Panel Paper: Policy Implementation: When Should Organizations Empower Employees?

Saturday, November 9, 2019
Plaza Building: Concourse Level, Plaza Court 6 (Sheraton Denver Downtown)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Yifan Chen, Arizona State University

There is a debate regarding who should be responsible for policy implementation within an organization. Some scholars argue that the authority and responsibility of implementation should be concentrated to higher-level managers while other members are primarily responsible for executing the already-made decisions. In contrast, others suggest that the employees, who are the targeted users of the policies, should be empowered with the authority and responsibility of policy implementation. This study sheds light on how employee empowerment affects the results of policy implementation as well as how the relationship between employee empowerment and policy implementation varies across organizations. In particular, we focus on formalization and organizational culture as key features of the organization since these two characteristics affect how employees perceive their roles in the implementation process.

We exploit a national sample of local government procurement practices and uses implementation of sustainable procurement policy (SPP) as the empirical example to test our hypotheses. The preliminary regression results provide empirical support. Our findings contribute to implementation by demonstrating that whether empowering employees can facilitate the policy implementation depends on specific organizational contexts. The empowerment approach will have beneficial influences in organizations with entrepreneurial-oriented culture and less rigid regulations.

This research was funded, in part, with a grant from the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation.