An in-depth empirical investigation
Sut I Wong Humborstad, Department of Leadership and Organizational Management, BI Norwegian School of Management, Oslo, Norway
Chad Perry, Gibaran Graduate School of Business, Adelaide, Australia
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between perceived empowerment practices and Chinese service employee service effort and turnover intention, also to examine the mediating role of employee job attitudes in this relationship.
Design/methodology/approach – To test hypotheses about the relationships above, survey data were collected by a self-administered questionnaire from frontline service workers at six four- and five-star hotels in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. The final sample of 290 participants rated empowerment practices in their workplace, as well as their job attitudes, service effort and turnover intention. Perceived empowerment practices were measured using items from Hayes' employee employment questionnaire. Employee job attitudes were measured using job satisfaction and organizational commitment scales based on Harrison et al. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the hypotheses.
Findings – Statistically significant results were obtained for a full mediating effect of job attitudes on the relationship between empowerment practices and turnover intention. However, the relationship between empowerment and Chinese employee service effort was insignificant.
Research limitations/implications – This study is cross-sectional and so a longitudinal examination of the variables could be revealing. In addition, other moderating and/or mediating factors could exist such as demographic characteristics of service employees. Finally, most of the conceptual underpinnings for this study come from research carried out in Western countries and more work should be done within Chinese organisations and more qualitative research would be appropriate for theory-building research.
Practical implications – Managers in service industries in China should carefully monitor employee job attitudes towards the empowerment practices. Owing to cultural differences on the high vs low power distance dimension in particular, managers from the West should not overlook how much empowerment is accepted among Chinese service employees.
Originality/value – Contributing to attitude engagement theory, job attitudes consisting of job satisfaction and organizational commitment explain the success of empowerment implementation in Chinese service organisations.
China; Employee behaviour; Customer service management; Empowerment; Job attitudes; Job satisfaction; Organizational commitment; Turnover intention; Service effort.
Chinese Management Studies
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Empowerment involves giving employees the autonomy to make decisions about how they go about their daily activities (Carless, 2004; Haas, 2010). As service industries become more competitive, the importance of empowerment in service industries is increasingly recognized as a key to catering to more and more demanding customers (Boshoff and Allen, 2000).
However, empowerment is contextual (Foster-Fishman et al., 1998). It is a social construct nested in how an individual integrates perceptions of personal control, a proactive approach to life and an understanding of the socio-political environment (Perkins, 1995; Rappaport, 1995; Zimmerman, 1995; Perkins and Zimmerman, 1995). Hence, empowerment can be viewed differently across cultures (Robert et al., 2000; Fock et al., 2002) and thus the success of empowerment as a managerial practice depends on an appropriate understanding of the culturally based assumptions, values and beliefs held by those who are being managed (Hofstede, 1993; Robert et al., 2000; Wang, 2008). In particular, incongruence between empowerment as a management practice and cultural values may be influential in high power distance nations where subordinates are accustomed to unquestioningly taking orders from their supervisors (Hui et al., 2004; Humborstad et al., 2008b).
Results of the few empowerment studies conducted in high power distance cultural contexts have been inconsistent (Hui et al., 2004; Powpaka, 2008). For example, Robert et al. (2000) failed to obtain conclusive findings. In their study, the empowerment-job satisfaction relationship was revealed to be negative in the India sample, but this relationship was found otherwise in some other high power distance country samples. On the other hand, Hui et al. (2004) provided support for variation in empowerment effects on job satisfaction and the intention to comply with customer requests being a function of power distance, after controlling some extraneous variables. Also, empowerment's effect on organizational commitment shows inconclusive results. Bhatnagar (2007) and Chen and Chen (2008) found that some of the sub-dimensions of empowerment were positively correlated to organizational commitment, but others were negatively or not correlated to organizational commitment in their India and Taiwan samples, respectively. It is important that this uncertainty be explored further because of the growing economic importance of China (a high power distance country, as noted above) and the number of Western managers entering China with possibly misplaced ideas about empowerment.
Given the extant uncertainty about empowerment in high power distance cultures, this study aimed to more thoroughly investigate how perceived empowerment practices are linked with Chinese service employee job satisfaction and organizational commitment, to predict their service effort and turnover intention – these are important for service organisations because they reflect the quality of service performance (Zeithaml et al., 1990). Our contribution centres on the effects of the new variable of job attitudes on this service performance.
The research setting for this study of service employees who interact with customers is the hotel/casino industry in the Macau Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. This setting is appropriate because Chinese culture is known to have a higher power distance orientation than some Western countries do (Hofstede, 1980; Correia, 1997). Indeed, appropriately for this research, Correia (1997) used Hofstede's (1991) five-dimensional framework to confirm the presence of high power distance culture at workplaces in the Macau setting. This setting is also an important one. A clear policy direction of the Macau Government has set tourism, gaming, conventions and exhibitions as the “head”, and the service industry as the “body”, driving the rest of the economy (DSEC, 2009). Tourism industries contribute more than 50 per cent of the GDP and hotels cater for more than 22 million visitors to Macau (DSEC, 2009). Thus, the setting provides a multi-organisation, homogeneous culture site to investigate an important, high power distance phenomenon where all subjects are boundary spanners between customers and the organisation.
In the rest of the paper, a literature review develops two hypotheses. Then the methodology of path analysis and bootstrapping are described and the findings explained. Implications for management are explored. Finally, limitations and further research are presented.
The notion of empowerment derived from alienation, industrial democracy, participative management and job enrichment (Eccles, 1993; Spreitzer et al., 1999b) and has become widespread (Bartunek and Spreitzer, 2006). It concerns a form of employee involvement initiative (Wilkinson, 1998) and refers to the degree with which employees are encouraged to make certain decisions without consulting their supervisors, so that organizational dynamics are initiated at the bottom (Michailova, 2002). Empowerment practices decentralize power by involving employees in decision making (Carless, 2004). This aspect of empowerment is concerned with the behaviour of a supervisor (Lee and Koh, 2001) and so empowerment can be defined as a discretionary construct that has management providing employees with discretion and autonomy over their tasks (Hsieh and Chao, 2004). It focuses on the relationships between team leaders and members (Lee and Koh, 2001) and on the employee's perception of their individual power to cope with the events, situations and people they encounter at work (Carless, 2004).
