Empowerment is not merely a new buzzword introduced to capture the imagination of current trends in management science. It comprises an innovative approach to working with people and a shift from top‐down management styles which have dominated control mechanism and managerial concepts in both theory and practice since the industrial revolution. This paper suggests a novel typology and analytical framework based on a two dimensional model of organizational contexts of empowerment. These dimensions are belief (in the underlying ideas of empowerment) and fairness (honesty). The model’s four quadrants are labelled as dissociated, enlightened, fraudulent, and miser. It goes on to describe the constituted four prototypes associated with each quadrant. Each quadrant is illustrated by actual or hypothetical cases. All in all, the paper provides a clear depiction of the options organizations are faced with in applying empowerment and their consequences.
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