Empowerment definition

Employee empowerment is a management strategy that aims to give employees the tools and resources necessary to make confident decisions in the workplace without supervision.  Empowerment is a long-term, resource-intensive strategy that involves significant time and financial investment from the organisation’s leaders.

Hammer and Champy (1993) suggest that empowerment of front-line workers is crucial if organisations want to understand core business processes, because front-line workers are closest to these processes and are the only ones who really understand how they work.

Authors Ken Blanchard, John P. Carlos, and Alan Randolph, in their book Empowerment Takes More Than a Minute, suggest that the three tools managers should be using to empower their staff are information sharing with everyone, creating autonomy through boundaries and replacing old hierarchies with self-managed teams.

Some of the perceived benefits of employee empowerment include greater job satisfaction and motivation, reduced supervisory requirements and increases in innovation and creativity. Disadvantages include increase risk as staff become more entrepreneurial and more likely to take chances. Security can also be a problem because all important information must be shared for employees to take decisions on their own.