Does Empowerment Motivate Employees in the Hospitality Industry ( Sri-Lanka) to Increase Performance

Master's Thesis 2007 108 Pages

Leadership and Human Resource Management - Miscellaneous


Table of Contents



List of Tables

List of Figures

Chapter 1 - Introduction
1.1 Background - The need to Enhance Performance
1.2 Motivation the Key to Performance
1.3 Empowering Employees
1.4 Conceptual Model
1.5 Hospitality Industry – The Need to empower employees
1.6 Research problem
1.7 Rationale for the Study
1.8 Purpose and Aims of the Study
1.9 Objectives
1.10 Hypotheses
1.11 Limitations of the study
1.12 Structure of the Study

Chapter 2 – Literature Review
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Performance.
2.2.1 Relationship between Performance and Empowerment
2.3 Importance of Motivation
2.3.1 Motivational Theories Maslow’s Hierarchical Needs Theory Two Factor Theory Theory X and Theory Y Expectancy Theory Adam’s Reinforcement Theory
2.3.2 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation Impact of Intrinsic Motivation
2.3.3 Relationship between Motivation and performance
2.3.4 Characteristics of a Motivating Job
2.4 Empowering Employees
2.4.1 Definitions of Empowerment
2.4.2 Major approaches to Empowerment Structural Approach Psychological approach
2.4.3 Empowerment Pyramid
2.4.4 Prerequisites to Empowerment Information, Knowledge & Skills Autonomy Creativity
2.4.5 Managers Role
2.4.6 Opportunity to learn
2.4.7 Problem Solving & Decision Making
2.4.8 Different views Regarding Empowerment practices
2.4.9 Why the Concept of Empowerment fail
2.4.10 Strategies that Support Empowerment
2.4.11 Working Conceptual Model

Chapter 3 - Industry & Organization Profile
3.1 The Island of Sri-Lanka
3.2 Hospitality Industry in Sri-Lanka
3.3 Hotel Colombo Hilton
3.3.1 Background of the Hotel
3.3.2 Workforce
3.4 Hotel Club Palm Bay( Marawila)
3.4.1 Background of the Hotel
3.4.2 Social & Cultural Background
3.4.3 Workforce

Chapter 4 - Methodology
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Research Design
4.2.1 Secondary data
4.2.2 Primary data
4.3 Questionnaire Design
4.3.1 Original Questionnaire
4.3.2 Pilot Questionnaire
4.4 Selection of Study area
4.5 Period of study
4.6 Study Population
4.7 Sample size
4.8 Data Collection Techniques
4.9 Data Analysis

Chapter 5 - Findings & Data Analysis
5.1 Distribution Of the Study sample
5.1.1 Age
5.1.2 Gender
5.1.3 Educational Qualifications
5.1.4 Work Experience
5.1.5 Dealing with Customers
5.2 Sample Characteristics
5.2.1 Performance
5.2.2 Empowerment
5.2.3 Motivation
5.3 Bivariate Analysis
5.3.1 Relationship between Age and Performance
5.3.2 Relationship between Gender and Performance
5.3.3 Relationship between Educational Qualifications and Performance
5.3.4 Relationship between Work Experience and Performance
5.3.5 Relationship between Empowerment and Performance
5.3.6 Relationship between Performance and Motivation
5.3.7 Relationship between Empowerment and Motivation
5.3.8 Empowerment, Motivation & Performance
5.4 Empowerment in the Work Place
5.4.1 Psychological Empowerment Importance of your Role
5.4.2 Structural Empowerment On the Spot Decisions Authority to handle Customer Complaints Level of Responsibility
5.4.3 Supportive climate for Empowerment Training given to Employees Supportive in providing Skills & Knowledge Access to Resources Information on Missions, Goals and Targets
5.4.4 Creating an Empowering Environment for the employees Reaction of the Superiors for mistakes caused Opportunity to Express Ideas Opportunity to Participate in Meetings
5.5 Motivation
5.5.1 The Most Motivating Factor The Most Motivating Factor according to Age
5.5.2 Intend to leave the Organization

Chapter 6 - Discussion

Chapter 7 - Conclusion & Recommendations
7.1 conclusion
7.2 Recommendations



Appendix I Pilot Questionnaire
Appendix II Original Questionnaire
Appendix III Questionnaire divided into sections and coded
Appendix IV Data Tables ( Respondents score)
Appendix V Overall Distribution of the Study sample


The study was based on finding out whether empowerment motivates employees in order to increase performance. To do so, empowerment was related to frontline employee job motivation and performance levels.

The study report is mainly a descriptive study, based on a random sample of 98 frontline employees dealing with customers, selected from a target population of hotel sector employees in the Sri-Lankan hospitality Industry. The instrument used was a structured questionnaire in order to collect quantitative data, and the study achieved a response rate of 90%.

Quantitative analysis based on the bivariate analysis techniques indicates that, empowerment when implemented in the workplace do have a significant positive relationship with motivation of the employees in order to increase performance. In addition, the study also makes a significant contribution to the empowerment theory by showing that, that there is a hidden factor behind the empowerment concept in increasing performance other than by motivating employees, which proposes potential avenues for further research.

Too, the study explored in detail to how far was the empowerment practices integrated into the work context, in order to obtain maximum benefits and the sustainable outcome performance in the organization. When it came to analysing, the prerequisites to empowerment, the conducive climate for empowerment practices and also the empowered environment were specially considered.

Although there is a favourable effect on employee motivation and performance through empowered practices, the study shows that the employees are not much empowered in practice in the Hospitality industry in Sri-Lanka.

The study also goes on to discuss some of the suggestions on how to empower employees in the work place, in order to maximize service performance improvements.



Although my name appears on the cover page of this dissertation, a great many have contributed to make it a success. That is why I dedicate this page to thank everyone who had helped me to complete this dissertation successfully, for without their help I wouldn’t have come this far.

First of all I would like to thank my supervisor Mr. Tom Reeves for the support and guidance given to me throughout the dissertation directing me towards the right direction. I greatly appreciate his help.

