MM Bagali, HR, HRM, HRD, research, Empowerment, PhD......Christ University.....aug 2013 abstract.....

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MM Bagali, HR, HRM, HRD, research, Empowerment, PhD......Christ University.....aug 2013 abstract.....

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MM Bagali, HR, HRM, HRD, research, Empowerment, PhD......Christ University.....aug 2013 abstract.....

  1. 1. 1 The Making of an Empowered Workforce: Demystifying a Case of Practicing Indian Organisation M M Bagali, PhD in HR Professor of Management and Strategic Human Resources, Coordinating, Research in Management, JAIN University, 319 / 17TH CROSS / 25TH MAIN / 6th PHASE / JP NAGAR, Jain University/ Bengalore -560 078 / India Tel: 80 43430400 / Fax: 080 26532730 mm.bagali@jainuniversity.ac.in http://in.linkedin.com/in/mmbagali AbstractDemystifying POWER of Empowerment: A Case of well designed HR practicesDuring turbulent days, organizations are increasingly seen to innovateways to manage business. One of these innovations is in the area ofdeveloping and managing potentials of human resources, which often resultsin achieving a sustained organizational growth. The question is how todevelop HR towards global standards. On the other, various strategies arebeing adopted by business organizations in this regard. One also sees aparadigm shift from an approach understood as ‘welfare approach’ to thatof an approach commonly known as the ‘empowerment approach’. This approachof employee empowerment has seen interesting outcomes and hence has beenaccepted almost all across the world. Management experts have placed a lotof stress on the need for empowering workforce in organization.Empowerment is seen as investing power and vesting full authority withalmost every employee in an organisation, which enables employees to dowhat needs to be done rather than do what they are told to do. Empowermentas a strategy has been successfully practiced in the west. Its role stillneeds to be viewed in the Indian context. 1
  2. 2. 2But, do organizations in India have changed their deep-seated mind set inempowering employees and giving complete liberty and freedom to decideorganisation destiny. The answers could vary. But, too many companies askworkers to act like owners without truly giving them the authority to doso. Thus, the study demystifies the power of empowerment.The Study:The present work is an empirical study of an Indian Organisation in theexperiment of employee empowerment by an entrepreneur, per se. Ithighlights some unique strategies adopted for managing human resourceswhose efforts have paid large dividends to the company. The businessorganisation has succeeded in achieving global standards in its output.The workforce is committed as well as efficient.This work makes an attempt to advocate the cause of employee empowermentand calls upon practitioners to shift their practices towardsorientation to empowerment with the assumptions that: Individual andorganizational achievements can be gained through sense of belonging; asense of organizational life through climate shapes behavior and mouldspositive attitude towards organizational growth; access to informationabout the mission, value, goals and objectives of an organisation ispositively related to empowerment; and empowerment at workplace makesleaders redundant. Method of Study: Infact, this study has examined a variety of angles and images inpracticing employee empowerment and has tried to understand the falloutsof such practices at Polyhydron Private Limited (PPL), an engineeringorganization (1981), manufacturing Radial pistons pumps, Hand operated DVCand Pressure switches. The virtues which the study tested included thesense of accountability; trustworthiness; bureaucratic approach; buildingcommitment in workforce; communication system; degree of freedom;management styles and ethos; feedback system; climate of honesty;industrial democracy; knowledge sharing; leadership approach; ownershipculture; participative approach; climate of politics; power distribution;work relationships; responsibility sharing; shared values; etc.Empowerment was found to be a phenomenon, which is not independent. The 2
  3. 3. 3research saw various shades of organizational ethos and practices thatlead to empowerment with the strong belief that if anThe Results:The company has been following innovative practices in development andmanagement of its human resources. In the words of an employee … ‘we alldream of excellence, we all think of excellence and we all deliverexcellence’. Excellence in this organisation has become an accepted way oflife and every individual strives to achieve it because of the prevailingempowered culture.Empowerment is not only sharing responsibility and power, but on themacro level includes other systems, practices and ethos, which formsvital components of empowerment process. A macro observation on thesesystems leaves the impression that the style of functioning adopted byPPL organisation is something unique and truly note-worthy, particularlywhen one sees