Employee perceptions of empowerment

  • Greasley K
  • Bryman A
  • Dainty A
 et al. 
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Abstract

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. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR; Copyright of Employee Relations is the property of Emerald Group Publishing Limited and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

Author-supplied keywords

  • Construction operations
  • Employee participation
  • Empowerment

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