project A. ApostolouTechnical University of Crete
When an organization truly wants to create a positive work environment that is based onhigh trust, exceptional customer service, collaborative teamwork, operational excellence,and creative problem solving, then the leadership team must begin to understand, investin, and be responsive to the needs of the group that represents the organization’s mostvaluable assets, and is also one of its most important customers, the employees. Thereturn on such nominal investments will come in the form of higher levels of employeemotivation, creativity, productivity, and commitment that will move the organizationforward with greater profitability. A fundamental Total Quality Management precept isthat employees must be involved and empowered.
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 organizationmeet 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 thebusiness.
is a somewhat different concept. It means that in addition toinvolving employees in running the business, employees and management recognize thatmany problems or obstacles to achieving organizational goals can be identified andsolved by employees. Employee empowerment means that management recognizes thisability, and provides employees with the tools and authority required to continuouslyimprove their performance. The management states its expectations about employeesrecognizing and solving problems, and empowers them to do so.
1.1 What is Employee Involvement and empowerment
One of the greatest underlying factors in the success or failure of any organization is thepower of its people, and how well that power is focused towards meeting theorganization’s objectives. Modern manufacturing management pursues the goal of apaperless factory, with design concepts moving from an engineering computer – aided –design terminal through data links to a computer – aided – manufacturing terminal, whichin turn drives a numerically controlled machine.The above factory automation example notwithstanding, all companies operate on thestrengths 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 morecompetitive than those that cannot. Organizations that regard people as automatons ormere cogs in a wheel will never realize their full potential. In the long run, suchcompanies’ inefficiencies attract competition, and unless the management philosophychanges, they will disappear.
is a process for empowering employees to participate inmanagerial decision-making and improvement activities appropriate to their levels in theorganization. Since McGregor’s Theory Y first brought to managers the idea of aparticipative management style, employee involvement has taken many forms, includingthe job design approaches and special activities such as quality of work life (QWL)programs.