it in the Indian context. The common attitude of the labourcommunity that ‘we are paid to work’ is an obstacle to such practices.But, the trends, as seen in this organisation were just the reverse. Thishas been possible as the management approached the issue of empowermentfrom the point of view of entire organisation and developed a system.One may, therefore conclude that, if empowerment has to come through, theorganisation has to adopt a system that will embrace the entireorganisation.The experiment has come a long way. Today, the results of such effortsare far reaching. The organisation can safely boast of having highlymotivated and committed workforce; it has employees who handle theirresponsibilities professionally; capable to take independent decisions; alow employee turnover; and a disciplined-confident workforce with openand transparent behavior. The industrial climate is also free fromdisputes. All these practices make for the good image organisationcarries today in the market.Contribution of the work: Setting New HR Way:The study has been undertaken to come out with concrete practices andparadigms for overall enhancement and development of human resources and 3
  4. 4. 4organisation as a whole. Infact, a) a holistic approach to studyempowerment practices in creating high performance work force has beenthe core attempt throughout the study, with the development of validtool; b) several valid empowering areas have been identified to put topractice on larger canvas with standardized empowerment scale; c) therehas been an attempt made to draw up theories, development of model andhow empowerment should be practiced step by step. The model specifies thepriority area of instituting empowerment in developing global standardstrategies & practices; d) how to create a challenging and satisfyingwork environment; and e) what defines a good culture and identified whichwork place culture actually worked.End Note:Empowerment system at workplace is an important contribution toorganizational effectiveness and growth. It is mental and emotionalinvolvement of employees that encourages them to contribute to goals bysharing equal responsibility. It has numerous limitations, but, when itspre-requisites are met and the amount and type used reasonably fit thesituation, it offers potential for higher productivity, greater jobsatisfaction, constant growth, continuous improvement and otherinnumerable long-term benefits. A structure, procedure, institutionalframework for such empowering practice requires careful and balancedstudy on MACRO level. The present study has answered several questions increating a World Class Organization, a High Performing Workforce andcrystallizing the reasons …… “WHY TOP” performing companies aredifferent. Thus, the case study demystifies the power of empowerment. 4
  5. 5. 5 Teaching Notes for the Case in Empowerment The Making of an Empowered Workforce: Demystifying a Case of Practicing Indian Organisation M M Bagali, PhD in HR Professor of Management and Strategic Human Resources, Coordinating, Research in Management, JAIN University, 319 / 17TH CROSS / 25TH MAIN / 6th PHASE / JP NAGAR, Jain University/ Bengalore -560 078 / India Tel: 80 43430400 / Fax: 080 26532730 mm.bagali@jainuniversity.ac.in http://in.linkedin.com/in/mmbagali Address: # 80, Machhe Industrial Estate,Machhe, Belgaum- 590014,Karnataka State website: www.polyhydron.comAbstract:Experience has shown that developing human resources oftenresults in achieving a sustained organizational growth.Various strategies are being adopted by business organizationsin this regard. One also sees a paradigm shift from anapproach understood as ‘welfare approach’ to that of anapproach commonly known as the ‘empowerment approach’. Thisapproach of employee empowerment has seen interesting outcomesand hence has been accepted almost all across the world. This 5
  6. 6. 6case is an empirical study of an Indian industry. Ithighlights some unique strategies adopted for managing humanresources in this industry. The efforts have paid largedividends to the company. The workforce is committed as wellas efficient. The business organization has succeeded and hasbeen able to achieve global standards. The study makes anattempt to advocate the cause of employee empowerment andcalls upon practitioners to shift their practices towardsemployee empowerment. The study also makes an attempt todemystify the concept of employee empowerment. On the macrolevel, the methods followed by the organisation studied wouldbe considered revolutionary anywhere in the world and evenmore so in India. Infact, one sometimes wonders how the wholeeffort did not end in chaos. The company has apparentlysucceeded in developing a work force and a leadership almostdevoid of the foibles of most other humans.Key words:Empowerment, High performance work systems, Leadership,Ownership cultureGoals of the Case:The goal of the present case discussion is to drive inunderstanding the importance of Employee Empowerment. Further,how can such practices be undertaken and what should be