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Introduction

Defining empowerment Empowerment has been described as a means to enable employees to make decisions (Bowen and Lawler, 1992) and as a personal phenomenon where individuals take responsibility for their own actions (Pastor, 1996). The first definition relates to how management facilitates and implements the empowerment culture, while the second emphasizes the importance of the individual in the truly successful application of empowerment. Wing (1996) uses the term personal empowerment in relation to business consultants and views it as a strong self-analytical tool which allows them to understand and address their personal biases, differences of opinions, and experiences with clients in order to be successful in change efforts. Whatever the definition of empowerment used, the end goal is to develop the performance and potential of the individual as well as that of the organization (Long, 1996). Lashley (1996) defines empowerment in relation to an organizations purpose for using the strategy. Is empowerment deployed to achieve greater employee commitment, to gain information from employees and improve the bottom-line, or to increase responsiveness to customers? While the pursuit of one objective does not automatically exclude the others, organizations may focus on a specific empowerment aim at the expense of potential gains from seeking other empowerment goals.

Empowerment
One of the contemporary approaches to motivating employees through job design is empowerment. The concept of empowerment extends the idea of autonomy. Empowerment may be defined as the removal of conditions that make a person powerless. The idea behind empowerment is that employees have the ability to make decisions and perform their jobs effectively if management removes certain barriers. Thus, instead of dictating roles, companies should create an environment where employees thrive, feel motivated, and have discretion to make decisions about the content and context of theirjobs. Employees who feel empowered believe that their work is meaningful. They tend to feel that they are capable of performing their

jobs effectively, have the ability to influence how the company operates, and can perform their jobs in any way they see fit, without close supervision and other interference. These liberties enable employees to feel powerful. In cases of very high levels of empowerment, employees decide what tasks to perform and how to perform them, in a sense managing themselves. Research has distinguished between structural elements of empowerment and felt empowerment. Structural empowerment refers to the aspects of the work environment that give employees discretion, autonomy, and the ability to do their jobs effectively. The idea is that the presence of certain structural factors helps empower people, but in the end empowerment is a perception. The following figure demonstrates the relationship between structural and felt empowerment. For example, at Harley-Davidson Motor Company, employees have the authority to stop the production line if they see a blemish on the product. Leadership style is another influence over experienced empowerment. If the manager is controlling, micromanaging, and bossy, chances are that empowerment will not be possible. A companys structure has a role in determining empowerment as well. Factories organized around teams, such as the Saturn plant of General Motors Corporation, can still empower employees, despite the presence of a traditional hierarchy. Access to information is often mentioned as a key factor in empowering employees. If employees are not given information to make an informed decision, empowerment attempts will fail. Therefore, the relationship between access to information and empowerment is well established. Finally, empowering individual employees cannot occur in a bubble, but instead depends on creating a climate of empowerment throughout the entire organization. What is Empowerment?

Almost every society has within it some minority groups that feel incapable of controlling their own destiny. Similarly, most work organizations have a number of employees who believe that they are dependent on others and that their own efforts will have little on performance. This powerlessness contributes to the frustrating experience of low self-efficacy-the conviction among people that they cannot successfully perform their jobs or make meaningful contributions. Problems with self-efficacy are often caused by major organizational changes that are beyond the employees control (such as mergers). Problems may also stem from having to work under an

authoritarian leader, within a reward system that fails to reinforce competence or innovation, or in job that lacks variety, discretion, or role clarity.

Fortunately, individual perceptions of low levels of self-efficacy can be raised by empowering employees. Empowerment is any process that provides greater autonomy to employees through the sharing of relevant information and the provision of control over factors affecting job performance. Empowerments help remove the conditions that cause powerlessness while enhancing employee feelings of self-efficacy. Empowerment authorizes employee to cope with situations and enables them to take control of problems as they arise. Five broad approaches to empowerment have been suggested:

1. Helping employees achieve job mastery (giving proper training, coaching and guided experience that will result in initial successes) 2. Allowing more control (giving them discretion over job performance and then holding them accountable for outcomes) 3. Providing successful role models (allowing them to observe peers who already perform successfully on the job) 4. Using social reinforcement and persuasion (giving praise, encouragement and verbal feedback designed to raise self-confidence) 5. Giving emotional support (providing reduction of stress and anxiety through better role definition, task assistance and honest caring)

When managers use these approaches, employees begin believing that they are competent and valued, that their jobs have meaning and impact, and that they have opportunities to use their talents. In effect, when they have been legitimately empowered, it is more likely that their efforts will pay off in both personal satisfaction and the kind of results that the organization values. This chain of events is illustrated in Figure 1.