Empowerment implies that people at the lower levels of organisations sometimes know best – the leaders' role should be to act as coach and/or mentor and important decisions can be made at all levels of organisations (Robert et al., 2000). It encourages service personnel to use their own judgment to make prompt decisions (Lovelock, 1992; Humborstad et al., 2008b). In brief, empowerment practices could stimulate individual frontline service employees to deliver high-quality service as a discretionary effort (Malhotra and Mukherjee, 1999; Hancer and George, 2003).
High power distance cultural context
Members of organisations within a high power distance culture accept that power is distributed unequally (Hofstede, 1991). They are accustomed to hierarchal structures and paternalistic leadership so they often hesitate to take the initiative or make decisions without consulting supervisors (Chen and Fahr, 2001; Aycan et al., 2000). This cultural value of power distance might affect the personal value of power sharing – employees may not accept and exercise any discretionary power granted by management (Aryee and Chen, 2006; Chow et al., 2005). However, having employees willing to accept empowerment is one of the conditions for its successful implementation (Hui et al., 2004). That is, even if empowerment can be used as a management tool to achieve better quality and performance (Bordin et al., 2006; Gumusluoglu and Ilsev, 2009; Spreitzer et al., 1997), it requires employee willingness to accept it (Liden et al., 2000).
Although some studies have investigated the effect of empowerment on job satisfaction and performance in such a high power distance cultural context (Eylon and Au, 1999; Hui et al., 2004; Robert et al., 2000; Littrell, 2007), the empirical evidence about differences between empowerment effectiveness in high power distance countries and low power distance countries is inconclusive (Powpaka, 2008). For instance, Robert et al. (2000) found a significant negative empowerment – job satisfaction relationship in an Indian sample, while positive results were found in Mexican and Polish samples (these two countries are high on the power distance dimension and all three samples were conducted across industries). On the other hand, Hui et al. (2004) revealed positive results in both high and low power distance contexts, but the effects of empowerment were weaker in their Chinese frontline hotel workers sample. Moreover, perceptions of empowerment could differ among Chinese workers due to recent industrial modernization (Li, 1999). Some might accept empowerment as a way to motivate and utilize human resources, but others might find empowerment too difficult to work with because of their traditional norms of high power distance between management and employees. In brief, while research in the West has consistently shown positive effects of empowerment on outcomes such as job satisfaction, turnover intention and creativity to drive better performance (Spreitzer, 2008), the inconsistent findings in the East seem not to fit in.
Perhaps, the recently uncovered, higher order variable of workers' job attitudes could have an important bearing on their behaviour under empowerment (Harrison et al., 2006). Could that variable better explain how empowerment could work in China and other high power distance cultures? The next section justifies our consideration of that job attitudes variable.
Empowerment, job attitudes and service effort
To capture Chinese employee attitudes towards empowerment, we developed a model of the mechanisms of their empowerment that includes the variable of job attitudes. That job attitudes variable (Harrison et al., 2006) combines job satisfaction with affective organizational commitment and is linked to service effort and turnover intention within a structural model of empowerment, as shown in Figure 1. Each concept in that model is discussed next to develop hypotheses.
First, consider job attitudes. Job attitudes are a combination of job satisfaction and organizational commitment and job satisfaction and organizational commitment are two of the most often studied variables in organizational behaviour research (Mathieu and Zajac, 1990; Riketta, 2002; Petty et al., 1984). The concept of attitude is usually presented as having an affective component – a feeling, preference, or mood – about a person, idea, event or object (Warr and Wall, 1975). In more detail, job satisfaction is a pleasurable or positive emotional state resulting from the appraisal of one's job or job experience (Locke, 1976). It is an affective or emotional response toward various facets of one's job. In turn, affective organizational commitment is viewed as the relative strength of an individual's emotional attachments to, identification with and involvement in a particular organisation (Mowday et al., 1982).
In the meta-analysis of Harrison et al. (2006), job satisfaction and affective organizational commitment were found to contribute to second-order structured job attitudes and suggested that these two constructs should be combined to evaluate a more general concept of job attitudes. (A second-order factor, like job attitudes in our model, is present when first-order factors like job satisfaction and organizational commitment are explained by some higher order factor structure (Schumacker and Lomax, 2004).) Based on this meta-analysis results of 112 management studies, Harrison et al. (2006) argue that a combination of these two constructs captures an employee's general attitudes towards their job and is important for understanding work behaviour. This study about work behaviours adopted their recent framework. In brief, job attitude is measured here as a second-order construct consisting of job satisfaction and organizational commitment.
Next, consider the crucial factor of service effort. When service employees are unwilling or unable to deliver service at the required level, service quality suffers (Zeithaml et al., 1990; Humborstad et al., 2008a). The effort of service employees to deliver quality service plays a significant role in the organisation's attempts to satisfy customer expectations (Gronroos, 1990; Zeithaml et al., 1990). Thus, effort is an important element in motivation theory (Mohr and Bitner, 1995). It mediates the relationship between motivation and performance and forms a mechanism by which motivation is translated into accomplished work (Brown and Peterson, 1994; Naylor et al., 1980). Indeed, actual employee service performance is likely to reflect the amount of employee effort expended in service encounter situations (Yoon et al., 2004). Of course, effort does not necessarily automatically translate into performance; for example, if a worker has insufficient training, resources or equipment, they might conceivably put in a lot of effort but still not perform at a high level. However, the relationship would usually be positive and the use of effort in this research is justified because we are interested in workers' rather than managers' views, that is, effort could be considered more relevant than harder-to-measure performance. That is, service effort is what managers were aiming to achieve with their direct empowerment actions and is a reasonable proxy for actual service performance.
In turn, empowerment could bring conflicting values to an organisation's high power distance tradition (Hui et al., 2004; Robert et al., 2000) – to facilitate empowerment, organisations could actually shorten the distance between leaders and members, with rules and procedures reduced (Hirst et al., 2008). These empowerment practices might conflict with traditions where hierarchy and managerial rules are respected. As noted above, some studies demonstrated strong resistance to empowerment in the high power cultural context (Robert et al., 2000; Pang et al., 1998). However, some studies revealed otherwise (Aryee and Chen, 2006; Hui et al., 2004; Eylon and Au, 1999). For example, Eylon and Au (1999) found both low and high power distance groups experienced increased job satisfaction led by empowerment and no significant differences between the two groups were found. Hui et al. (2004) also supported the effect of empowerment on job satisfaction. However, they argued that this effect is more pronounced in a low power distance cultural context. On the other hand, Aryee and Chen (2006) provided empirical evidence that empowerment leads to higher job satisfaction and performance in a Chinese sample of manufacturing workers. In brief, extant evidence about whether empowerment produces positive job satisfaction and organizational commitment in high power distance workplaces, is inconclusive.
