Complementing the current management literature's focus on the value-creation side of empowerment practices, this paper offers a transaction cost-exchange perspective to explain why firms adopt empowerment practices and how such practices affect firm performance. Specifically, we theorize how performance ambiguity and human asset specificity, two major characteristics of employee-employer exchange, shape firms' decisions to adopt empowerment practices, both independently and interactively. Our model also develops a contingency perspective of how empowerment practices affect firm performance by delineating the moderating role of empowerment practices in the relationship between employee-employer exchange characteristics and firm performance.
- Employee empowerment practices
- Human asset specificity
- Organizational performance
- Performance ambiguity
- Transaction cost economics