A social cognitive approach to collective psychological empowerment
Lamb, Raymond Michael
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This study tested a social cognitive model of psychological empowerment. Data were collected on the perceptions of technical college faculty regarding their collective ability to influence the educational processes at their respective institutions. The focus of the study was the entire population of faculties at individual institutions across a system of technical colleges in a southeastern state in the United States. Six independent variables: Professional Climate, Open Communication, Mutual Trust, Supervisory Style, Job Characteristics and Peer Relationships were significantly correlated with collective psychological empowerment. The correlation coefficients ranged from a low of .719 for Peer Relationship to a high of .850 for Professional Climate. Correlation coefficients corrected for attenuation ranged from .517 to .722. Collectively, a five factor model excluding Open Communications explained 82.9% of the observed variance in the dependent variable. The theoretical framework for this study conceptually integrates into a coherent system individual, relational, and contextual antecedents and group and organizational outcomes of collective professional empowerment. The present research extended and tested a model of intrinsic task motivation originally developed by Thomas and Velthouse (1990) and Spreitzer (1995) at group level analysis. Four cognitions: Meaningfulness, Potency, Autonomy, and Impact were found to combine additively to contribute to a state of collective professional empowerment. Although the study is intended to contribute to strategies for educational improvement by faculty operating as cohort of professionals, the findings have implications for all organizations that have similarly constructed groups of professional employees who operate quasi-independently in the manner of self managed work teams.