Thus, it is interesting to look at if or how the hitherto unexplored effect of job attitudes mediates the mechanism of the empowerment-organizational outcomes relationships and this mediation may be particularly apt in the Chinese context of this research. China has been experiencing the rapid industrialization of modern societies in the past two decades and the values implicit in modern institutions may have been to some extent incorporated into the personal values of some Chinese service workers (Powpaka, 2008; Zhang et al., 2009). That is, empowerment may produce positive job attitudes among Chinese service employees and may in turn lead to higher service effort. Thus, we hypothesize that job attitude is a mediator – it clarifies the nature of the relationship between the independent and dependent variables (MacKinnon, 2008). (In contrast, a moderator C sets conditions on the relationship between variables A and B.) We hypothesize that:
H1. Job attitudes positively mediate the positive relationship between empowerment and service effort in Chinese service organisations.
Empowerment and turnover intention
In addition, through job attitudes, empowerment may affect turnover intention. Turnover intention is a conscious and deliberate wilfulness to leave an organisation (Tett and Meyer, 1993). It can be described as a psychological response to specific organizational conditions which fall along a continuum of organizational withdrawal behaviours ranging from daydreaming to the physical act of turnover (Kraut, 1975). Employee turnover intentions, absenteeism and actual turnover have received substantial theoretical and empirical consideration (Chiu et al., 2005; Mowday et al., 1982; Porter and Steers, 1973). This dysfunctional behaviour negatively impacts organizational performance (Mobley, 1982). Moreover, the potential cost of staff turnover in service industries is recognized to be high, and includes knowledge lost within the organisation, the training required for new employees, loss of established connections with customers, and ultimately, lowered service quality and customer satisfaction (Joiner et al., 2004). In particular, there has been a rapid development in the hotel industry in Macau since the gaming license has been liberated in 2000. Retaining qualified frontline employees has been a great challenge in the Macau gaming industry (it is the largest gaming centre in the world), tourist numbers are increasing at a faster rate then the local population. Consequently, career development in tourism industry is more important than in other industries. That is, retaining qualified service employees is one of the main HR issues for many hotels in Macau and explains why so many managers were willing to be involved in this study.
Furthermore, deciding to leave one's job is not normally impulsive but is a decision that one has been contemplating/intending for some time prior to taking action (Barak et al., 2001). Therefore, turnover intention is considered to have an immediate causal effect on turnover and is believed to be the best predictor of actual turnover by many researchers (Lee and Bruvold, 2003; Barak et al., 2001; Kiyak et al., 1997; Hom and Griffeth, 1991). Presumably, satisfied and committed employees are likely to dedicate more of their time, energy and talents as a way to demonstrate their reciprocity and to maintain a close tie to their organisation and are less likely to leave their organisations (Boshoff and Mels, 1995; Siu, 2002). Hence, should empowerment lead to positive job attitudes, it would in turn decrease employee turnover intention. Thus, we hypothesize:
H2. Job attitudes positively mediate the negative relationship between empowerment and turnover intention in Chinese service organisations.
Sample and procedure
To test the hypotheses developed above, this study collected data by a self-administered questionnaire within similar hotels in one industry – from six four- and five-star hotels in the Macau SAR of China during the first quarter of 2006. The focus of this research is high power distance and so indirect empowerment influencers like job characteristics and types of leadership were appropriately held constant – all the hotels had similar processes and were of a similar size and standard. Macau is a suitable setting to investigate the high power distance of China, even though it was the West's first colony in China. The Western country of Portugal was a light colonial power in Macau until the handover in 1999, but this does not mean power distance in Macau is necessarily lower than Mainland China's because Portugal itself has a somewhat high power distance score (Hofstede, 1991). Since the handover, Macau has been a SAR of China with its own Macau Government and Portuguese constitute a mere 2 per cent (and declining) of the population (DSEC, 2009). The six hotels were chosen because they had a long business history in Macau with Chinese owners and management. Other hotels that were owned by Western corporations or had sizable non-Chinese staffs were not considered in this study.
Out of the 445 questionnaires distributed by managers and supervisors to all the frontline service employees at the hotels (the total number of service employees hired at the six selected hotels), 316 respondents replied. Of their responses, 26 were incomplete. Thus, the final sample consisted of 290 participants, giving a satisfactory response rate of 65.2 per cent. To achieve this response rate (Kinnear and Taylor, 1991), all questionnaires were distributed with sealable envelopes attached. Respondents were asked to complete the questionnaire and to insert the completed script into the attached envelope and to seal it before return. It was also stated that the sealed envelope would be opened only by the researchers to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. Although a 65.2 per cent response rate is considerably high, a non-response bias test was performed by using t-test to ensure the data were appropriate. Following the standard Armstrong and Overton (1977) procedure, two groups of data (one consisted of the first 100 respondents to reply and the second one consisted of the last 100 respondents to reply) were extracted from the original data set, with the second group reflecting non-responders more than the first group. t-tests were carried out to compare the mean responses of all items between the two groups to assess whether there would be any significantly different pattern between the two groups. Out of all 26 items including demographic questions, we found only two questions with statistically significant differences between the mean responses of these two groups. They were one item from the job satisfaction scale (higher with the first group) and one item about education attainment (lower with the first group). Therefore, we consider that there is no problematic issue with potential non-response bias.
Two major actions were taken in this study to ensure the reliability of the questionnaire. First, nearly all measures were adopted from past studies reported in the literature (discussed below), thus ensuring that they had been previously tested and proven to be reliable. Most of these measured have also been used in other studies with Eastern samples and have shown good reliability. The Appendix presents all the items in the measures. All these items were originally written in English, and for this study questionnaires were needed in Chinese. To ensure the reliability of the translation, each question was back translated from Chinese to English by a second translator and compared with the original text. Some modification was made after the review. Second, the questionnaire was pre-tested with a pilot sample of 15 individuals in Macau to ensure that all directions and items were clearly understood. The data and feedback collected from the pilot test were reviewed, and minor modifications on the translation were done.