I am also very grateful and would specially like to thank my mum, dad, brother, husband and little son for the support they had given me through out my dissertation. They not only provided me with the support and guidance, but also did whatever they could to help me produce a good dissertation. I always appreciate the help they gave me in collecting the data and providing me with the necessary information needed to complete my dissertation.

Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Don Dayaratne (Personnel manager of Hotel Club Palm Bay- Marawila ), Mr.Augustus Hettiarchchi ( advisor to the Sri-Lanka Tourist board), Nanditha, the staff and management of Hilton Colombo and Club Palm Bay Marawila, and all my friends in Sri-Lanka for the support given to me in completing the dissertation.

List of Tables

5.1.3 Table : Educational Qualifications

5.2.1 Table : Performance

5.2.2 Table : Empowerment

5.2.3 Table : Motivation

5.3.1 Table : Relationship between Age & Performance

5.3.2 Table : Relationship between Gender & Performance

5.3.3 Table : Relationship between Educational Qualifications & Performance

5.3.4 Table : Relationship between Work experience & Performance

5.3.5 Table : Relationship between Performance and empowerment

5.3.6 Table : Relationship between Performance and Motivation

5.3.7 Table : Relationship between Empowerment and Motivation

5.3.8 Table : Relationship between Empowerment, Motivation and Performance Table : Importance of your Role Table : The Most Motivating Factor according to Age

List of Figures

1.4 The Conceptual Model

3.2 Graph : Distribution of Employees in the Hospitality Industry

5.1.1 Graph : Age Distribution

5.1.2 Graph : Gender distribution of Employees

5.1.4 Graph: Work experience

5.1.5 Graph : Dealing with Customers Graph : On the Spot Decisions Graph : Authority to handle Customer Complaints Graph : Level of Responsibility Graph : Training given to Employees Graph : Supportive in providing skills and Knowledge Graph : Access to resources Graph : Information on Missions, Goals and Targets Graph : Reaction of the Superiors for mistakes done Graph : Opportunity to Express Ideas Graph : Opportunity to Participate in Meetings

5.5.1 Graph : The Most Motivation Factor

5.5.2 Graph : Intent to leave the Organization .

Chapter 1 - Introduction

1.1 The need to Enhance Performance

The most important assets any company posses, are its ‘ people. When these people are unhappy, unmotivated, or feel detached from the overall workings in their company, the entire organization suffers from low productivity, low morale, and high employee turn over. In order to face the challenges and competitiveness in the business world, many organizations have taken steps to increase effectiveness of the employees and in turn the productivity. An organization whether public or private expects it’s employees to render a very high job performance. Every employer demands a very high measure of loyalty, patriotism, dedication, hard work, and commitment from the employees (Israel and Monday, 1988). The job performance is actually the product of an individual’s motivation and ability. The ability and skills are thus acquired through training, while on the job performance are also required (Schiller, 1996).

Recent studies have shown, that the satisfied employees tend to be more productive, creative, and committed to their employees (Syptak, M.David, and Ulmer, 1996).

1.2 Motivation is the key to Performance

Motivation is the key to employee performance. This could be understood more clearly through the statement, ‘ if only our employees were motivated, then we get the results we need ( David, 2005). Highly motivated employees are considered to be true assets for any organization. Once motivated, they basically tend to be more productive, energetic, and are very much eager to take an additional responsibilities (David, 2005). In other words, a motivated employee is basically a productive employee, and thus productive employees can do wonders for an organization ( Tschohl , 2006 – Web 14).

Employee motivation is of critical importance in today’s competitive work environment because a motivated work force helps to give a company a sustained competitive advantage (Schiller, 1996).

The term motivation derives from the Latin word Moure, to move. Motivation refers to the psychological process, behavior, purpose, and direction. By appealing to this process, managers attempt to get individuals to willingly pursue organizational objectives (Davis, 1981). The individual motivating factors thus needs satisfaction, expectation and goals. (Schiller, 1996). When and individual is basically motivated, they basically put their effort in order to perform well, which in turn increases productivity.

Employees could be motivated, either by using intrinsic awards, such as recognition, responsibility, growth, and advancement, or extrinsic rewards, of tangible in nature, such as money incentives (Kennish,1994). Kennish (1994), further said that the intrinsic motivation, is thus far stronger and long lasting than the extrinsic motivation. In the late 1950`s Fredrick Herzberg went in to develop his theory, that there are two dimensions of job satisfaction, which is motivation and hygiene (Herzberg, 1998). Hygiene factors are those factors that cannot motivate people, but instead can minimize dissatisfaction, if handled properly. These include company policies, salary, supervision, working conditions etc. Motivation on the other hand creates satisfaction, and includes achievement, recognition, responsibility, and the work itself.

1.3 Empowering Employees

With that in mind, organizations have sought practical ways to encourage positive employee attitudes in order to strengthen the company, while simultaneously keeping costs down. Different techniques have been tried and the modern Human resource theory suggests that this mutually beneficial relationship may be achieved by giving employees a voice in the organization and decision making (Heller, 1998).

Since empowerment has been in the forefront of productivity and quality improvement effort, Sandbulte (1992), Kennish (1994), Thomas & Tyman (1994), Congo & Kanungo (1998), Hughes et. Al (1999), Legal, (2001), Blanchard et. al,(2001), McIvitire (2002), West (2003), Lister (2004), Payal, (2005), Tschohl (2003), and so many other researchers have expressed their views, that the Empowerment is a good strategy to motivate employees, in order to increase job satisfaction and loyalty to the organization and there by increase performance.

Delegation of authority for a long period of time , in the past dominated the management field. In fact, this view changed in to Empowerment concept , as mentioned by Kocel (1998). It covers the participation, and delegation of authority with the motivation of the employees. Employee empowerment is a new way of managing the organization towards a more complex and competitive future (Tauno, 1994)..

Without productive employees the organization can do nothing, and thus empowerment works best when employees need their organization as much as the organization needs them. (Johnson, 1993).

