The Advantages & Disadvantages of Employee Empowerment

Employee empowerment is the act of giving more responsibility to employees in the workplace. The process not only relieves stress on management but also, according to Dr. Nihat Karakoc of Balikesir University, is "rather closely related to the various concepts and techniques designed to democratize the workplace." Employee empowerment, just like any other managerial strategy, has both positive and negative aspects when implemented.

Involved Employees

According to Karakoc "Empowerment is to give more authority to employees in organization in management of work." Through empowerment, employees can become more involved in their work and thereby more satisfied with what they are doing. This effect will trickle down, as more satisfied employees will work in a way to make customers more satisfied also.

Relief of Management Stress

In putting responsibility making in the hands of empowered employees, management will not have to worry about day-to-day operations. Employee empowerment will, according to Karakoc, "facilitate authority transition from managers to subordinates." By putting more authority in the hands of employees, management can leave the operations side of business in the hands of employees.

Lessen Chance of Unionization

When employees feel more of an investment in the work that they are doing, there is less of a chance for unionization. Empowered employees will have more of a say in everyday operations; this includes their schedules, vacations and sick time. Because of this they will not feel the need to look to labor unions in order to get more rights in the workplace.


Many companies believe that they are giving employees more empowerment when, in fact, they are not 1. Companies that wrongly say they are empowering employees risk employee dissatisfaction and the chance that labor unions may form within their company 1. The best way to avoid these results is to make sure that employee empowerment is being implemented properly by all levels of management and accepted by employees.

Management Worries

Many managers may worry that because employees are being empowered they may lose their jobs. This is a real risk, as empowering employees means that there is less need for different levels of management 1. It is best to make sure that management still has a place at the company, but to put them in a different functioning role, as they will no longer be needed to run the daily operations of employees. If a management position does need to be eliminated, help the managers to either find new employment, or find another placement in the current company.

Employees Not Ready

Some employees may not be ready to be empowered. Employees may not be able to handle the increased stress that the added responsibility and decision making will bring. Some employees may also take advantage of their new responsibility and abuse their power. It is important to make sure that employees are completely ready for, and informed of, their new responsibilities before they are assigned.