“Dear Mr. Griffin,
SportsGear faced a declining market share due to domestic and foreign competition. New product ideas were scarce, departments barely spoke to each other, morale was low and resume had been flying out the door. All negative effects of the age-old scientific management studies by Fredrick Taylor. Empowerment is regarded as providing a solution to these problems, where creativity is stifled and workers become alienated, showing discontent through individual or collective means. This could lead to more effective use of local knowledge, conservations of time for the senior management and improving the worker’s motivation and initiative to acquire information which could lead to an increase in productivity.
So it could be a good idea to implement empowerment at SportsGear. But what does empowerment really mean? Most managers don’t really understand what employee empowerment means. It is more then start a few teams, ask them what they think about something at a meeting and allow them to help plan the company theme party. It is a strategy that enables people to make decisions about their job. The managers should provide a whole environment in which empowerment can take place. That is an environment where employees understand what is expected of them on the job, know how their job contributes to the company’s success and feel free to make choices and decisions about their work without having to ask for management permission.
Before such a change can be made, there are three crucial aspects: the ‘rules’ have to be clear for both the manager as the employee, the manager really believes in it and trust his people and last but not least should the employees get a real training before implementing.
All lot of managers fails to establish the boundaries of the new strategy. The employees have to feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves and their individual job. Managers can do this by making sure the employees know and have access to the organization’s overall mission, vision, and strategic plans. It is also important that everyone knows which decisions can be made by the employees in absence of the manager and which decisions can employees make day-by-day that they do not need to have permission or oversight to make? These boundaries must be defined or employee empowerment efforts fail. Employees need direction to know how to practice empowerment.
Next to that, it is crucial that the manager believes in empowerment and trust his employees. Only saying you give employees empowerment but do not really believe in it, does not work. Employees know this and empowerment efforts will fail. The manager has to trust that workers make good decisions and do not undermine or change the decisions they had empowered. If the employees feel that the manager trust them, they don’t have to worry or second-guessing about their work, but just focus their energy on accomplishing it.
Last, the organization wants to change the whole environment of the firm. Then it is the organizations responsibility to provide information and real training that is needed for the employees to help them by making this change. If employees don’t practice and get feedback, they cannot learn it in a fast and proper way.
So we know there are a lot of positive effects that can come with implementing empowerment. But saying there is empowerment is not enough and will not help SportsGear to reach its old status. Some crucial things should be kept in mind when empowerment is implemented”.