(1) A condition in which employees have the authority to make decisions and take action in their work areas without prior approval. For example, an operator can stop a production process if he or she detects a problem, or a customer service representative can send out a replacement product if a customer calls with a problem.
(2) Giving employees more responsibility, authority, and accountability for effecting the daily processes and improvements within their purview. "Empowered Teams" or "Self-Directed Work Teams" are an advanced framework for running a work area or department. Many of the best companies invest in the Empowered Teams strategy as a means for creating self-regulating entities that require little supervision and support.
(3) A management initiative designed to move decision making to the lowest level in the organization.
(4) In the strict sense: authorization or permission. In a broader sense: taking action or creating conditions in which another person's full potentia