Replying to LO26160 --
Bill Harris expressed concern with varying definitions of empowerment
described by Peggy Stuart:
>> For empowerment, I received answers such as "empowerment is having the
>> ability to make changes within the scope of my responsibilities"
>> "empowerment gives me the confidence to do my job," "empowerment
>> means I don't have to report to anyone," and "empowerment means people
>> can make decisions with their supervisor's guidance."
>> These inconsistencies lead to confusion, and may
>> subsequently lead to an employee's refusal to accept being empowered,
>> all of which will significantly impact the learning culture.
Bill Harris asked:
>How can one person empower another (unless empowerment is synonomous with
>Does empowerment only come from within?
I do not see inconsistencies in the various interpretations of
empowerment. To me, they all boil down to the same thing. In the
workplace, empowerment is sharing information needed in order to judge,
prioritize and make choices in how to carry out one's responsibilities.
Without sufficient information, the employee will always be dependent on
his supervisor for step-by-step instructions. Of course, the information
has to be presented in a way that the employee understands, or else it is
insufficient. Employees are not motivated to act in an empowered way if
they are at all unclear.
If you look at it that way, you can see how empowerment can give you the
confidence to do your job, to make decisions within the scope of your
responsibilities, to not have to report to your supervisor for
step-by-step instructions, and to know when to turn to your supervisor for
Genene Koebelin, MS
Adult and Organizational Learning
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