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DHS 7013 - Leadership & Organizational Effectiveness
Mohd Zaini Bin M.Y. Shahabdeen 91972
For: Dr.Abdul Rahman Bin Ahmad
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................................................................................3 1.0 INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................................................................4 2.0 LITERATURE REVIEW.......................................................................................................................................5 2.1 DEFINING EMPOWERMENT .....................................................................................................................................8 2.2 ACTIVELY PROMOTING INDIVIDUAL EMPOWERMENT ................................................................................................9 2.3 ACTIVELY DEVELOPING COLLECTIVE (GROUP) EMPOWERMENT .................................................................................10 3.0 THE CHALLENGES OF EMPOWERMENT AND HOW TO DEAL WITH THEM................................13 3.1 THE BALANCE OF POWER....................................................................................................................................13 3.2 KEY ELEMENTS.................................................................................................................................................14 3.3 IDENTIFYING AN EMPOWERED PERSON...................................................................................................................16 3.4 IDENTIFYING AN EMPOWERING SERVICE.................................................................................................................16 4.0 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS................................................................................................19
open and widespread. partnership board members and project managers) and towards the intended beneficiaries. To actively: • • • • promote individual empowerment. systems and structures. make independent choices and influence change. however. psychological and political terms. development.. that it signals a major move in the balance of power. It also means that those with influence actively change their attitudes and rules and change the way decisions are made through engaging with excluded people. relationships must work on the basis of trust and freedom. with those involved able to take risks and try things out.Executive summary We have defined empowerment as: …. such as excluded people. We have identified four main principles of empowerment. The real challenge of empowerment is. even where project staff may suspect that the activity will not be successful. away from those in positions of control (for example. promote collective empowerment. with those involved in the implementation of activities also taking part in decision making…. The idea of empowerment is that those who have little or no influence. not only in economic terms but also in social. to take initiatives. and find ways to change attitudes and behaviours of key partners. involve beneficiaries in project design. Communication must be honest.the development of capacity and the opportunity for individuals and groups to play a full role in society in general. management and evaluation. 3 . are able to acquire the capacity to have informed opinions.
It will argue that. a passive definition of empowerment is developed and passive roles are ascribed to those supposedly empowered. when analyzed within the context of work. or contextual. the definition of empowerment and the descriptions of states of empowerment offered seem strangely passive. much of the literature is highly prescriptive. Thus. Further to this. human resource professionals and consultants alike. In their attempts to empower” workers. 4 .0 Introduction The buzzword “empowerment” has become a strategic concern for managers. and as a relatively unproblematic solution to a range of strategic management and labor management problems. It seems then that the definition of empowerment which underscores empowering initiatives is accepted as being both self-evident and held in common by all groups in industry. there is also the implication that the process of empowerment will lead to clear and desirable gains for both managers and workers. therefore.1. This raises key questions over the status and aims of empowering initiatives which this article will attempt to address. way. Perhaps because of this. Undue stress seems to be placed on the managerial role of “empowerer” at the expense of those who are to be empowered. managers have been encouraged to view empowerment in rather simplistic terms. The article will argue that authors tend to shy away from defining empowerment in any meaningful. This article will argue that this notion of empowerment is framed too narrowly.
