Report produced for the EC funded project INNOREGIO: dissemination of innovation and knowledge management techniques by
D. of Production Engineering & Management Technical University of Crete
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Description What is Employee Involvement and Empowerment Objectives Methodology Alternative techniques Expected Results / Benefits Characteristics of firms and service providers Application Where the technique has been applied Types of firms / organizations concerned Duration and Implementation cost European Organizations Supporting the implementation of the method Implementation Procedures Steps / Phases A few obstacles and recommended solutions Bibliographic References Annex
A. Apostolou Technical University of Crete
When an organization truly wants to create a positive work environment that is based on high trust, exceptional customer service, collaborative teamwork, operational excellence, and creative problem solving, then the leadership team must begin to understand, invest in, and be responsive to the needs of the group that represents the organization’s most valuable assets, and is also one of its most important customers, the employees. The return on such nominal investments will come in the form of higher levels of employee motivation, creativity, productivity, and commitment that will move the organization forward with greater profitability. A fundamental Total Quality Management precept is that employees must be involved and empowered. Employee involvement means that every employee is regarded as a unique human being, not just a cog in a machine, and each employee is involved in helping the organization meet its goals. Each employee’s input is solicited and valued by his/her management. Employees and management recognize that each employee is involved in running the business. Employee empowerment is a somewhat different concept. It means that in addition to involving employees in running the business, employees and management recognize that many problems or obstacles to achieving organizational goals can be identified and solved by employees. Employee empowerment means that management recognizes this ability, and provides employees with the tools and authority required to continuously improve their performance. The management states its expectations about employees recognizing and solving problems, and empowers them to do so.
What is Employee Involvement and empowerment
One of the greatest underlying factors in the success or failure of any organization is the power of its people, and how well that power is focused towards meeting the organization’s objectives. Modern manufacturing management pursues the goal of a paperless factory, with design concepts moving from an engineering computer – aided – design terminal through data links to a computer – aided – manufacturing terminal, which in turn drives a numerically controlled machine. The above factory automation example notwithstanding, all companies operate on the strengths and weaknesses of their employees. Even in a fully automated factory, employees have to design, maintain, and operate the systems that create output. Organizations that can tap the strengths of their people will be stronger and more competitive than those that cannot. Organizations that regard people as automatons or mere cogs in a wheel will never realize their full potential. In the long run, such companies’ inefficiencies attract competition, and unless the management philosophy changes, they will disappear. Employee involvement is a process for empowering employees to participate in managerial decision-making and improvement activities appropriate to their levels in the organization. Since McGregor’s Theory Y first...