Employee engagement is a very important goal for several global organizations. High employee engagement leads to organizational success and competitive advantage. Unfortunately, according to Gallup, only a small portion (15%) of the global workforce is engaged in their work, which is a huge challenge. Extant literature has investigated various antecedents of employee engagement at the individual level (e.g., curiosity, optimism, self-esteem, and self-efficacy etc.) as well as organizational level (managerial expectations, workplace climate, organizational culture, strategy clarity, etc). Most of these studies have been investigated in the western context. To overcome this lacunae, we investigate the impact of two key antecedents – leader-member exchange (LMX) and psychological empowerment – on employee engagement in a multi-cultural context.
This study found that LMX in combination with psychological empowerment significantly influences employee engagement. With power distance as the key cultural context, we found that in high power distance cultures, LMX has a greater impact the psychological empowerment, whereas in low power distance cultures, LMX has a lesser impact on employee engagement. Further, there is a gender bias in high power distance cultures in favour of employee engagement.