In this paper we discuss key aspects of empowering leadership as a basis for conceptualizing and operationalizing the construct. The conceptualization resulted in eight behavioral manifestations arranged within three influence processes which were investigated in a sample of 317 subordinates in Study 1. The results supported the validity and reliability of a two-dimensional 18-item instrument labeled the Empowering Leadership Scale (ELS). In Study 2 (N = 215) and Study 3 (N = 831) the factor structure of ELS was cross-validated in two independent samples from different work settings. Preliminary concurrent validation in Studies 1 and 2 found that ELS had a positive relationship to several subordinate variables among others self-leadership and psychological empowerment. In Study 3 ELS was compared with scales measuring leader–member exchange (LMX) and transformational leadership. Discriminant validity was supported and moreover ELS showed incremental validity beyond LMX and transformational leadership when predicting psychological empowerment.
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