Delegation Empowerment And Team Performance Management Essay

The main objective of this paper is to find out on the degree of empowerment influencing the team performance. Basically, the report would mention about the leader member exchange theory, which has an impact to the willingness to risk taking of both the leader (take risk by authority distribution) and the member (sharing the potential outcome). The degree of task autonomy and the tasks significant establishment would therefore be transferred from the leader to his/her members, as a motivation force (level of empowerment) for his/her team members to work on their individual given tasks.

Then from the amount of delegation vs. the level of empowerment felt by the individual would influence his/her individual contribution and involvement as a team member. Thus concludes that the individual performance would ultimately influence the overall team performance. [Figure 1] In the report, I managed to spot that the empowerment would arouse the sense of obligation of finishing the task and also via the understanding the individual task significant would increase the self willingness to contribute positively towards the group work.


Leader member exchange (LMX), empowerment, delegation, autonomy, performance


Under the field of management, delegation is a form of entrustment of work, responsibility and authority by one party (normally a leader) to another (his/her subordinate) to hold the accountability of the outcome of the performance. Simply saying that a leader would ask his/her subordinates to performance a given task and assigns a level of decision making autonomy, in turn of a desirable outcome. Assuming that a project is made up of an array of different individual tasks, it would be difficult of one person to finish the whole project within a limited time frame. Thus one of the main reasons of delegation is to distribute the given workloads (Yukl and Fu, 1999), which enables the leaders to put more focus on other more important tasks (e.g. monitoring the progress of the given project). Other than releasing the workload from the leader, through delegation, it would increase the overall staff satisfaction as your team member would feel their involvement in the project creation. Thus successful delegation is considered as one of the essential element of effective management. (Yukl, 2002)


Hypothesis 1: LMX influence the leader’s willingness to empower

A high-quality LMX social exchange would require trusting others to reciprocate with each other’s favour. (Brower, 2000) According to the leader member exchange theory, those team members who are considered as a part of their manager’s in-group [a social group whereby an individual feels he/she belongs to] would normally hold a high-quality exchange rate. (Dansereau, Green & Haga, 1975) This would imply that when the manager needs to have trust in his/her employees, before they are more willing to share their resources (informational, latitude and discretion). Furthermore as comparing the other out-group [an external social group which the individual doesn’t feel comfortable getting along with] people, those in-group would enjoy a high chance of authority delegation.

Enforcing with Dansereau’s argument, the Bass (1990) suggested that in paternalistic cultures, high-quality LMX relationship would manifest the further development of paternalistic leadership. Under those conditions, managers would be more likely to delegate their decision making authority only to those with a high favourable exchange relationship. Thus with the higher social exchange rate, the leader is more willing to share his/her authority by increase the risk and enlarging the comfort zone in order to distribute the power to those in-group subordinates

Hypothesis 2: Willingness to empower affects the given decision making autonomy and the level of importance of the given task

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Sometime it is just too troublesome to delegate when the delegator thinks that the task is simple and straight forward, (Mark, Alec, 2002) in which might result in delegation fobier.

Firstly, it would take time to explain on the given task and your expectation of the outcome. Some of the leaders might think that it would be time effective to do it on their own.

Secondly, the level of member expectation and the leader’s perceptive expectation would vary because of different personal preference and expectation. This would affect the outcome of the given task.

Thirdly, base on the knowledge of knowing that majority of the people are risk averse towards uncertainty, most of the people would have a projection that if they don’t do the project on their own, the result would not be desirable.

Fourthly, some leaders might have bad experiences with the delegation of task, which mainly due to the lack of ability of delegation, formation or communication. Those previous delegated tasks that had been a disaster of the outcome, would build up a barrier in the willingness to delegate.

Ultimately, it has cumulated to be the lack of confidence and insecurity in his/her team members. Basically to solve the problems of lack of confidence and insecurity, high quality LMX would play a part in inducing a level of confidence to the leader. Through social exchange, the leader is able to understand his/ her subordinates’ strengthen and weakness. It would be definite that the higher reciprocation of favour, the better understanding of each other’s ability. (George and Mary 1995)

People may argue that it would be much easier to work individually without much delegation and also meet the individual desirable outcome expectation. However to maintain the benefit of the firm in a long term perspective, delegation would be a necessity expectually at the time when the firm starts to expand and the projects given start to get complex and bulky. (Daniel, Bruce and Granger, 1996) Thus providing the right amount of encouragement and motivation for the people would be an essential.

One effective way to provide encouragement is to show the leader’s trust through willingness in involving risk by delegation. They would have to be depended on the complexity of the project to measure the amount of personnel assigned to your project team. (John, 1995) Since delegation is not simply a handing over of responsibility, it has to be clearly planned to ensure the minimum expectation gap and distributed evenly out to avoid distributive injustice between the leader and his/her subordinates.

Hypothesis 3: The effect of autonomy and task importance shape the level of empowerment

Frederrick Hertzberg, an American psychologist, introduced job enrichment in the 1950s stating that it was an attempt to motivate employees by providing opportunities to put their abilities into practice in working environment. It is divided into five separate parts, namely skill variety, task identity, task significance, autonomy and feedback. We realized that task significance and autonomy have a bigger impact in delegation of tasks and would have effects on the level of individual empowerment compare to the other three aspects.

