One MNC′s attempts to develop empowerment strategies are reviewed. These strategies are based on a cross‐cultural study of employee needs in the company′s Australian, German and Japanese subsidiaries. Although the need to control stands out in each of the three countries, employee needs patterns are different. The needs for economic security, belongingness, recognition, self‐worth, and control relate with each in different configurations and patterns. Because of significant differences in employee needs patterns, empowerment strategies enabling employees to fulfil their need to control cannot be transferred from one culture to another without major adjustments. In some instances very little is needed to empower an employee while in others almost nothing works. Some light is shed on why, within an MNC, a similar amount of control over their work and work environments empowers Japanese workers much more than their Australian and German counterparts.
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