The interacting influence of individual and team empowerment, and empowering environments, on project performance

by Evans, Randolph C., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2014, 280 pages; 3645571


This study utilized an adapted version of a previously validated survey instrument measuring structural, team, and individual empowerment predictors as well as four project outcome variables for use across 38 differing industries applying professional project management methodologies. Data collection taken in two waves facilitated an evaluation of early and late responder characteristics in a test for response bias, results of which suggested the sample was highly representative of the target population. With 151 survey returns from a randomly selected sample of project management professionals at all levels of organizations, verification of the expected positive and significant relationships expected between the empowerment predictors, and between those predictors and project outcome variables led to additional important discoveries. The multi-level nested predictors were not only found to be additive, in that outcomes improved with more of the predictors in the regression model, but complex mediation and moderation relationships were also revealed, in addition to evidence of bidirectional interactions predicted by motivation theory. Of particular interest was the fact that moderation relationships discovered were significant over a large range of predictor values, while often not demonstrating significance overall. Results demonstrated that project practitioners may benefit from direct and indirect influences of the nested empowerment predictors, with best outcomes resulting from promoting empowerment simultaneously at all levels of an organization. Results validated previous findings that altruistic contributions to project environments reported by individuals and teams trend toward inflated or socially acceptable responses, making social desirability an important control variable for empowerment research. This study's results also revealed significant, positive relationships between an individual's organizational rank and reported empowerment at team and individual levels. Reports of team performance in organizations were also found to improve as organizational structures trended toward matrixed or projectized structures, which the Project Management Institute has prescribed over traditional functional structures. Provisions to control for the affects of these variables may also be important for future empowerment research in project environments.

AdviserLawrence R. Ness
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organizational behavior
Publication Number3645571

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