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Empowerment and Accountability: Evidence from the UK Privatized Water Industry


  • Stuart Ogden
  • Keith W. Glaister
  • David Marginson


Empowerment initiatives have become popular in recent years in programmes of organizational change, but their impact as a practical managerial policy remains shrouded in ambiguities. We attempt to provide a fuller understanding of their impact, firstly by exploring managers' understanding of what constitutes empowerment, and secondly by locating the analysis of changes in managers' experiences of empowerment in the context of their experiences of changes in accountability practices. Drawing on data from interviews with managers and a mail questionnaire, we argue that the experience of empowerment is multi-faceted, and shaped by managers' attitudes towards it. Moreover we find that accountability plays a more significant and independent role in encouraging managers to engage in empowerment than has hitherto been acknowledged. Copyright Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2006.

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  • Stuart Ogden & Keith W. Glaister & David Marginson, 2006. "Empowerment and Accountability: Evidence from the UK Privatized Water Industry," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(3), pages 521-555, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jomstd:v:43:y:2006:i:3:p:521-555

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gallie, Duncan & White, Michael & Cheng, Yuan & Tomlinson, Mark, 1998. "Restructuring the Employment Relationship," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198294412.
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    Cited by:

    1. Max Baker & John Roberts, 2011. "All in the Mind? Ethical Identity and the Allure of Corporate Responsibility," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 5-15, March.
    2. Roberts, John, 2009. "No one is perfect: The limits of transparency and an ethic for 'intelligent' accountability," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 957-970, November.
    3. David Bevan & Hervé Corvellec & Eric Faÿ, 2011. "Responsibility Beyond CSR," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 101(1), pages 1-4, March.

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