Journal article

The myth of empowerment: Work organisation, hierarchy and employee autonomy in contemporary Australian workplaces

B Harley

Work Employment and Society | Published : 1999


The aim of this paper is to assess the validity of the `empowerment thesis': the belief that new forms of work organisation are overturning traditional managerial structures and returning control to employees. Specifically, the project seeks to explore the role of `empowering' forms of work organisation (in particular Total Quality Management, team-based work and consultative committees) and of occupational hierarchies, respectively, in influencing levels of employee autonomy. Data from the 1995 Australian Workplace Industrial Relations Survey (AWIRS95) are used to construct quantitative indicators of `empowering' forms of work organisation, hierarchy and employee autonomy. Associations betw..

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