From the profiles of the 290 respondents, the sample was reasonably representative of Macau service workers – the sample was evenly distributed in both genders (male – 48 per cent/female – 52 per cent) and in marital status (single – 50 per cent/married – 50 per cent). Most respondents were suitably from 21 to 30 years old (48 per cent), while 23 per cent were 31-40 years old, and 20 per cent were 41-50 and those who have a high school education (45 per cent) dominated the sample. With the rapid growth of the tourism industries in Macau, working in these industries was attractive – career development in tourism industries would be relatively more fruitful than in other industries. Therefore, the perception of frontline service jobs might not necessarily be the same as in other countries, where tourism products are more underdeveloped.
All constructs in the questionnaire used established measures. Hayes' (1994) five items (1 – strongly disagree; 5 – strongly agree) employee empowerment scales were used to measure the respondents' perception of empowerment at work. The measures were specialized for customer contact personnel. A sample item is “I have the authority to correct customer problems when they occur”. To ensure the internal consistency of the items measured, reliability tests were performed by examining Cronbach's alpha values. Reliability measures above 0.70 are deemed to be acceptable for research purposes (Nunnally, 1978). And the alpha coefficient for the four items (one item from the original scale was omitted to achieve a satisfactory alpha coefficient) was 0.70. The original English measurement items are attached as the Appendix.
This was a second-order latent variable consisting of job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Harrison et al., 2006). To measure job satisfaction, Hackman and Oldham's (1975) three items (1 – strongly disagree; 5 – strongly agree) were used (e.g. I am satisfied with my job currently). The alpha coefficient of the three items was 0.85. In turn, we assessed organizational commitment using the four items (1 – strongly disagree; 5 – strongly agree) from an affective organizational commitment scale developed by Meyer and Allen (1991). A sample item is “I feel a strong sense of belonging to the organisation”. Some of the items were reverse coded. The alpha coefficient was 0.69.
For service effort as the dependent variable, a perception measurement was used by asking respondents a single question about their willingness to invest effort to deliver quality service at their work. A multi-item source was not available and single-item measures can sometimes have advantages over multi-item measures because multi-domain measures can confound the dimensionality of the concept with the multiplicity of their causal sources (Bowling, 2005). This confounding from a multi-item variable may have been particularly serious in this study because of the complex links between effort and performance discussed above.
The respondents' turnover intention was measured using a four-item scale (1 – strongly disagree; 5 – strongly agree) developed by Seashore et al. (1982). A sample item is “For me, this company is the best of all possible organisations to work for”. The five-year time horizon in one item was approved by the managers involved. The alpha coefficient was an acceptable 0.79, as depicted in Table I. To conclude, some of the Cronbach's alpha values among the scales adopted were only acceptable. The results of relatively low alpha coefficients could be due to the fact that all scales were adopted from past studies, which were developed in the West.
Because the proposed meditational model involves latent constructs, this research used structural equation modelling (Baron and Kenny, 1986; Judd and Kenny, 1981) of the AMOS 16 software. To evaluate the hypothesized model, we followed the two-stage procedure recommended by Anderson and Gerbing (1988). First, confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was examined to assess the adequacy of the measurement component of the model. Then the structural model was evaluated. To examine the significance of the indirect effects, a bootstrapping procedure was performed (Shrout and Bolger, 2002; Preacher and Hayes, 2008). Moreover, since all measures were obtained from the common source, a control of common method variance was carried out to compare the results with and without potential bias of the common method variance (Mackenzie et al., 1999; Podsakoff et al., 2003).
Analysis of the data
There were missing values in the data collected. However, all variables forming the model appeared to have less than 10 per cent of the respondent missing data – the range was from 1.2 to 4.3 per cent. Hence, the results indicate that the missing data in this research do not pose problems in treatment (Malhotra and Mukherjee, 1999). Single imputation with mean substitution and regression-based imputation were used to handle them (Kline, 2005; Schumacker and Lomax, 2004).
A structural regression model allows a latent variable to have single or multiple indicators for each measurement model (Schumacker and Lomax, 2004). To examine their construct validity, CFA was used because it has advantages over exploratory approaches in validating theoretically developed constructs (Vandenbosch, 1996). As noted, all latent variables were measured using item-level data except service effort.
The results of the measurement model indicate appropriate validity with satisfactory model fit, including empowerment, job attitudes as the second-order variable consisting of job satisfaction and organizational commitment, service effort and turnover intention. Although the χ 2 value was 166.26 with p-value greater than 0.05, the normed χ 2 was 1.75 indicating that there was no significant difference between the model and the sample data. In addition, the root mean square of error of approximation (RMSEA) and standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) were both 0.05 (less than 0.08), and the goodness-of-fit index (GFI), comparative fit index (CFI) and Tucker-Lewis index (TLI) were 0.93, 0.96 and 0.95, respectively, so the indicators are reasonable measures of empowerment and provide evidence of convergent validity. Hence, the results support the view that job satisfaction and organizational commitment are explained by a second-order structured latent variable of job attitudes.
After assessing the validity of the constructs adopted, the posited structural models were evaluated. Same model fit indices of the measurement models were used to examine the proposed models. First, we examined the fully mediated model, that is, there were no direct paths from empowerment to service effort and turnover intention. The results of model fit demonstrated that the χ 2 was significant (χ2=182.99, df=98, p=0.00). However, χ 2 is sensitive to sample size (Kline, 1998; Anderson and Gerbing, 1988; Hair et al., 1998; Kline, 2005), hence, the normed χ 2 (χ2/df) was also assessed and was 1.87 (less than 3.0) suggesting a good model fit between the implied model and the sample data. The GFI and CFI were 0.93 and 0.95, respectively, greater than 0.90. The RMSEA and SRMR were 0.05, lower than 0.08. Also, the TLI was 0.94 greater than the 0.80 criterion, as depicted in Table II. All indices met the criterion and support the modified model having a reasonable model fit.
Next, a mediated model with additional direct paths from empowerment to service effort and turnover was evaluated. The χ 2 value was 181.80 (df=96; p<0.001) and the normed χ 2 was 1.89, which were approximately same as the χ 2 results of the full mediated model. The GFI, CFI, RMSEA, SRMR and TLI values were 0.93, 0.95, 0.05, 0.05 and 0.94, respectively. Hence, results suggest that the two models had similar fit to the data. So, to compare these two models, a χ 2 difference test was performed. The Δχ2 between the fully and partially mediated models was 1.19 and the Δdf was 2 resulting in a value of 0.595 (less than 3.84) (Hair et al., 2006). This result indicates the difference of adding two extra direct paths in the partially mediated model was not significant. That is, it suggests that the fully mediated model is an accurate representation.