are clearly not merely from the individual perspective. 1968) work was focused on increasing control and decision-making in one’s work.0 Literature Review The multiple dimensions of employee empowerment make it a difficult concept to define. 1980. Herzberg. Additionally. The idea of job enrichment (Herzberg. Without this selfreference. Hackman and Oldham. employee stock ownership. and even facilitates. Leaders create an environment where individuals are able to make that choice. variations of teamwork. 5 . Menon. Mausner et al. 1976. pay for performance. 1951) combined two aspects of work in a systemic manner.. Mausner et al. or the sense of ownership of the concept. As this variety is examined. and pay systems that link pay with performance are all called empowerment. employees opting for an empowered state. Hackman and Oldham. 1995) addresses another component of what is today referred to employee empowerment. Various researchers have looked at the dimensions of empowerment through different lenses. is not created. The socio-technical approach (Lewin. Alternatively.2. 1959. in order for empowerment to be successful. Individuals must choose to take self-power or not. each organization must create and define it for itself. job enrichment. for instance: teams. Sullivan (1994) indicates that prior to 1990 empowerment could only be accessed through articles that discussed topics such as participative management. total quality control. writers on the concept use different words to describe similar approaches. individual development. (Herzberg. quality circles. and strategic planning. This is partly because the term can be used to describe both the individual aspect of the concept as well as the organizational one. 1959. Since 1990 the number of articles with “employee empowerment” as the key descriptor has exploded. The beginnings of the concept of employee empowerment can be found in several places. 1968. autonomy on the job. Herzberg. it becomes clear that some of them focus on an individual’s ability and desire to be empowered. Empowerment must address the needs and culture of each unique entity. They are techniques that management uses to create an environment that allows for. A complicating factor in defining employee empowerment is that by its very nature. Control of one’s own work. Menon (1995) terms this the “empowered state”. The literature on job autonomy. employee empowerment invariably fails because the commitment. some of the items addressed..
struggled to cope with unofficial strikes and a range of macroeconomic problems[1. p. This led managers to concentrate on a range of labor management problems and in the late 1960s. 6 . 1992) are also precursors of the idea of employee empowerment. He quotes Ian McGregor. As we entered the 1980s. managers sought formalization in. Kanter. 1989. these factors called previous innovations into question. Empowerment stands at the front of a long line of managerial initiatives developed to address both the contemporary and the perennial problems which beset organizations. Block. This is perhaps an extreme example. perhaps even a vengeful tone. designed to allow for the collaborative redesign of work. Gill probably captures the more typically held view. 190]. And boy are we going to make it stick[3. or sometimes in tandem with it. 1986). 1979. McIlroy notes that in some organizations this reassertion took on a rather violent. 1975). 1969. In order to understand the growing interest in empowerment we have to be aware of the nature of these problems and how they impact on organizations. who was noted as saying: People are now discovering the price of insubordination and insurrection. managers were forced to confront a new range of business problems and opportunities in a changed political environment. and control over. Kanter.2]. Considered together. for example.The approach to leadership that empowers subordinates as a primary component of managerial and organizational effectiveness is also called employee empowerment (Bennis. came to the fore. 1987. Tannenbaum. the development of autonomous work groups and a range of other techniques. 1977. managers and workers have endured further developments such as the human relations movement. innovations such as worker participation schemes. labor management issues. In previous periods management initiatives and innovations focussed on approaches to management such as Taylorism and its associated practices of scientific management. Another dimension has its beginnings in the analysis of internal organization power and control (Kanter. socio-technical systems approaches and so on. Kanter. McClelland. Others identify the team dimension of empowerment (Beckhard. Following scientific management. 1989. 1968) which showed that the sharing of power and control increases organizational effectiveness. Later. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s further refinements to management thought and practice took place as Britain. for example. the chairman of the National Coal Board in Britain. 1979. Neilsen. In response managers became more assertive. Research on alienation (Seeman. 1959) and discussion of employee participation (Lawler.
Ward. in that we must trust the people we empower (Mountford. The problem is that many managers fear losing control when they give up some decision making power to another employee (Vogt. The list of concerns and fears that impede the application of empowering management tec hniques continues: (1) Consultant Thomas McCoy (President of T. Three conditions. and (2) empowerment requires skills. therefore. many feel they may become redundant (Perry.Vogt (1997). problem solving and the ability to gather and to use data. A hotel employee might be allowed (even encouraged) to spend $200 to make a guest’s stay memorable. but $1. as a key to successful empowerment. McCoy and Associates) suggests that many managers are afraid of allowing employees to take action. J. claims that accountability is the key to successfully empowering employees. suggests that for empowerment to be measurable. because they don’t feel that 7 . honesty and strategic tracking foreign to most managers. however. systems and policies still need to be developed that protect both the employee and the manager. But the trust has limits. is how their jobs might change. They need to overcome fears to perceived loss of control. Blanchard (1997) talks of creating autonomy through boundaries. managers must lead in a manner that gives employees these capabilities and third. (1996). Mountford also discusses accountability – a measurement system that monitors employees who make decisions about productivity. “Transfer of Power” discusses two. Trust is a critical component of empowerment. calling for a kind of courage. Ettorre (1997). Perhaps the managers’ main fear. to state: “We are an empowered organization”. As to boundaries. Second. issue is that managers do not know if empowerment has any effect on profitability. in his paper. managers must assess the capabilities of employees to perform a particular task. must be met. factors: (1) empowerment has boundaries. however. then. often overlooked. The concept remains difficult to quantify. quality and profit. Another. managers and employees must understand completely the structure in which tasks are to be carried out. 1997). Employees need to be given boundaries within which to innovate. Indeed. 1997).000 probably would be excessive. Managers need to change the way they manage. including decision making. there must be a direct relationship to the organization’s strategic goals and accountability at every level in the hierarchy. First. It is not enough. 1997). concerns about employee competence and doubts as to whether or not employees possess the necessary skills. for example. much different.
