Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-4449

Article publication date: 1 August 1999


Welp, M.G. and Wing, L.S. (1999), "Editorial", Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 5. https://doi.org/10.1108/pe.1999.11807eaa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited


In a day and age when "doing more with fewer resources" is a singular cry of anguish in most organizations, the topic of empowerment of employees is a relevant and important subject.

The topic of empowerment of people is a broad and varied topic, as broad and varied as the diverse characteristics of people themselves. When we say the word "empowerment" it means many things to people, each definition imbued with a unique understanding of what empowerment means, and how the concept of empowerment can be used to enhance our lifeworld and how it can be integrated into our lives.

The articles we are adding to the journal this month display characteristics of these diverse uses and definitions of empowerment.

Authors Applebaum, Bethune and Tannenbaum discuss the relationship which has emerged between downsizing organizations and the emergence of self-managed teams in their article entitled "Downsizing and the emergence of self-managed teams". The authors point out that when organizations attempt to improve organizational effectiveness through downsizing, implementation of the self-managed team movement has emerged as a way of resourcing the organization differently to achieve better operating results. When implementing self-managed teams (SMTs), the authors argue that organizations fail to do an adequate job of designing the necessary support structures to optimize the full contribution of the SMTs. The authors lead us to understand that through empowerment techniques, SMTs can be implemented which will optimize the effective operations of the organization. They suggest a series of actions to improve the ability of the teams to truly self-manage, including conflict management training.

In the article "Learning and knowledge management in the intelligent organization", authors Stonehouse and Pemberton articulate the role of the individual and organizational knowledge as increasingly important in a world impacted by complex and discontinuous new developments in knowledge and individual learning. The authors argue that attention to culture, structure and infrastructure in organizations will assure that facilitation and nurturing of the development of knowledge and learning will contribute to the overall competitive advantage of any organization.

Both of these articles enhance a deeper understanding of the complexities and the importance of these emerging participation and empowerment philosophies.

A note of special interest...

A special note of thanks to Guest Editor Conrad Lashley who has contributed to the debate on empowerment through a special edition of the Personnel Review Volume 28, Number 3, 1999 entitled "Empowerment". In this special edition of the Personnel Review Mr Lashley continues the debate surrounding empowerment. We encourage the readers of Participation and Empowerment to view this journal. Details are available online at http://www.mcb.co.uk/pr.htm You will find that the authors in this special edition add to the empowerment debate through discussion of alternative empowering views, as well as through practical application in case studies.

Michael G. Welpmichael@equalvoice.com

Linda S. Winglwing@usinternet.com