themethodology. Finally, to prepare the HR Manager / Executive tolook at empowerment as the big step for People Management, perse.Pedagogical Objectives of the Case:1. To understand the importance of people management2. How can HR be innovatively developed, managed andnurtured3. Crystallizing the reasons as to “Why top companies” aredifferent4. To explore and analyze conditions that makes workplaceempowered5. The role of HR / CEO in changing the workplace towardsempowermentMethodology:The present case is part of Micro Strategic HR Practices, OBarea, Leadership, Organizational Change, Sociology of Culture,Change Management, for creating an empowered place to work.1. This case has to be used at HR course, both at juniorlevel and senior level management course.2. After giving an introduction about the subject HR, itsimplication and the importance of HR in corporate success,this case may be introduced at multiple levels at juniorlevel. Few sessions about HR practices at different 6
  7. 7. 7organisations as base for understanding the concept will bethe apt approach.3. This case may run for 4 -5 hrs with a sixe group of 3-4students in the class. The class may be given to read someinitial material on HR, HR Practices, and Leadership, greatplace to work practices, and some present practices inCorporate. For this, the material could be from IndianOrganisation like Infosys, WIPRO, HUL (HLL), et al.4. Then the issue of empowerment can be discussed, with abriefing on what empowerment is all about, the scope ofempowerment in different angles and practices of empowerment.The material and literature from the work done by Foundationfor Enterprise Development – FED, and Beyster Institute forEntrepreneurial Employee Ownership , USA; Argyris, Chris(1998):“Empowerment: The Emperor’s new Clothes”, HarvardBusiness Review, May-June, pp: 98 -105 ; Lawler, E. E III ,work which are published in 1986, 1988, 1992, 1994, 1995;Kantar, R. M , work which are published in 1977, 1979,1989,1995, will be of use to students.5. Each student group may come-up with points on HRpractices, empowerment strategies, and can thorough some lighton the articles published. What these research work says onthe concept and how is that the organisation under the previewof the study.6. At senior level, the case can be taken at Strategic HRpaper (course). While dealing with SHRM and HR Leadership,the case can be discussed at length, with pros & cons of suchpractices while empowering employees. The Research work in thearea can be as reference sources and understanding ethconcept.7. The case can also be discussed in OB course, in areaslike Leadership, and group dynamics. While, empowering,through analysis of employee behavior change towardsempowerment, what difficulties the company may undergo in suchexercise, the resistance from the employees for new practicesmay be discussed. Since, such practice of empowerment alsobrings some level of anxiety and uncertainty, how employeebehavior effects can be discussed. While, the case alsofocuses on organizational change, from the traditional styleof functioning to an empowered way, how people change to newculture can be focused. As it is learnt that, whileintroducing new culture practices, the resistance is high andhow leadership matters can be discussed and the role of HRLeadership.8. The case can be part of MDPs, if that is taken atExecutive Training Program for CEOs, HR Chiefs, and also for 7
  8. 8. 8Dean and Directors` of B-Schools, if they are looking forEmpowerment Practices in their Organisation. Lessons onEmpowered Leadership will be an added discussion.Assignment and Pre-preparations:Assignment and small level projects in the area of HRpractices, leadership, and culture change could be done beforethe case is introduced to the audience (students). Literatureon the reported companies practicing innovative HR would beideal. Meeting people and HR chief while having discussionwould give a concept idea and taking this case forward.Reading Material and Source of Collecting Case Material:To have understanding about the concept and make discussionmore interactive, reading on the subject would be apt, andmentioned sources would guide:Bailey, Roy (1995): How to empower people at work, UK;Management Books LtdBlock, Peter (1987): The Empowered Manager, Jossey-Bass:San FranciscoBowen, David. E., and Lawler, E E III (1992): “Theempowerment of service workers: What, Why, How and When”,Sloan Management Review, Spring, 33(2), Pp: 31-39Dive, Brain (2002): The Healthy Organisation: ARevolutionary Approach to People and Management, UK; KoganPageEichen, Myron (1989): Employee Ownership in a CapitalIntensive company, USA: Brook tree CorporationQuestions to prepare for in-class discussion:What is your definition of Empowerment?What are the traits that need to be developed in employees?How to create an Empowerment culture and strategies inOrganisation (the steps involved)?The area (scope) of Empowerment practices (the boundaries tobe defined)What is the out-come of Empowerment (How to measure theafter-math of such practices)?Questions Professor can use to open the Discussion:What is not Empowerment? What do we mean when we say we wantto empower people?How should the CEO and the leadership be, viz: style, traitsand characteristics?What are the training and development programme in area ofEmpowerment subject be focused (Can training be given tounderstand the system, if so, how)? 8
