Interaction Effect of Psychological Empowerment and Tolerance for Uncertainty on Job Satisfaction Research Proposal

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Empowerment, Job Satisfaciton, & Uncertainty

The Interaction Effect of "Psychological Empowerment and Tolerance of Uncertainty" on Job Satisfaction

In the last two decades, China has witnessed dramatic changes in its economy. To stimulate the growing economy, the government encouraged its people to set up businesses beginning in 1992. Unlike the business atmosphere of the past where business practices were dominated by large government-controlled enterprises, individuals were allowed to set up private businesses. Growth of small businesses in China has been rapid. By 2006, the total number of small businesses accounted for 99.6% of all business organizations (Zhong, 2006). Small businesses play an important role in the expanding Chinese economy.

Despite the significance of small businesses in the Chinese economy, only limited research has been conducted on the management of these organizations. The present study will make a valuable contribution to the advancement of those organizations. It will serve as a reminder to the management that when implementing a new strategy, a thorough investigation of all aspects of the organization is vital for the success of the new direction.

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Due to the large number of small businesses entering the Chinese economy, competition among them is difficult. Therefore, most of the small businesses are eager to learn new methods to improve their organizations, including any new technology that will give them an advantage over their competitors. In recent years, China has witnessed the adoption of western management theory. Small businesses are most eager to adopt these new philosophies and ideals.

Research Proposal on Interaction Effect of Psychological Empowerment and Tolerance for Uncertainty on Job Satisfaction Assignment

The notion of empowerment and its benefits were familiar to Chinese about a decade ago (Wang, 2004). Empowerment quickly earned its popularity among small businesses, and many of them attempted to apply the strategy in their organizations. Sadly, only several reported positive outcomes after the implementation of empowerment, and many others saw a detrimental effect after delegating power to employees (Yan & Xie, 2005). Yan and Xie (2005) investigated this phenomenon, and reported the findings as a potential explanation for those failed projects. Organizations are becoming increasingly demanding of their employees, and desperately look for ways to get employees more involved in operations, in order to improve overall organizational performance.

Small Chinese business organizations tend to copy popular management strategies blindly, disregarding the fact that a majority of their workforce are risk and responsibility adverse, and are not capable in making decisions under conditions of uncertainty. The current business environment requires employees to manage uncertainties, make quick and decisions using sensible considerations. Employees need to be highly driven, and tolerant of uncertainties. The purpose of this research is to explore job satisfaction and its relationship to empowerment and tolerance to uncertainty.

Rationale

The rationale for this study is based on research that indicates a need for academic studies regarding connection between uncertainty and job satisfaction for employees that work in an empowered work environment. Companies that institute empowerment without regard to the risk and uncertainty characteristics of their employee's risks lowering job satisfaction among those employees. This study will fill the gap in literature that currently exists in regards to empowerment in companies whose employees have a low tolerance for uncertainty. These organizations represent unsuccessful attempt to raise the satisfaction level of their employees.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to explore the relationship between organizational performance, employee job satisfaction and empowerment. The empowered employee is an asset to the success of the organization. Businesses exist in a volatile environment and the empowered employee is expected to have the ability to tolerate uncertainty. The proposition of the study is that as employees become more empowered they have access to much more responsibility and decision making ability than they did in the past. However, as they are not accustomed to this level of uncertainty, they have a low tolerance to it. Many do not with wish to become empowered, as they do not have a tolerance for the uncertainty that this entails.

The second proposition of this study is that high psychological empowerment in the workplace combined with a low tolerance for uncertainty leads to stress, rather than satisfaction. Empowerment means being able to cope with uncertainty, but many employees are not prepared for this step. Therefore, empowerment has negative consequences as well as positive ones.

Significance of the Study

This study will play an important role in helping organizations to understand the impact of empowerment on their workforce. In the past, the positive aspects of employee empowerment have been the focus of research. As a result, many employers were not aware that empowerment could have negative consequences, as well as positive ones. This study will make organizations aware of both sides of the issue so that they can make an informed decision regarding empowerment of their employees.