Empowerment is commonly said to be the degree of authority enjoyed by a subordinate. In other words, employee empowerment is basically giving employees the authority, training and resources to make decisions within a desired boundary ( Kocel, 1998). The employees may participate in (1) setting goals,(2) making decisions, (3) solving problems, (4) designing and implementing of organizational changes (Galbrieth & Hawler, 1993). Quality control circles, and self management teams are popular known practices of giving empowerment to workers. The empowered personnel have responsibility, a sense of ownership, satisfaction in accomplishments, power over what and how they are done, recognition for their ideas, and the knowledge that they are important to the organization (Turney,1993).

The organizational researches have distinguished between two major approaches to empowerment, mainly being the structural and the psychological empowerment approach( Bowen & Lawler, 1995). The structural approach of empowerment mainly focuses on the delegation and authority, given to the employees by the organizations where as the psychological empowerment approach focuses on the perspectives or the attitudes of workers, towards their work and the role of the organization.

Hence however, empowering the employees cannot be established over night( Bowen & Lawler, 1995). Many researches argue that empowerment need to be supported and nurtured by some preconditions, such as incentives, supports, skill and knowledge, communication and information flow within the organization climate conducive to employee empowerment, in order to attain employee effective performance and job satisfaction(

Bitner et. al, 1990, Randolph,1995), or else employees may not feel empowered and do the needful, to the success of the organization. Empowering employees mainly lead to increase the intrinsic task motivation of the employees, and basically pave way to increase performance.

Dewettinck (2005), Kennish (1994), and some other researchers have pointed out that, just delegating authority to the employees alone is not the ideal strategy, and the role of the managers by giving support, guidance, and feedback is really important for the success of the organization.

Thus the past two decades have been full of empirical and conceptual research dealing significantly with employee empowerment and autonomy (Berber and Karabulut,2002). Some researches are of the view that empowering employees are not done very much in practice. (Blanchard, et.al, 2000). This is mainly due to the fact, that the managers are basically, reluctant to give away their authority for their employees to act independently, as they fear that their role to the organization will no longer be needed (McIntire,2002).

1.4 The Conceptual Model

However, all these theories have thus led to develop a conceptual model. This

model basically highlights the fact that there is a relationship between employee empowerment, motivation and performance.

Empowerment Performance

illustration not visible in this excerpt


Figure 1.4 conceptual Model

Although there is more literature on the concept of empowerment, there is a need for more systematic and empirical efforts in investigating the role of Empowerment among the service employees, specially in the hospitality industry.

1.5 Hospitality Industry- the need to Empower Employees

Hospitality industry, which is thus considered to be one of the core elements of the tourism industry, is the largest and the fastest growing industries world wide. According to the world tourism organization forecasts, it is said , that the industry will continue to grow in the many years to come and thus will employ many number of people.

Together with the growth of the hospitality industry, the demands and expectations for quality services, are also increasing, and the customer tastes are varying. Being the hospitality industry is a service industry, and based on services, the success of the industry , mainly depends on the employees and the front line employees, who have direct contact with the customers, play an important role. To survive in this competitive environment, the organizations must be faster, leaner, provide better service quality, be more efficient, and profitable, an empowered and proactive service worker is thought to be essential( Bowen and Lawler, 1992, Fullford and Enz, 1995). Researches have pointed out, that in the hospitality industry, empowerment of qualified employees, will provide exceptional customer service, by managing customer needs met, without having pass through layers of approvals or referrals (Sitterly,1998, Borne and Kurtz,1998), and by empowering subordinates, the managers can highlight the talents and efforts of the employees, which is indeed very essential to the hospitality industry.

Sri Lanka with it’s scenic beauty is a destination that promotes tourism to build up the major part of the economy, which employs more than one hundred thousand people in the hospitality sector alone. The majority of them work in the hotel segment. To boost the economy of the country and for the development of the people, it is very essential to organize and increase the organizational effectiveness in the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka.

1.6 Research Problem

In spite of all these management tasks, the declining in performance, and there by the productivity and profitability is to be seen in organizations, and it is a problem that needs a careful study. The turnover among trained employees is a problem that effects organizational effectiveness. In other words, the motivation of the staff is going below expectations. Today with modernization, the way people think, their attitudes and behaviors , and the life styles are changing, and there is a need to satisfy and motivate the workers more continuously in their work places if they are to perform better. In spite of all these, one recent study has shown that few practices ( in fact few organizations), have made job satisfaction a top priority. Perhaps because they have failed to understand the significant opportunity that lies in front of them( Syptak, David , Vulner ,1996). Management resistance of sharing power is commonly seen in actual practice though the technique of empowerment is said to be effective to motivate employees.

1.7 Rationale for the chosen Study

The advances in education, social back ground , technology and professional skills, have thus lead the people to think that empowerment would be the better method of increasing the level of motivation, and thereby the performance of the employees. As noted by Charles (2004), an understanding of the work context that facilitates empowerment has important theoretical and practical implications.

Due to the infantry nature of the tourism industry and deficits of experts in the field, Sri Lanka is lacking much research work on tourism industry, specially on human resource management field. There fore this study expects that the results of the study, would merely be helpful to maintain a desirable working environment, within the hospitality sector. Further more , the managers would be assisted in their reorganization process for the success of the industry.

1.8 Purpose and Aim of the Study

As there tends to be many conceptual and empirical evidence regarding the practice of

empowering employees to motivate them for better performance, the study attempts to investigate how this concept effects the service sector employees in the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka. In addition, the study also aims to find out the nature and the extent of the empowerment given to the employees in the industry. Further more , the lapses and the practical implications in order to obtain better results from this concept, will also be investigated.

1.9 Objectives of the Study

* To asses the relationship between Employee Empowerment and Performance, in the workplace.

* To asses the relationship between Employee Empowerment and Motivation in the workplace.

* To asses the relationship between motivation and performance of the employees.

* To find out the extent of Empowerment given to the employees, within the work environment.

* To study the practical implications of empowering employees in the work place.

1.10 Hypotheses

The three main hypotheses which the study aims to test,

Hypothesis 1 : Empowerment motivates employees.

Hypothesis 2 : Empowerment increases Performance.

Hypothesis 3 : Motivation increases Performance.