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Similarly, Vogt (1997), defined empowerment as the act of giving people the opportunity to make workplace decisions by expanding their autonomy in decision making. Empowerment also has been described as the breaking down of traditional hierarchical structures, as in an empowered organization, the line personnel closest to a problem, are given the authority to solve the problem (Blanchard, 1997). The concept has spanned cultures and industrial sectors. Morales (1997), for example, has quoted a fellow Mexican, Freddie Lopez, as suggesting that empowerment is training employees to offer each other trust, support, education, ideas, respect and motivation with the aim of developing each persons skills. Lopez also commented that empowerment must be a process and a long-term commitment that is incorporated into a companys growth strategy, so as to motivate and to breed loyalty among workers. Indeed, employees who have autonomous decision making capabilities, can act as business partners, keeping watch on profitability (Ettorre, 1997).

From a service perspective, empowerment gives employees the authority to make decisions concerning customer service. True empowerment means that employees can bend and break rules to do whatever is necessary (within reason) to take care of the customer (Tschohl, 1997). In other words, empowerment is the wisdom to know what to do, the will to do what needs to be done, and the wherewithal to do it (Troyer, 1997, 27). Employee empowerment as a term is frequently used in management circles. In practice, however, it is a daunting effort to find an exact definition of it. There are hundreds of articles on the topic. Some attempt their own definition; others expect that the reader already knows what the concept means. What is employee empowerment? What are its roots? What do the various theoretical voices have to say about the concept?

Empowerment of employees tends to be beneficial for organizations, because it is related to outcomes such as employee innovativeness, managerial effectiveness, employee commitment to the organization, customer satisfaction, job performance, and behaviors that benefit the company and other employees. At the same time, empowerment may not necessarily be suitable for all employees. Those individuals with low growth strength or low achievement need may not

benefit as strongly from empowerment. Moreover, the idea of empowerment is not always easy to implement, because some managers may feel threatened when subordinates are empowered. If employees do not feel ready for empowerment, they may also worry about the increased responsibility and accountability. Therefore, preparing employees for empowerment by carefully selecting and training them is important to the success of empowerment interventions.

The Empowerment Process

Empowerment practice strives to develop within the individuals, families, groups or communities the abilities to gain power. Research and practice on empowerment have identified a specific process that contributes to this change (Cox, 1988, 1991; Cox & Parsons, 1994; Gutirrez, 1994; Kieffer, 1984; Parsons, 1991; Simon, 1994; Torre, 1985). This literature has identified the following components as particularly significant:

1. Attitudes, Values and Beliefs. Beliefs regarding self-efficacy- a sense of self that promotes action on ones behalf, a belief in self-worth and a sense control-affect the empowerment process. Psychology views these attitudes as the sole component and primary goal of empowerment. However, empowerment in our sense goes beyond developing feelings of individual control to affecting larger social systems.

2. Validation through Collective Experience. In collective experience, the self and others recognize shares experience; i.e., that some of ones perceptions about oneself and the surrounding world are indeed valid and therefore legitimate to voice. This recognition contributes to collective view that reduces self-blame, increases the tendency to look beyond personal failure as the cause of the problem at hand, brings about a sence of shared fate and raises consciousness. Collective experience can motivate one to seek change beyond the individual level toward other systems, such as the family or community. 3. Knowledge and Skills for Critical Thinking and Action. Through mutual sharing and support, inviduals can think critically about their internal and external aspects of a problem. They can identify macro-level structures and their impact as well as explore how they have acquired

their values, beliefs and attitudes and how these affect the problem. Increasing power includes learning to think critically, learning how to access information and take action, actually taking action and assessing the outcome. The process of placing problems in a sociopolitical context reduces self-blame and helps inviduals see the roots of their problems are similar to those of others. They also begin to notice common experiences that help them collectively to understand and take action. 4. Action. Through reflective action (praxis), individuals can develop action strategies and cultivate the resources, knowledge and skills necessary to influence internal and external structures. Psychologically, they learn to assume responsibility for their actions. Behaviorally, they become willing and able to act with others to attain common goals and social change, as well as reflect on and learn from those actions.

