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Developing individual freedom to act: Empowerment in the knowledge organization

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Empowerment, a term often misunderstood, is a synergistic process of individual development through which the base of influence in an organization is enlarged. Individual empowerment requires that the philosophy of the organization, principally enacted through its administrative system, support employees in accomplishing organizational goals. Support comes from effective and efficient managerial allocation of organizational resources. Two different organizational philosophies are presented and discussed in terms of their impact on empowerment: organizational resource conservation and organizational resource integration. Differences between the philosophies are explained through a conceptual model of preventing failure versus assuring success. Implications of each philosophy for the practice of management in knowledge organizations are discussed. These implications are based on the assumption that managerial behaviors determine how successful will be the process of empowerment.

Keywords: Accountability; Empowerment; Knowledge-Based Systems; Motivation; Organizational Philosophy; Responsibility

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 1, 1999

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