The challenges of creating fully empowered work teams
In fact, demonstrated corporate need to minimize this potential confusion and transform work groups into empowered work teams at the leading US multinational corporation, Multicorp, led to the development of the Empowerment Strategy Grid.
As shown in Figure 1, the intersection of the Grid's two continua create four quadrants into which groups may fall following firm-specific evaluation: empowering managers (upper left), empowered work teams (upper right), platoons (lower right), and automatons (lower left).
In contrast to empowered work teams, platoon members must report to and obey a higher authority.
These teams are simply not as effective as empowered work teams in rapid, autonomous, creative problem solving since they must comply with set rules and appeal to authority.
Finally, in Multicorp's empowered work teams quadrant, individual roles are fluid and assigned relative to team needs and member competences, tasks are interdependent, and team members share decision-making authority based on member skills and the specific knowledge needed to manage problems.
Interventions necessary to develop to empowered work teams
Clearly, organizational transformation from one quadrant, such as automatons, to empowered work teams is no simple feat.
In the Multicorp example, despite the CEO's full sponsorship of empowered work teams and middle manager's desire for more autonomy, senior management tacitly valued control and authority as characterized by the platoon quadrant.