Date of Award

Spring 3-25-2024

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Philosophy in Business Administration


Management, Entrepreneurship and Hospitality

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Stacey R. Kessler, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Paul Spector, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Paul Johnson, Ph.D.


Researchers have been interested in the benefits of employee empowerment as it allows employees to step outside of their defined roles, take control of decision making, and drive change to improve organizational performance. At the same time, researchers and the popular press alike have called for more accountability in organizations, citing examples of leaders’ abuse of power, negligent management of responsibilities, unethical behaviors, and even violations of law. Through the lens of both social information processing and cognitive dissonance theories, I examine how both empowerment and accountability climate jointly influence employees’ psychological states (i.e., occupational self-efficacy and felt responsibility), thereby impacting their willingness to exhibit the proactive work behaviors (i.e., personal initiative and taking charge behavior) that contribute to firm success. The study also assesses how supervisor rapport (i.e., interactional justice) and dispositional factors (i.e., regulatory focus) moderate these relationships. Data was collected from two U.S. based medical device companies. The final sample consisted of 116 employees, representing a 55% response rate. Results indicated that accountability climate directly and positively affects employees’ proactive work behaviors, albeit via different mediators that those proposed. However, empowerment climate did not directly influence either of the proactive work behaviors, but indirectly influenced an employees’ personal initiative via the employees’ occupational self-efficacy. Taken together, it seems that both climate domains influence employees’ exhibiting of proactive work behaviors, but likely through different mechanisms.



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