This study will close a gap in knowledge regarding the impact of empowerment on uncertainty tolerance among employees. Organizations can utilize this information to help maximize their levels of employee satisfaction. This information will help organizations to reduce employee stress, thus affecting productivity of the workforce in a positive manner. This study will provide useful information in the strategic decision-making process.

Hypotheses

This study will focus on four hypotheses, as they relate to the background information presented. The four hypotheses are:

Hypothesis 1: Higher levels of empowerment will have a significant correlation with job satisfaction.

Null Hypothesis 1: Higher levels of empowerment will not have a significant correlation with job satisfaction.

Hypothesis 2: Employees with high tolerance for uncertainty will demonstrate a significant correlation that favors high empowerment levels on the job.

Null Hypothesis 2: Employees with high tolerance for uncertainty will not demonstrate a significant correlation that favors high empowerment levels on the job.

Hypothesis 3: Employees with a higher tolerance for uncertainty will demonstrate a significant correlation with higher job satisfaction.

Null Hypothesis 3: Employees with a higher tolerance for uncertainty will not demonstrate a significant correlation with higher job satisfaction.

Hypothesis 4: Lower tolerance of uncertainty will demonstrate a significant correlation with lower job satisfaction.

Null Hypothesis 4: Lower tolerance of uncertainty will demonstrate a significant correlation with lower job satisfaction.

Hypothesis 5: Employees that demonstrate a high tolerance for uncertainty and that have high levels of psychological empowerment on the job will demonstrate a significantly higher level of job satisfaction than those with a low tolerance for uncertainty and/or low levels of psychological empowerment.

Null Hypothesis 5: Employees that demonstrate a high tolerance for uncertainty and that have high levels of psychological empowerment on the job will not demonstrate a significantly higher level of job satisfaction than those with a low tolerance for uncertainty and/or low levels of psychological empowerment.

These hypotheses will allow the researcher to explore the relationship between psychological empowerment on the job, uncertainty tolerance and job satisfaction. In addition to these hypotheses, the research will also attempt to provide answers to the following research questions.

Does a causal relationship exist between an employee's tolerance for uncertainty and their job satisfaction?

Does a causal relationship exist between empowerment and job satisfaction?

If a causal relationship exists between empowerment and job satisfaction, what determines whether this relationship is positive or negative?

What are the consequences of psychological empowerment on the job?

What role does empowerment play in evoking stress in employees?

Does stress due to empowerment decrease job satisfaction?

Exploring the answers to these questions will help to advance our understanding of the relationship between empowerment, uncertainty tolerance and job satisfaction.

Methodology

This study uses survey methodology to explore hypotheses and research questions. It will use the Psychological Empowerment Scale (Spreitzer, 1995), the Job Satisfaction Scale from the Minnesota Satisfaction Questionnaire (MSQ), and the Tolerance of Uncertainty Scale (Clampitt & Williams, 2000). These three scales were administered to Chinese employees and compared in relation to the intended hypotheses.

Variable Definitions

This study will focus on three variables. Employee empowerment will serve as the independent variable. Job satisfaction and uncertainty tolerance will serve as the two moderating variables. Theory currently holds that higher employee empowerment will lead to a higher level of job satisfaction as well. This study will investigate the relationships between these two dependent variables and their impact on the organization. In today's increasingly competitive market, companies need employees who can take initiatives, embrace risk, stimulate innovation and cope with the high level of uncertainty that exists in the marketplace. This study will aid companies in gaining an understanding of how to develop these characteristics in their employees.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

This research explores key concepts related to psychological empowerment and its concurrence with low uncertainty tolerance and job satisfaction. Each of these areas has received considerable attention in academic research. This literature review will explore research into each of these areas separately in order to produce a theoretical framework for the exploration of them individually. It will then examine any literature that explores the linkages between these elements.

Understanding Empowerment

Empowerment refers to increased individual motivation at work due to the delegation of authority to those in the lower levels of the… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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