Motivated employees play a key role in organization success, and past research indicates a positive association between perceptions of empowerment and motivation. A prominent model put forth by Spreitzer (1995) suggests that two major components of control systems will positively affect employee feelings of empowerment—performance feedback and performance‐based reward systems. This experimental study contributes to the behavioral accounting literature by examining how specific types of performance feedback and performance‐based rewards affect three psychological dimensions of empowerment. Also, we use a relatively simple context to investigate whether predictions validated on surveys of managers also hold for lower‐level workers. Our results suggest that feedback and rewards affect the dimensions of empowerment differently for lower‐level workers than they do for managers. Namely, performance feedback was positively associated with only one dimension and performance‐based rewards had negative effects on two out of the three dimensions. In addition, overall motivation was not significantly associated with two of the three empowerment dimensions. Implications of this study are that techniques that work to increase manager perceptions of empowerment may not work at lower organizational levels and, even if successful, the related increase in employee motivation may not be significant.

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