Organizational empowerment: A framework examining historical and systemic domains in school settings

Adia Gooden*, Christopher B. Keys, Lindsey Back, Susan D. McMahon, Michele Morgan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Organizational empowerment (OE) is a key construct in community psychology. We build on current understandings of OE by exploring history and systemic relationships as important aspects of OE. We conducted interviews with 20 school leaders from 16 schools that went through a district-wide transition of students with disabilities into general education schools and asked these leaders about their preparation and service provision during this transition. We utilized a grounded theory approach to analyze the data, and two domains of OE emerged: historical and systemic, each with multiple dimensions. The historical domain refers to schools' functioning before the transition, and the systemic domain reflects interactions between schools and the School District Office for Students with Disabilities during the transition. We provide a nuanced understanding of these domains of organizational empowerment and their interaction, as well as implications for empowerment theory and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)516-532
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Community Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • historical and systemic domains
  • organizational empowerment
  • schools
  • students with disabilities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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