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[Excerpt] Empowerment in one form or another has been an increasingly prevalent concern of both academics and practitioners. Many contemporary organizational approaches to empowerment (e.g. Conger & Kanungo, 1988; Sims & Manz, 1996; Spreitzer, 1995, 1996) focus on empowering individual organizational members through leadership tactics, design of their jobs and involvement in decisions about work. In these approaches the primary emphasis tends to be on the work to be accomplished, and the focus is on the dyadic relationship between leader and subordinate. Ways of developing empowering processes by explicitly addressing organizational or group members' relationships with one another in the course of conducting the work are often ignored, even in material dealing explicitly with empowering teams (e.g. Kirkman & Rosen, 1997). Yet these processes are critical. Organizational and group processes, especially those involving joint decisions, are important contexts for individual growth and development.


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© Wiley. Final version published as: Walsh, K., Bartunek, J. M., & Lacey, C. A. (1998). A relational approach to empowerment. In C. L. Cooper, & D. M. Rousseau (Eds.) Trends in organizational behavior: Vol. 5 (pp. 103-126). Chichester, NY: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.