Empowerment involves giving people greater control over their working lives.
Organising the labour force into empowered teams with a high degree of autonomy can achieve this. This means that employees plan their own work, take their own decisions and solve their own problems. Teams are set targets to achieve and may receive rewards for doing so. Empowered teams motivate through allowing people the opportunity to meet some of the higher needs as identified by Maslow or Herzberg's motivators.
This is a common topic for examination questions as empowered teams are a popular method of organising labour forces. It is important to appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. The advantages centre upon the positive motivational effects. This can result in higher productivity, leading to improved competitiveness and higher profits or market share. Disadvantages (which may only exist in the short term) centre upon the cost and disruption of training, and opposition from employees.
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