The following diagram shows the relationship between employee skills and their degree of empowerment. Review the diagram and answer the questions that follow.


Based on Robert C. Ford & Myron D. Fottler, “Empowerment: A Matter of Degree,” Academy of Management Executive 9(3) (1995): 21–31; Lawrence Holpp, “Applied Empowerment,” Training (February 1994): 39–44; and David P. McCaffrey, Sue R. Faerman, & David W. Hart, “The Appeal and Difficulties of Participative Systems,” Organization Science (6) (November–December 1995): 603–627.

Which of the following statements is true?


Correct The highest level of employee empowerment is self-management.

Incorrect The more empowered employees are, the fewer skills they need to do their jobs.

Incorrect Cross-functional teams represent a lower level of empowerment than suggestion programs.

Incorrect Periodic briefings by management require extremely high employee skills.


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Methods of empowerment fall along a continuum. Periodic briefings are the least empowering management technique, while self-management is the most empowering. Employees who self-manage must have extremely high skills because there is no manager around to address day-to-day issues.

Management at Work

Flight 001 (pronounced “flight one”) is a store that caters to frequent travelers. The business was conceived by international business travelers John Sencion and Brad John. Sencion and John thought it took too long to prepare for trips. They decided to start a travel store that is streamlined and provides frequent fliers with everything they need to travel comfortably. Flight 001’s products include a wide range of carry-on bags, luggage sets, duffels and totes, toiletry bags, document organizers, and gadgets to help travelers use their electronic items wherever they might travel.

The owners of Flight001 encourage employees to make decisions themselves when they feel confident that they can make an effective decision. This practice increasesthe sense of responsibility and authority the employees feel  Correct .


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By delegating decision-making authority, Flight001 increases the responsibility and authority employees have about the company.

Imagine that you have just been hired as a manager at Flight 001. You want to empower the employees working at your store. Which of the following actions could you take? Check all that apply.


Correct Ask employees to justify their work, giving reasons for their planned activities.

Correct Give employees information about company performance.

Correct Allow employees to make substantive decisions.

Correct Provide daily input to employees regarding their work and instruct them on how to change what they do.


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To empower employees, a manager must give employees information about company performance; make sure that employees have the knowledge and skills to contribute to company goals; give employees the power to make substantive decisions; and reward employees based on company performance. Asking employees to provide reasons for everything they do can damage relationships between group members, and telling employees exactly how to do their work may make them feel like their work is less important and that they don’t have the autonomy they need to be fully engaged.

Imagine that you conducted a survey to assess employee job satisfaction. The results were encouraging but a substantial percentage of employees explained that the traditional work schedule of 8 hours per day for 5 days per week was not ideal for them. Some employees wanted to be able to pick their children up from school. Others wanted to be able to travel on the weekend. Some employees wanted to work part-time.

Which alternative work schedule should you use if the office space available is insufficient for your growing workforce, but much of the work can be accessed through the corporate website?


Job sharing

Temporary work schedule

Correct Telecommuting

Compressed work schedule