Now the hypotheses could be tested. First, H1 was evaluated. As shown in Table I, the correlation between empowerment and service effort was not significant. Hence, it did not fulfil the basic requirements for mediation for further analysis (Baron and Kenny, 1986). Thus, H1 was not supported. Nevertheless, the indirect and direct paths between empowerment and service effort remained as posited in the conceptual model discussed earlier. For H2, the correlation between empowerment and turnover intention was significant with correlation coefficient of −0.29 and p-value less than 0.01. Hence, the first basic condition for H2 was fulfilled. Next, the mediator of job attitudes was introduced in the relationship between empowerment and turnover intention. The path estimates of the model revealed that all paths were significant with p-values lower than 0.01, as depicted in Table III, except the direct path of empowerment – turnover intention had a p-value greater than 0.05, that is, the direct path between empowerment and turnover intention was not significant when job attitudes as a mediator was controlled, indicating a potential full mediating effect. That is, empowerment does not directly lead to turnover intention when the mediator of job attitudes is controlled.
Next, to assess the statistical significance of the mediating effect, a bootstrap procedure was conducted. There were two indirect effects of this model, that is, empowerment-job attitudes-service effort, and empowerment-job attitudes-turnover intention. Following the recommendations of Shrout and Bolger (2002), we first created 10,000 bootstrap samples from the original dataset (n=290); then we ran the structural model with these bootstrap samples. Standardized coefficients and errors were calculated for the two indirect effects. The results from the bootstrap samples indicated that the standardized point estimate of the indirect effect (empowerment-job attitudes-turnover intention) was 0.28 with the standard error of 0.08. The 95 per cent confidence interval (CI) for the indirect effect ranged from 0.13 to 0.46. As zero is not in the CI, the results revealed that the mean of the indirect effect of empowerment-job attitudes-turnover intention (H2) was significantly from zero at the 0.001 level. Thus, H2 was supported. While the direct effect from empowerment to job attitudes was significant with a standardized coefficient of 0.32 and a p-value of 0.001, the direct effects from job attitudes to turnover intention (standardized coefficient =0.89 and p-value<0.001) were also significant.
Moreover, H1 (empowerment-job attitudes-service effort) was not supported. The results reveal that empowerment was not directly correlated to service effort among Chinese service employees. However, empowerment-job attitudes was significant – this finding indicates that empowerment should lead to higher job attitudes; in turn, empowerment could indirectly affect Chinese workers' service effort through its effect on job attitudes and job attitudes' effect on effort.
Assessing the potential bias from common method variance
Because both exogenous and endogenous variables were measured using the same source, the relationships between variables in this study may have inflated due to common method variance (Spector, 2006; Podsakoff et al., 2003). To assess this potential bias, we added a first-order latent variable to the indicators of both exogenous and endogenous variables. This procedure controlled for the portion of variance in the indicators measured from the common source (Mackenzie et al., 1999). Moreover, some of the method factor loadings were constrained to be equal for identification purposes. The results, as shown in Table III, revealed that the previously supported significant relationships were not affected by common method variance. That is, common method variance is not a potential threat in this study.
To conclude, H2 was supported in this study. The structural model of the proposed model is shown in Figure 2 with all the path coefficients. Discussion of this finding and its implications are provided next.
Discussion and implications
Literature on empowerment in Chinese organizational settings is not settled. While empowerment in the West is widely suggested to stimulate untapped human resources (Spreitzer et al., 1999a; Spreitzer, 2008), its use in high power distance Chinese organisations needs evidence like this research. Some have argued that empowerment may be less effective in high power distance cultures (Robert et al., 2000) and so Western management concepts such as empowerment may not be useful among Chinese employees (Pang et al., 1998). In turn, we found that, on their own, perceived empowerment practices do not stimulate or motivate stronger service effort among Chinese service employees (H1).
However, we found the mediating effect of job attitudes is a mechanism that helps empowerment lead to lower turnover intention among Chinese service employees (H2). Managers use empowerment to allow workers to solve problems themselves (the Appendix) but they must also include actions that foster job satisfaction and organizational commitment, to ensure that empowerment would affect turnover intention among Chinese service employees. That is, management in China should foster positive job attitudes through processes such as better and wider communication of the purpose of empowerment and stronger organizational and supervisor support. They could begin by looking at the items in the questionnaire (the Appendix) about satisfaction and commitment – they are the core elements within the core variable of job attitudes.
For example, satisfaction involves the work environment, and commitment involves emotional commitment to the “family” of the organisation. Giving staff a sense of belonging to the organisation (by shared values or rituals) would make them feel emotionally attached and “part of the family”. Also, the Chinese are sensitive to giving, taking, gaining or protecting “face” in social settings – it is considered the protocol of a highly hierarchical relationship between superior and subordinate (Li, 1999). Supervisors should learn to encourage different ideas and opinions so that Chinese employees could feel committed – their voices are listened to and their contributions impact on their company's performance (Tian-Foreman, 2009).
In brief, Chinese employees tend to have more favourable work attitudes and behaviour if they perceive favourable social relationships in their workplace (Wong and Huang, 2003). With emphases on satisfaction and commitment like these, the usual steps of empowerment would become more effective for reducing turnover intention. The human resource manager of a five-star hotel in Macau SAR, China, illustrates a technique that managers could use these job attitudes/satisfaction and commitment implications of the research findings. She has short briefing sessions with employees on a regular basis, to discuss outstanding issues. All ideas and issues would be listened to and discussed. Although not all issues could be solved at once, employees would feel helpless and distanced from their immediate supervisors/managers without these sessions.
Finally, consider limitations of the research and implications for future studies. First, the present study is cross-sectional. A longitudinal examination of the variables as they occur and as managerial interventions are made to improve desirable organizational outcomes could be revealing. In addition, such research could examine the impact of changes in the variables. Moreover, there may be other potential moderating and/or mediating factors in addition to the important ones uncovered and investigated in this study such as demographic characteristics of service employees. (These demographics were not included in this analysis because there are no a priori reasons to suspect they affect high power distance.) As well, possible relationships between service effort and actual performance should be examined to provide an even more comprehensive model.
