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Management article
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Reference no. SMR3333
Published by: MIT Sloan School of Management
Published in: "MIT Sloan Management Review", 1992
Length: 11 pages

Abstract

In recent years, businesses have rushed to adopt an empowerment approach to service delivery in which employees face customers ''free of rulebooks,'' encouraged to do whatever is necessary to satisfy them. But that approach may not be right for everyone. Bowen and Lawler look at the benefits and costs of empowering employees, the range of management practices that empower employees to varying degrees, and key business characteristics that affect the choice of approaches. Managers need to make sure that there is a good fit between their organizational needs and their approach to frontline employees.

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Abstract

In recent years, businesses have rushed to adopt an empowerment approach to service delivery in which employees face customers ''free of rulebooks,'' encouraged to do whatever is necessary to satisfy them. But that approach may not be right for everyone. Bowen and Lawler look at the benefits and costs of empowering employees, the range of management practices that empower employees to varying degrees, and key business characteristics that affect the choice of approaches. Managers need to make sure that there is a good fit between their organizational needs and their approach to frontline employees.

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