In their 2004 article, Taking Empowerment to the next level: A multiple-level model of Empowerment, Performance, and Satisfaction, Seibert, Silver, and Randolph studied the subject of empowerment.
Empowering or Empowerment?
Empowerment is usually treated as an individual level concept and it can be defined as “an increased individual motivation at work through the delega- tion of authority to the lowest level in an organization where a competent decision can be made”.
Other authors have made the distinction between empowering structures, policies, and practices and empowerment, or individuals’ psychological reactions to these managerial practices.
Creating an Empowerment Climate
One of the main contributions of this paper is to conceptualize a new dimension of the concept empowerment: Empowerment Climate. The authors define this concept as “employees’ shared perceptions of managerial structures, policies, and practices related to empowerment”.
Thus, they are adding a new layer on the often individual-level conceptualization of empowerment.
Before the notion of empowerment climate was introduced, Blanchard and his colleagues (Blanchard, Carlos, & Ran- dolph, 1995; Randolph, 1995) identified three key organizational practices associated with empower- ment:
- information sharing,
- autonomy through boundaries, and
- team accountability.
Providing all employees of the organization with the relevant information on costs, quality, productivity and financial performance.
Autonomy Through Boundaries
Encouraging autonomous actions, including the develop- ment of a clear vision, and clarity regarding goals, work procedures, and areas of responsibility.
Providing the decision-making authority to teams.
The article published in the Academy of Management Journal uses these three dimensions to explain and measure the new concept Empowerment Climate.