Leadership Skills To Empower Organisation

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Leadership Skills to Empower Organisation

Leadership Skills to Empower Organisation


In organizational contexts, empowerment typically involves sharing of power, whereby a hierarchically superior leader gives some of the authority and decision-making latitude previously in his or her purview to one or more followers, thus expanding the follower's sphere of influence. Once “empowered,” the follower can engage in decision making within the expanded boundaries without the need to check back with the leader for permission to act.

One of the most frequently discussed topics in contemporary management literature is the notion of employee empowerment. Empowerment is generally taken to mean the delegation of decision-making authority and responsibility to lower-level employees in a process of directed authority. However, this traditional top-down approach to empowerment is no longer viable, as the shift to a knowledge service economy in the United States, as elsewhere, gives rise to the growing transformation of twenty-first-century workplaces. Emerging knowledge services, such as business-to-business services, high-tech, medical/ health care, advertising/marketing/public relations, accounting/financial services, engineering services, management consulting, legal services, educational services, and the like constitute the most rapidly expanding segment of the labor force. The movement to knowledge services has had a profound impact on the nature of work and the people who work within these organizations. In a very real way, the shift to a knowledge service economy has given rise to the “professionalization” of workplace and the structural empowerment of people who work within these organizations. Structural empowerment, unlike traditional approaches to empowerment, is customer- and client-centered empowerment in which the decision-making prerogative of employees, along with the discretion to act on their own, is market driven.

The fundamental unit of production in knowledge service organizations is the direct relationship between service employees and their customers or clients through which a product or service is delivered. This is called the customer alliance, a partnership or collaboration between knowledge-intensive organizations and their customers for generating problem solutions and mutual gain. Customers have important roles to play in these organizations and have long been recognized as “partial” employees. The notion of worker empowerment is at the core of customer alliances in knowledge-based services because it makes it possible for the organization to more effectively utilize the customer's contribution and thus increase the quality of services produced.

There is an ongoing dialogue in both academic and popular press concerning the so-called empowerment of employees. This issue is particularly important in knowledge-based services, in which employees in direct encounter with customers are often required to perform as independent decision units in the generation of responses or solutions to customer priorities. The delegation of structural empowerment has traditionally been used to provide frontline employees with the authority for spontaneous, creative activities that are often required in high-involvement customer relationships. Much is known about this type of formal employee empowerment in organizations. There is increasing recent attention, however, to the nature of empowerment in customer alliances that emerge outside the formal authority structure and how knowledge service employees actually empower themselves to more effectively ...
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