Most importantly. for example. 1997). guided by their knowledge of organizational values and their own personal beliefs. therefore. as employees begin to accept more and more responsibility. practical empowerment requires a change in the balance of power away from the 'expert' to the 'beneficiary'. Crouch (1997) indicates that although many innovative managers are beginning to dislike the word “empowerment”. and the 'voice' has the tools to make itself heard and understood. 2. they generally will make the right decisions. it signals a major change which needs fresh thinking and new approaches. Jordan (1997).employees understand the ramifications of their decisions on the organization’s costs and profits. companies in which staffs are empowered consistently outperform their competitors. as well as to deliver in practice. or chaos will result until an appropriate framework is put in place. Giving a 'voice' is only empowering if there is an audience that is listening. 1997). It has also been found.1 Defining empowerment Empowerment is a challenging concept to define precisely. The truly professional manager. and increasing the range of choices they have access to’… 8 . Even so. fundamental concepts behind the idea are critical to organizational success. (2) Tschohl (1997) writes that some managers don’t trust the customer. They don’t trust the ability of front line employees to make decisions. however. They feel that by empowering employees to bend the rules. when employees are empowered to do what is right. customers will take unfair advantage. autonomy cannot be given without perimeters. knows that in order to have power. may fear empowerment. especially when they make decisions. Thus. So. one must give up power (Champy. that managers who don’t promote personal development. though we feel this statement immediately prompts the questions ‘ what do me mean by a voice?’ and ‘do we have the right to give people a voice?'. tend to lose the best employees to more forward thinking companies (Brown. Empowerment has also been described as ‘…increasing the ability of individuals and groups to make choices. Despite the reticence to adopt empowerment strategies. found that in an achievement-oriented environment. Empowerment has been described as ‘giving people a voice’. as they are taking risks that could lead to reprimand or firing. (3) Employees too.
actively developing collective empowerment. 2. and Identifying ways of changing the attitudes and behaviour of key people. • verb (empowered.…. (Chambers Encyclopaedic English Dictionary (1994)). and adapting more formal systems and structures to mainstream empowerment. with those involved in the activities also taking part in decision making. To make it happen. • So. empowerment is an enabling process that removes unnecessary restrictions from staff at all levels. • empowerment means that those involved in the implementation of activities should also take part in the decision making. • empowerment is the development of capacity and the opportunity for individuals and groups to play a full role in society in general..The following definitions provide a further picture of the different ways empowerment can be viewed. empowering) (empower someone to do something) to give them authority or permission to do it.. lasting and sustainable change needed to integrate socially-excluded and marginalised groups into communities. towards control through trusting.a move from reliance on control through systems and bureaucracy. and to build the capacity of those communities and the people within them. Empowerment is vital to create the real. These guiding principles are: • • • • actively promoting individual empowerment. psychological and political terms. It moves the responsibility for control from the manager to the team . involving beneficiaries in managing projects. individuals and communities must be able to take control of their own future by accessing resources and developing the skills to generate opportunities for themselves.the development of capacity and the opportunity for individuals and groups to play a full role in society in general. The information which follows indicates the types of activities that will help you to follow these guiding principles. psychological and political terms. not only in economic terms but also in social.2 Actively promoting individual empowerment 9 . we have defined empowerment as: …. not only in economic terms but also in social.
