Sabado, Hunyo 22, 2013

The Concept of Empowerment by Jolito Ortizo Padilla

Despite the general movement towards less mechanistic structures and the role of managers as facilitators,there appears to be some reluctance especially among top managers to dilute or weaken hierarchical control.A study of major US businesses suggests that there are mixed reactions to the new wave of management thinking. While a prospect of empowerment can hold attractions for the individual employee,many managers are keen to maintain control over the destiny,roles and responsibilities of others. Beneath the trappings of the facilitate and empower philosophy the command and control system lives on.However ,in a discussion on modern leadership and management,Gretton makes the point: " Today's leaders understand that you have to give up control toget results. That's what all the talk of empowerment is about."

Empowerment is generally explained as allowing employees greater freedom autonomy and self-control over their work ,and responsibility for decision making. However, there are differences in the meaning and interpretation of the term. Wilkinson refers to problems with existing prespective literature on empowerment. The term "empowerment" can be seen as flexible and even elastic,and has been used very loosely both practitioner and academics. Wilkinson suggests that it is important to see empowerment in a wider context.It needs to be recognized that its has different forms and should be analyzed in the context of broader organizational practice.

The concept of empowerment also gives rise to the number of questions and doubts. For example, how does it differ in any meaningful way from other earlier forms of employee involvement? Is empowerment just another somewhat more fanciful term for delegation? Some writers see the two as quite separate concepts while other writers suggest that empowerment is a more proactive form of delegation.

Padilla suggests that to support true empowerment there is a need for a new theory of management- Theory E-which states that managers are more effective as facilitators than as leaders,and that they must devolve power, not just responsibility,to individuals as well as groups. Morris, Willcocks and Knasel believe, however,that to empower people is a real part of leadership as opposed to management and they give examples of the way empowerment can actually set people free to do the jobs they are capable of. Both make the point,however ,that true empowerment is much more than conventional delegation.

According to Mills and Friesen: "Empowerment can be succinctly defines as the authority of subordinates to decide and act. "
  "It descends a management style. The term is often confused with delegation but, if strictly defined, empowerment goes much further in granting subordinates authority to decide and act. Indeed,within the contaxt of broad limits defined by executives,empowered individuals may even become self- managing."

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