Purpose ? The purpose of this paper is to test the relationship between perceived empowerment practices and Chinese service employee service effort and turnover intention, also to examine the mediating role of employee job attitudes in this relationship.Design/methodology/approach ? To test hypotheses about the relationships above, survey data were collected by a self?administered questionnaire from frontline service workers at six four? and five?star hotels in the Macau Special Administrative Region of China. The final sample of 290 participants rated empowerment practices in their workplace, as well as their job attitudes, service effort and turnover intention. Perceived empowerment practices were measured using items from Hayes' employee employment questionnaire. Employee job attitudes were measured using job satisfaction and organizational commitment scales based on Harrison et al. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the hypotheses.Findings ? Statistically significant results were obtained for a full mediating effect of job attitudes on the relationship between empowerment practices and turnover intention. However, the relationship between empowerment and Chinese employee service effort was insignificant.Research limitations/implications ? This study is cross?sectional and so a longitudinal examination of the variables could be revealing. In addition, other moderating and/or mediating factors could exist such as demographic characteristics of service employees. Finally, most of the conceptual underpinnings for this study come from research carried out in Western countries and more work should be done within Chinese organisations and more qualitative research would be appropriate for theory?building research.Practical implications ? Managers in service industries in China should carefully monitor employee job attitudes towards the empowerment practices. Owing to cultural differences on the high vs low power distance dimension in particular, managers from the West should not overlook how much empowerment is accepted among Chinese service employees.Originality/value ? Contributing to attitude engagement theory, job attitudes consisting of job satisfaction and organizational commitment explain the success of empowerment implementation in Chinese service organisations.
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