Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-4449

Article publication date: 1 June 1999


Welp, M.G. and Wing, L.S. (1999), "Editorial", Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/pe.1999.11807daa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited


This issue of Participation & Empowerment: An International Journal explores two difficult questions. First, how do we measure the intangible benefits of participation and empowerment? Second, what factors create and inhibit "paradigm breaking" innovation in organizations? Both articles in this issue come from India, giving us insight into the current state-of-the-art thinking and practice of participation and empowerment in India.

In our first article, Devadasan et al. take on the problem of incorporating the intangible benefits of participation and empowerment into an organization's accountability system. Most of today's organizations are driven by bottom line results. Yet what is seen as results is often limited to tangible things that can be measured, such as profit, output, and measurable aspects of quality. Much of the effects of participation and empowerment are subtle and difficult to measure, and thus the benefits are often underestimated.

Devadasan et al. create a financial accounting framework incorporating intangible benefits and apply it to a quality circle in an Indian organization. They offer a clear explanation of an accounting system that operationalizes the accountability of participative structures. Their measurements proved controversial inside their organization. Yet they have successfully suggested a paradigm shift of recognizing the limitations we create by limiting what is measured as "real" in organizations. By not attempting to measure the intangible benefits of empowerment and participation we may be setting up a scenario of a lack of support for continuing a successful program.

In our second article, Mohanty differentiates between paradigm-preserving, paradigm-stretching, and paradigm-breaking organizations. Paradigm-breaking action utilizes the logic of value innovation. Mohanty describes forces which stimulate this logic and how value innovation logic differs from conventional logic. We found Mohanty's ideas to be a creative and interdisciplinary synthesis which leads to strategic implications for today's organizations. Today's organizations simply must recognize where they currently stimulate innovation and how they may also be unknowingly promoting the status quo.

Michael G. Welpmichael@equalvoice.com

Linda S. Winglwing@usinternet.com