Empowerment - advantages and disadvantages

Essay by squire_1102University, Bachelor'sB, April 2004

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According to Merriam-Webster's dictionary empower is defined as "to give official authority or legal power to" therefore employee empowerment would be giving official authority and power to employees, or giving the employees responsibility for what they do. Employee empowerment, or just empowerment, has many positive and also many negative or controversial sides, throughout this paper I will discuss these points and discuss them in depth.

Empowerment is a trend that has been hitting companies since the 1990's. The movement had originally started in the 1980's when managers were encouraged to give their workers more involvement in work-related decisions but has now grown into its own controversial topic as 31% of companies define themselves as empowered.


Many companies believe that being in an empowered company will motivate the worker. They believe this because it gives the job content. Researchers have shown that at the individual level and the team level that giving the workers power over themselves will increase productivity.

An example of this is Domination Information Systems out of Vancouver. They are the publisher of the BC Yellow Pages and gave empowerment a try in their company. Since they have started the move into empowerment they now take 7% of the time to fix complaints from 27 days to 2. They also have reduced their customer complaints by 40% in the same time period. With fixing customer relations the company has saw a revenue growth of 40% and an employee turnover rate of slightly over 5%. It appears obvious that empowerment has a dazzling effect in the workplace just from this one example. Workers are doing their jobs more efficiently and now are given the opportunity to make their working conditions better and operate a more efficient schedule as they see fit, and by the numbers they have put...