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Chapter: Mechanical : Total Quality Management (TQM) : Principles


According to Webster’s Dictionary, the verb empower means ‘to give the means, ability or authority’.





Empowerment is the opposite of helplessness or dependency. An empowered person does not feel incapable of doing the things that he considers important for the well-being of his organization. There are no constraints that he perceives to be externally imposed. In other words, being empowered implies that the person acts from a state of autonomy, doing what he knows is the right thing to do under a given set of circumstances.


It is understood that empowerment is dependent upon two factors:


(i) An individual’s personal choices; and


(ii) The organization climate, that can either encourage   dependency or foster autonomy.




1.     According to Webster’s Dictionary, the verb empower means ‘to give the means, ability or authority’. Therefore empowerment in work setting involves giving people the means, ability and authority to do something they have not done before.

2.  An operation definition of empowerment: “Empowerment is an environment in which people have the ability, the confidence, and the commitment to take the responsibility and ownership to improve the process and initiate the necessary steps to satisfy customer requirements within well-defined boundaries in order to achieve organizational values and goals.”

Job Enrichment Vs Job Empowerment


Job enrichment is aimed at expanding the content of an individual’s job. But job empowerment focuses on expanding on the context of the job such as its interactions and interdependencies to other functions of the organization.


Empowerment is investing people with authority. It’s purpose is to tap the enormous reservoir of potential contribution that lies within every worker.



The two steps to empowerment are


1.           To arm people to be successful through coaching, guidance and training.

2.           Letting people do by themselves.


The principles of empowering people are given below.


1.           Tell people what their responsibilities are.

2.           Give authority.

3.           Set standards for excellence.

4.           Render training.

5.           Provide knowledge and information.

6.           Trust them.

7.           Allow them to commit mistakes.

8.           Treat them with dignity and respect.


Three dimensions of empowerment are


Ø   Capability

Ø   Alignment and

Ø   Trust




Some important characteristics of empowered employees, identified by Hubert Rampersad, are that:


·        They feel responsible for their own task.

·        They are given a free hand in their work.

·        They balance their own goals with those of the organization.

·        They are well trained, equipped, creative, and customer oriented.


·        They are critical, have self-esteem, and are motivated.

·        They are challenged and encouraged.

·        They monitor and improve their work continuously.

·        They find new goals and change challenges.



Therefore, it is important to empower individuals and teams at all levels of the organization to achieve the continuous improvement process.


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Mechanical : Total Quality Management (TQM) : Principles : Empowerment |

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