Next, most of the conceptual underpinnings for this study come from research carried out in Western countries. However, considering that human cultural contexts and behaviour vary from country to country, more work should be done within Chinese organisations to confirm the transferability of the ideas examined in this research. More qualitative research would be appropriate for this kind of theory-building research. Thus, future research needs to be centred in China to generate more relevant constructs and their measurement.
Furthermore, to confirm the generalizability of the supported models in this research, this work could be replicated in other cultural contexts than China such as Africa and the Middle East. This sort of research could also be tried in less-modern parts of China like Lanzhou city. Indeed, it could even be replicated in European countries with high power distance like France and Germany (Hofstede, 1991). As well, other service organisations with a different level of tangibility (Shostack, 1977) such as fast-food outlets, airlines and consulting institutions, could be investigated.
In conclusion, this research found how Chinese employees accept empowering management practices to demonstrate stronger job satisfaction and organizational commitment, and so help empowerment to lead to lower turnover intention. However, the relationship between empowerment and service effort was found insignificant. This finding will help managers in China to effectively adopt empowerment policies and be an empirical base for future researchers.
Figure 1Proposed structural model
Figure 2Supported model with standardized parameter estimates
Table IStandard deviations, means, reliabilities and intercorrelations of latent variables
Table IIModel fit indices of the measurement and the structural models
Table IIIStandardized parameter estimates for both direct and indirect effects
Anderson, J.C., d Gerbing, D.W. (1988), "Structural equation modeling in practice – a review and recommended two-step approach", Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 103 pp.411-23.
Armstrong, J.S., Overton, T.S. (1977), "Estimating nonreponse bias in mail surveys", Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 14 pp.396-402.
Aryee, S., Chen, Z.X. (2006), "Leader-member exchange in a Chinese context: antecedents, the mediating role of psychological empowerment and outcomes", Journal of Business Research, Vol. 59 pp.793-801.
Aycan, Z., Kanungo, R.N., Mendonca, M., Yu, K.C., Deller, J., Stahl, G., Kurshid, A. (2000), "Impact of culture on human resource management practices: a 10-country comparison", Applied Psychology: An International Review (Psychologie Appliquee – Revue Internationale), Vol. 49 pp.192-221.
Barak, M.E.M., Nissly, J.A., Levin, A. (2001), "Antecedents to retention and turnover among child welfare, social work, and other human service employees: what can we learn from past research? A review and metanalysis", Social Service Review, Vol. 75 pp.625-61.
Baron, R.M., Kenny, D.A. (1986), "The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations", Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 51 pp.1173-82.
Bartunek, J.M., Spreitzer, G.M. (2006), "The interdisciplinary career of a popular construct used in management – empowerment in the late 20th century", Journal of Management Inquiry, Vol. 15 pp.255-73.
Bhatnagar, J. (2007), "Predictors of organizational commitment in India: strategic HR roles, organizational learning capability and psychological empowerment", International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 18 No.10, pp.1782-811.
Bordin, C., Bartram, T., Casimir, G. (2006), "The antecedents and consequences of psychological empowerment among Singaporean IT employees", Management Research News, Vol. 30 pp.34-46.
Boshoff, C., Allen, J. (2000), "The influence of selected antecedents on frontline staff's perceptions of service recovery performance", International Journal of Service Industry Management, Vol. 11 pp.63-90.
Boshoff, C., Mels, G. (1995), "A causal model to evaluate the relationships among supervision, role stress, organizational commitment and internal service quality", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 29 pp.23-42.
Bowling, A. (2005), "Just one question: if one question works, why ask several?", Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, Vol. 59 pp.342-5.
Brown, S.P., Peterson, R.A. (1994), "The effect of effort on sales performance and job-satisfaction", Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58 pp.70-80.
Carless, S.A. (2004), "Does psychological empowerment mediate the relationship between psychological climate and job satisfaction?", Journal of Business and Psychology, Vol. 18 pp.405-25.
Chen, H.F., Chen, Y.C. (2008), "The impact of work redesign and psychological empowerment on organizational commitment in a changing environment: an example from Taiwan's state-owned enterprises", International Public Management Association for Human Resources, Vol. 37 pp.279-302.
Chen, X.P., Fahr, J.L. (2001), Transformational and Transactional Leader Behaviors in Chinese Organizations: Differential Effects in the People's Republic of China and Taiwan, JAI Press, New York, NY, .
Chiu, C.K., Chien, C.S., Lin, C.P., Hsiao, C.Y. (2005), "Understanding hospital employee job stress and turnover intentions in a practical setting: the moderating role of locus of control", Journal of Management Development, Vol. 24 pp.837-55.
Chow, I.H.S., Lo, T.W.C., Sha, Z., Hong, J. (2005), "The impact of developmental experience, empowerment, and organizational support on catering service staff performance", International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 25 pp.478-95.
Correia, P. (1997), Cultural Diversity and Management: The Case of Work Motivation, Macau Foundation, Macau, .
DSEC (2009), Macau SAR, available at: www.dsec.gov.mo (accessed 13 August 2009), .
Eccles, T. (1993), "The deceptive allure of empowerment", Long Range Planning, Vol. 26 pp.13-21.
Eylon, D., Au, K.Y. (1999), "Exploring empowerment cross-cultural differences along the power distance dimension", International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 23 pp.373-85.
Fock, H., Hui, M.K., Au, K. (2002), "From discretion to psychological empowerment: a cross cultural study for service industry", American Marketing Association, No.Winter, pp.71-9.
Foster-Fishman, P.G., Salem, D.A., Chibnall, S., Legler, R., Yapchai, C. (1998), "Empirical support for the critical assumptions of empowerment theory", American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 26 pp.507-36.
Gronroos, C. (1990), "Relationship approach to marketing in service contexts – the marketing and organizational-behavior interface", Journal of Business Research, Vol. 20 pp.3-4.
Gumusluoglu, L., Ilsev, A. (2009), "Transformational leadership, creativity and organizational innovation", Journal of Business Research, Vol. 62 pp.461-73.
Haas, M.R. (2010), "The double-edged swords of autonomy and external knowledge: analyzing team effectiveness in a multinational organization", The Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 53 pp.989-1008.
Hackman, J.R., Oldham, G.R. (1975), "Development of the job diagnostic survey", Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 60 pp.159-70.
