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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 183-184

Application of Spreitzer's and Kanter's theories for empowerment education

1 School of Nursing, Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH 45314, USA
2 Department of Kinesiology and Allied Health, Cedarville University, Cedarville, OH 45314, USA

Date of Web Publication19-Sep-2017

Correspondence Address:
Janet Neal
251 N. Main Street, Cedarville, OH 45314
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_320_16

How to cite this article:
Neal J, Shortt S. Application of Spreitzer's and Kanter's theories for empowerment education. Educ Health 2017;30:183-4

How to cite this URL:
Neal J, Shortt S. Application of Spreitzer's and Kanter's theories for empowerment education. Educ Health [serial online] 2017 [cited 2022 Jan 28];30:183-4. Available from:

Dear Editor,

Changes in health-care policy in the United States have created a need for public health nurses (PHN) to deliver programs to populations rather than care for individuals in clinics (Executive Order 13544, 2010).[1] Empowerment skills are needed for nurses to traverse this change in care delivery and core competencies (Council on Linkages, 2010).[2] Core competencies are presented on a generalist level in Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs although novice BSN graduates are unlikely to plan and execute population-level programs. Nurses with associate degrees and diplomas are not taught these competencies. While mastery of core competencies demonstrates graduate-level skills, many of the competencies can be learned without formal education. Without empowerment, nurses are likely to resist change, but empowered health-care workers develop plans to learn core competencies and possess the independence and determination to find professional development resources that bring performance up to today's standards. This is necessary, since training resources are often scarce.

The primary author developed the Empowerment Education Program (EEP) for PHN [Table 1]. The original plan was to replicate a program used in Taiwan by Chang et al.[3] Due to translation difficulties and cultural differences, a new program was developed using the same theories: Spreitzer's psychological empowerment theory [4] and Kanter's organizational empowerment theory.[5] The project was conducted in two health districts in the Midwestern United States and clearly illustrated the difficulties inherent in this transition to population care. Ninety-one percent of the PHN workforce was at or below the minimum standard needed to implement population-level care. Nurse managers recognized the need for education but lacked time and resources to teach it themselves. No nurse educators were available to provide professional development. The nurses showed resistance behaviors due to a lack of time and resources to pursue professional development or formal education. The managers were concerned about the resistance but were unable to address it. To bridge the gap, EEPwas developed and delivered to the worksites.
Table 1: Implementation of Spreitzer's psychological empowerment theory in empowerment education program

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Although the small nonrandom sample (n = 21) makes it difficult to generalize, the study demonstrates the utility of EEP to enhance perception of psychological and organizational empowerment in these two settings. Psychological empowerment constructs of purpose and motivation and organizational empowerment constructs of informal power and global assessment of organizational empowerment improved at significant levels. Participants' qualitative comments affirm this empirical data.

EEPdeveloped individual and organizational empowermentin a setting with few resources. The programcan be an effective tool to show health professionals how to navigate change in settings where change is expected and resources are scarce.

Financial support and sponsorship

The primary author, Dr. Janet Neal DNP, RN.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Executive Order 13544 -- Establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. 2010. Available from: -and-public-health. [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 01].  Back to cited text no. 1
Council on Linkages between Academia and Public Health Practice, (Council on Linkages, COL). Core Competencies for Public Health Professionals. 2010. Available from: [Last accessed on 2016 Oct 01].  Back to cited text no. 2
Chang LC, Liu CH, Yen EH. Effects of an empowerment-based education program for public health nurses in Taiwan. J Clin Nurs 2008;17:2782-90.  Back to cited text no. 3
Spreitzer, GM. Social structure characteristics of psychological empowerment. Acad Manage J 1996;39:483-504.  Back to cited text no. 4
Kanter RM. Men and Women of the Corporation. 2nd ed. New York: Basic Books; 1993.  Back to cited text no. 5


  [Table 1]


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