Baruch empowerment model

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1 Definition

  • “ Empowerment is not merely a new buzzword introduced to capture the imagination of current trends in management science. It comprises an innovative approach to working with people and a shift from top-down management styles which have dominated control mechanism and managerial concepts in both theory and practice since the industrial revolution.” (Baruch, 1998).
  • Baruch's model provides an analytical framework for the organizational contexts of empowerment and is based on two dimensions: "belief in the idea of empowerment" and "fairness" (or honesty).

See also empowerment, teacher empowerment, learner empowerment.

2 The model

                Low level of belief             High level of belief
                ------------------------------------------------------
"Fair           Take empowerment                Delegate power and
approach"       off agenda                      renumerate accordingly
                (dissociated)                   (enlighted)

"Unfair         Apply fake                      Delegate power only
approach        empowerment
                (fraudulent)                    (miser)
  • The dissociated case refers to either situations where the management is not interested in empowerment or situations where empowerment is not possible for legal reasons (e.g. doctors are not allowed to delegate certain tasks to nurses).
  • The fraudulent case refers to "lip service" commitments by management who then will override decisions without negotiation. DSchneider thinks that we could extend this to a systemic level where for instance commitment can be real at the policy level but administrative "machinery" will not let it happen (typical in education).
  • The miser case refers to situations where the management delegates a lot but doesn't reward in any way commitments and contributions by lower echelons.
  • The enlighted case refers to a textbook application of empowerment.

3 In education ...

This model provides a good basis for discussing a given situation. Its "a clear depiction of the options organizations are faced with in applying empowerment and their consequences" (Yehuda, 1998).

If an organization are firmly anchored in the top line (either "enlightened" or "dissociated" they may not feel the need to move). However, in both situations they can ask themselves whether "moving" can improve performance. The quandrants in the bottom line should be avoided and an action plan devised to move "up" or maybe "up and accross".

4 References

  • Baruch, Yehuda (1998). Career Development International, Volume 3, Number 2, pp. 82-87. HTML retrieved 14:18, 3 June 2006 (MEST).