Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

An Investigation of Factors Influencing Levels of Employee Empowerment in a Government Training Institution the Case of Management Training Bureau: Zimbabwe

Academic journal article International Review of Management and Business Research

An Investigation of Factors Influencing Levels of Employee Empowerment in a Government Training Institution the Case of Management Training Bureau: Zimbabwe

Article excerpt

Introduction

The advent of Positive Organisational Behaviour, an offshoot of Positive Psychology, has brought to the fore the strong need to view organisations in a positive light, while at the same time, disabusing ourselves of the notion that organisations are 'sick patience' in need of therapy. To this end , many organizations have ,in the past decade, implemented managerial approaches, based on empowerment (e.g. self-managed work teams and delegation of authority), with the expectation that these will increase employee productivity as well as innovation (Wellins, Byham and Wilson, 1991). However, such outcomes cannot be automatically realised. For such benefits to materialize, managerial approaches should foster strategies for empowering employees, and ultimately stimulate employee behaviours in the direction of expected outcomes. Although many studies have investigated the relationships between managerial practices and psychological states of empowerment, few have examined the relationship between employee empowerment and its behavioural manifestations/job performance.

Management Training Bureau was established in 1984 under the Zimbabwe Manpower Development Act, and has as its mandate, the offering of short management staffdevelopment courses and consultancy services to organisations and individuals, in an effort to bridge the skills gap of various management levels in all sectors of the economy of Zimbabwe and beyond.

Over the years, the organization has provided training and development services to individuals and organizations (both public and private). The organization is a public funded entity. However , since 2009, it has failed to realize its full potential mainly due to highly rigid and centralized decision processes.

MTB is going through a period characterized by highly centralized key decision making processes, a development which has alienated most managers from the organisation, with an attendant high staffturnover of managerial employees. high levels of absenteeism as indicated in the human resources monthly reports for the period 2009-2011, and generally low motivational levels at the workplace. Furthermore, these perceptions of alienation have resulted in very low levels of employee innovation and creativity. This has had the effect of compromising the organisation's service delivery levels ,.

The problems highlighted above have brought to the fore the need to investigate the impact of employee empowerment on job performance.

The research thus sought to address the following questions:

What are the employee empowerment strategies currently being employed at Management Training Bureau?

How do these current employee empowerment strategies impact on job performance?

What factors hinder the effective implementation of employee empowerment strategies?

What improvements can be effected to MTB's employee empowerment strategies in order to enhance their overall effectiveness?

Literature Review

Employee Empowerment

Schessinger and Heskett, (1991) define empowerment as a process which involves giving employees a discretion (or latitude) over certain task related activities. Randolph (1995) furthermore, defines employee empowerment as "a transfer of power" from the employer to the employees. In addition, Blanchard, Carlos and Radolf (1996) argue that empowerment is not only having the freedom to act, but also having higher degrees of responsibility and accountability. This implies that management must empower their employees so that they can be motivated, committed, satisfied and assist the organisation in achieving its objectives.

Theoretical Framework to Employee Empowerment

The use of the term empowerment in management implies industrial democracy and involving personnel in decision making processes, under different titles such as team-making, participation, and Total Quality Management. Organizational science scholars discuss empowerment from four different approaches. …

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