Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


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.