Though these four components are necessary for empowerment, no linear relationship among them is assumed and none is considered more important than any other as a place to begin work. In empowerment practice, as in any other context, one must start where the client system is to define its needs and goals. Therefore, social workers should know all the dimensions of the empowerment process.

Creating an empowerment culture

Why the concern for empowerment? Nixon (1994) sees empowerment arising from external and internal challenges for organizations. External challenges have resulted as a result of higher levels of competition, changes in the composition of the workforce, and higher expectations from customers. Internal challenges relate to employee retention, motivation, and development.

According to Beach (1996), empowerment remains with the individual and cannot be imposed from above. How then can an environment conducive to empowerment be created? Organizations wishing to instill a culture of empowerment must find a way of establishing systems and processes that do not restrict employees. By concentrating on what behaviour is considered optimal for the employees and what they do well, management can adapt, develop

and change the organizational structure to produce the sought after behaviour: employees dedicated to learning, growing, and developing; employees who are self-managed; leadership not only existing at the top; a high level of trust between management and employees as well as among employees; employee participation in decision making; a high level of vertical and horizontal communication; and employees able to deal with conflict management and resolution effectively and efficiently.

To bring all this about, a shift in management thinking and management strategy are necessary. Collins (1996a) looks at historical debates on democracy to gain insight on how a radical change to organizational culture for empowerment can be developed. He looks at reasons why people fail to participate in a democratic system and attributes this to either a lack of education and knowledge for groups to be able to participate or a failure to see the connection between participation and political decisions. From this historical analysis, there appear to be two essential ingredients for a successful implementation of empowerment in organizations: education and participation in the decision-making process, particularly for decisions influencing the individuals sphere of influence. Parry (cited by Collins, 1996a) delves deeper into participation theory and outlines three ways of viewing it:

1 how participation takes place (direct or indirect); 2 to what degree participation occurs (intensity and frequency); and 3 the quality of participation (and resulting impact or change).

Traditionally, and even today, collective bargaining has been the strongest form of employee participation. Could empowerment change this?

An empowered organizational culture relies on the involvement of everyone, including both management and employees, to bring about its success. Simmons (1995) illustrates the overlapping or disappearance of boundaries between formal and informal leadership to that of an inclusive organization where there are leaders of leaders.

Empowerment may take the form of socalled empowered subcultures of low and mid-level managers cut off from the top echelons of an organization (Logan et al., 1996). The commitment and participation of top management, the strategy and policy makers of an organization, are necessary for a truly comprehensive culture of empowerment to exist. Empowering employees does not mean disempowering managers but rather permits time and energy to be used more efficiently and productively by all players.

Why should empowerment be taken seriously as a management strategy or organizational philosophy? Empowerment offers the potential for guaranteeing employee performance through a higher level of self-control (Collins, 1996b). In an organization such as Mazda, where there is an extremely thorough selection process to establish the prospective employees fit with the organization, the worker selected has demonstrated a willingness to commit to the organization and subsequently becomes an active member of an empowered system of processes geared to stimulate and encourage his or her participation.

Roots of the concept of employee empowerment

The multiple dimensions of employee empowerment make it a difficult concept to define. Additionally, writers on the concept use different words to describe similar approaches. Sullivan (1994) indicates that prior to 1990 empowerment could only be accessed through articles that discussed topics such as participative management, total quality control, individual development, quality circles and strategic planning. Since 1990 the number of articles with employee empowerment as the key descriptor has exploded. This is partly because the term can be used to describe both the individual aspect of the concept as well as the organizational one. A complicating factor in defining employee empowerment is that by its very nature, in order for empowerment to be successful, each organization must create and define it for itself. Empowerment must address the needs and culture of each unique entity. Without this self-reference, employee empowerment invariably fails because the commitment, or the sense of ownership of the concept, is not created.

Various researchers have looked at the dimensions of empowerment through different lenses. Control of ones own work, autonomy on the job, variations of teamwork, and pay systems that link pay with performance are all called empowerment. As this variety is examined, it becomes clear that some of them focus on an individuals ability and desire to be empowered. Menon (1995) terms this the empowered state. Alternatively, some of the items addressed, for instance: teams, job enrichment, pay for performance, employee stock ownership, are clearly not merely from the individual perspective. They are techniques that management uses to create an environment that allows for, and even facilitates, employees opting for an empowered state. Individuals must choose to take self-power or not. Leaders create an environment where individuals are able to make that choice.