1.11 Limitations of the Study

(1)The study has certain limitations due to time constraints and practical difficulties in the data collection and data analysis. When it came to collecting the data from the structured questionnaire, it was in fact very difficult to obtain data related to qualitative aspects of behavior such as intensity of the effect of attitudes on behavior very accurately, as it cannot be measured effectively through a questionnaire. So as to over come this problem, I

was capable of identifying the most meaningful empirical expressions of the concepts of motivation and empowerment and included it in the questionnaire.

(2)In addition, at times the employees may be reluctant to give correct answers.

(3)The cross sectional nature of the study would have biased the validity of the structural relationships .

(4)Another limitation is that the data for our empirical test were provided by front line employees of the hospitality industry in Sri Lanka. More research is needed in non front line jobs and other sectors, to check the generalization of the findings.

1.12 Structure of the Study

The study comprises of seven main chapters. Each chapter basically provides an insight to the understanding of the research study as a whole.

Chapter 1 Introduction - provides a brief overview of the background of the research area, introducing the concepts and thus highlighting the research problem, rationale, purpose and aims of the study. Objectives are also identified and the hypotheses formed.

Chapter 2 Literature Review - comprises of identifying all the relevant literature pertaining to the study in order to gain an insight to the research problem. In addition, the knowledge gained through the review of existing literature is thus considered in formulating the theoretical conceptual framework used in designing the questionnaire, and also in the discussion.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology - mainly focuses on the methods and methodologies used in order to carry out the research. The research design, questionnaire design, study population, sample, data collection and analysis are some of the areas addressed, pertaining to the research.

Chapter 4 Industry & Organization Profile - concentrates on the Industry and organization background in which the study is carried out. The study is based on the employees of the Hospitality industry in Sri-Lanka.

Chapter 5 Findings & Data Analysis - focuses on the data obtained through the questionnaire. The responses of the employees are thus analysed in order to get more specific results relevant to the study, with regard to the objectives and the hypotheses. The findings of the primary data results are thus presented in the form of tables and graphs with an clear explanation for the discussion, in the next chapter.

Chapter 6 Discussion - forms the discussion part of the study. The data analysis results based on evidence are discussed in more detail, thus by referring to theories and studies from past literature, and comparing it with the theoretical framework. In addition, the outcomes in relation to the objectives are also addressed together with reasons and explanation for such happenings.

Chapter 7 Conclusion & Recommendations - The final chapter of the study comprises of the conclusion. This summarises the overall findings and brings forth the main findings of the study. It answers the questions that have been raised in the study by meeting the objectives, together with new ideas for follow-on-research in the field of study. In addition, there are also recommendations made in order to improve areas of need.

Chapter 2 - Literature review

2.1 Introduction

The knowledge gained through the review of existing literature, in to the new managerial concept of Empowering employees to increase performance through motivation, did developed new insights in to the research problem.

(1) It introduced the subject of the study – Empowering employees to increase performance, through motivation.
(2) It also helped to asses the existing knowledge, and to identify the knowledge gaps regarding the subject.


(3) Highlighted the problems of introducing the new managerial concept of Empowering employees effectively together with the short comings.
(4) It also contributed to the understanding of the concept and the conceptual model of Empowerment and Performance.
(5) Finally, it contributed to verify or discuss the findings of the present study, in the light of the findings of the previous studies.

2.2 Defining Performance

Performance on one hand has no such definition as such. It could basically be defined in various ways as thought by the people. Performance to one person may not be performance to another( William,1998 – Web 20). However, it could be said that performance do compose of motivation, one’s individual ability and the environment. As a result, thus by increasing any of the three it will lead to increase performance. In other words, it is thus essential to motivate the employees to a greater extent in order to improve the ability of the employees and also to provide a good working environment for the employees.

2.2.1 Relationship between Performance and Empowerment

Many researchers have highlighted the fact that, the employees become motivated through

empowerment and thus increased their performance( John,2005, Spector,1986, Kennish, 1994, West,2003, Legal,2001, Howard, 2001). John (2005), in one of his articles commented on the fact that, delegating responsibilities to the valued employees basically helps to demonstrate your appreciation, and the growing confidence. As a result the employees become more motivated and increased performance. Spector (1986), found out that providing the necessary freedom for the employees to carry out their tasks did pave the way to enhance motivation, satisfaction, and finally job performance.

In his study, Kennish (1994) concluded that, empowerment is the best way to motivate employees to increase performance, provided that the employees feel that their jobs are meaningful, and their contributions are valued.

Supporting the view of Kennish, West (2003), in his article ‘empowering yourself to succeed’, expressed his view that empowering is a crucial strategy that increased motivation and enhanced performance, provided that employees are empowered to take responsibility.

Commenting on the fact that empowerment do motivate employees in order to enhance performance, Howard( 2001) went onto say that, by empowering the front line employees in order to carryout customer services, they will be highly motivated and as a result will enhance performance and productivity.

Similarly, Dewettinck ( 2005), a researcher of the H.R.M. center, examined the impact of Empowerment and steering mechanisms on Performance. Motivated employees perform better. With this generally held view, he surveyed a total of 1750 people from an American hospital and four Belgian service companies. Dewettink`s research showed that empowerment or motivation of employees by giving them autonomy did increased performance, irrespective of age, seniority, and gender. This study allows comparison between the US and Europe. Curiously the research shows that in the US, where the

concept of empowerment originated, autonomy does not have any effect on the performance of an employee, while this is clearly the case in Europe or Belgium. In conclusion he further said that, in the US it is less difficult to take orders from the superiors, while the empowerment suits the Belgium culture and empowerment cannot only improve performance, but also meets the expectations of a new generation( Dewettinck, 2005 - Web 4).

In another study, Koen Dewettinck, showed a very modest relationship, between empowerment and performance levels, and explained that empowerment is a goal directed process, and it attempts to empower employees for a specific goal, and it will not carry over to other organizational goals or missions.

