ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 1097-1110.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01097

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The formation mechanisms of leader empowering behavior

YIN Kui1, ZHAO Jing1, LI Can2(), WANG Honglei3, WANG Chongfeng4   

  1. 1School of Economics and Management, University of Science and Technology Beijing, Beijing 100083, China
    2Business School, China University of Political Science and Law, Beijing 100088, China
    3College of Economics and Management, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin 150030, China
    4Business School, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266071, China
  • Received:2020-03-26 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: LI Can


Empowering leadership is generally regarded as a positive leadership style. Managers play an important role in the process of implementing empowerment in organizations. However, for purposes of maintaining authorities and other reasons, it is common that managers are unwilling to authorize autonomy and provide relevant resources to their subordinates. There has been increasing scholarly interest in exploring the antecedents of leader empowering behaviors. However, extant studies remain sporadic and fragmented. The development of this line of research will be benefited from an integrated review. We find that: (1) most researchers agree that leader empowering behavior is not a steady leadership style, rather is the differentiated empowering behavior to different subordinates; (2) the antecedents of leader empowering behavior could be divided into three categories including context factors, leader factors and employee factors; (3) leader-member exchange theory, trust theory, social cognition theory and empowering risk perspective are the main theories to explain the formation mechanism of leader empowering behavior. We clarify the formation mechanism of empowering leader behavior. Finally, building on contextual leadership theory, charismatic, ideological and pragmatic (CIP) model of leadership, and followership theory, future implications are provided.

Key words: leader empowering behavior, autonomy, contextual leadership theory, followership theory

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