their need for support will be high. and • other vocational skills. • self-respect. empowering individuals is likely to start with support for basic quality-of- • • life needs such as accommodation and financial management.3 Actively developing collective (group) empowerment 10 . Promoting individual empowerment involves increasing people’s motivation through confidence building. but they will need to organise furniture and financial support before they are able to move on to considering their training and employment needs. For example. and • access to information and support so they can use this information to make decisions. and • taking the initiative. • self-identity. Remember. • information technology (IT). • health. 2. Participation including giving people: • opportunities to take part designing.At the individual level . • communication. At first. You should also make sure you are working at an appropriate speed for the individuals within your target group and. finding accommodation for someone who is homeless is a first step. delivering and evaluating projects. • independence. • team working. recognising achievements and offering practical direct experience such as • • Support to improve quality of life including information on: • accommodation. Personal development including help with: • confidence. • organisational skills. though it may seem obvious. but as they gain confidence and skills. Support for wider employment including help with: • basic skills. • motivation. and • Managing finances and credit. • appropriate childcare. their need for support will fall.empowerment means establishing and then respecting the choices made by the people you are working with and not imposing your own views and needs . are working together with them.
• experience in handling relationships. • • • It is worth stressing here that 'people' includes not just your the target group but also any partners that you might be involved with. whether they need specific training so they can take part in the range of activities. and • lobby. and how to help them to recognise the need to empower others. and • interacting with others. To achieve this you should involve people in making decisions or in running your project (or both). • Personal development through team working Opportunities for groups to gain new skills include: • team working. for example. Creating new formal and informal structures This is to involve and represent excluded people. Group capacity This includes developing skills to: • organise. you will need to consider: • • • how to involve them fully in developing and designing activities. such as local and community-sector organisations. Group representation This involves a group taking part in: • developing and managing projects. trade unions and so on. • Group development Developing a shared interest and common agenda includes: • providing mutual support and a definition of common principles. empowerment consists of improving an organisation’s ability to get involved with the intended target groups and develop a sense of joint ownership of a project.At the group level. objectives and priorities. Figure 2 provides examples of empowerment as an outcome and as a process: 11 . Examples of the different types of activities that will achieve collective empowerment include the following. and • setting aims. employers. • manage. So. and • negotiating with other stakeholders and organisations. • demonstrate leadership qualities. You might want to consider creating new structures as well as thinking about new ways of doing things or involving people. to become empowered.
Providing training to support the running of target group organisations.Figure 2: Is empowerment an outcome or a process? Outcome Process A Development Partnership that aims to A Development Partnership that empowers its empower beneficiaries as a direct outcome. In this context. Examples: Providing education and training on basic Examples: skills to help people to find work. Using involvement mechanisms such as focus groups. management boards and community Organising business breakfasts for key forums. you may also find the following EMPOWER acronym a useful reference: Engage communities and partners Motivate and support Participative and inclusive Ownership and influence Work to build capacity Evaluate and communicate effectively Respond to needs and adopt a creative approach 12 . attitudes. partners through the process of achieving its DP objectives. to involve beneficiaries in managing stakeholders as part of a process to change the activity.
controlling its development. So it presents new challenges to both those in power and those who have no power: Those who are currently have no power must: • • • have access to resources and opportunities to express their needs through open communications. negotiate with other partners. 3. and • accountability and rewarding success.3. and to facilitate the transfer. authority and influence must: • • • • hand over some of that power and let relationships work on the basis of trust and freedom.1 The balance of power For empowerment to be sustainable. • freedom and trust. change and widen attitudes. This process is two-way. and adapt rules and reorganise decision making processes. and training and capacity building may be required to close the gap between intention and reality. and covers a number of key elements: • communications and information.0 The challenges of empowerment and how to deal with them This chapter discusses a number of challenges and issues you may come across in your attempts to develop empowerment through practical and achievable activities. have access to information and support to use the information. Those who have power. This is a fundamental factor in developing sustainable empowerment. The first issue is the balance of power. and be able to take part in decision making and be able to influence change. activities and events must move away from people in positions of power and towards the intended beneficiaries. We have included a number of questions about empowerment for you to consider. those holding the power will have much to learn in order to impart information and power. • responsibility and authority. those with less power will require greater knowledge and skills for effective partnership working. The process of balancing power is not easy. 13 .
