Effects of Employee Empowerment on Project Success


23 Mar 2015 13 Dec 2017

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Employee empowerment is not a new innovative word its being used from many decades but employee empowerment has now become a buzz word in recent management treads in both private and public sectors (pits 2005). Employee empowerment received a wide recognition as an important subject in management circles mainly because it seen as one of the fundamental elements of managerial and organisational effectiveness that increases when power and control are shared in organization (serenely et al 2007). thus employee empowerment hailed as management technique which can be applied universally across all organisations a means of dealing with the modern global business(demitrades 2005) . Generally employee empowerment comprises of an innovative approach with people and a shift of power from the top management to lower level of an organization (tzafrir et al 2005). researches and leaders worldwide aver advocated for empowerment of employees to ell organisations compete successfully in highly competitive market place (tjosvold and sun 2005). Therefore org that are committed to employee empowerment are in a position to motivate and retain their employees (angora 2007). Employee empower mint is seen as motivational technique if designed and nurtured properly in organisations. Thus employee empowerment leads to improvement of performance of the org through increased level of employee participation and self determination (greasily et al 200). Tzafrir (2004) says basically employee empowerment is mainly y concerned with trust, motivation, decision making and breaking he inner boundaries between management and employees.

Literature review:


Employee participation is defined as ‘a process of employee involvement designed to provide employees with the opportunity to influence and where appropriate, take part in decision making on matters which affect them'. According to Farnham (1997) Employee Participation is one of four policy choices for managing the employment relationship. Cited in Rose (2001, p380) Farnham states:‘…an employee has the right to question and influence organization decision making' and ‘…. this may involve representative workplace democracy.'

The common dictionary definition of empowerment, "to give official authority to: delegate legal power to: commission, authorize" (Grove, 1971, p. 744) is the one most understood by most people. As an example, Gandz (1990) writes, "Empowerment means that management vests decision-making or approval authority in employees where, traditionally, such authority was a managerial prerogative." (p. 75) However, this is not the definition of what is usually called employee empowerment. One author notes empowerment is, "easy to define in its absence—alienation, powerless, helplessness—but difficult to define positively because it 'takes on a different form in different people and contexts'" (Zimmerman, 1990, p.169)

Employee empowerment is a process whereby: a culture of empowerment is developed; information in the form of a shared vision, clear goals, boundaries for decision making, and the results of efforts and their impact on the whole is shared; competency in the form of training and experience is developed; resources, or the competency to obtain them when needed to be effective in their jobs, are provided; and support in the form of mentoring, cultural support, and encouragement of risk-taking is provided

Current research in employee empowerment:

There is lot of research going on empowerment with respect to different entities of business like empowerment and total quality management, empowerment and sales, empowerment and customer satisfaction in tourism industry. Most of the research is concentrated on the relation between empowerment and employee motivation. Even though there is a vast literature review on my topic of interest .I am mentioning very few concepts here.

In the most comprehensive, long-term study of empowerment-oriented practices, (Lawler, Mohr man, & Benson, 2001) has empirically demonstrated the positive growth of empowerment practices in the last 15 years. Today, more than 70 percent of organizations surveyed have adopted some kind of empowerment initiative for some portion of their workforce.

Why the tremendous growth in employee empowerment? Faced with competitive demands for lower costs, higher performance, and more flexibility, organizations have increasingly turned to employee empowerment to enhance their performance. Empowerment practices are often implemented with the hopes of overcoming worker dissatisfaction and reducing the costs of absenteeism, turnover, poor quality work, and sabotage (Klein, Ralls, Smith-Major, & Douglas, 1998). Their focus is aimed at overcoming the debilitating psychological effects of traditional bureaucracies through the creation of high-involvement organizations. Empowerment enables employees to participate in decision making, helping them to break out of stagnant mindsets to take a risk and try something new. Empowering practices allow employees to decide on their own how they will recover from a service problem and surprise-and-delight customers by exceeding their expectations rather than waiting for approval from a supervisor (Bowen & Lawler, 1995). And perhaps most importantly, empowerment is viewed as critical in the process of organizational change. Rather than forcing or pushing people to change, empowerment provides a way of attracting them to want to change because they have ownership in the change process.

Yet, in spite of this positive growth, more than 25% of the surveyed companies in Lawler et al.'s (2001) study still report no significant empowerment-oriented practices anywhere in their organizations. And even those that do introduce empowerment practices often find it difficult to build genuine employee empowerment (Spreitzer & Quinn, 2001). Some don't have the courage

