Empowerment is seen as a process that results in individual employee enjoying autonomy while performing their jobs. This also ensures accountability on their part and thus develops a sense of ownership and increases the sense of fulfillment, while achieving shared organizational goals. Employee Empowerment has grown in importance in public administration. Early concern for employees as human resources and for the social aspects of work grew into the Quality of Work Life movement and such other efforts (e.g., McGregor 1960. Peters and Pierre 2000). The new public administration and the reinventing government movements have emphasized empowering employees (Marini 1971. Osborne and Gaebler 1992. DeWitt et al. 1994). Empowerment has become "one of the buzzwords of the hour" (Clark 1999, 5) (Lacerda Ramos Eduardo 1995). There were instances of efforts in stimulating employee empowerment in the history "Since World War II, the movement for worker empowerment has steadily gained momentum, certain countries have attempted (and in some cases sustained) experiments in various cooperative form of empowerment. With state support, the communal kibbutzim of Israel and Palestine have existed for over eight decades. In Latin America, major national trials in workers’ ownership were initiated by the government in both Chile and Peru. In Europe, workers’ firms came to constitute a major portion of Italian cottage industry, as well as French small- to medium-sized firms – especially in professional services such as printing, architecture, and engineering" (Lacerda Ramos Eduardo 1995). The present project work is an attempt to describe the importance of employee empowerment for employees as well as the organization. It takes an descriptive approach to illustrate the direct relationship between employee empowerment and their contentment and improved performance.
Employee Empowerment- Meaning
In common parlance, the term ’empowerment’ refers to the process of enabling or authorizing an individual to think, behave, take action, and control work and decision making in autonomous ways. It is the state of feeling self-empowered to take control of one’s own destiny. In the organizational context, this term is used with the term ‘workers’ to denote a changed work atmosphere where employees are at liberty to take decisions on their work and given the responsibility for the performance or otherwise at work place. In other words, employee empowerment is the process of granting the authority to employees with non-managerial capabilities to take decision in an autonomous way. Employee involvement and participative management are similar concepts used in the context of empowerment, but are not interchangeable. In fact, empowerment is the act of strengthening an individual’s beliefs in his or her sense of effectiveness. In essence, then, empowerment is not simply a set of external actions. it is a process of changing the internal beliefs of people (Conger and Kanungo, 1988). Individuals believe themselves powerful when they feel they can adequately cope with environmental demands-that is, situations, events, and people they confront. They feel powerless when they are unable to cope with these demands.
Conger and Kanungo (1988) were among the first to define psychological empowerment. They described empowerment as