using structured questionnaires. individual interviews. You must have systems in place for feedback.3. 14 . difficulties with the idea of empowerment stem from a lack of understanding of what it means and confusion over its desired ends. but allow lay people to try out different ways of working – with the opportunity to try things which might or might not work. if you are involving beneficiaries in project management. focus groups. communication must be two-way. actively developing collective empowerment. and changing attitudes and the behaviour of key partners.perhaps in teamwork or negotiating skills. Underlying all these principles are the elements that may prove to be the key conditions to achieving ‘Sustainable empowerment’. you may need to train and support beneficiaries so they can take full responsibility for their actions . accessible and widespread. What does empowerment look like? What are its different parts? And what are the barriers to meaningful empowerment? Earlier we identified four key principles of empowerment: • • • • actively promoting individual empowerment. and you must train your project workers to listen and act on the views of the people they are working with. You can easily measure the contribution that these elements are making to the success of your DP . These four elements depend on particular key features being in place for you to achieve sustainable empowerment. You may also need to make sure that project workers do not always push their usual practice as the correct way of doing things. two-way. for example. freedom and trust. responsibility and authority. understandable. research research Information is disseminated Participatory in the widest possible way methods i.e. So. These are: • • • • communications and information. definition and measurement Key element • Communication • Information Definition – ideal Communication is open. and accountability and recognising success. informal soundings and reviews of communication methods.2 Key elements As we have hinted so far. Likewise. Table 2 Empowerment: key elements. Measurement tools Communications audit.we have included suggestions on how you might do this in Table 2. involving beneficiaries in developing and managing projects. systems and structures.
People are accountable for their actions and recognise their input and actions and rewarded where appropriate. and how it will be achieved and measured. Acknowledging successful empowerment is in itself empowering. • • Accountability Reward recognition 15 . People need to methods. to adjust evaluation actions whilst the DP is running. research • Responsibility authority and Responsibility runs parallel Participatory with authority.Key element • Freedom and trust Definition – ideal and effectively. but more importantly there has to be mutual agreement between partners as to what constitutes empowerment success. Formative evaluation processes. Freedom means freedom of choice and freedom to try things and be supported if you fail as part of learning and development. Relationships should work on a basis of trust and freedom. Frequent one-to-one reviews and supervisory sessions. know the boundaries of their responsibilities and what their role is in the project. Measurement tools involving beneficiaries Explicit job and role definitions and descriptions. Formative evaluation processes take place during the life of the DP.
• Ability to make own • One-to-one interview.3. • Regular review and supervision. • Better understanding of subjects and issues. • Observation. supervision. oneself. supervision. • Awareness of issues. We have also amended this one to provide a number of suggestions on how you can identify an empowering service.3 Identifying an empowered person Table 3 Identifying an empowered person Indicators of success Confidence Broken down into Methods of measuring • Determination to achieve • Regular review and goals. decisions. empowering others • One-to-one interviews. • Peer review. • Self-assessment • Show control over own questionnaire. 16 .4 Identifying an empowering service The checklist shown in Table 4 has also been drawn from the empowerment guide for EMPLOYMENT projects. Personal development Assertiveness Independence 3. desired service or provision. life. • Self-assessment questionnaires. • Observation. • Self-assessment • Access gained to a questionnaires. • Positive feeling about • One-to-one interviews. • Ability to make a • Self-assessment contribution towards questionnaire. through knowledge and • Regular review and sharing experience. • Observation.