In order to understand the aims and implications of empowerment, it is necessary to understand the origins of the concept within the intellectual and political history of the West. While its modern form was derived principally from the civil and women's rights social movements of the 1960s, its philosophical lineage can be traced to the beginnings of modern political philosophy. While often regarded as a revolutionary development in thinking even in contemporary times, empowerment's theoretical roots point to a longer progression than is commonly assumed. In myriad ways, empowerment theory is principally concerned with elucidating and applying the answers to the timeless questions of political philosophy itself -- namely the nature of power, the role of the citizen in the polis, and the achievement of justice in civic life. From this vantage point, empowerment is a continuation of this theoretical search for elusive, but critical, answers to timeless human questions. Sir Francis Bacon, best known for his work new Atlantis, is intrinsically bound to the study of empowerment due to his crucial contribution to the development of the Western democratic system (White, 1987). According to Bacon, humanity's existence in a world of scarcity will continually result in human deprivation and hostility without the conquest of nature. He argued that only by the ‘release of man's estate', namely the rational and scientific generation of greater goods from nature, could this cycle of constant political animosity and privation be ended. Freedom, enfranchisement, and harmony among citizens cannot be achieved without overcoming the aggression that is inherent to scarcity and issues of survival. By uniting people behind the common goal of creating better lives via reason and human invention, the common good is finally able to triumph over sectarian divisions. At the most fundamental level, liberal democracy and the concept of constant progress require the emancipation of workers and their empowerment. Without empowerment, the manual labourer (or serf or slave) is utilized to provide the inputs that political life necessitates, and the stratification of power is perpetuated. Although Bacon helped to form the foundations of the modern commercial republic, he could not have foreseen many of the developments that this polity engendered. One only has to peruse the works of Dickens, Marx, or Sinclair to be made aware of some of the obstacles of this political order. The sublimation of economic efficiency and science may liberate humankind from the bounds of scarcity, but it also can transform man into a servant of power. Moreover, it often leads to a form of consumerism that seems ill suited for providing citizens with meaning outside the bounds of the acquisition of material possessions, as well as elevates labour itself into the focal point for personal significance. From this perspective, our economic and political order may be required to bear more weight and significance than it can bear. Modern empowerment literature, with its emphases on theory, results, and meaning is focused upon improving this state of affairs through a variety of different approaches and applications. As a discipline, it embraces modern methodologies in order to answer ancient and familiar questions with the intention of elevating both the individual and the organization (political or otherwise) simultaneously.

During recent years, workplace empowerment has increasingly become part and parcel of the lexicon of organizational research and practice. The meaning of the term empowerment has evolved over the years from its more radical beginnings in the civil and women's rights movements to its current manifestations focused on organizational performance (Bartunek & Spreitzer, 1999). In this section of the chapter, we look across the most recent decades of writing on empowerment and highlight three contemporary theoretical perspectives.

Research purpose:


I want to know to what extent the empowerment is being employed in the projects. If so, to what extent the empowerment aids in success of the project.

Research objectives

Question 1 .TO WHAT EXTENT Employee Empowerment IS



Research rationale:

Research mainly has economical and social benefits

My research will find the cause and effect of empowerment and project success at two different hierarchal levels of project , i.e. managerial and team leader. I believe that my research will provide a new perspective of empowerment in projects.

Research scope:

Scope of my research is restricted to a Construction Company.

I am doing a case study on ksheeraabd constructions private ltd (KPCL), Hyderabad, India

I will take 8 to 10 interviews and will also distribute Questionnaires among 20 people.

I will consider both employee and employer perspective. In depth interviews will be taken from the project managers and lower level team leaders

Research methodology:

The analysis of the research will be largely quantitative, however qualitative analysis will be used to highlight patterns and make the analysis more robust. The findings will be compared to theory in context in order to describe the patterns which exist. An deductive approach will be used in order to evaluate a theory as a result of the research findings .The research strategy will be case study of a construction company( KCPL ,Hyderabad India) for which I have already gained access . The company chosen is a construction company which is at present working on a road construction project at a place called Madurai in India. In the case study the interviews will be conducted for project manager level and questionnaires will be given for team leader level employees... The aim is to evaluate the effects of employee empowerment in an organisation. The questionnaire will have structured questions with set responses in order to quantify the empowerment employed in the organisation. There will also be open questions for participants to make comments on the various aspects empowerment in their organisation. I will do cross sectional study as I will collect all the data at same time

Sampling procedures:

My research involves data collection from two different levels of organisation like project managers and from team leader level. As the project managers are very few we wanted to consider the entire sample and for the team leaders I will use simple random sampling.

Data collection and analysis:

I will take interviews from the project managers. I will take ablest 8 to almost 10 interviews. I will distribute the questioners to the team leaders who are selected by simple random sampling. I will make sure that at least 20 employee from team leader level will participate in this procedure. Using the deductive approach, the analysis of the interviews will be mostly quantitative I will ask questions that have rating of the responses ranging from 0 to 5. The main purpose of the interviews is to avoid any bias of information from the questionnaires. The questioners are designed in such a way that each response is quantified like the interviews. By this method I can make quantitative analysis of both types of information.

Validity and reliability

Internal validity - Increased through use of multiple sources of evidence, structured interviews and questionnaires (both closed and open questions). The design of questions and survey will be based on understanding of the theory from the literature and pilot testing of the interview and questionnaire will be used to make sure questions are understood as intended.

External validity - Multiple cases considered to examine whether findings can be generalised over a number of organisations. There is no requirement to make a statistical analysis of the results for generalisation here as the approach chosen examines practices and their effectiveness. The aim is to explain the findings and explore generalisability through a comparison of findings with theory.

Reliability - Structured interviews with questions derived from literature in order to examine cases in same way. Surveys to back up the interviews and obtain views from a wider group. Questionnaires all administered at the same time and in controlled manner, explanation to ensure participants all understand research in same way. Instrumentation : I am planning to collect information through questionnaires in single batch . Which will not pose any validity problems with respect to instrumentation?

Mortality: with respect to this threat I ill make sure that there will be no dropouts of participants at the time of data collection

Access to the company (consent):

I have already spoken with the subject of interest (KCPL pvt ltd, Hyderabad) and gained access to the company. I have explained the total procedure and outcome of the dissertation. I have promised them that the information collected will be kept confidential so finally the company has given access to obtain information from their employees. The organisation is also looking forward to help me in this research. They felt grateful to me for taking their company as a case study. For reference I am enclosing a copy of the access grant letter


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