chapter  11
5 Pages

Fostering team empowerment

Fostering team empowerment Expressed in accordance with the jargon of this book and given the appropriate culture in which devolution can flourish at the workplace, team empowerment denotes Orange Work. Yet that conclusion hardly constitutes a significant step forward. If a group of people are given responsibility for all the work they agree to undertake, they still have to determine how that work is to be divided among themselves. Sadly, it is a common experience that this transfer can make their jobs more difficult than formerly. The problem, usually unforeseen by the advocates of team empowerment, is that unless there is a naturally occurring and acceptable distribution of duties, often requiring a fully compatible group of work associates, there is no established mechanism for deciding who does what. A lack of direction and order can soon become apparent. At least under traditional arrangements the manager is always present to act as the arbiter or the decision maker. He or she still remains, of course, a resource to which the empowered group could refer in the event of a failure to progress as well as desired. In principle, they could always say:

Such an admission is very unlikely to take place. Just as individuals seek to save face, groups do too. With human nature being as it is, the more likely outcome, following disagreement or indecision, is that the group will cover up any shortcomings and place the blame on some third party; and because the usual monitoring processes employed by management are lacking, it will be some time before the group is

exposed. And when that ultimately happens, it is a near-certainty that team empowerment will be abandoned.