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Management article
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Reference no. 95111
Published by: Harvard Business Publishing
Published in: "Harvard Business Review", 1994
Length: 16 pages

Abstract

George Marlow, a manufacturing vice president at SportsGear, had been looking forward to this month's companywide meeting. Martin Griffin, SportsGear's CEO, was going to announce a new era of empowerment at the company. And as Martin gave his speech, he seemed to fill the entire auditorium with his enthusiasm. But Harry Lewis, a SportsGear veteran of more than 20 years, was not so sure. 'What in the world does empowerment mean?' he asked. And indeed, Harry's concerns proved well founded. George led the team from manufacturing that was to be the test case for implementing empowerment at SportsGear. The team began the project in high spirits, eager to accomplish its goals. But when the time came to present their reports, the members were shocked: Martin was called away from the meeting, and the department heads formed a wall of resistance. It appeared that the team's efforts had been a waste of time. Can empowerment work at SportsGear? In this version and in the commentary only version J Richard Hackman, Elios Pascual, Mary V Gelinas, Roger G James, and W Alan Randolph offer advice on this fictional case study. This case study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, the reprint is also available in two other versions: case study only and commentary only.

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Abstract

George Marlow, a manufacturing vice president at SportsGear, had been looking forward to this month's companywide meeting. Martin Griffin, SportsGear's CEO, was going to announce a new era of empowerment at the company. And as Martin gave his speech, he seemed to fill the entire auditorium with his enthusiasm. But Harry Lewis, a SportsGear veteran of more than 20 years, was not so sure. 'What in the world does empowerment mean?' he asked. And indeed, Harry's concerns proved well founded. George led the team from manufacturing that was to be the test case for implementing empowerment at SportsGear. The team began the project in high spirits, eager to accomplish its goals. But when the time came to present their reports, the members were shocked: Martin was called away from the meeting, and the department heads formed a wall of resistance. It appeared that the team's efforts had been a waste of time. Can empowerment work at SportsGear? In this version and in the commentary only version J Richard Hackman, Elios Pascual, Mary V Gelinas, Roger G James, and W Alan Randolph offer advice on this fictional case study. This case study includes both the case and the commentary. For teaching purposes, the reprint is also available in two other versions: case study only and commentary only.

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