The earliest perspective on employee empowerment is derived from the dictionary definition of bestowing power upon others but it changes over time to focus on how the leader alters the context of the workplace to allow employees to take power. Kanter (1977) defines empowerment as giving power to people who are at a disadvantaged spot in the organization. She sees a continuum of power from powerlessness to empower. Continuing in this tradition (Block 1987),

Sullivan (1994) and Sullivan and Howell (1996) also focus on the role of the manager in empowering employees.

This perspective suggests that an empowered organization is one where managers supervise more people than in a traditional hierarchy and delegate more decisions to their subordinates (Malone, 1997). Managers act like coaches and help employees solve problems. Employees, he concludes, have increased responsibility. Superiors empowering subordinates by delegating responsibilities to them leads to subordinates who are more satisfied with their leaders and consider them to be fair and in turn to perform up to the superiors expectations (Keller and Dansereau, 1995).

In practice, the definition of delegation appears to be of critical importance. It can be discerned by the language used by the researcher. The words subordinate and superior in the language suggests giving additional tasks to employees. This is not perceived as empowering by employees (Menon 1995). Providing for the development of self-worth by negotiating for latitude in decision making and changing aspects of the employees job leads to increased levels of perceived self-control and hence empowerment (Vogt and Murrell 1990; Keller and Dansereau 1995; Menon 1995).

Interventions provided by leaders to achieve empowerment deal with systemic, structural, and programmatic issues as well as individual and managerial responsibilities. Examples include creating a shared vision; providing clear top-management support; the use of team and temporary group models of organization; responding to external circumstances and developing a strategy for continually scanning the environment; redesigning work to reflect collaborative norms; the use of job-enrichment; creative use of sponsorships, role models, peer alliances, coaching, and mentoring; the development of reward systems that build win-win rather than win-lose attitudes; and identification and clarification of common goals (Vogt and Murrell 1990). Simply providing opportunities for employees to take power is not enough. Employees must also choose to be engaged in those options.

The individual perspective of the empowered state If power is not taken by those it is bestowed upon, there is no empowerment. Murrell (Vogt and Murrell, 1990) defines empowerment as an act of building, developing and increasing power by working with others, which he terms interactive empowerment, and of having the ability to influence ones own behavior, which he calls self empowerment. Another definition of employee empowerment from this perspective is a cognitive state [of] perceived control, perceived competence and goal internalization (Menon, 1995, p. 30).

Some who operate from the individual perspective equate empowerment with a process. For them empowerment refers to the process of gaining influence over events and outcomes of importance to an individual or group (Foster-Fishman and Keys, 1995). Thomas and Velthouse (1985) believe that empowerment relates to the very basis of human existence. They conceive empowerment as occurring as cognitive variables change. The key cognitive variables are the environment, the tasks, and the behavior of the leader, the individuals interpretive styles, and the impact and meaningfulness of the task. Building on their work and that of Conger and Kanungo (1988) who set out initial constructs of empowerment from the employees perspective, Menon (1995) surveyed 311 employees of a corporation to determine the effects of empowerment on them. The survey found that:

Perceived uncertainty of the job, formalization, centralization, poor communications, noncontingent/arbitrary reward systems, role ambiguity, and role conflict in the work environment lead to decreased perceptions of control and lower empowerment.

Greater job autonomy and meaningfulness of the job lead to greater perceived control and greater empowerment. Consulting, recognizing, inspiring, and mentoring behaviors of the immediate supervisor lead to greater perceived control and greater empowerment and can even moderate the effect of poor contextual factors of empowerment.

The greater the empowerment, the higher the internal work motivation, the higher the job satisfaction, the lower the job stress, the greater the job involvement, the more involvement beyond the defined job of the individual, and the greater the organizational commitment.

In a similar study surveying 393 middle managers of Fortune 500 corporations, Spreitzer (1996) found that employees who are empowered have low ambiguity about their role in organizations. The leaders in empowered organizations have a wide span of control which leads to more autonomy for the employee. Empowered employees feel that their organization provides them sociopolitical support, that they have greater access to information and resources than in traditional organizations, and that their work climate is participatory. Spreitzer found that access to resources, while good to have, been not significantly related to a perception of being empowered.