  9. 9. 9What are Ethical Management and the relation withEmpowerment?How to develop Human Resources and Organisation in thepresent Millennium through Employee Empowerment, per se?Questions to advance discussion during the sessions:What should be the degree of freedom in an empoweredorganisation?What are the characteristics of an empowered person?Do we really need empowered people?Do we really want empowered people?How do people develop a sense of empowerment?What organizational characteristics facilitate employeeempowerment?What can leaders do to facilitate employee empowerment?Suggested Sequence and Time Frame for the case discussionFew sessions on the concept along with the best HR practicesshould open the discussion. Open class discussion on what theyfeel about the concept after a reading on the literature willlead the subject forward. After having an understanding about the concept and reading,class can be divided into 3-4 students team. The case mayinitially commence with the theory part on empowerment. Thanwhat the Organization did, followed by the time line it took,and an effort to understand all that contributed toempowerment--the systems, practices, policy or the leadership.The student’s discussion should look at the differentiatingstrategies between the various human resource strategiesadopted in empowering employees and how these strategiesdiffered from other management practices.The case may take full length of 4-5 sessions (double timed)to come to an understanding about the entire empowermentexercise. The methodology would be discussion and presentation(ppt)Bibliography to use:Argyris, Chris (1998): “Empowerment: The Emperor’s newClothes”, Harvard Business Review, May-June, Pp: 98 -105Kantar, R. M (1977): Men and Women of the Corporation. NY:Basic Books (1979):” Power failures in Management Circuits”, HarvardBusiness Review, July-Aug, Pp: 40-55 (1989): “The New Managerial Work”, Harvard Business Review,November-December: Pp: 85-92.(1989): When Giants Learn to Dance, NY: Simon and Schuster. 9
  10. 10. 10 (1989): When Giants learn to dance: Mastering the challengeof strategy, investment and careers in the 1990s, N. York;Simon and Schuster. (1995): World Class: Thriving locally in the Global Economy,NY; Touchstone Rockefeller Center (2003): “Leadership and the Psychology of Turnarounds”,Harvard Business Review, June, Pp: 48-57Lawler, E. E III (1986): High involvement Management. SanFrancisco, CA; Jossey – Bass (1988): “Choosing an involvement strategy”, Academy ofManagement Executive, 2: Pp: 197-204 (1992): The ultimate advantage: Creating the high InvolvementOrganisation, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass(1994): “TQM and Employee empowerment: Are they compatible?Academy of Management Executive, 8(1): Pp: 68-76Lawler, E E., III and Bowen, D E (1995) “Empowering ServiceEmployees”, Sloan Management Review, Summer, Pp: 73-84Lawler, E. E. III., Ledford, G. E. Jr., and Mohrman, S. A(1989): Employee Involvement in America-A Study ofcontemporary practice, Houston: American Productivity andQuality CenterMarty O’Neill (1999): Empowerment through Ownership, USA:Foundation for Enterprise Development and Beyster Institutefor Entrepreneurial Employee OwnershipMichael Quarrey (1992): Empower employees through informationsharing: Foundation Conference USA: Foundation for EnterpriseDevelopment and Beyster Institute for Entrepreneurial EmployeeOwnership JunePell, Arthur, R (1998): Guide to Managing people, India;Prentice HallReynolds, M (1999):Ownership Philosophy as part of EmployeeEmpowerment, USA, Foundation for Enterprise Development andBeyster Institute for Entrepreneurial Employee OwnershipSmith, Jane (1996): Empowering people: How to bring out thebest in your Work force, UK, Kogan PageSmilor, R (1996): Leadership in an Entrepreneurial Company,USA, Centre for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Research Centre 10
  11. 11. 11End Note:But, one thing is clear. At this particular time in history,with thousands of our major organisations facing globalchallenges & some even unable to cope in managing to theextent needed, it is little wonder that organisationalanxiety about future will be much wide spread in our countryin the days to come. Expert and I are of the belief thatorganisation must foster Empowerment or become extinct. Weare likely to see more efforts of empowerment in the future.I am put at end by stating, “there is nothing Indianorganisations need more at this moment than a trueRENAISSANCE strategy towards Human resource development &management at every level. Empowerment and empoweringemployees in organisation is the answer.mm.bagali@jainuniversity.ac.in 11

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