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Title page             –        –        –        –        –        –                  –        –        i

Certification         –        –        –        –                  –        –        –        –        –        ii

Dedication –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        iii

Acknowledgement         –        –        –        —       –        –        –        –        v

Table of content   –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vi

List of Table         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        vii

List of Appendices         —       —       –        –        –        –        –        –       viii

Abstract —  –        –        –                  –        –        –        –        –        –        ix


CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION –             –        –        –        –        1

Statement of the Problem        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        10

Purpose of the study      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        12

Operational Definition of Term        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        12



CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW – –        –        –        –        –        14

Theoretical Review –      –        –        –        –        –                  –        –        14

Empirical Review          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        31

Hypothesis –         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        58



CHAPTER THREE: METHOD –            –        –        –        –        –        59

Participants          –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        59

Instruments                    –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        59

Procedure             –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        66

Design and statistics      –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        66


CHAPTER FOUR: RESULTS                                                                 67


CHAPTER FIVE: DISCUSSION-  –        –        –        –        –        –        75

Implications of the study         –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        80

Limitations of the study          –        —       –        –        –        –        –        –        82

Suggestions for further Researchers           –        –        –        –        –        84

Summary and Conclusion       –        –        –        –        –        –        –        85

References –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        –        87

Appendices          –        –        —       –        –        –        –        –        –        –        99



Table 1: Descriptive Statistics and inter-correlations

among the study variables, and control

variables         –        –        –        –        –        –        –                  67


Table 2: Regression Co-efficient table of the control variables, employee

work empowerment and role Innovation  –      –        –        –        –        69


Table 3: Regression Co-efficient table of the control variable employee

work empowerment and organizational trust             –        –        70


Appendix A: Permission letter and personal data –       –        –        –        99

Appendix B: Employee work empowerment scale        –        –        –        101

Appendix C: Role Innovation scale –        –        –        –        –        103

Appendix D: Organizational trust scale-     –        –        –        –        104


The study investigated the role of Employee empowerment on organizational trust and role innovation among 272 employees drawn from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Organization trust was assessed with 32-item scale that addresses five dimensions of trust built from Mishra’s (1996) model for organizational trust, while employee work empowerment was assessed with 12-item empowerment scale developed and validated by Spreitizer (1995). Role innovation was measured with 6-item scale originally developed by west (1987). Results showed that employee work empowerment positively predicted organizational trust (B=.27,P  .01)., while it negatively predicted role innovation (B=-. 15,P  .05). The findings and implications were discussed based on the theoretical and empirical background and in relation to Nigeria socio- economic realities. Limitations of the study were highlighted and suggestions made for further research



In the past decades, issues of trust in intra-organizational relationships have been increasing in importance on the agendas of both academic researchers and organizational executives, enhanced by changes in organizational forms as well as in the nature of work itself.

The importance of trust is evident in all relationships and thus, trusts in organizations have become an interesting issue of both theory and practice, (Bijlsma & Koopman, 2003). Besides organizational trust, on their way to sustainable competitive advantage, organizations also need an ability to innovate. As stated by Amabile (1988) there is no innovation in organizations without creative ideas from individuals. Ideas are naturally needed before starting to develop and implement them. For understanding how innovations happen in organizations, it is essential to understand how creativity happens in individuals.

Claver, Llopis, Garcia and Molina (1998) have concluded in their study that in order to be innovative, organizations must stimulate creativity: creative people should have the support and stimulus of the corporation and the quality of idea matters, not the power or authority of the person who proposed it.

The concept of empowerment has become a topic of interest among organizational theory researchers and practitioners (Conger & Kanungo, 1988). Employees are responsible for the important day-to-day operations of an organization; therefore, organizational strategies such as employee empowerment that encourage innovation and trust becomes crucial to the long-term survival of today’s organizations. In today’s rapidly changing environment, the success of any organization depends on its capacity to manage, encourage innovation and promote trust within and among employees. These are increasingly recognized as key factors in long-term organizational survival. The perception of trust in an organizational climate is correlated with adoptions of innovation.

Bartlett and Ghoshal (1995) argued for a balance of freedom and discipline to bring organizational groups together in trusting collaboration to bring about initiatives:

The ability and willingness of people to take initiative is rooted in the tension between stretch and discipline….The combination of trust and support motivates cooperation and collaboration. Trust makes cooperation desirable; support enables individuals to convert that desire into action. Each is a necessary element in the organizational glue, but only in combination do they create a sufficient condition for integrating the disparate actions of dispersed people.


