The Terms of “Becoming Empowered”

How Ascriptions and Negotiations of Employee Identities Shape the Outcomes of Workplace Voice Activities

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Abstract

While empowerment practices have been the subject of considerable debate, little attention has been paid to how employees shape the outcomes of these practices through their active participation. Through analyses of interactions in workplace voice activities, this study shows how developing initiatives to improve the local organization of work is complicated by the fact that supporting initiatives as an employee can lead to undesired identity ascriptions from other participants, especially in relation to employees’ organizational identification or disidentification. By drawing on the method of membership categorization analysis, it is argued that the appeal of voice activities for employees depends on how the terms of “becoming empowered” are negotiated in practice, and that these negotiations shape the employees’ participation in the practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number101059
JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
Volume35
Issue number3
Number of pages13
ISSN0956-5221
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Keywords

  • Empowerment
  • Employee voice
  • Organizational identification
  • Identity regulation
  • Talk-in-interaction
  • Membership categorization analysis

Cite this

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abstract = "While empowerment practices have been the subject of considerable debate, little attention has been paid to how employees shape the outcomes of these practices through their active participation. Through analyses of interactions in workplace voice activities, this study shows how developing initiatives to improve the local organization of work is complicated by the fact that supporting initiatives as an employee can lead to undesired identity ascriptions from other participants, especially in relation to employees’ organizational identification or disidentification. By drawing on the method of membership categorization analysis, it is argued that the appeal of voice activities for employees depends on how the terms of “becoming empowered” are negotiated in practice, and that these negotiations shape the employees’ participation in the practices.",
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