Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Does One Size Fit All? Investigating Different Empowerment Orientations in the Heterogeneous Workforce of the Swedish Retail Sector
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3263-1793
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Keyword [en]
empowerment, orientation to work, preferences, attitudes, retail, survey data
National Category
Sociology
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146520OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-146520DiVA: diva2:1137438
Available from: 2017-08-31 Created: 2017-08-31 Last updated: 2017-09-08Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. A Sociology of Empowerment: The Relevance of Communicative Contexts for Workplace Change
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Sociology of Empowerment: The Relevance of Communicative Contexts for Workplace Change
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Empowerment has been a popular concept in management and leadership practice and research for more than forty years. The intentions behind empowerment at the workplace are positive: empowered employees should experience a greater degree of influence, decision-making latitude, and meaningfulness. This is achieved through transfers of power, such as increases in autonomy and responsibility. Although empowerment efforts have often been shown to successfully result in empowered and highly involved employees, there has also been research that shows the opposite: the so-called paradox of empowerment is a well-known problem that refers to failed empowerment efforts through which beneficiaries feel disempowered rather than empowered.

This thesis comprises three papers intended to contribute to empowerment research and practice within a sociological framework that offers a better understanding of implicit assumptions between employer and employee and the unintended consequences these can have on the outcome of empowerment change efforts. The analyses utilize a communicative approach in line with sociological and social-psychological theories of communication and interaction.

The first two papers are theoretical analyses, one examining the general concept of empowerment (Paper I), the other focusing more specifically on empowerment in workplace contexts (Paper II). Paper III is an empirical analysis that investigates some of the theoretical assumptions made in Papers I and II.

The first paper analyzes empowerment from a sociological point of view and identifies possible mechanisms behind the paradox of empowerment. It is argued that such paradoxes may evolve from discrepancies between approaching empowerment from a purely economic and structural perspective versus a communicative and relational one. It concludes with the observation that, although their agency may be increased on a structural level, empowerees may experience a parallel decrease of agential options on a communicative level.

The second paper deals with empowerment at the workplace as a management or leadership technique. Focusing on relational aspects, a “basic communicative structure” is identified. This is analyzed as comprising a contractual and a communicative context that should be taken into consideration by empowerers in order to avoid misunderstandings in the recipients’ sensemaking processes. Paper II concludes by arguing that the way recipients make sense of their roles and situations as defined by employment and/or psychological contracts might not necessarily be in line with the communicative meanings they ascribe to the change agents’ actions, and vice versa.

The third paper analyzes employees’ orientations and attitudes toward empowerment and the relevance of their attitudes for the success of empowerment efforts. These issues are explored by means of survey data from 268 employees in the Swedish retail sector. Results indicate that age and work intensity (part-time vs. full-time), as well as cohabitation status may have significant impacts on how empowerment efforts are approached and received by employees.

The thesis as a whole provides insights into sociological issues of empowerment, both generally and particularly in management and leadership contexts and concludes that the communicative context of empowerment interactions plays a significant role in employees’ empowerment orientations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Sociology, Stockholm University, 2017. 89 p.
Series
Stockholm studies in sociology, ISSN 0491-0885 ; 72
Keyword
empowerment, disempowerment, paradox of empowerment, empowerment orientation, human resource management, organizational behavior, psychological contract, sociological theory, communication, interaction, quantitative survey study
National Category
Social Sciences Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology) Work Sciences
Research subject
Sociology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-146521 (URN)978-91-7649-960-3 (ISBN)978-91-7649-961-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-11-10, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 3: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-10-18 Created: 2017-09-07 Last updated: 2017-10-04Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Weidenstedt, Linda
By organisation
Department of Sociology
Sociology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 8 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf