Term Paper on Empowerment

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← Overview

What motivates people to work? Money may be the primary reason, but beyond a certain limit it fails to. Organizations have been trying out different things to increase the level of motivation of its employees. Employee empowerment is one of them.

Employee empowerment means that an employee is given a chance to be enterprising, take risks without compromising with the organizational goals, mission and vision. His say in the process of decision making is increased. This can be for one particular individual or for the entire organization. In the latter case it is called participative management.

There are pros and cons to this employee empowerment. Whereas it is said and has been observed that participative management may lead to increased productivity, motivation, job satisfaction and quality enhancement; it may also slow down the process of decision making and act a potential security threat in terms of ease of access of information it offers to the employees.

From an organizational perspective the following pros and cons may be associated with employee empowerment.

Participative management or employee empowerment does not mean relentless transfer of authority. It has to be in a controlled and regulated manner. Each aspect has to be carefully studied and levels of participation decided. For example, the level of participation of knowledge workers is different from that of a floor worker.

• The practice of empowerment is attempted in the context of many applications:

• Employee empowerment – transitioning more empowerment to employees has occurred as organizations have flattened and attempted to become leaner.

• Team empowerment – self managed teams require a level of empowerment if they are to grow to truly be self managed teams.

• Self empowerment – there is an internal desire for many people to have more control in their lives and work. Developing of self in order to be ready for empowerment and responsibility is worthy. Personal empowerment can be a great result.

• Women empowerment – the authority of women in leadership has definitely grown. Such worthy progress by a segment of professionals and workers is accompanied with greater empowerment.

Some of these examples experience natural emergence and growth over time. Others are initiated intentionally and pressured to increase. It is in these areas where empowerment is forced where we often see problems. Absence of attention to some basics of empowerment theory can even result in disastrous outcomes.

← Definition of empowerment

Empowerment is a process to give a person (or team) more authority for making the decisions critical to success in their work.

Empowerment is a continuum, allowing different levels of empowerment based on the readiness of the individuals and leaders involved, in combination with surrounding business conditions.

A management practice of sharing information, rewards, and power with employees so that they can take initiative and make decisions to solve problems and improve service and performance.

Empowerment is the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behaves, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one's own destiny.

Empowerment is based on the idea that giving employees skills, resources, authority, opportunity, motivation, as well holding them responsible and accountable for outcomes of their actions, will contribute to their competence and satisfaction.

Empowerment is related to the word power. In English, the concept leans on its original meaning of investment with legal power—permission to act for some specific goal or purpose (Rappaport, 1987).

Barbara Solomon (1976, 1985) emphasized empowerment as a method of social work with oppressed Afro-Americans.

Peter Berger and Richard Neuhaus (1977) proposed empowerment as a way of improving the...
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