Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Jo, S.J., Park, S.
Critical review on power in organization: empowerment in human resource development
(2016) European Journal of Training and Development, 40 (6), pp. 390-406.

DOI: 10.1108/EJTD-01-2016-0005

Purpose: This paper aims to analyze current practices, discuss empowerment from the theoretical perspectives on power in organizations and suggest an empowerment model based on the type of organizational culture and the role of human resource development (HRD). Design/methodology/approach: By reviewing the classic viewpoint of power, Lukes’ three-dimensional power and Foucault’s disciplinary power, we discuss power and empowerment in organizational contexts. Findings: Power in organizations can be conceptualized based on the classic view, Foucault and critical view and Lukes’ three-dimensional power. We found that true employee empowerment is related to the third dimension of power. The role of HRD for empowerment can be categorized into enhancing motivation and commitment in terms of psychological empowerment and bringing real power to employees. The proposed empowerment model assumes that organizational culture influences the dimensions of empowerment and the role of HRD for supporting empowerment. Practical implications: HRD needs to critically assess the meaning of power in particular contexts (Morrell and Wilkinson, 2002) before planning and implementing specific training and development interventions for performance improvement and/or organization development interventions for innovation. Originality/value: This study attempts to review, analyze and discuss issues regarding employee empowerment from HRD perspectives. Implications for the roles of HRD and the empowerment model are proposed. © 2016, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Author Keywords
Classical viewpoint of power; Employee empowerment; Employee participation; Foucault’s disciplinary power; Luke’s three-dimensional power; Organizational culture

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