Collaborative work as empowerment Employees often think of empowerment in terms of self-empowerment. They lose sight of the fact that teamwork and cooperation depend on each element in the system working in concert with every other element. (Landes, 1994, p. 116). The team concept of empowerment probably developed out of the quality circle efforts of the 1970s and 1980s (Sims, 1986). Empowerment from this perspective is an act of building, developing, and increasing power through cooperating, sharing, and working together (Rothstein, 1995, p. 21). In other words empowerment means managing organizations by collaboration where workers have a voice (Gorden, 1995).

The beginnings of the concept of employee empowerment can be found in several places. The socio-technical approach (Lewin, 1951) combined two aspects of work in a systemic manner. The idea of job enrichment (Herzberg, Mausner et al., 1959; Herzberg, 1968) work was focused on increasing control and decision-making in ones work. The literature on job autonomy, (Herzberg, Mausner et al., 1959; Herzberg, 1968; Hackman and Oldham, 1976; Hackman and Oldham, 1980; Menon, 1995) addresses another component of what is today referred to employee empowerment.

The approach to leadership that empowers subordinates as a primary component of managerial and organizational effectiveness is also called employee empowerment (Bennis, 1989; Block, 1987; Kanter, 1977; Kanter, 1979; Kanter, 1989; McClelland, 1975). Another dimension has its

beginnings in the analysis of internal organization power and control (Kanter, 1979; Tannenbaum, 1968) which showed that the sharing of power and control increases organizational effectiveness. Others identify the team dimension of empowerment (Beckhard, 1969; Neilsen, 1986). Research on alienation (Seeman, 1959) and discussion of employee participation (Lawler, 1992) are also precursors of the idea of employee empowerment[1].

Having developed an understanding of the roots of employee empowerment, the next challenge is to determine what it is that people mean when they refer to it. The literature on employee empowerment can be divided into five groupings: leadership, the individual empowered state, collaborative work, structural or procedural change, and the multi-dimensional perspective which encompasses most of the four previously stated categories.

Similarly, Vogt (1997), defined empowerment as the act of giving people the opportunity to make workplace decisions by expanding their autonomy in decision making. Empowerment also has been described as the breaking down of traditional hierarchical structures, as in an empowered organization, the line personnel closest to a problem, are given the authority to solve the problem (Blanchard, 1997). The concept has spanned cultures and industrial sectors. Morales (1997), for example, has quoted a fellow Mexican, Freddie Lopez, as suggesting that empowerment is training employees to offer each other trust, support, education, ideas, respect and motivation with the aim of developing each persons skills. Lopez also commented that empowerment must be a process and a long-term commitment that is incorporated into a companys growth strategy, so as to motivate and to breed loyalty among workers. Indeed, employees who have autonomous decision making capabilities, can act as business partners, keeping watch on profitability (Ettorre, 1997).

From a service perspective, empowerment gives employees the authority to make decisions concerning customer service. True empowerment means that employees can bend and break rules to do whatever is necessary (within reason) to take care of the customer (Tschohl, 1997). In other words, empowerment is the wisdom to know what to do, the will to do what needs to be done, and the wherewithal to do it (Troyer, 1997, 27).

Empowerment in the workplace must integrate key aspects of personal empowerment, responsibility, accountability and shared risk taking. Empowerment is not a static event, but rather a dynamic evolutionary process in which the manager, employee and team are all involved.

Stages of empowerment There are five distinct levels or stages of autonomy and empowerment in which a team and its manager operate.

Stage one At stage one, the manager makes the decisions and informs the team. This may seem basic and obvious but, all too often, managers operate on a pre-stage one level they make their decisions and do not bother to inform the team.

Stage two Here the manager asks the team for suggestions, makes the decisions based on those suggestions and informs the team.

Stage three The manager and the team discuss the situation at length, management asks for proposals and input from the team (which may or may not be adopted), makes the decisions and informs the team.

Stage four This stage continues building on this relationship and, at this point, the decisions are made cooperatively between management and the team.

Stage five In stage five, the manager delegates the decision making to the team. The team operates completely autonomously, making crucial decisions of which they may or may not, at their discretion, inform management.

The Nature of Empowerment

What Is Empowerment? Almost every society has within it some minority groups that feel incapable of controlling their own destiny. Similarly, most work organizations have a number of employees who believe that they are dependent on others and that their own efforts will have little impact on performance. This powerlessness contributes to the frustrating experience of low self-efficacy-the conviction is meaningful contributions. Problems with self-efficacy are often caused by major organizational changes that are beyond the employees control (such as mergers). Problems may also stem from having to work under an authoritarian leader, within a reward system that fails to reinforce competence or innovations, or in a job that lacks variety, discretion, or role clarity.

