CWEQ - Conditions for Work Effectiveness

Questionnaire I and II

Conceptual Framework for Tool

The Conditions for Work Effectiveness Questionnaire is designed to measure the four empowerment dimensions – perceived access to opportunity, support, information and resources in an individual’s work setting -- based on Kanter’s theory of structural empowerment (Kanter, 1977; Laschinger, 1996). Items were derived from Kanter's original ethnographic study of work empowerment and modified by Chandler (1986) for use in a nursing population. The CWEQ-II is a modification of the original developed by Laschinger et al., 2001. The CWEQ-II has been studied and used frequently in nursing research since 2000 and has shown consistent reliability and validity. The University of Western Ontario Workplace Empowerment Research Program has been working with and revising the original CWEQ and CWEQ-II in nursing populations for over 10 years.

High levels of structural empowerment come from access to these structures:

  1. Access to opportunity refers to the possibility for growth and movement within the organization as well as the opportunity to increase knowledge and skills.
  2. Access to resources relates to one’s ability to acquire the financial means, materials, time, and supplies required to do the work.
  3. Access to information refers to having the formal and informal knowledge that is necessary to be effective in the workplace (technical knowledge and expertise required to accomplish the job and an understanding of organizational policies and decisions).
  4. Access to support involves receiving feedback and guidance from subordinates, peers, and superiors.

Access to empowerment structures is enhanced by:

  1. Formal Power: Derived from specific job characteristics such as; flexibility, adaptability, creativity associated with discretionary decision-making, visibility, and centrality to organizational purpose and goals. (Job Activities Scale)
  2. Informal Power: Derived from social connections, and the development of communication and information channels with sponsors, peers, subordinates, and cross-functional groups. (Organizational Relationships Scale)


Construct Validity

Confirmatory Factor Analyses:

  • CWEQ-I: (Chandler, 1986; Sabiston, 1994; Kutzscher, 1994)
  • CWEQ-II: (Laschinger, Finegan, Shamian & Wilk, 2001)

CWEQ Correlated with:

  • Global measure of empowerment (Laschinger, Finegan, Shamian & Wilk, 2001; r = 0.56)
  • JAS & ORS: (Kutzscher & Laschinger, 1994; Sabiston & Laschinger, 1995; Dubuc, 1995; McKay, 1995; Huffman, 1995; Whyte, 1995; Laschinger & Havens, 1996; Govers, 1997; O'Brien, 1998; Sproule, 1998; McBurney, 1998; Laschinger, Wong, McMahon, & Kaufmann, 1999; Baguley, 1999; Casier, 2000; Shephard, 2000)

Research has shown that structural empowerment is related to staff nurse job satisfaction, autonomy, trust, respect, and burnout. Numerous studies have linked empowerment to organizational commitment.

Face and content validity

  • Resources subscale: (Wilson, 1993).

Summary Table for the CWEQ I & II, JAS, ORS, GE and MAS

Construct Measured Scoring Likert Scale Range # of Items

Conditions for Work Effectiveness Questionnaire (CWEQ) Subscales

Access to Opportunity Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 7 3
Access to Information Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 8 3
Access to Support Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 9 3
Access to Resources Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 7 3
Total Structural Empowerment Sum of Subscale Scores 31 12

Job Activities Scale (JAS)

Formal Power Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 9 3

Organizational Relationships Scale (ORS)

Informal Power Sum of items divided by # of items Strongly Disagree (1) to Strongly Agree (5) 2 2
# of items

Global Empowerment (GE)

Validity Check for the CWEQ Sum of items divided by # of items None (1) to A Lot (5) 7 3

Manager's Activities Scale (MAS)

Manager's Access to Power Sum of items divided by # of items Very Low (1) to Very High (5) 11


1An alternate version of the CWEQ for Nurse Educators is available upon request
2An alternate version of the CWEQ for Nursing Students is available upon request