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Understanding empowerment from an employee perspective: what does it mean and do they want it?

Greasley, K and Bryman, A and Dainty, A and Price, A and Naismith, N and Soetanto, R (2008) Understanding empowerment from an employee perspective: what does it mean and do they want it? Team Performance Management, 14 (1/2). pp. 39-55.

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this article is to examine the various meanings of empowerment for employees from their own perspective, the psychological dimension of empowerment and whether employees want to be empowered. Design/methodology/approach – In order to understand how employees feel about empowerment, it is necessary to ask them directly so that one can understand their perceptions. A qualitative approach is adopted, employing 45 semi-structured, in-depth interviews with employees. The aim of the interviews is to provide an insight into the meanings of empowerment for these employees. Findings – The findings indicate that the employees do not recognise the term “empowerment” nor do they reference the term “power” in relation to themselves. However, they are able to relate to associated concepts, notably “personal responsibility” and “control over their work”. Empowerment for the employees was found to operate as a continuum, as the extent to which employees seek empowerment varies considerably. The innate feelings that employees have with regard to empowerment enable an insightful understanding of what empowerment means and the employee response to it. Research limitations/implications – This study is based on employees from one particular industrial sector. The research would benefit from exploration in alternative sectors. Originality/value – The study examines the various meanings of empowerment for employees from their own perspective. Furthermore, it explores whether employees want to be empowered.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Team Performance Management
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Departments: Lancaster University Management School > Organisation, Work & Technology
ID Code: 45333
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2011 19:30
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2014 22:30
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/45333

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