n Journal of Public Administration - Psychological empowerment in the military : the role of gender and race

Volume 42, Issue 8
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



The literature on empowerment distinguishes two types or levels of empowerment, namely structural empowerment that operates on a macro level and includes managerial practices to empower employees, and psychological empowerment on the individual level, referring to the individual's subjective experience of empowerment. This article concentrates on the later and defines the concept as the individual's sense of perceived control, competence and goal internalisation (Menon, 2001). The study was conducted in the military sphere and the aim was to determine, firstly, whether males and females differ with regard to their subjective experience of empowerment, and, secondly, whether members of the different cultural groups experience the same amount of psychological empowerment. Data were collected from 2232 respondents and Univariate Analysis of Co-variance Models were computed to determine to what extent biographical variables related to the participants' sense of empowerment. The results indicate that females experienced less control in the work situation and also could not associate themselves with the organisational goals to the same extent as their male colleagues. Coloureds and Indians (as a combined group) experienced significantly more psychological empowerment than Blacks and Whites. Blacks measured the lowest with regard to control and competency, while Whites experienced the lowest levels of goal internalisation and overall empowerment.

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