that has been the subject of research for over 50 years. It generally shows that despite an increasing popularity of the "employee empowerment movement", very few companies today are truly empowered and programs intended to empower meet with very little success. Furthermore, empowerment, together with the strategies for implementing it, is far from being a simple "quick fix". Employee empowerment is multidimensional -no single set of contingencies can describe it. It actually encompasses a very complex and multifaceted continuous process, with its roots in the changing social, economic, and political structures of society. The objective of this study was to conceptualise empowerment from both a situational (contextual) and psychological (motivational) perspective. From a situational perspective it investigated the relationship of psychological empowerment with contextual factors such as leadership. From a psychological perspective it investigated and measured the four cognitions that provide employees with a sense of empowerment. Furthermore it explored the possible relationship between psychological empowerment, leader empowering behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction on the one hand, as well as the extent to which psychological empowerment and leader empowering behaviour predict organisational commitment and job satisfaction, on the other hand. The relevance of this to the organisation was to determine whether there is a difference in these variables between employees, departments, tenure and age groups and if these situational variables predict psychological empowerment. The research group was composed of 137 employees within a chemical organisation. They completed several questionnaires. The research results of the empirical study were reported and discussed according to the empirical objectives. The descriptive statistics and the internal consistency of the measuring instruments for the total population were highlighted. Thereafter the reliability and validity of the measuring instruments were discussed. The results of the empirical study indicated that a positive level of psychological empowerment, leader empowering behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction exists within this organisation. Results indicated that statistically significant differences exist in organisational commitment between tenure and various age groups. It furthermore indicated that there were statistically significant differences in psychological empowerment between different age groups. No statistically significant differences between the different qualification levels were observed in psychological empowerment, leader empowering behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction. Results furthermore indicated statistically significant differences in leader empowering behaviour between various organisational levels of employment and within various departments. Statistically significant differences do exist in job satisfaction between various organisational levels of employment, although no statistically significant differences were reported with regard to various departments. With regard to differences between various organisational levels of employment and various departments, no statistically significant differences were experienced in psychological empowerment and organisational commitment Positive correlation, with a medium to a large effect, were reported between (a) psychological empowerment and leader empowering behaviour, organisational commitment and job satisfaction, (b) leader empowering behaviour and job satisfaction, and (c) organisational commitment and job satisfaction. Concerning the predictive value of the constructs, the findings indicate that psychological empowerment and leader empowering behaviour predict organisational commitment and job satisfaction. Based on the above results recommendations were made. These recommendations emphasise the importance of integrating both situational and psychological perspectives to enhance empowerment to the benefit of both the individual and the organisation.