The empowering leadership questionnaire: the construction and validation of a new scale for measuring leader behaviors


  • Portions of this paper were presented at the 1995 Annual Conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Part support from the University of Illinois Center for Human Resources Management.


This paper describes the construction and empirical evaluation of a new scale for measuring empowering leader behavior. Study One consisted of thorough interviews with external leaders and team members in three organizations. Behaviors elicited in the interviews were classified by researchers into eight categories of leader empowering behavior and the Empowering Leadership Questionnaire (ELQ) was constructed to measure each of these categories. In Study Two, the ELQ was administered to team members and leaders from two organizations. The results indicated that five-factors (Coaching, Informing, Leading By Example, Showing Concern/Interacting with the Team, and Participative Decision-Making) adequately describe the data. In Study Three, we cross-validated the scale in a sample from five organizations and the factor analysis confirmed the five-factor model. The ELQ dimensions were also compared with behaviors measured by two well-established measures of leader behavior. The results indicated that the ELQ dimensions partially overlap with previously identified constructs, but that empowering leadership behavior can not be entirely accounted for by the earlier measures. Definitions and implications for the categories of empowering leader behaviors are offered. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.