2.3 Importance of Motivation

Highly Motivated employees are considered to be true assets for any organization. Once motivated, they basically tend to be more productive, energetic, and are very much eager to take on additional responsibilities, and thus pleasant to be with and work with (David, 2005 -Web 2). However, on the other hand every organization do tend to have none performing, unmotivated employees as well. Therefore, if the organization is to be successful, they basically have to look for and deals with the obstacles by going into identify the unmotivated employees and turning them around (Kennish, 1994).

All human behavior is goal oriented. Goals have been defined as hoped for rewards, which motives are directed, A specific goal can be conscious or sub conscious. Motives explain why certain behaviors take place. Motives are directed towards goals, and can take the form of needs, wants, drives or impulses( Lister, 2004 - Web 9). The level of motivation depends on the strengths of motives. Sigmond Freud drew parallel between, human motivation and an iceberg, a significant section of the iceberg, lies below surface, similar to human motivation (Paul & Blanchard, 1998).

In the past, employees were considered as just another input in to the production of goods and services. Hawthorne studies, conducted by Elton Mayo from 1924 to 1932, has

changed this thinking(Dickson, 1973). This study found that the employees are not motivated solely by money, and employee behavior is linked to their attitudes (Dickson, 1973). The Hawthorne studies began the Human relations approach to management, where the needs and motivation of the employees, become the primary focus of managers (Bedian ,1993, & James, R.L. 1998). Understanding what motivate employees, and how they are motivated was the focus of many researches, following the publication of the Hawthorne study results (Terpstra, 1979).

2.3.1 Motivational Theories

The major approaches and theory that have led us to our understanding of motivation are, basically the Maslow’s Hierarchy of need theory, Hersberg`s two factor theory, Vrooms expectancy theory, Adams equity theory, and Skinners reinforcement theory. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory

In 1954, Ibrahim Maslow introduced the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. According to his theory of motivation, Maslow basically classifies the desires or needs of human beings into psychological, safety, belongingness, esteem and self-actualization needs. And he strongly asserts the point that, first the lower level needs of the pyramid being the psychological, safety and the belongingness needs have to be satisfied before attempting to reach the higher level of needs. He also points out the fact that, once the first four needs in his hierarchy or the ‘ deficiency needs’ are satisfied they no longer motivate the employees( Maslow, 1954). However, the hierarchy’s final need which is self-actualization is thus a ‘being’ or a ‘growth’ need, and hence when employees are been given the opportunity to meet this high level need, the companies could expect well motivated employees (Scott, 2006, p.3). Two Factory Theory

In 1959, Fredrick Herzberg came out with what is called the Two Factor Theory. Herzberg and his colleagues in his theory hypothesized the fact that, the factors that created positive attitudes towards work were different from those that created negative attitudes (Steven, 2003 – Web 17).

He divided the Maslow’s Hierarchy, the lower and the higher level needs into Hygiene and Motivational factors. The hygiene factors which are also known as the maintenance factors do not generate satisfaction, but instead would cause dissatisfaction if they do not exist. On the other hand, the motivational of the job enrich factors are required and do motivate the employees to increase productivity ( Herzberg, 1959). Theory X & Theory Y

In 1964, Victor Vroom came up with the Expectancy Theory. According to his theory, an employee will basically act in a certain way based on expectations that the act will be followed by a given outcome and on the attractiveness of that outcome to the individual. In other words, the employees want to believe that they will be rewarded for their effort, and the level of effort they are willing to exert is based on this belief of reward.

Effort → Performance (how hard will I have to work)

Performance → Reward (what is the reward)

Reward → Attractiveness (how attractive is the reward)

(Source: Victor Vroom, (1964), Work and Motivation). Adams Equity Theory

Adams theory states, that employees strive for equity between themselves and other workers. Equity is achieved when the ratio of employee outcome over inputs are equal to other employee outcomes, over inputs (Adams, 1965). Reinforcement Theory

Skinners theory states that, the employer behavior that leads to positive outcomes will not be repeated (Skinner,1953). Managers should positively reinforce employee behavior, that lead to positive outcomes. Managers should negatively reinforce employee behavior, that leads to negative outcomes.

2.3.2 Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation

Motivation could be either intrinsic motivation or extrinsic motivation. In other words, employees could be motivated either by using intrinsic rewards or extrinsic rewards (Kennish, 1994). Intrinsic motivation is all about motivating an employee by means of internal factors as opposed to external factors. It could also be said that intrinsically motivated employees basically look for intrinsic rewards such as recognition, responsibility, growth and advancement.

On the other hand, extrinsic motivation is when an employee is motivated by means of external factors. This means that the extrinsic motivation drives an employee to do things especially for tangible rewards or pressures, rather than for the fun of it. It is thus possible to use positive motivators such as rewards or negative motivators such as threat and bribery to motivate them extrinsically (Kennish, 1994). Actually the extrinsically motivated employees basically look for monetary rewards and so on. However, extrinsic motivators basically focus the employees on rewards rather than the actions. Kennish (1994), goes on to say that, intrinsic motivation is thus far stronger than the extrinsic motivation. It is basically considered to be a long term motivator when compared with the extrinsic motivators which are short term. He further expresses his view by saying that extrinsic motivation can easily displace intrinsic motivation. As a result, it is thus important to encourage intrinsic motivation rather than trying to motivate employees through extrinsic rewards( Clardy, 2002 – Web 2). Impact of Intrinsic Motivators

Of all the functions a manager performs in trying to motivate employees is arguably the most complex. This is due in part to the fact that, what motivates employees changes constantly (Bowen and Radhakrishna, 1991). For example, research suggests that as employees income increases, money become less of a motivator( Kovash,1987). Also as the employer gets older, interesting work becomes more of a motivator.

According to James (2002) , this is very much evidence on the study carried out by Gallup organization concerning 2000 employees. According to findings of the study, it basically showed that 69% of the total number of employees preferred recognition from their

managers, over and above money. As a result, this basically explains that the intrinsic motivation have a strong impact on the employees, when it comes to motivation.

2.3.3 Relationship between Motivation and Performance

However, there had been many research carried out with regard to motivation, and numerous studies have attempted to prove that when it comes to productivity, this is mainly related to motivation. In other words, there tend to be evidence on the matter that it is thus motivation of the employee that has lead to increase the performance, due to the fact that motivated employees are to put the maximum effort in order to increase performance.

