Rhetoric or reality? : an examination of feelings of empowerment amongst UK employees in 2 major business organisations
Through the adoption of triangulated methodologies,this thesis seeks to evaluate the success of two large organisations in adopting empowerment initiatives. By focusing on two operating units in each organisation, it considers perceptions of empowerment at the non-managerial employee level and the effects on these perceptions of personality, orientations to work and the contexts of the units and their organisations. Through the use of management interviews, employee focus groups and questionnaires completed by non-managerial employees, the research indicates that aspects of the individual, whilst often contributing to attitudes towards empowerment, do not directly effect whether or not employees feel empowered. Rather, it concludes that job insecurity, management behaviour and the union/management relationship have a larger effect. However, what arises as central to the acceptance of empowerment in modern organisations is the clarity with which the policy is introduced. This thesis finds that organisations introduce ambiguous, mystical messages to their employees which merely cause confusion and unmatched expectations and that rather than increasing staff commitment, organisations are further alienating their employees.