It's not just semantics LO6270

John Zavacki (
Thu, 28 Mar 1996 07:28:33 -0500

Replying to LO6256 --

John Paul wrote:

* Dave said, LO6240

* > Empowerment (one possible definition): The quality of the relationship
* > between management and staff characterized by management's providing,
* > staff accepting, the authority, responsibility and resources necessary
* > perform a complete set of tasks.
* The main difference between empowerment and Deming's view of management
* that empowerment seems to be saying that we get a more lively bunch and
* more creative work and less work for management if we empower these
* people, and Dr. Deming says many times "how could they know?"
* The implications for the learning organization is that the aspiration for
* "learning everywhere" should be seen in the light of reality. How many
* people are going to have observations that can guide the ship through
* time? As the consultant who worked as a CEO said, the question from a
* position of financial responsibility isn't the same.

John Paul talked to the issue of tools and statistical techniques. These
are empowering. In Open Book Management, constant attention to the bottom
line (published in the language of the team) empowers the team to make
decisions based on the summum bonum of the enterprise: profit, which
equates to continued employment, security, and a sense of well-being.

In the world of Agile Manufacturing and Virtual Organizations, we talk
about "enabling technologies", or management, manufacturing, h-r,
accounting practices, software, inter/intranetworks, etc. which make it
easier to be better, faster, consistently. These too are empowerment. The
Goldman, Nagel, and Preiss book talks to Organizational Learning as one of
these enabling technologies. To me, empowerement doen't mean that everyone
gets a turn at running the company, it means they get to understand their
roles, relationships, and impact on the overall system with the right and
responsibility to use the knowledge and tools for the betterment of the
overall system.

John Zavacki
The Wolff Group
900 James Avenue
Scranton, PA  18510
Phone: 717-346-1218  Fax: 717-346-1388

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