Kovach, (1987), in his article ‘What motivates Employees? Works and supervisors give different answers’, too highlights the fact motivation is the key to performance improvement. He goes on to say that, it is thus important to motivate the employees. If not motivated, the employees will do what they basically want to do. He makes this point more clearly by saying that ‘you basically can take a horse to the water, but you can’t force it to drink the water unless the horse itself drinks it only when he is thirsty’. So what he tries to point out the fact is that the employees must be motivated or driven to it, either by them or by external stimulus. That is the best way to increase the performance of the employees. In other words, performance is thus made up with a combination of both the ability and motivation. As a result, the best way to increase performance faster is thus by enhancing motivation which could be improved quickly when compared to ability, which takes a long and a slow process to improve( Clardy, 2002 – Web 2).

Supporting the view of Kovach, Smith (1994), has stated, that motivated employees help organizations survive, as they are more productive. Smith (1994), in one of his articles expressed his view on how important is to motivate the employees. He actually commented on the fact that, motivation is thus very much crucial in this rapidly changing environment, and thus once the employees are motivated they tend to be very productive and increases performance. However, he said that motivating employees are thus a very difficult task due to the fact that what motivates employees seems to change overtime (Smith, 1994). His view was based on the evidence of many research carried out. For example, some of the research

evidence showed that as the income of the employees increased, money no longer was the motivator. As a result, his idea was that the managers should thus understand what motivates the employees within the context of their roles they perform, in order to motivate the employees effectively.

2.3.4 Characteristics of a Motivating Job

Turner & Lawrence (1995), in one of their articles suggested that there are three characteristics

that motivate a job. They further go on to say, that empowerment, quality circles and teamwork all these demonstrate the three characteristics of a motivating job. According to them, if the employees are to be motivated then basically the job should comprise of these characteristics.

1. The first happens to be that, it should allow the employee to feel personally responsible for a meaningful portion of the work carried out. The employee must basically feel the ownership of and connection with the work he or she carries out, and their contributions are well important in the work performed.
2. Secondly, the job must provide outcomes which have intrinsic mean to the employee. The employee must feel that his efforts did pave the way to effective work in order to motivate the employee. And too, the outcome of an employees work must have value to the employee and to the others in the organization.
3.Must provide the employee with feedback about his or her accomplishments. Actually a constructive, believable critique of the work performed is thus important to a workers motivation to improve.

2.4 Empowering Employees

Delegation of authority for a long period of time in the past dominated the management field. Empowering people studies have been done for participatory approach performances. According to one research group, who have analyzed forty five participatory management studies, and they have said, that participation has a positive effect on both satisfaction and productivity and it’s effect on satisfaction is some what stronger, than it’s effect on productivity (Mills & Ungson, 2003).

In 1988, Congo and Kanungo, had noted, that the practice of empowering subordinates is a principle component of managerial and organizational effectiveness (Brief & Nord, 1990, Deci.et.al, 1989, Hackman& Oldham,1980, Forrester,2000, Liden et.al, 2000, Spreitzer, 1995, Thomas & Velthouse,1990, and Dewettinck et.al,2003).

In fact this view changed in to Empowerment concept, as maintained by Kocel (1998). The essence of Empowerment can be described as the enlargement of employees jobs, giving them the responsibility, and authority to make decisions, about the work, without supervisory approval, while creating value for the ultimate customers (Boone & Kurtz, 1998).

It covers the participation and delegation of authority along with the motivation of the employees. Managers began to prefer style, which liberates the creative and innovative energies, and potentials of employees, while benefiting stakeholders, suppliers and customers, as well (Grandz,1990 ,Appelbaum, Leroux,1999). Thus, the past three decades have been full of empirical and conceptual research, dealing specifically with employee empowerment and autonomy (Barber & Karabulut,2000).

2.4.1 Definitions of empowerment

Actually, a through review of empowerment literature basically reveals many different concepts and definitions of empowerment construct. However, most of the definitions relating to empowerment do agree with the fact that empowerment is basically concern with giving the employees the authority and discretion in their tasks and content related issues ( Thomas, K.W., & Velthouse, B.A., 1990).

One of the most frequently used definitions of employee empowerment is offered by Conger and kanungo, 1998. They basically defined empowerment as,

“ a process of enhancing feelings of self-efficacy among employees through the identification of conditions that foster powerlessness, and through their removal by both formal organizational practices and informal techniques of proving efficacy information”

However, Thomas & Veltouse, in their attempt to define empowerment argued that the concept of empowerment is much more complex than self-efficacy, and thus that it could not be defined in just one dimensional construct. Instead, they define empowerment as,

“An intrinsic task motivation that comprised of four cognitions such as meaningfulness, competence, impact and choice or self-determination “

However, another practical and process oriented definition was offered by Bowen & Lawler. According to their view, they defined empowerment as,

“Sharing with front-line employees, information about an organization’s performance, information about rewards based on organization’s performance, knowledge that enables employees to understand and contribute to organizational performance and giving employees the power to make decisions that influence organizational direction and performance”.

According to Zemke & Schaaf, (1989), empowerment basically means,

“Turning the front-line loose, and encouraging and rewarding employees to exercise initiative and imagination”.

In other words, Zemke & Schaaf in their book ‘ The service edge’ did explained the idea of empowerment as the means of encouraging and rewarding people for their extra effort, imagination and initiative and thus tolerating their mistakes with a smile when the intentioned efforts fail to work as planned. Having said that, they basically concluded that empowerment therefore simply means the creation of an organization climate of else the work culture in which people thus feel confident and courageous to make initiatives and carryout responsibilities effectively.

