The influence of institutional factors and job related attitudes on the relationship between employee empowerment and performance of public universities in Kenya
The research aimed at assessing the influence of employee empowerment on performance of Public Universities in Kenya, and to determine the moderating role of institutional factors on this relationship, and to determine the mediating role of job-related attitudes on this relationship. This study was carried out against a background of change in the public universities with the introduction of Public Universities Act 2012 which streamlined all the activities of Kenyan universities. A review of extant conceptual and empirical literature was done and hypotheses formulated. A positivist paradigm using descriptive research design was used. The population comprised the staff of Chartered Public Universities in Kenya 2013. Proportionate random stratified sampling and multi stage sampling was used. A sample size of 1,011 staff was selected from employees of Chartered Public Universities in Kenya. The literature review revealed that a number of studies have been conducted on the predictors and antecedents of employee empowerment and performance. However, these studies did not examine any integration between them. The objective of this study was to explore the integrated relationship amongst the variables. A structured questionnaire with Likert-type interval scale anchored on a five-point scale was used to collect primary data. Descriptive statistics were computed for organizational data and the main characteristics of the study variable. Data was presented in tables, charts and figures. Hypotheses were tested using Pearson‟s product moment, simple linear regression, stepwise and multiple regression and change statistics for data analysis and tests. The results revealed that employee empowerment, institutional factors, and job-related attitudes have a positive relationship with the performance. The strength of the relationship between employee empowerment and organizational performance was found to be moderated by institutional factors. However Job-Related Attitudes was found not to mediate the influence of employee empowerment and organizational performance. Using ANOVA and F-test the study showed that the influence of employee empowerment on organizational performance was linear and was statistically significant. The results confirmed that the joint effect of employee empowerment, job-related attitudes and institutional factors on performance was greater than the individual effects of each variable on performance of Public Universities in Kenya. This study contributes to the understanding of the link between employee empowerment and organizational performance, while at the same time it confirms the findings of previous studies on a similar subject. The study also contributes to knowledge by empirically confirming that job-related attitudes are not mediators of the influence of employee empowerment on organizational performance contrary to previous studies. The study highlights an increased understanding that the combinative effect of the study variables is greater than the individual effects. Involvement in decision-making and autonomy coupled with enabling structures and leadership should be considered if employees are to be empowered and their contributions to count. Universities should strengthen their empowerment programs and support staff in pursuit of their development. The study also confirms that as structural empowerment increases it is associated with increases in psychological empowerment in the workplace. Further, as empowerment increases employees become more engaged and this is believed to have a significant impact on their productivity. Empowered employees are motivated workers, which contributes to overall performance in the Public Universities in Kenya. Future research should seek to concentrate on other institutional factors such as democratic and contingency leadership styles. Consider use of longitudinal research design. Replication of the study in other sectors and examining the relationship between employee empowerment could serve as useful reference for future.