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Relocating empowerment as a management concept for Asia

Cheung, Catherine and Baum, Tom and Wong, Alan (2012) Relocating empowerment as a management concept for Asia. Journal of Business Research, 65 (1). pp. 36-41. ISSN 0148-2963

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Management theories, especially those in the area of human resource management, are predominantly Western-centric in origin and in the empirical testing that underpins them. The purpose of this paper is to explore perceptions of one such theory, employee empowerment, in an Asian context. Information gathered from an open ended questionnaire and focus groups provide an in-depth examination of hotel managers' perceptions and practice of empowerment in the workplace. This study provides tentative indicators of significant culturally-driven differences in the understanding and application of employee empowerment (in terms of both research and practice) between Western and Asian contexts. The results of this study indicate that empowerment in Asian cultures relates much more to the individual and his/her merits, in contrast to organizationally-driven empowerment in Western countries. The findings also indicate that empowerment by hotel managers is related to the level of personal trust the manager has in an employee.