2.4.2 Major Approaches to Empowerment

According to empowerment literature, organizational researches have pointed out two major approaches of empowerment. They are basically the psychological approach and the structural approach. Structural Approach

The structural approach thus focuses on the actions taken by the organization to share power and decision making ( Hechanova, M.R.M., Alampay, R.B.A. & Franco, E.P., 2006). In other words, the structural view basically looks at the empowering management practices including the delegation of decision making from higher to lower organizational levels (Bowen & Lawler, 1995). Sharing of power and decision making according to the structural approach could be done on three basic levels. The lowest level involves granting employees the power to recommend. The next level involves ‘job involvement’ in which the employees are given discretion in how they do their work. And the higher level involves ‘high involvement’ where the employees are allowed to directly participate in the management of their work (Bowen & Lawler, 1995). Psychological Approach

On the other hand, the psychological empowerment is all about the perception or attitudes of individuals towards their work and their role in the organization (Conger & kanungo, 1988). In other words psychological empowerment basically involves workers beliefs about the meaning of their work, their capability to do their job well, their sense of self-determination and their autonomy in influencing work outcomes( ( Thomas & Penthouse, 1990). In other words, they define psychology empowerment as an intrinsic task motivation (Thomas & Velthouse, 1990). Similarly, Spreitzer, 1995) in one of his articles highlights the fact that it is this meaning, self-determination, competence and impact that together construct psychological empowerment.

2.4.3 The Empowerment Pyramid

According to Harry( 2003), in his article, Build an empowerment pyramid, agrees on the fact, that empowerment do motivate employees to a greater extent, only if the organization tend to build the eight step empowerment pyramid in to their work environments. What Harry, basically meant by his empowerment pyramid was that, the first step should be trust. He believes that the employers should trust the employees, and thus allow them to discuss issues, gather information, listen to them, and allow them to work their own, to a greater extent. Similarly, they should also delegate authority to the employees. The workers are expected to be knowledgeable to make decisions( Roman,2003, Bowen and Lawler,2005). They should also provide with necessary information. In addition the employee should be allowed to communicate and access to upper level management, making them feel that they are basically part of the organization. The fifth step basically involves creative environment, thus employees to come with new things. An empowered environment should also give the employees, the opportunity to grow( Harry, 2003). Providing resources should also be done, if the employees are to be carried out their tasks. And the final step basically is all about rewarding the good work done. Rewarding could thus be done in many ways, including providing responsibility, enriching the job and so on. It is only that, empowering could be able to motivate employees, to perform better( Harry, 2003 - Web 7 ).

2.4.4 Prerequisites to Empowerment

Most of these researchers and many others argue, that empowerment need to be supported and nurtured by some prerequisites like incentives, skill and knowledge, communication and flow of information, within an organization climate conducive to employee empowerment , in order to attain employee effective performance and job satisfaction( Biter et.al, 1990, Randolph,1995). Information, knowledge, Skills & Resources

According to Huges et al (1999), empowerment basically means delegating decision making authority, down the hierarchical levels in the organization, and thus giving the employees the resources, knowledge, and skills necessary to use that authority effectively. He also said that the employees will not feel empowered, unless they are made prepared for it, or else it will only pave them to de-motivate, thus increasing stress, frustration and dissatisfaction. Similarly, Forrester (2000) expressed his views, that if the employees are to be motivated by way of empowering, they need to develop skills and knowledge, that will be used to make empowered decisions. Further more Legal (2000) goes on to say that, encouraging creativity for decision making and providing necessary information are some of the strategies which significantly increase motivation from empowerment (Legal, 2000 – Web 8). Autonomy

Thomas and Tymon (1994), in their study found out that, the employees who are been given autonomy or the choice to make their own decisions, with regard to their own work are well motivated to perform better. Where as Kennish (1994), too pointed out that it is thus important to give autonomy and flexibility as much as possible when it comes to performing their work, for future success. Creativity

Creative ideas from the employees thus have to be welcomed in order to empower employees. Sandbulte(1992), believes that it is vital to create an environment that will help to gain creative ideas from the employees( Web 12). Similarly, Legal ( 2001) tends to believe that, a business that encourages their employees to be more resourceful, exercise creative decisions, and making and taking appropriate risks, are more likely to achieve future success( Web 8).

2.4.5 Managers Role

McIntire(2002), goes on to say that empowering employees are not done very much in practice. This is mainly because the managers reluctant to give away authority to subordinates, where as they too struggle, with the knowledge, that they need to give the

employees. The main reason behind is that, they do fear that their role to the organization will no longer be needed, once the employees are empowered. They fail to realize that empowerment is not absolute power. The extent to which the empowerment is given to an employee mainly depends on the trust, respect and confidence that the managers have on the employees( McIntire, 2002 -Web 10).

Kennish(1994) tends to believe that, if the employees are to feel like they are empowered, the managers need to communicate the purpose of the organization to the employees and should also set high standards for employees. At the same time be supportive on their efforts, when goals cannot be reached. Dewettinck (2005), in his article ‘How to optimize your employees performance’ says that, empowerment is a strong strategy that motivates employees to increase performance as mentioned in the literature, but in practice it is not quite so. According to him, he believed that just delegating the authority and power to employees and hoping that the performance will improve, is thus not the ideal strategy. The managers also have an important role to play. The role of the managers are vital, and the employees expect and need guidance from the managers where necessary( Dewettinck, 2005 – Web 4).

Commenting on motivation, Macoby (1999) said that, for the empowerment strategy to be successful, the managers need to allow the employees to share ideas and information, innovate , resolve customers problems on the spot, and make them participate in discussions.

2.4.6 Opportunity to Learn

Maccoby (1999), in the article, ‘ Empowerment practice to employees’ pointed out, that if the employees tend to fear that they will be punished, for honest mistakes done in trying to satisfy customers, then they will only be willing to take orders. Hence so, it is thus vital to create an empowered environment in which the employees are able to learn from the mistakes.

Supporting this view, Kennish (1994) also pointed out the fact that the employees should be encouraged to learn from the mistakes, for them to be motivated and work successfully, towards the success. Further more Legal(2001), commented on his study, that allowing room for errors, is an ideal strategy, for the successful implementation of the empowerment concept( Web 8).

2.4.7 Problem Solving and Decision making

Traditionally the managers manage only the employee energy, but in an empowered environment, they need to manage both employee energy, as well as the intelligence (Macoby,1999). He further commented, that if the empowerment strategy to be successful, then obviously the managers need to allow the employees to solve customer problems on the spot and make them participate in discussions, commenting on the fact, that empowerment do motivate employees, in order to enhance performance.

