Created on 2016-09-17 12:05
Published on 2016-09-17 12:29
TITLE “A MULTI-DISCIPLINARY APPROACH AND THE NEED TO DRAW KNOWLEDGE FROM ANOTHER DISCIPLINE, NAMELY, SOCIAL WORK, IN ORDER TO GAIN A BETTER UNDERSTANDING OF EMPOWERMENT”
There is a high consensus in the management literature that employee empowerment is necessary for the survival and success of organisations. It is a management response to an increasingly complex and competitive external environment and its popularity has been enhanced by the quality movement in general and by Total Quality Management (TQM) and the European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM) Excellence Model, in particular.
However, there are still considerable gaps in our knowledge and understanding of a range of issues concerning employee empowerment, both at the conceptual and practice levels (Huq, 2008). These gaps need to be filled, as the danger is that organisations may attempt to implement employee empowerment without a clear understanding of what it means, how to implement it or the complexity that surrounds it.
The knowledge drawn from the management literature review proved unsatisfactory, hence it was deemed necessary to draw knowledge from another discipline, namely social work (Huq and Hill, 2005), where empowerment is an important construct. In social work, empowerment is not only viewed as a ‘goal for client groups’ (Frans, 1993: 312) but also that, ‘the practice of empowerment is now a central paradigm…’ (Adams, 1996: p.xv). Furthermore, the social work literature also emphasises that it is essential for service users to feel and believe themselves to be empowered, and that they are enabled to do so. In this respect, it is instructive for leaders and managers to understand that they must enable employees to feel empowered.
This research was informed by a subjectivist ontology and constructionist epistemology which proposes that there is no objective social reality independent of human cognition, but that the social world is constructed by individuals and groups. Thus, an interpretivist approach employing qualitative methods was adopted; it involved conducting two in-depth information-rich case studies (Huq, 2010).
In achieving its research objectives, this study makes a number of significant contributions to the knowledge of employee empowerment, which has frequently been criticised for its lack of research. In addition, a ‘Framework for Implementing Employee Empowerment’ (Huq, 2015) is proposed to assist in bridging some of the gaps in knowledge about the practice of employee empowerment. This represents a novel contribution to knowledge in response to the complexities surrounding the understanding of employee empowerment at the conceptual and practice levels.
Oxford, United Kingdom
#human resource management
#model of employee empowerment
#social work and empowerment
#power-sharing and powerlessness
#empowerment and disempowerment
Thanks for reading, until the next Huq Post…….
Adams, R. (1996); Social Work and Empowerment, London, The Macmillan Press Ltd.
Frans, D.J. (1993); A Scale for Measuring Social Worker Empowerment, Research on Social Work Practice, 3, 3, pp. 312-328.
Huq, R., and Hill, F. (2005); An Attempt to Clarify Employee Empowerment by Drawing Knowledge from the Social Work Literature, Track: Organisational Behaviour, September, 8th Annual Irish Academy of Management Conference, Galway, Mayo Institute of Technology, Ireland.
Huq, R. (2008); An Investigation of What Employee Empowerment Means in Theory and in Practice. PhD Doctoral Research. Queen’s University Belfast. UK. Huq, R. (2010); Employee Empowerment the rhetoric & reality. Triarchy Press, UK, Devon.
Huq, R. (2015); The Psychology of Employee Empowerment. Concepts, Critical Themes and a Framework for Implementation. Gower Publishing Ltd., UK, England.
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