Strengthening the Academic Department Through Empowerment of Faculty and Staff
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 8 No. 2 (2007): Vol-8-Issue-2-February-2007
Empowerment of employees has been a primary concern of business for many decades, under the
premise that involvement of employees in decision making leads to superior performance and results.
Acceptance of the practical value of empowerment by colleges and universities is more recent and
more rare, despite the centrality of ideas such as faculty governance and recognition of the faculty’s
essential role in the academic enterprise. Empowerment in academe is defined as the process
whereby stakeholders are encouraged and supported in utilizing their knowledge, skills, and creativity
to embrace ownership and accountability for the well being of their department and institution. The
process requires stakeholders to collaborate in order to establish clear goals and expectations
focused on the institution’s vision and mission but within agreed-upon boundaries. This alignment of
departmental and institutional goals is a key ingredient of empowerment, one that Black (1987) calls
”enacting the vision” in organizations.