Fortunately, individual perceptions of low levels of self-efficacy can be raised by empowering employees. Empowerment is any process that provides greater autonomy to employees through the sharing of relevant information and the provision of control over factors affecting job performance. Empowerment helps remove the conditions that cause powerlessness while enhancing employee feelings of self-efficacy. Empowerment authorizes employees to cope with situations and enables them to take control of problems as they arise. Five broad approaches to empowerment have been suggested:

1. Helping employees achieve job mastery (giving proper training, coaching and guided experience that will result in initial successes) 2. Allowing more control (giving them discretion over job performance and then holding them accountable for outcomes) 3. Providing successful role model (allowing them to observe peers who already perform successfully on the job) 4. Using social reinforcement and persuasion (giving praise, encouragement and verbal feedback designs o raise self-confidence)

5. Giving emotional support (providing reduction of stress and anxiety through better role definition, task assistance ad honest caring)

When managers use these approaches, employees begin believing that they are competent and values, that their jobs have meaning and impact and that they have opportunities to use their talents. In effect, when they have been legitimately empowered, it is more likely that their efforts will pay off in both personal satisfaction and the kind of results that the organization values. This chain of events is illustrated in Figure 2.

A major review of the theoretical literature on empowerment concluded that it is the result of four cognitions by employees meaning and purpose to ones work role, competence in the skills and abilities required, autonomy and control over how one does the work assigned and a sense of personal impact over relevant organizational outcomes. A study conducted in a manufacturing firm and a service organization showed that all four of those dimensions were necessary to produce a positive impact on organizational effectiveness and individual satisfaction.

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Managers have many behavioral tools available to them to attack the powerlessness problem. Some of these tools, such as mutual goal setting, job feedback, modeling and contingent reward systems.

The strategic performance empowerment model How then, do employees become empowered? What are the attributes of an empowered employee? What characteristics must employees possess in order to be truly empowered? These questions have lead to the development of a model designed to optimize employee potential. Within the strategic performance empowerment model, three key variables (1. coaching or mentoring; 2. peer and supervisor modeling; 3. career path development and

strategies), must be present to provide employees with the guidance and the skills necessary to become empowered employees (see Figure 1).

1. Coaching Cleary (1995), defined coaching as an informal, planned, ongoing process for interacting with employees. The goals of coaching are to improve job performance by increasing employees capability for managing their own performance. A coach has been defined as someone who cares about human dignity and spiritual growth (Jones, 1995), while simultaneously adding value to an organization by helping the staff learn, grow and develop (Phillips, 1995).

To be effective, coaching must cut across hierarchies and functional boundaries, e.g., managers coach subordinates, and peers coach peers (Peters, 1996), so that all employees become more adaptive to change. It is through the process of learning that change takes place (Phillips, 1995). The coach, however, is not a teacher, but a partner who introduces others to challenges, options and alternative behaviors (Witherspoon, 1996).

Witherspoon pulls coaching even further away from the teaching environment by suggesting that the focus of coaching should be less on teaching new techniques, than on being a helper. He defines coaching as a process whereby the employee is given guidance in assessing his/her own performance, obtains feedback on strengths and weaknesses and learns new behaviors and skills. The coach does not tell employees what to do, but rather helps them be better than they already

are (Brown, 1997). Brown cautions however, that coaching can never omit the transfer of basic skills. Warner (1996) concludes that coaching, as a proactive behavior, is one of the best ways to ensure that employees improve and become consistently more productive. Coaching is different from old-fashioned performance appraisals and evaluations, as the process focuses on what people are doing right and on ways they can capitalize on their strengths to improve further. Coaching, then, has two main goals, to increase skill levels, and to modify behavior by discarding undesirable behaviors and learning more effective ones (Coppola, 1995).

The proper use of coaching then, is linked directly to empowerment. Coaches setup environments where individuals feel able to make decisions for themselves, by developing selfconfidence and beliefs in oneself and in others (Oncken, 1997). This practice leads to higher quality performance, and ultimately, to the empowered organization (Willard, 1995).

