Empowerment and self-empowerment in the lens of a postmodern perspective
This thesis aims to arrive at an informed understanding of how workers, by virtue of their relational power in the production process, exercise self-empowerment in their daily organizational interactions. Drawing on the postmodern conceptualization of power which emphasizes the relational nature of power (Foucault, 1977, 1978; Clegg, 1989; Hansard and Parker, 1993; Alvesson and Deetz, 2000; Joregensen, 2002), this study used a postmodern genealogical methodology focusing on local knowledges and realities of workers to examine the strategies of self-empowerment. The thesis also draws on the epistemology of postmodernism which suggests that knowledge is subjectively represented and cannot escape regimes of power. The research demonstrates that the postmodern arguments of multiple fragmented identities and workers' embeddedness in global and local discourses provide an in-depth understanding to these strategies. Being constituted of multiple fragmented identities as a result of discourses at both macro and micro levels, workers use shifting strategies of self-empowerment to create coherence between their respective identities, to marginalize and suppress other less important identities based on reflexive prioritization, and to diffuse any moral ambivalence resulted from their own actions.