Trust in the workplace, whether it exists between co-workers, leaders and followers, employers and employees, between different organizations or towards an institution has been shown to have a strong and robust influence on a variety of organizational phenomena, including job satisfaction, organizational citizenship behaviors, organizational commitment, turnover, job, employee and team performance, innovative, workplace, and counterproductive behaviors, organizational revenue and profit (Dirks, 2000)

However, viewing the relationship between trust and innovativeness, researchers are of the view that trust can provide a sense of security, and can facilitate risk taking necessary for survival in contexts of high ambiguity, uncertainty and complexity (Six, 2005). Where trust is lacking, people feel they have to examine and justify their actions. As a result, instead of finding and doing the right thing, developing exciting new ideas, taking risks and adding value, they spend their time working in an atmosphere of distrust.

Employees in organizations may be empowered to contribute their ideas and may be quite satisfied with their jobs in an environment that fosters organizational trust and innovation. Thoms, Turner and Barling, (2002) pointed out that creating a satisfied workforce has important implication for organizations.

According to Shockley-Zalabak, Ellis and Winograd (2007), increased job satisfaction, the ability to innovate, and the ability to identify with a successful organization, all are related to perception of trust. Employee empowerment has long been associated with organizational outcomes such as innovation, greater effectiveness, and better performance. Orpen (1990) argued that organizations that value innovation and creativity among their members are more vigilant in turbulent environments. Damanpour (1987) suggested that “innovation introduces change into the outputs, structure, or processes of an organization”. Innovative environments allow organizations to maximize the potential of their employees, which is especially vital when physical and financial resources are scarce and external environments are challenging and competitive (Axtell, Holman, Unsworth, Wall, & Waterson, 2000). Studies have shown that employees working in innovative organizational environments demonstrate a higher level of job satisfaction, motivation, activity, and organizational commitment; they are also more excited about the importance of their work and willing to take risks needed for change (Dee, Henkin, & Pell, 2002).

According to Kanter (1993) identified key variables of empowerment which serve as contributing factors to empowerment:

  1. Opportunity for advancement or opportunity to be involved in activities beyond one’s job description,
  2. access to information about all facets of the organization,
  3. access to support for one’s job responsibilities and decision making and
  4. Access to resources as needed by the employee. Research has shown that employee empowerment enhances the value of work for individuals, increases job satisfaction, contributed to work productivity and success.

Quinn and Spreitzer (1997) pointed out that other variables of empowerment which managers can use to empower their employees are:

  1. Sharing information about the organization
  2. Providing an organizational structure with a clear vision, organizational goals, and identifiable individual roles.
  3. Developing a team-based alternative to hierarchy that is capable of providing guidance, encouragement and support
  4. Offering relevant training opportunities, and
  5. Rewarding employees for the risk and initiatives they are expected to take. These researchers suggested that all these practices are part of the empowerment process. Empower fosters innovation, creativity, motivation and instills shared values to promote an atmosphere for learning and accomplishment (Carter, 2005).

Findings across a wide range of studies have shown that both employees and their organizations can benefit from empowerment. When people feel empowered at work, positive results are likely to occur. There are findings that show that empowered employees report high job satisfaction has been consistent across a large number of studies. Some research has investigated how each of the four dimensions or levels of empowerment predicts positive outcomes. The meaning and to a lesser extent competence dimensions inherent in empowerment appear to be driving the strong and consistent relationship with job satisfaction (Spreitzer, 1997). Kraimer Siebert, and Liden (1999) found that the meaning and competence dimensions predict career progression intentions while the self-determination and impact dimensions predict organizational commitment. The fact that different dimensions or levels of empowerment are related to different outcomes supports the notion empowerment is very necessary to achieve the range of outcomes in any organization. No single dimension of empowerment affords the range of outcomes that have been shown to link to overall construct of psychological empowerment.

However, empowerment is not only related to positive work attitudes, it has also been found to be related to positive work performance – more specifically, managerial effectiveness, employee effectiveness, employee productivity, innovation  and role performance (Chen & Klimoski, 2003).  But the question that remains is do certain dimensions or levels of empowerment drive the link to performance? In a sample of managers, Spreitzer et al. (1997) found that the competence and impact dimensions were most strongly related to managerial effectiveness. It may be that competence is necessary for performance (competence indicates the skills and abilities necessary to do one’s job well) and that impact comes from strong prior performance (employees have seen that their effort has made a difference in the past so they feel they can have impact moving forward as well). These results suggest that psychological empowerment likely enhances performance because people go above and beyond the call of duty and are more influential and innovative in their work.

Spreitzer, DeJanasz, and Quinn (1999) found that supervisors who reported higher levels of empowerment were seen by their subordinates as more innovative, upward influencing, and inspirational. Empowerment is associated with more innovation at work (Spreitzer, 1995). Wat and Shaffer (2004) found that different empowerment dimensions are related to different elements of Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs): (1) The meaning dimension relates strongly to courtesy, (2) the competence dimension relates to both conscientiousness and sportsmanship, (3) the self-determination dimension relates to altruism, and (4) the impact dimension relates to conscientiousness. Again, each dimension of empowerment contributes to different outcomes in an organization.

