Faculty Publications - College of Business

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2018


The importance of finding appropriate leadership styles to use in cross-cultural situations is paramount. Development organizations and multinational organizations both struggle to find forms of leadership that are effective in mobilizing the workforce in highly diverse cultural contexts. In this article, the effects of empowering leadership on psychological empowerment and self-leadership are measured in two cultural contexts—Rwanda and the United States, representing both high and low power distance and individualism/ collectivism—to explore how empowering leadership behaviors affects the empowerment of subordinates. First, hierarchical regression analysis shows that empowering leadership has a significant positive effect on both psychological empowerment and self-leadership in both cultural contexts. Second, hierarchical regression analysis with tests for moderation shows that power distance moderates these relationships, especially in high power distance cultures, while individualism/collectivism moderates these relationships only occasionally. This article provides evidence that empowering leadership is an effective form of leadership that produces employee empowerment in diverse cultural contexts. It also provides new insights into appropriate forms of leadership for international development organizations when working in different countries.


Originally published in International Leadership Journal, Volume 10, Issue 3, Fall 2018.