Psychological Empowerment: How Can the Tourism Industry Adopt It?

Psychological Empowerment: How Can the Tourism Industry Adopt It?

Nilgun Avci (Ege University, Turkey)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1474-0.ch014


Psychological empowerment, which is an effective factor in the success of the employees in order to adapt to the environmental changes and cope with fierce competition, is seen as an important tool in a highly dynamic and changeable tourism sector. Although it is seen as a strong strategy for the organizations by many researchers and implementers, some problems are encountered in implementing psychological empowerment in a successful way in practice. When the researches are analyzed, it is identified that expected results are not achieved. The reason why the expected results are not achieved in practice is that the process of psychological empowerment is implemented either in a wrong or in an insufficient way. Information related to the concept of psychological empowerment, changing perspectives regarding the concept in years, its implementation process, the obstacles encountered, and the results of psychological empowerment are included in this chapter.
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In today's business world, creating values for the customers is accepted as the key factor in success. The role of the employees in creating values for customers is quite high (Nazarian, Atkinson, & Foroudi, 2017). After the industrial revolution, the studies on increasing the productivity of the employees and service quality have been continuing without pausing. Since the role of the employees in service industry on customer satisfaction is higher in proportion to the production industry, it is seen that the researches in service industry are focused on the employees. In the hospitality industry bearing competitive pressure, service quality in terms of the customers enables competitive advantage and this can only be ensured with qualified employees.

In the hospitality industry, that has especially high stress level and emotional labor, the employees always have to display positive behavior while rendering service to the customers no matter what they actually feel (Lee & Ok, 2012). There are many factors affecting the productivity and service quality of the employees. The thought of empowering the employees is one of the applied approaches in the hospitality industry to increase the productivity, service quality, job satisfaction (Fock, Chiang, Au, & Hui, 2011; Hewagama, Boxall, Cheung, & Hutchison, 2019; Ottenbacher & Gnoth, 2005), and to decrease negative attitudes (Huertas-Valdivia, Braojos, & Lloréns-Montes, 2019) of the employees. Traditional hierarchical structure poses a challenge for empowering the employees. In the latest years, it is seen in hospitality managements that there is an inclination towards self-managing teams composed of empowered employees instead of traditional management. The fact that hospitality service has abstract, changeable and heterogeneous features increases the need for empowering more and more. Since the demands of the customers affect the service delivery in hospitality managements and due to its dynamic structure, the employees are supposed to take initiatives and decide quickly.

Employee empowerment is seen as employees' undertaking the control of their work as authorized by their managers (Ottenbacher & Gnoth, 2005) and the autonomy of making their own decisions while solving customers' problems (Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Jha & Nair, 2008). The concept of empowerment is analyzed under two dimensions as structural empowerment and psychological empowerment (Jha & Nair, 2008). Structural environment is related to power, decision making and the organizational environment in which the official control is shared on the resources. Structural empowerment mostly involves transferring the authority of the managers to the employees in the hierarchical structure. It is seen as an extrinsic motivation with this aspect. Psychological empowerment, on the other hand, is an emotional situation that enables the employees to feel safe on the subject of reaching the objectives successfully (Zhang, Ye, & Li, 2018). Spreitzer (1995) defines the psychological empowerment as the motivation based on the individual's perception of the related role about his/her work. Psychological empowerment is based on the self-efficacy study of Bandura's (1977), who examined the cognitive perceptions of the employees. With regard to Bandura's (1977) model, empowerment points out a process in which the individual's belief in his/her self-efficacy is empowered. Psychological empowerment can also be identified as the perceptions of the individual about his/her own role and his/her ability to affect the results. Psychological empowerment is composed of the following elements (Spreitzer, 1995): (1) meaning, (2) competence, (3) self-determination, (4) impact. Meaning dimension involves the comparison of the work's objective with the ideals of the individuals and the value. Competence dimension expresses the individual's belief in his/her own capacity to succeed in the work and his/her self-efficacy. Self-determination dimension is about individual's taking initiatives and having coordinating choices. Impact dimension contains the influence degree of the individual on strategic, administrative and operation outputs.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Power: The ability of the individual to direct someone else to behavior in their own direction.

Vision: It is a process that determines the values of the organization, the situation it is in, the goals it wants to reach and integrating the employees around a common goal and directing the organization towards the targeted future.

Motivation: In the organization, employees behave with their own desires and desires to achieve organizational goals.

Authority: The responsibility of managers in making decisions, directing their subordinates, and the right to carry out certain tasks to achieve organizational goals.

Decision: It is the choice, choice, attitude or adoption of alternatives.

Orders: In organizations, the manager gives information to his/her subordinates about whether or not to do a task.

Goal: The objectives of the organization are clear, measurable and feasible objectives.

Delegation of Authority: The executive's authority to use some of his powers to transfer to his subordinates.

Competence: A tool that expresses knowledge, skills, personal characteristics and behaviors needed to realize organizational role effectively and to meet strategic goals.

Leadership: The group is the process of directing group actions and influencing followers to achieve their goals.

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