Planned and structured follow-up procedures. • Research. Organisation’s own records and procedures. • Physical location. • Access for people with disabilities. • • • • • Contact evaluation forms. Own experience. • Questionnaires. One-to-one interviews. policies • Family friendly.Table 4 Identifying an empowering service Indicators of success Broken down into Reception. • Leaflets. including • Welcoming staff. • Open. Effective organisational • Equal opportunities. • Giving further support. • Own experience. environment and staff • Orderly and welcoming environment. • Friendliness. • Sources of adverts and publicity. • • • • • • • Group discussion. Questionnaires. Methods of measuring • Questionnaires. Accessibility • Satisfactory opening hours. Organisation’s policies. Staff interviews. Observation. accessible. • Observation. as advisers • Flexible appointment times. Positive attitude of staff such • Show empathy. • Confidentiality. • Observation. 17 . • Information provided on the services and their availability. written and approachable ). Research. Active follow-up • Monitoring people who have left. Group discussion. • Good communication skills (verbal.
opportunities and openness workable solutions ethics and equality rights and responsibilities motivation enabling change and understanding not delegating responsibility trust and training.Developing an empowerment toolkit Aim – to achieve empowerment The empowerment ladder: 10-step plan through: End result – employment toolkit - empathy mutual interest power obligations. Fuirich Transport Development Partnership . - Specifically for transport sector Transferable format Contents The Business Case Benefits Suggested activities Research and statistics Best practice Case studies Monitoring and evaluation Suggested reading and sources of information.‘Widening Diversity in the Transport Industry’ G Williams and T Morrison 18 .
it is important to measure whether or not your strategies for doing so have been successful. Keller and Dansereau. At whatever level. interest in researching the concept appears to be growing in strength as at least ten dissertations have been written on the topic in the past two years. Of the over 200 articles on employee empowerment located in a literature search. it seems that employee empowerment is multi-dimensional. A crucial objective for you must be to look at where the control lies over decision making and direction in the individual projects – has the balance of power moved toward your beneficiaries or is it still in the control of your staff and project workers? Have you developed ways of measuring changes in confidence and selfesteem? Have you tailored your strategies to the needs of your own target group. sustainable and measurable.0 Conclusion and recommendations The practice of employee empowerment appears to be ahead of the scholarly research on the topic.from taking part in consultative forums to membership of management boards and working parties. Spreitzer. Finally. Initially. you must be clear about the role beneficiaries are playing. refereed journals (Conger and Kanungo. This involvement will include a wide variety of activities . area. objectives and resources? Another important objective is to make the distinction between empowerment as a product and as a process. As well. Empowerment as a product means that empowering groups or individuals is the desired outcome of your activities. with a few appearing in popular business magazines. No single set of contingencies can describe it. you need to have a review process in place that carefully records and considers the changes that take place. As we have stressed. 1985). 1995. 1996. 1988. . there will be mistakes as both employees and management internalize what it means to be empowered. However. The aim of this guide has been to provide some ideas on how you can make empowerment tangible. So. in particular making sure that it is not just ‘token’ participation. Empowerment as a process means that beneficiaries will be involved at all stages of your project’s life-cycle. Also it appears as though employee empowerment is on the rise in organizations. Most were in professional or trade journals. only four were in scholarly.4. it looks as though it is an evolutionary process that cannot be achieved in the short term. Thomas and Velthouse.
They may understand the argument for it. systems and structures. actively involving beneficiaries in designing. 20 . and actively finding ways to change attitudes and behaviours of key partners. the need for. Commit yourself to monitor. and they become the engines of the process rather than a potential impediment. Be honest when reviewing where the control and power lie in your grass-roots projects. but be unable to see themselves making a valid contribution within the new scheme of things. developing. 5. review and change throughout the lifetime. more than anyone else in an organization. By helping and developing them to see themselves as leaders rather than managers. 2 3. and whether this is what you intended. Review the four main principles we have outlined and check if you are: • • • • actively promoting individual empowerment. we recommend that you should do the following: 1 Use the definitions included in this guide to check the context (product or process) you are working with and refine your actions accordingly. Managers. asking yourself the following key questions. are caught on the horns of a dilemma when the word empowerment starts being tossed around. actively promoting collective empowerment. and purpose of.When you are aiming to empower. managing and evaluating your project. their role becomes clear. measure. Finally don’t forget to promote the benefits and principles of empowerment as part of mainstreaming your successes and involving support. • • • • Are you developing understanding. and think about whether your staff also need support and training to succeed. Review whether your main emphasis is on empowerment as a product or process. accessible manner? Do you recognise people as equal partners and involve them in making decisions? Do you recognise diversity in the way you design and develop your project? 4. knowledge and skills to support empowerment? Does the information in your project and programme flow in a clear.
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