2. Modeling It has often been said that behaviors speak louder than words this is the essence of the modeling concept in employee development as we communicate more by what we do, than by what we say (Crouch, 1997). Many of the messages received by employees are nonverbal, yet this important opportunity to influence behavior often is overlooked (Horsfall, 1996).

Behavior modeling can be defined as the study of personal excellence, as employees tend to emulate those whom they admire and respect (Alder, 1992). Even where managers or entrepreneurs are not an object of admiration, however, they can become a model for planned development.

Modeling, then, is part skills-based training. Using discussions, demonstrations, role-playing and feedback, skills can be taught. Modeling, however, also is value based. Behavioral change cannot always be brought about solely by changing skill levels. There are many studies that document the measurable effects of modeling on training (Zenger, 1991).

Supported by 20 years of research, behavior modeling has been considered to be one of the most effective forms of employee development. Indeed, Pescuric & Byham (1996), suggest that modeling is the most effective means of developing skills and changing behavior.

Wilhelm (1992), also indicates that modeling is the single most effective means of affecting behavioral change in corporations. Practical implementation, however, is most difficult, as largescale organizational change requires each successive level to model the behavior that is expected of subordinates. Thus, understanding the link between the behavior of leaders and employee performance is critical (McNeese-Smith, 1993). By setting high standards, providing examples, stating clear values and maintaining behaviors that follow these values, managers will build commitment, and commitment is an ingredient essential to the empowerment process.

3. Career path development The body of literature related to career planning continues to grow, as future managers must be increasingly flexible and possess multiple skills (McNutt, 1995). From both an organizational and an individual perspective, career planning can start as early as the hiring stage. Through proper selection techniques, placement and nurturing, defined career paths can be developed. The recognition of accomplishments, increases in the level of responsibility and opportunities for advancement foster a sense of commitment and job satisfaction (Miller, 1997). Similarly, Charter-Scott (1997) found that managers who earned the highest respect from their employees, were concerned with goals, career paths and growth, a position supported by Crouchs (1997), work on successful management styles. Crouch suggests that managers should work constantly toward improving skills, linking this philosophy to both the individual perspective (this type of development keeps employees suited to their jobs), and the organizational perspective skills enhancement helps managers to prepare their corporation for the future.

The Process Of Empowerment The process which enables individuals/groups to fully access personal/collective power, authority and influence, and to employ that strength when engaging with other people, institutions or society. In other words, Empowerment is not giving people power, people

already have plenty of power, in the wealth of their knowledge and motivation, to do their jobs magnificently. We define empowerment as letting this power out (Blanchard, K)." It encourages people to gain the skills and knowledge that will allow them to overcome obstacles in life or work environment and ultimately, help them develop within themselves or in the society. Empowerment includes the following, or similar, capabilities:

The ability to make decisions about personal/collective circumstances The ability to access information and resources for decision-making Ability to consider a range of options from which to choose (not just yes/no, either/or.) Ability to exercise assertiveness in collective decision making Having positive-thinking about the ability to make change Ability to learn and access skills for improving personal/collective circumstance. Ability to inform others perceptions though exchange, education and engagement. Involving in the growth process and changes that is never ending and self-initiated Increasing one's positive self-image and overcoming stigma Increasing one's ability in discreet thinking to sort out right and wrong

OB Toolbox: Tips for Empowering Employees

Change the company structure so that employees have more power on their jobs. If jobs are strongly controlled by organizational procedures or if every little decision needs to be approved by a superior, employees are unlikely to feel empowered. Give them discretion at work.

Provide employees with access to information about things that affect their work. When employees have the information they need to do their jobs well and understand company goals, priorities, and strategy, they are in a better position to feel empowered.

Make sure that employees know how to perform their jobs. This involves selecting the right people as well as investing in continued training and development.

Do not take away employee power. If someone makes a decision, let it stand unless it threatens the entire company. If management undoes decisions made by employees on a regular basis, employees will not believe in the sincerity of the empowerment initiative.

Instill a climate of empowerment in which managers do not routinely step in and take over. Instead, believe in the power of employees to make the most accurate decisions, as long as they are equipped with the relevant facts and resources.

http://www.emeraldinsight.com.pustaka2.upsi.edu.my/search.htm?st1=empowerment&ct=jnl &nolog=520441&page=2 http://www.emeraldinsight.com.pustaka2.upsi.edu.my/search.htm?st1=burnout&ct=jnl&go=G o http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empowerment

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