Hair, J.F., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L., Back, W.C. (1998), Multivariate Data Analysis, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, .
Hair, J.F., Black, W.C., Babin, B.J., Anderson, R.E., Tatham, R.L. (2006), Multivariate Data Analysis, 6th ed., Pearson, Upper Saddle River, NJ, .
Hancer, M., George, R.T. (2003), "Psychological empowerment of non-supervisory employees working in full-service restaurants", International Journal of Hospitality Management, Vol. 22 pp.3-16.
Harrison, D.A., Newman, D.A., Roth, P.L. (2006), "How important are job attitudes? Meta-analytic comparisons of integrative behavioral outcomes and time sequences", Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 49 pp.305-25.
Hayes, B.E. (1994), "How to measure empowerment", Quality Progress, No.February, pp.68-78.
Hirst, G., Budhwar, P., Cooper, B.K., West, M., Long, C., Xu, C.Y., Shipton, H. (2008), "Cross-cultural variations in climate for autonomy, stress and organizational productivity relationships: a comparison of Chinese and UK manufacturing organizations", Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 39 pp.1343-58.
Hofstede, G. (1980), Culture's Consequences: International Differences in Work Related Values, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA, .
Hofstede, G. (1991), Cultures and Organizations, McGraw-Hill, London, .
Hofstede, G. (1993), "Cultural constraints in management theories", Academy of Management Executive, Vol. 7 pp.81-94.
Hom, P.W., Griffeth, R.W. (1991), "Structural equations modeling test of a turnover theory – cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses", Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 76 pp.350-66.
Hsieh, A.T., Chao, H.Y. (2004), "A reassessment of the relationship between job specialization, job rotation and job burnout: example of Taiwan's high-technology industry", International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 15 pp.1108-23.
Hui, M.K., Au, K., Fock, H. (2004), "Empowerment effects across cultures", Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 35 pp.46-60.
Humborstad, S.I.W., Humborstad, B., Whitfield, R. (2008a), "Burnout and service employees' willingness to deliver quality service", Journal of Human Resources in Hospitality & Tourism, Vol. 7 pp.45-64.
Humborstad, S.I.W., Humborstad, B., Whitfield, R., Perry, C. (2008b), "Implementation of empowerment in Chinese high power-distance organizations", The International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 19 pp.1349-64.
Joiner, T.A., Bartram, T., Garreffa, T. (2004), "The effects of mentoring on perceived career success, commitment and turnover intentions", Journal of American Academy of Business, Vol. 5 pp.164-70.
Judd, C.M., Kenny, D.A. (1981), "Process analysis: estimating mediation in treatment evaluations", Evaluation Review, Vol. 5 pp.602-19.
Kinnear, T.C., Taylor, J.R. (1991), Marketing Research: An Applied Approach, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, .
Kiyak, H.A., Namazi, K.H., Kahana, E.F. (1997), "Job commitment and turnover among women working in facilities sewing older persons", Research on Aging, Vol. 19 pp.223-46.
Kline, R.B. (1998), Principles and Practices of Structural Equation Modeling, Guilford Press, New York, NY, .
Kline, R.B. (2005), Principles and Practice of Structural Equation Modeling, Guilford Press, New York, NY, .
Kraut, A.I. (1975), "Predicting turnover of employees from measured job attitudes", Organizational Behavior and Human Performance, Vol. 13 pp.233-43.
Lee, C.H., Bruvold, N.T. (2003), "Creating value for employees: investment in employee development", International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 14 pp.981-1000.
Lee, M., Koh, J. (2001), "Is empowerment really a new concept?", International Journal of Human Resource Management, Vol. 12 pp.684-95.
Li, S.T.K. (1999), "Management development in international companies in China", Education & Training, Vol. 41 pp.331-5.
Liden, R.C., Wayne, S.J., Sparrowe, R.T. (2000), "An examination of the mediating role of psychological empowerment on the relations between the job, interpersonal relationships, and work outcomes", Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 85 pp.407-16.
Littrell, R.F. (2007), "Influences on employee preferences for empowerment practices by the ‘ideal manager’ in China", International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 31 pp.87-110.
Locke, E.A. (1976), "The nature and causes of job satisfaction", in Dunnette, M.D. (Eds),Handbook of I/O Psychology, Rand-McNally, Chicago, IL, .
Lovelock, C.H. (1992), Managing Services: Marketing, Operations, and Human Resources, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, .
Mackenzie, S.B., Podsakoff, P.M., Paine, J.B. (1999), "Do citizenship behaviors matter more for managers than for salespeople?", Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 27 pp.396-410.
MacKinnon, D.P. (2008), Introduction to Statistical Mediation Analysis, Erlbaum, New York, NY, .
Malhotra, N., Mukherjee, A. (2003), "Analysing the commitment – service quality relationship: a comparative study of retail banking call centres and branches", Journal of Marketing Management, Vol. 19 pp.941-71.
Mathieu, J.E., Zajac, D.M. (1990), "A review and meta analysis of the antecendents, correlates, and consequences of organizational commitment", Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 108 pp.171-94.
Meyer, J.P., Allen, J. (1991), "A three-component conceptualization of organizational commitment", Human Resources Management Reviews, Vol. 1 No.1, pp.61-89.
Michailova, S. (2002), "When common sense becomes uncommon: participation and empowerment in Russian companies with Western participation", Journal of World Business, Vol. 37 pp.180-7.
Mobley, W.H. (1982), Employee Turnover: Causes, Consequences, and Control, Addison-Wesley, Reading, MA, .
Mohr, L., Bitner, M.J. (1995), "Process factors in service delivery: what employee effort means to customers", in Swartz, T.A., Bowen, D.E., Brown, S.W. (Eds),Advances in Services Marketing and Management, JAI Press, Greenwich, CT, .
Mowday, R.T., Porter, L.W., Steers, R.M. (1982), Employee-organizational Linkages: The Psychology of Commitment, Absenteeism, and Turnover, Academic Press, New York, NY, .
Naylor, J.C., Pritchard, R.D., Ilgen, D.R. (1980), A Theory of Behavior in Organizations, Academic Press, New York, NY, .
Nunnally, J. (1978), Psychometric Theory, McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, .
Pang, C.K., Roberts, D., Sutton, J. (1998), "Doing business in China – the art of war?", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 10 pp.272-82.
Perkins, D.D. (1995), "Speaking truth to power: empowerment ideology as social intervention and policy", American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 23 pp.765-94.
