Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal

ISSN: 1463-4449

Article publication date: 1 December 1999


(1999), "Editorial", Participation and Empowerment: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 8. https://doi.org/10.1108/pe.1999.11807haa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 1999, MCB UP Limited


This issue of Participation & Empowerment: An International Journal explores two critical factors of empowerment. First, that our conceptual mindsets influence the success of empowerment. Secondly, an organization's changing industry structure can provide a rich context for participation and empowerment, or, if ignored, it can ultimately can lead to job loss and organizational death.

In our first article, Dr Cheryl King Duvall writes that truly creating empowerment in organizations is dependent on adopting a conceptual mindset of "assuring success" rather than "preventing failure". Focusing on preventing mistakes leads managers down a path of controlling and conserving resources and "playing not to lose" instead of "playing to win". Rather, setting one's intentions toward "assuring success" ultimately means helping employees believe in themselves, take responsibility, and enlarge their power base in the process. The result of empowerment is a "synergistic enlargement of power" which cannot occur in an organization primarily focused on conserving resources and avoiding mistakes.

Other mindsets are at play in creating empowerment and participation as well. Our second article, by T. Vasudavan and Dr Craig Standing, is a case study of the travel consultant industry. Their research of the changing industry structure in Australia reflects the worldwide trend toward the Internet and other technologies making the job role of travel consultant obsolete. Achieving long-term empowerment means organizations are tracking and responding to these changing industry trends. Unfortunately the lack of awareness and negative attitude toward these changes means organizations and employees will be unprepared and thus may not survive as they suddenly discover diminished markets. Sustained empowerment thus requires tracking external market shifts to ensure individual job security and organizational health. Indeed, tracking and responding to changing market structures provides a rich opportunity for employee participation and empowerment toward managing true business risks.

Michael G. Welpmichael@equalvoice.com

Linda S. Winglwing@usinternet.com