In the last decade, researchers examined the relationship between different elements of social-structural empowerment and the psychological experience of empowerment. Kanter’s (1977) examined the extent to which elements of social structural empowerment are related to feelings of psychological empowerment. Spreitzer (1996) found that Kanter’s power tools, including socio-political support, access to information, and access to resources were related to the psychological empowerment. Other research has replicated a strong positive relationship between Kanter’s power tools and psychological empowerment even in longitudinal research (Laschinger, et al., 2004). Moving beyond operationalizing social-structural empowerment as Kanter’s power tools, Wallach and Meuller (2006) found that actual participation in decision making by employee (both decisions that shape the direction of the organization and decisions pertinent to one’s own work) were related to stronger feelings of psychological empowerment in human service agency. Similarly, Spreitzer (1996) found that employees in units with a more participative work climate, wider spans of control, and performance-based pay reported higher levels of psychological empowerment.

More recently, two studies have taken a multi-level approach to understanding the relationship between social-structural empowerment and psychological empowerment. Seibert, Silver, and Randolph (2004) conceptualized social-structural empowerment as unit empowerment climate. They linked empowerment climate (measured as shared perceptions among members of the unit of information sharing, boundary setting, and team accountability) to work unit performance as well as to enhanced feelings of psychological empowerment at the individual level of analysis. In turn, they hypothesized a link between psychological empowerment and increased individual performance and job satisfaction. These two studies provided an important contribution in showing how macro-level empowerment practices (i.e., empowerment climate) do influence micro-level feelings of empowerment (i.e., psychological empowerment) – both of which impact key organizational and individual outcomes in an organization (unit and individual performance as well as job satisfaction).

These studies help to specify more of the mechanisms underlying the relationships of interest. They indicate how different dimensions of empowerment are predicted by different antecedents and predict different outcomes. In terms of antecedents, Ergeneli, Sag, Ari, and Metin (2007) found that cognition –based trust immediate managers relates to the meaning and competence dimensions of empowerment while affect-based trust related to the impact dimension. In terms of outcomes, Spreitzer and Quinn (1997) found that while impact was related to work effectiveness, meaning and competence were related to increased satisfaction.

Empowerment depends on the ability of the manager to reconcile the potential loss of control inherent in sharing power with the need to empower employees for higher levels of motivation, innovation and productivity that often come with empowerment (Mills & Ungson, 2003).

The aim to this study is to examine employee work empowerment as predictors of role innovation and organizational trust.

Statement of the problem

Today, the decline in innovation in Nigerian institutions and organizational trust presents a new challenge for employers to empower their employee; as large number of employees have different attitudes and expectations as a result of distrust among them. For individuals or groups to assume the necessary risks of innovation, they must have some confidence that an organization will reward success and tolerate failure. Successful innovation adoption is more probable in a climate of optimum trust than in either a coercive or a freewheeling environment. Trust may be an important underlying factor in the encouragement of innovation adoption in an organization. Likewise, adoptions of innovation in an organization may be evidence of management activities have taken to cultivate climates of trust.

An organizational environment of distrust may result in a culture of risk aversion among employees. Inhibitors of innovation are reported to be such factors as fear of failure, reluctance to change, fear to commit finances or organizational inertia. Risk acceptance means purposefully allowing experimentation and removing deterrents to variation. If employees are to experiment, innovate, and adapt, there must be an acceptance of a margin of error by management. Kanter (1984) noted that “innovating companies provide the freedom to act, which arouses the desire to act”. The problems this study intends to ask are:

  1. Would employee work empowerment predict role innovation in an organizational?
  2. Would employee work empowerment determine trust in an organization?
  3. Would innovation and trust determine employee empowerment in an organization?

Purpose of the study

  1. To know whether empowerment determine organizational trust and role innovation.
  2. To ascertain the relationship between role innovation and organizational trust.


Operational Definition of terms


.Role Innovation: Can be seen as the introduction and adoption of an internally generated idea, behaviour, or process that is new to the adopting organization

Organizational trust: Organizational trust as mutually productive exchanges of resources that depended upon personal trust, as well as formal social mechanisms that are designed to ensure trustworthy conduct.

Empowerment: Employee experiences of intrinsic motivation in relations to work roles.

Employee work empowerment: It often involves the empowering the works to develop confidence in their own capacities.

Levels of empowerment: All levels of empowerment has been categorized into two levels i.e Macro and micro empowerment.

Macro empowerment; Empowering the environment/climate for micro empowerment to take place. Providing all the necessary resources, material, or machinery, etc that makes the environment conducive for employees

Micro empowerment: This involves empowering the individuals in order to increase performance as well as job satisfaction.


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