Empowerment: Theoretical Background and Applications

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Abstract In transitioning from traditional hierarchical management structure to a more open, democratic and participative approach, a key issue many organizations face is empowering their employees. Empowerment is defined for purposes of this paper as the ability of employees to " . . . use more judgment and discretion in their work and to participate more fully in decisions affecting their working lives." (Potterfield, 1999, p. 2). This paper includes an analysis of the theoretical background of empowerment and why it …

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…New Governance for the Workplace and the World. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc. Potterfield, Thomas A. (1999). The Business of Employee Empowerment. Westport, CN: Quorum Books. Purser, Ronald E. and Cabana, Steven. (1998). The Self Managing Organization. New York: Free Press. Robinson, Russell D. (1997). The Empowerment Cookbook: Action Plans For Creating, Sustaining, or Refocusing Empowered Work Teams. New York: McGraw-Hill. Wertz, Frederick (Ed.). (1994). The Humanistic Movement: Recovering the Person in Psychology. Lake Worth, FL: Gardner Press, Inc. 1