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Using empowerment to turn employees into entrepreneurs ‐ an internalization too far?

Steve Minett (Business Consultant at Minett Media, Swavesey, UK)
Steve Ellis (Senior Lecturer in HRM at Putteridge Bury Management Centre, Luton, UK)

Training for Quality

ISSN: 0968-4875

Article publication date: 1 June 1997



Argues that empowerment programmes aim at inducing “entrepreneurial” behaviours and attitudes in employees, and that this aim ignores a fundamental internal inconsistency. Further, the traditional structure of formal organizations excludes a number of the conditions necessary to sustain such behaviour. Poor or diminished job security, the absence of real ownership stakes for employees, the continued power of formal authority, all militate against the objectives of true empowerment. In addition, the lack of adequate “reality‐testing” mechanisms for internal communications puts organizations seeking to reap the benefits of an empowered culture in a difficult and possibly dangerous position. Uses evidence from senior HR/OD executives in organizations which have introduced empowerment to substantiate the claims made.



Minett, S. and Ellis, S. (1997), "Using empowerment to turn employees into entrepreneurs ‐ an internalization too far?", Training for Quality, Vol. 5 No. 2, pp. 78-83.




Copyright © 1997, MCB UP Limited

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