"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Reflecting on Autonomy/Empowerment – Considering empowerment in various ways

Reflecting on Autonomy/Empowerment – Considering empowerment in various ways

We discussed the many sub-groups of discourse.  Like discourse, autonomy has sub-groups. Workplace autonomy is a sub-group of empowerment. As you review the definition of workplace autonomy below, think about leaderships definition of autonomy/empowerment as it relates to the hotel initiatives. 

I summarize workplace autonomy as, employee freedom to determine how to meet an employer required goal.  Using the hotel as an example:
·         From leaderships view Quality = Smiles
·         Leaderships goal is to educate employees that Smiles = Quality
·         Leadership empowers the employees by informing the employees of the requirement to smile but not dictating how to smile.  Some additional constraints to the smile requirement could be….
o   Show your teeth
o   Don’t show your teeth
o   Smile big
o   Turn your head to right when you smile…
The empowerment is educating on the requirement but allowing individuality on the execution. 

Food Quality is another great example.  Molded bread brought to the table is unacceptable. Trainings designed like the “smiles” program help to ensure that we don’t get molded bread.

As we saw in our reading, balance is key to literacy and business success.  See the link below that contains additional details on workplace autonomy.

Workplace Autonomy:  Additional Information

I hope that this allowed you to think about empowerment in various ways.

1 comment:

  1. Shannon--this post is provocative indeed! I like your definition of workplace autonomy as "employee freedom to determine how to meet an employer required goal." (That doesn't work in all workplaces all the time, but it's still pretty good.) But your example of the smile just goes too far for me! Your link leads to a definition that empowers employees to reach employer outcomes in ways they deem best. That sounds like autonomy: tell me what outcome you want and give me some latitude to figure out how to get it done...But if you tell me how I have to feel (or appear to feel) and give me the latitude to show my teeth or not? That sounds much more directive than empowering to me. I'm not saying that employers shouldn't tell employes to smile, just that the average employee might read this text as a genre that is more directive-oriented than democratic! :)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.