The Theory was originally developed by Sieloff (1995) as the Theory of Nursing Departmental Power as part of Sieloff’s doctoral studies.  Using King’s Interacting Systems Framework (King, 1981), Sieloff developed the Theory in order to assist nursing groups to both assess and improve their level of group outcome attainment or their group power. 


In the process of refining the Theory, the Theory was revised to be the Theory of Group Power within Organizations, and was designed to be used by any group within any organization to estimate their level of group power within their organization. Several subsequent editorial revisions occurred:

  • 'power' was revised to 'goal attainment' to address the concerns expressed by potential research participants regarding the use of the term 'power'.
  • 'goal attainment' was then revised to 'outcome attainment' to better reflect the terminology being used within health care organizations.
  • After theoretical analysis, 'outcome attainment' was revised to 'empowerment' to more accurately reflect the concept being measured.
  • Finally, recognizing that the term 'nursing group' might not be easily understood, the term was changed to 'work team/group' to increase the clarity and understanding of the theory and related instrument.

The Theory can be used by any work team/group within any organization to estimate their level of work team/group empowerment capacity and capability.

Empowerment is defined as the a work team/group's capability to achieve outcomes and is seen as a positive resource that is available to all work teams/groups.


The first four components

·        controlling the effects of environmental forces,

·        position,

·        resources, and

·        role

are proposed to contribute to a work team's/group’s empowerment capacity.


However, before a work team's/group’s empowerment capacity can be actualized or the work team/group can be empowered, four additional components effect the work team's/group’s empowerment capacity.  These four components are:

·        communication competency,

·        goal/outcome competency,

·        work team/group leader's empowerment 

    competency, and

·        empowerment perspective.