Investigation of leadership empowerment behaviour, psychological empowerment, work engagement and turnover intention in a chemical industry
De Klerk, Sonja Magdelena
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Globalisation radically changed the way in which talent is sourced, organised and managed. The chemical industry as competitor in the global landscape is increasingly faced with challenges to attract and retain talent. The success and global competitiveness of the chemical industry largely depends on its employees, their ideas and intellectual resources. Highly talented employees are targeted by competitor companies and head hunters with substantial financial incentives and benefits. Leadership plays a vital role in creating a stimulating, empowered and challenging work environment that will attract and retain employees. Employees need to experience a sense of meaning, have the resources to do their jobs and most importantly, need to be empowered beyond being asked to meet performance goals. The aim of this study was to determine if a relationship existed between leadership empowerment behaviour, psychological empowerment, work engagement and turnover intention in a chemical industry. The study secondly examined whether leadership empowerment behaviour affected turnover intention via psychological empowerment and thirdly the study investigated if leadership empowerment behaviour affected work engagement via psychological empowerment. A random cross-sectional design with paper-based surveys as the primary method of data collection was used to accomplish the research objectives. The measuring battery for this study consisted of the Leader Empowering Behaviour Questionnaire (LEB), the Measuring Empowerment Questionnaire (MEQ), the Work Engagement Scale (WES) and the Turnover Intention Scale (TIS). The simulation and statistical analysis was carried out using the Statistical Program for the Social Sciences IBM SPSS version 21 and Mplus. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) which is theory driven was used in the study. The results showed that a significant relationship existed between leadership empowerment behaviour, psychological empowerment, work engagement and turnover intention. Regression analysis indicated that leadership empowerment behaviour had significant predictive value towards psychological empowerment and work engagement. The results showed that leadership empowerment behaviour did not affect turnover intention via psychological empowerment, but rather had a direct effect on employee’s turnover intention. The results further showed that psychological empowerment did have an indirect effect on the relationship between leadership empowerment behaviour and work engagement. The results indicated that it would be worthwhile if organisations develop leader’s competence and skills to empower their workforces. This would lead to higher levels of psychological empowerment, work engagement and retention of talent. Recommendations for future research were made.