Perkins, D.D., Zimmerman, M.A. (1995), "Empowerment theory, research, and application", American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 23 pp.569-79.
Petty, M.M., Mcgee, G.W., Cavender, J.W. (1984), "A meta-analysis of the relationships between individual job-satisfaction and individual-performance", Academy of Management Review, Vol. 9 pp.712-21.
Podsakoff, P.M., Mackenzie, S.B., Lee, J.Y., Podsakoff, N.P. (2003), "Common method biases in behavioral research: a critical review of the literature and recommended remedies", Journal of Applied Psychology, Vol. 88 pp.879-903.
Porter, L.W., Steers, R.M. (1973), "Organizational, work, and personal factors in employee turnover and absenteeism", Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 80 pp.151-76.
Powpaka, S. (2008), "Empowering Chinese service employees: a reexamination and extension", Journal of Global Marketing, Vol. 21 pp.271-91.
Preacher, K.J., Hayes, A.F. (2008), "Asymptotic and resampling strategies for assessing and comparing indirect effects in multiple mediator models", Behavior Research Methods, Vol. 40 pp.879-91.
Rappaport, J. (1995), "Empowerment meets narrative: listening to stories and creating settings", American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 23 pp.795-807.
Riketta, M. (2002), "Attitudinal organizational commitment and job performance: a meta-analysis", Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 23 pp.257-66.
Robert, C., Probst, T.M., Martocchio, J.J., Drasgow, F., 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, Vol. 85 pp.643-58.
Schumacker, R.E., Lomax, R.G. (2004), A Beginner's Guide to Structural Equation Modeling, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ, .
Seashore, S.E., Lawler, E.E., Mirvis, P.H., Cammann, C. (1982), Observing and Measuring Organizational Change: A Guide to Field Practice, Wiley, New York, NY, .
Shostack, G.L. (1977), "Breaking free from product marketing", Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, Vol. 41 pp.73-80.
Shrout, P.E., Bolger, N. (2002), "Mediation in experimental and nonexperimental studies: new procedures and recommendations", Psychological Methods, Vol. 7 pp.422-45.
Siu, O.L. (2002), "Predictors of job satisfaction and absenteeism in two samples of Hong Kong nurses", Journal of Advanced Nursing, Vol. 40 pp.218-29.
Spector, P.E. (2006), "Method variance in organizational research: truth or urban legend?", Organizational Research Methods, Vol. 9 pp.221-32.
Spreitzer, G.M., Kizilos, M.A., Nason, S.W. (1997), "A dimensional analysis of the relationship between psychological empowerment and effectiveness, satisfaction, and strain", Journal of Management, Vol. 23 pp.679-704.
Spreitzer, G.M., Cohen, S.G., Ledford, G.E. (1999a), "Developing effective self-managing work teams in service organizations", Group & Organization Management, Vol. 24 pp.340-66.
Spreitzer, G.M., De Janasz, S.C., Quinn, R.E. (1999b), "Empowered to lead: the role of psychological empowerment in leadership", Journal of Organizational Behavior, Vol. 20 pp.511-26.
Spreitzer, G.M. (2008), "Taking stock: a review of more than twenty years of research on empowerment at work", in Barling, J., Cooper, C.L. (Eds),The Sage Handbook of Organizational Behavior, Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, .
Tett, R.P., Meyer, J.P. (1993), "Job satisfaction, organizational commitment, turnover intention, and turnover – path analyses based on meta-analytic findings", Personnel Psychology, Vol. 46 pp.259-93.
Tian-Foreman, W. (2009), "Job satisfaction and turnover in the Chinese retail industry", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 3 pp.356-78.
Vandenbosch, M.B. (1996), "Confirmatory compositional approaches to the development of product spaces", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 30 pp.23-46.
Wang, X. (2008), "Analyzing work attitudes of Chinese employees: a comparison between state-owned and privately-owned enterprises in China", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 2 pp.215-18.
Warr, P.B., Wall, T. (1975), Work and Well-being, Penguin, Harmondsworth, .
Wilkinson, A. (1998), "Empowerment: theory and practice", Personnel Review, Vol. 27 pp.40-56.
Wong, C.S., Huang, I.C. (2003), "The role of perceived quality of social relationship with organizations in Chinese societies", International Journal of Management, Vol. 20 pp.216-22.
Yoon, M.H., Seo, F.H., Yoon, T.S. (2004), "Effects of contact employee supports on critical employee responses and customer service evaluation", Journal of Service Marketing, Vol. 18 pp.395-412.
Zeithaml, V.A., Parasuraman, A., Berry, L. (1990), Delivering Quality Service: Balancing Customer Perceptions and Expectations, The Free Press, New York, NY, .
Zhang, Y., Dolan, S., Zhou, Y. (2009), "Management by values: a theoretical proposal for strategic human resource management in China", Chinese Management Studies, Vol. 3 pp.272-94.
Zimmerman, M.A. (1995), "Psychological empowerment: issues and illustrations", American Journal of Community Psychology, Vol. 23 pp.581-99.
Blau, P.M. (1964), Exchange and Power in Social Life, Wiley, New York, NY, .
Appendix. The English measurement items
The English version of the measurement items used follows. Note that respondents actually completed a questionnaire in Chinese, which is a translation of this original.
- Empowerment (Hayes, 1994):
- I have the authority to correct customer problems when they occur.
- I am encouraged to handle customer problems by myself.
- I do not have to get management's approval before I handle customer problems.
- I am allowed to do almost anything to solve customer problems.
- I have control over how I solve customer problems.
- Job satisfaction (Hackman and Oldham, 1975):
- You are satisfied with your job currently.
- Your work environment is pleasant.
- You are extremely glad that you chose this company to work for, over other organisations.
- Affective organizational commitment (Meyer and Allen, 1991):
- I do not feel like “part of the family” at the organisation.
- The organisation has a great deal of personal meaning for me.
- I do not feel “emotionally attached” to the organisation.
- I feel a strong sense of belonging to the organisation.
- Turnover intention (Seashore et al., 1982):
- You are very likely to stay in this company for the next five years.
- For you, this company is the best of all possible organisations to work for.
- You will not give up this company easily.
- You seldom hear about or are exposed to jobs outside your company that interest you.
- Service effort:
- I am willing to invest effort to deliver quality service to customers.
Sut I Wong Humborstad can be contacted at: email@example.com