This paper explores the theoretical implications of empowered self‐management as a teamwork design concept. It explores the multiple definitions of empowerment and self‐management that have been used in the design of work teams and it attempts to locate empowered self‐management within the relevant traditions of work design. The paper provides a critical appraisal of empowered self‐management as a team design concept arguing that its unique contribution to the work design literature, has been the development of concepts that focus upon task enlargement as the basis of enhanced role accountabilities within teams. Empowered self‐management as a team design concept has little to say about employee or group autonomy but in fact reflects the design of teams to provide for the normative self‐regulation of employees within management directed systems of control.
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