Autonomy would have to parallel with the amount of empowerment type of selection (Thomas and Velthouse, 1990) and the degree to the individual experiences the freedom, independency and discretion in his/her work. (Susman, 1976; Hackman, 1987)

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Task significant (task importance), also refers to the meaningfulness work beyond the task itself, which can be measured by the degree of outcome impact to the whole project. The higher the important of the delegated task/ responsibility given indicates that higher risk the leader is involving. Thus, these actions would lead to a higher enhancement of intrinsic motivation via job enrichment. (Adam, 2008) Nowadays task significance plays an important role in today’s business environment as there are a surge of concerns from the employees with their given task that leads to the degree of benefiting their corporation and the society. (Colby, Sippola and Phelps, 2001) Furthermore, the organizations are also increasingly provide their employees with those opportunities to express their motivation needs. (Brickson, 2005)

With the analysis from the above, we understand that the autonomy and task significant are two main factors to a job enrichment that would help to increase intrinsic motivation. In this case, the intrinsic motivation is a form of self actualization, as mention in Hypothesis 1, can be also refers to psychological empowerment.

Hypothesis 4: The feeling of empowerment enforce on the individual performance

Mayer (1995) did mention that as the trustor (leader) perceives that trustee (subordinate) to the trustworthy, the trustor would engage in risk-taking behaviour. The subordinate would notice that the risk-taking behavior (delegation of authority, information sharing, participative decision making) of the leader and make favourable attributions about the leader’s perception of this trustworthiness. In another word, the subordinate would therefore express high levels of felt trustworthiness as a return of the leader’s entrustment.

Intrinsic motivation to the task itself would bring a higher satisfactory (involvement of interest, enjoyment and probability great task achievement) due to the fact that it is a form of value add factor of self determination under Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. (Edward, Richard, 1985) Furthermore, Empowerment acts as a form of intrinsic motivation in the modern workplace. (Gagne, 1997) Thus by concluding that with a higher empowerment rate, it comes with a higher motivation rate, which would arouse intrinsic motivation within the empowered person in bring a higher individual performance for the leader and his/her team. The effect of empowerment would therefore have a positive effect towards the individual performance level.

Hypothesis 5: Direct impact of individual performance to the overall team performance

Task dependency is a form of relationship linking a task or milestone with another task(s) to be performed. This logical relationship between each task and each individual personnel, by project management, would have three possible types: finish to start (Figure 2: finish one task before starting another task), finish to finish (Figure 4: Task D needs to wait until task B and C) and start to start (Figure 5: tasks are interlink with each other and also can start together).

With a basic understanding of the task dependency and the individual performance, we understand that they would influence the outcome of each individual task. Due to the fact that a project is constructed in a way that each single input would affect the overall outcome. Thus in order to maximum the outcome performance of the whole team, other than issuing tasks and responsibility, the leader has to make sure that team members are motivated and empowered.

Discussion, Implications and Directions for Future Research

Looking at a bigger perspective, an organization is a group of teams which has to carry put different type of projects and a team would be each individual member. Bradley (1999) mentioned in his finding that highly empowered team is more effective than less empowered team.

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Firstly, we understand that it is not possible for the leader to treat all followers in the same way (e.g. limited resources, time and personal concentration). As mentioned in the lecture that each member would perceive that his/her importance towards the group differently. Thus to be effective, the leader has to depend on his/her ability to empower his/her team member in order to manage the project within certain consistency and limited risk involvement. The suggestion for future research would be to find a model on the type of leader personality trait relating to the amount of empowerment and LMX quality he/ she is suitable.

Secondly, other than autonomy and task significant, the skill variety, task identity and two ways feedback would also influence the member’s job enrichment and empowerment. (Hackman, J. R., & Oldham, G. R. 1976) Skill varies would influence the members’ perception of their abilities. For example, the high difficulties of task and specific skill requirement are given to a risk averse member, they might not be as motivated as those risk taker and might back fire and get demotivated. Task identity would involve in the degree of the person involvement for the given task from the starting to the end. By providing sufficient amount of feedback, it would also display a sense of trust from the leader to his/her member.

Thirdly, although there are researches stating that empowerment would increase intrinsic motivation and indirectly increase individual performance, it would have to depend on the environment and the individual perceptiveness. For example, in those working environment (e.g. construction or manufacturing work), whereby most of the members are motivated by extrinsic motivation (e.g. money and grades), thus by keep implementing intrinsic motivation, it would not have any huge impact to the employee motivation.

Fourthly, it needs to depend on the level of leader’s authority before he/she can empower his/her subordinate to work on the task. This has became a major problem for most of the cross departmental projects whereby some of the leaders do not have sufficient authority to overwrite the rules and regulation of the member from another department.

Fifty, this paper focus on the individual perspective, it would be better to fix the study position at an individual team member and have a 360 view from the other members of the team and the way the whole team is empowered.


In the paper, I mainly discuss about the links towards: The quality of LMX influences the level of willingness of take risk from the leader’s perspective, which processes a positive relationship between both parties. The higher the positive social exchange, the high potential of the leader is going to take his risk via delegation of work. The delegation would arouse empowerment feeling from the subordinate, as it encourages task significant and autonomy to the contribution of the project. With the intrinsic motivation implied to the process to allow the nurture of self delegation, it would further increase the task responsibility from “this is a work which is ordered by my leader” to “this is my own work and it would influence my organization, team and myself”. The increase in individual sense of obligation would increase their performance and once their outcomes are pass on the another team member, it would be at the top quality and finally leading to a higher desirable outcome.

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