Customer Reactions to Staff Empowerment: Mediators and Moderators


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Graham Bradley, Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University, PMB 50 Gold Coast Mall Centre, Queensland 9726, Australia.


For over a decade, the empowerment of service staff has been touted as an effective means of improving worker satisfaction and performance. The 2 studies described in this paper assess likely customer reactions to staff empowerment. In Study I, conditions of full empowerment produced higher customer satisfaction ratings than did either limited or no empowerment, with evidence that the link between empowerment and satisfaction is mediated primarily by perceptions of procedural fairness. In Study 2, full empowerment was again associated with high satisfaction and with positive appraisals of the empowered staff member, although these effects were moderated by the employee's communication style.