Sample Paper on Administrative Empowerment Models

Administrative Empowerment Models


The integration of women in higher education faces numerous external and internal barriers (Trinidad & Normore, 2005). These barriers can be used to explain why there is a lack of women in university administration, with some self-excluding themselves from leadership responsibilities (Tomàs, Lavie, del Mar Duran, & Guillamon, 2010). These barriers that include an organizational culture that promotes male values is a major hindrance to the flourishing of female administrators in higher education institutions. To empower these women, administrative programs and empowerment efforts need to be formulated to upsurge the number of women taking up these administrative positions and eliminating the gender gap. To enhance the participation of women in taking up leadership roles in academe without lowering standards, numerous models of empowerment have been developed in this context (Christman & McClellan, 2008). (Madsen, 2006).

The Conger and Kanungo Model

The two define empowerment as a process of enhancing feelings of self-efficacy among organizational members by identifying conditions that foster powerlessness. These conditions are then eliminated through formal organizational practices as well as informal techniques of providing efficacy information. Empowerment is manifested in four cognitions that if inculcated in female leaders will enable them become better administrators. These are meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact (Howell & Shamir, 2005).

Meaning encompasses a fit between the role requirements and the leader’s behaviors, values, and beliefs. Competence refers to self-efficacy to the role and is analogous to personal mastery and agency beliefs. Self-determination describes a sense of choice in initiating and regulating action while the impact is the degree to which an individual can influence administrative, strategic, and operating outcomes at work. For female leaders to be empowered, therefore, these four cognitions have to be instilled in them.

Empowering female leaders thus has to be geared towards developing this charismatic personality and behavior. Female leaders need to be taught how to motivate subordinates as well as alleviating fear, anxiety and stress that act as constraints to personal efficacy (Srivastava, Bartol, & Locke, 2006). Despite this cognizance, the model may occasion a downside for organizational performance owing to the frequent association between charisma and dysfunctional behavior. The narcissistic tendencies of charismatic leaders may neutralize the benefits associated with the model, leading to conflicting outcomes of empowerment for female leaders (Agle, Nagarajan, Sonnenfeld, & Srinivasan, 2006).

Thomas and Velthouse model

Thomas and Velthouse defined empowerment as the increased intrinsic task motivation manifested in the four cognitions reflecting an individual’s orientation to their work (Zhu, 2008). They expounded on the model by Conger and Kanungo to establish that psychological empowerment plays a significant role in leadership, follower behavior, and the innovative capacity of individuals. The psychological empowerment originates in a leader’s or employee’s perception of having choice in initiating and regulating actions, being able to impact on their environment, performing the job well, and being meaningful (Pieterse, Knippenberg, Michae’la, & Dan, 2010).

As such, to empower female leaders in academia they have to be provided a platform and space where they feel that they have control to perform whatever action they please. This involves eliminating the hegemonic institutional gender stereotype that female leaders need monitoring or that they are not as proficient as their male counterparts. Since psychological empowerment has many antecedents such as organization, peers, and various other sources in the person or the environment, empowering females for leadership positions has to be grounded in different mechanisms (Pieterse, Knippenberg, Michae’la, & Dan, 2010).

Thomas and Velthouse posit that psychological empowerment is a proximal cause of intrinsic motivation and satisfaction, something that many women lack and which occasions their disqualifying themselves from leadership roles (Zhang & Bartol, 2010). Psychological empowerment will encourage women to press on with their leadership journey, garner renewed confidence in their personal leadership abilities, and be motivated to take up increased levels of leadership (Lafreniere & Longman, 2008). The female leaders will also be able to influence their work environment in meaningful ways, show initiative, act independently, and facilitate proactive behavior.

Dennis C. Kinlaw model

The Kinlaw model aims at the empowerment of organizational human resources through group coaching. Kinlaw posits that leaders develop greater confidence in their leadership role through personal and contextual feedback from other leaders. As such, female leaders in academia should be empowered through the development of forums in which they share their experiences in target-oriented group coaching processes (Crawford & Smith, 2005).

In modern workplaces, group coaching and mentoring has been utilized by organizations in optimizing human resources and instilling organizational commitment in leaders (Moradi & Tohidy, 2011). Kinlaw postulates that the primary task of leaders is to enable employees increase their knowledge, skills, experience, and commitment. The same applies to managers working together in mentoring sessions. Group coaching and mentoring will enable female leaders in higher education develop a clarity of goals and values, the degree of influence, competencies that will ensure success, and appreciation for the contributions of others (Afshari, Hoveyda, & Eshaghian, 2015). Bringing existing and aspiring female leaders together in a target-oriented group coaching process will thus have a profound positive effect on the identity development of these leaders as well as instilling the four sturdy supports of commitment.

The Spreitzer Model

Spreitzer delves into the motivational effects of charismatic leadership. He separates empowerment into its behavioral and psychological components. He opines that psychological empowerment has a profound impact on a manager’s cognition and motivation, which in turn influences managerial performance. According to Spreitzer, empowerment has many contextual antecedent constructs that represent perceived high-performance administrative practices, leadership, socio-political support and work characteristics (Howell & Shamir, 2005).

To empower female leaders in academia, therefore, these antecedent constructs have to be addressed. These are essential to ensuring that female leaders have positive self-evaluation that is positively linked to a broad range of leader outcomes that include job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and task and contextual performance. Spreitzer further suggested that the consequential charisma derived from psychological empowerment builds stronger self-leadership, collective identity, and group cohesiveness. Furthermore, the motivational and influential effects of charismatic leadership stimulates followers’ need for affiliation that makes charismatic leaders effectual in influencing others in the organization. For female leaders who operate in a male-dominated workplace, this charismatic leadership style is essential in ensuring that they can influence followers and as such should be inculcated trough addressing the antecedent outcomes.


The gender disparity evident in university administration can be eliminated through the use of administrative empowerment models. These models can be used to aid women achieve more competence and build on the requisite skills needed to be effectual leaders. Such models include the Conger and Kanungo model that is geared towards enhancing feelings of self-efficacy among leaders. The model aims at inculcating the four cognitions of empowerment in leaders that turns them into charismatic leaders. The second model by Thomas and Velthouse expounds on Congers model and establishes that psychological empowerment plays a significant role in leadership. A platform should thus be provided whereby the antecedents to psychological empowerment are addressed. Thomas and Velthouse opine that by so doing women will no longer shy away from leadership roles. Denis Kinlaw posits in his model that group coaching will empower leaders and develop greater confidence in their leadership role. Finally, Spreitzer delves into the motivational effects of charismatic leadership and the impact of psychological empowerment on a leader’s cognition and motivation. All these models can be used in consonance to empower female leaders in academia.


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