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Journal cover: Employee Relations

Employee Relations

ISSN: 0142-5455

Online from: 1979

Subject Area: Human Resource Management

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Employee perceptions of empowerment

Document Information:
Title:Employee perceptions of empowerment
Author(s):Kay Greasley, (University of Leicester, Leicester, UK), Alan Bryman, (Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK), Andrew Dainty, (Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK), Andrew Price, (Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK), Robby Soetanto, (Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK), Nicola King, (Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK)
Citation:Kay Greasley, Alan Bryman, Andrew Dainty, Andrew Price, Robby Soetanto, Nicola King, (2005) "Employee perceptions of empowerment", Employee Relations, Vol. 27 Iss: 4, pp.354 - 368
Keywords:Construction operations, Employee participation, Empowerment
Article type:Conceptual Paper
DOI:10.1108/01425450510605697 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Purpose – This study aims to examine how empowerment is perceived by individuals employed on construction projects. In contrast with previous research which has predominantly been conducted from a management perspective, this paper deals with employee perceptions of empowerment.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative approach was adopted for this study employing in-depth interviews on four major construction projects.

Findings – The findings from the study indicate that there can be a gap between the employee experience and the management rhetoric. Health and Safety issues were often cited by the employees as a major barrier to empowerment. The strict Health and Safety regulations under which construction employees operate limit their freedom to influence the work that they undertake. A further factor that was found to have a strong influence on the diffusion of empowerment was the role of the employees’ immediate supervisor.

Research limitations/implications – The data are based on case studies that illuminate our understanding of empowerment in relation to construction projects. This area of research would benefit from alternative research approaches that could establish the generalizability of the findings reported.

Originality/value – This article explores the notion that, as empowerment is a perception, management cannot easily regulate employees’ empowerment. This emphasises the importance of exploring employee perspectives when examining employee empowerment and its impact on workplace relations.

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