Howard (2001), in the article ‘The empowered leader- unrealized opportunities’ said that, the need for speed in this rapidly changing environment has led to empower the front line employees, in order to find out the reasons, and make on the spot decisions. In other words organizations have thus push down the decision making responsibilities to those who are basically engaged in dealing with customers, and are expected to handle their own work. The main aim of doing this, was with the hope that the employees will be highly motivated in order to enhance performance, and productivity.

2.4.8 Different Views regarding Empowerment Practices

In addition, some authors have come up with different opinions regarding the creation of a culture, for the empowerment concept. West (2003), in his article ‘Empowering yourself to succeed’ expresses his view that if the employees are empowered in order to take the responsibility in their own work, then obviously the employees need to be creative, think out side the box, and be allowed to take decisions. Lack of these will make employee unproductive. He basically called this, micro managing the employees. In other words, creating a parent child relationship in the work place. He further said, that empowerment

strategy will not work till this relationship exists. And as a result, they should maintain a Adult- Adult relationship by which employees will boost morale, increase motivation and enhance performance( West,2003 – Web 19).

Kinni (1994) in his article ‘The Empowered work force’ expresses his view that, employee motivation is basically the level of energy, commitment and creativity, that employees applied to their jobs. As a result, finding ways to motivate employees are thus a vital task. Number of theories have emerged, ranging from monetary incentives, to increase employee involvement(Bushman,2007). He added that, one approach used to motivate employees was the Adds- in approach. The Adds –in approach, mainly comprised of employee benefits such as health care facilities, child care, company car, and so on. These were thus considered to be the prime motivators in improving performance in the past. However it is not quite so in recent times. Studies as far back in 1950`s have shown that, highly segmented and simplified jobs, in low employee morale and out put, paving way for absenteeism, and high turn over. So what is basically needed to motivate employees is job enrichment, and empowerment( Bushman, 2007 – Web 1).

Employee motivation is positively depends on the degree of delegation of discretion. Galor, and Amit (1998) express their views by saying that, the highly motivated employees were given a lot of discretion and it basically lead to enhance the psychological empowerment, which on the other hand paved the way to increase intrinsic motivation.

2.4.9 Why the concept of Empowerment Fail

Although, as shown in the literature, there was full of empirical and conceptual research, dealing specifically with employee empowerment, the empowering employees are not done very much in practice. This is due to the fact that the implementation of the concept of empowerment is a difficult task (McIntire,2002 – Web 10).

Empowerment is the most critical element of customer service. However, most of the organizations fail to motivate the employees and gain the maximum, due to many reasons ( Forroster, 2000). One of the most important reasons for empowerment to fail is due to the fact

that they don’t understand what empowerment is in the first place. What basically means by this is that, many think that empowerment is basically giving employees the policies and procedures to follow, when it comes to serving customers. But, actually what is meant by really empowering the employees is basically giving them the necessary authority to do whatever it takes to satisfy the customers (John, 2005).

Another reason why empowerment fails is mainly because of fear. On one hand, the management basically fears that they will lose power and control if the employees are allowed to make decisions that are controlled by them. And they fail to realize that they will have more spare time to attend to other issues. On the other hand, employees to fear empowerment. This is because they are frightened of taking decisions on their own. They do feel that if they happen to make a mistake by making decisions on their own trying to satisfying customers, they will be punished and even tend to lose their job (John, 2005).

Similarly, most empowerment practices carried out by the management tends to fail is also due to the fact that the management fails to trust the employees (Roman, 2003). They think that the frontline employees are not capable and clever enough to make their own decisions. They tend to judge their ability of making decisions by the wages they are paid for, even they are the most suitable to understand what the customers actually want (Roman, 2003).

Henceforth, training is considered to be a key ingredient in empowerment. If the employees are to make their own decisions in their area of work, they basically need to be trained (Potterfield, 1999). They need to be told of the ways and means of how to act and take decisions, to gain confidence and face the situations, so that they know what they are doing. But hence, most of the management lack the time and thus don’t provide the employees with the necessary training (Potterfield, 1999).

Another reason what make empowerment fail is basically the lack of communication with the employees. The employees basically have to be told of the vision, objectives, goals and other information that would be necessary to make the decisions ( Kennish, 1994).

2.4.10 Strategies that support and Promote Empowerment

Based on the management literature on empowerment, several authors have thus come up with some of the strategies that eventually helps to support and promote empowerment, in order to enhance motivation of the employees. Out of which Burke (1986), has suggested a way in which to empower employees. According to his point of view the best way to empower employees is by expressing confidence in them and thus by establishing high performance expectations for the employees.

Likewise, Block (1987) contributes his ideas of strategy by saying that it is thus vital to provide employees with opportunities that basically allows then to participate in decision making, and thus providing them with autonomy.

Comparatively, Benis & Nanus (1985) on the other hand, suggested the strategy of setting performance objectives for the employees, which they basically found challenging and inspiring. Another strategy that was suggested to support and promote empowerment was by Hackman & Oldham ( 1975). According to them, they came up with the idea that performance based reward systems, enriched jobs that provided autonomy and control, task identity, opportunities for career development and task meaningfulness are the ways that should be used to empower employees. Their idea behind this was the fact that the it would basically help to enhance motivation of the employees, by empowering them with the use of these strategies.

Similarly, Colzon (1987) too suggested a way to empower employees. His strategy was basically to free employees from rigorous control by instructions, policies and orders and gives them the freedom to take responsibility for their own decisions, and actions thus providing them with the resources that is necessary for them to carry out their work.

In addition, McClelland (1975) and House (1988) also came up with the idea that empowerment could thus be achieved through employee selection and training programs that were designed to provide required technical skills and cultures that encouraged self-determination.

2.4.11 Working Conceptual Model

The working Conceptual model was been prepared from the synthesis of the various factors and



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Title: Does Empowerment Motivate Employees in the Hospitality Industry ( Sri-Lanka) to Increase Performance